A cold wind developed through the day so the choice of a relatively sheltered Charnwood over Hoveringham proved wise. We started though with an exposed Swithland Reservoir with birds as the objective but from the dam, there were none worth a mention but a diversion onto the road crossing produced a white, heron-sized blob that we, I think agreed was more likely to be a Great (white) Egret than an albino heron and 7 Buzzards. The dam was more interesting for the botanist with a nice variety of wall ferns:

Rustyback – Asplenium ceterach
Wall Rue – Asplenium ruta-muraria
Black Spleenwort – Asplenium adiantum-nigrum
Polypody – Polypodium agg.

Then we had a drive over to a wood last visited by Dave about 22 years ago and by me, never; Poultney Wood is probably better known as part of Ulverscroft Nature Reserve and is very different from the woods of Rushcliffe so, with its acid soils, Bilberry and Heather were on the day list.

My eyes immediately honed in on the fungi which have begun to attract my interest and I was delighted to find enough to challenge me. Rather conveniently they were all fungi on trees – brackets and crusts (except for a small group of puffballs) so I was able to narrow down the choices.

I used the disproportionately expensive but very helpful “An initial guide to the identification of mushrooms and toadstools by Paul Nichol; 4th edition” (36 pages, £12) and “Mushrooms by Roger Phillips, Macmillan 2006” (384 pages, £13.98) and was very pleased to put names to four species with some confidence and three others with less certainty as follows. (This time I took a photo and a sample of them all.)

Turkeytail – Trametes versicolor.
Hairy Curtain Crust – Stereum hirsutum
Bitter Oysterling – Panellus stipticus
Wrinkled Crust – Phlebia radiata
Hoof fungus – Fomes fomentarius
Pleurotus ? Possibly Pleurotus ostreatus
Phellinus ?

This one, the Phellinus ? keyed out quite nicely to the genus but I couldn’t pin it down. This is the underside – with distinctive-looking, elongated pores.

Phellinus ? pores.

And finally another fern to round off a fine list: Hard Fern is another rare one in Notts but which is common in the Peak District and Charnwood.

Hard Fern – Blechnum spicant

The wood was disappointingly bird-less apart from some chanting Nuthatches, though it was hardly spring-like weather and ended with a very brief sleety shower.