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Nature Shorts

Walking along the river

One of my favourite things to do is to go for a walk along the River Breamish and see what kinds of natural things I can find. There’s always something new and interesting to discover, like a colourful flower, a fragrant herb, or a fungus. I often take pictures of them and then look them up online later to learn more about them. Other times I just enjoy them without feeling any need to record what I’ve seen.

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Photographing Mushrooms with a Mobile Phone

Photographing mushrooms

Mushrooms are fascinating subjects for nature photographers, especially in autumn when they are abundant and diverse. However, photographing mushrooms can be challenging, as they are often small, low to the ground, and surrounded by clutter. In this blog post, I’ll share some tips on how to photograph mushrooms with a mobile phone, using its built-in camera app and some accessories.

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Trooping Funnel

Trooping Funnel (Infundibulicybe geotropa)

Other names: monk’s head; giant funnel, rickstone funnel cap

When to see: September-December

This common mushroom, with a typical mushroom smell, is found in mixed woodland, often in clearings. They are often found standing in ‘troops’ (straight lines/ranks or arcs) or in rings.

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Porcelain Fungus

Porcelain fungus (Oudemansiella mucida)

Other names: slimy beech tuft, poached egg fungus

When to see: July-October


These delicate, semi-translucent white-ivory mushrooms are typically found on beech wood: dead trunks, fallen branches or dead branches on living beech trees. They are, therefore, saprophytes, i.e., obtaining their nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter.

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The Smallest Room

A very old joke…

– What’s the smallest room in the world?

– A mushroom!

But what is a mushroom?

Mushrooms are neither plants (kingdom Plantae) nor animals (kingdom Animalia). They are fungi. What we typically recognise as a mushroom is the fruiting body of certain types of fungus. Mushrooms “live on land, in the water, in the air, and even in and on plants and animals. They vary widely in size and form, from the microscopically small to the largest organisms on Earth (at several square miles large)” (Keating, 2017). However, we commonly recognise them when they form above ground (e.g., on soil, in leaf litter, within blankets of moss) or on their food source (e.g., fallen tree branches, trunks of living trees).

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