I would be lying if I said I haven’t been a little put out by Maddie’s new found ornithological knowledge. Until we moved to Fishponds she was a pretty amateur twitcher. She could recognise a magpie and a jay, and could tell a blue tit from a great tit at a push. But since we’ve been here her expertise has soared. If she isn’t reading one of her many books about birds, then she’s flicking through a magazine, browsing the internet or checking the “Birds of Britain” app on her ipod. And rather than being the font of all ornithological knowledge, I’m now constantly astounded by the fascinating snippets of information she bombards me with.
So I’m giving up on birds and trying my hand at fungi instead. Over the past month or so I’ve been snapping all the different toadstools and fungi I’ve seen out in the fields. And today I happened across a Collins Nature Guide to the Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and Europe while out shopping. I was all set to become a master of the mushroom world. But it’s actually quite difficult to identify toadstools, even with a book designed for “easy identification.” It transpires that I need to inspect the gills, lift them out of the ground and compare several at a time, not just snap arty photos. From now on I will be a bit more conscientious and take more notice of the individual characteristics of my mushrooms, not just check I’m in focus. I certainly don’t feel confident enough in my new found skills to try eating those marked as edible.
So I’m going to share some of my snaps with you, along with my amateur conclusions. Please feel free to correct me if needed, as I’m sure it won’t be long before Maddie discovers my new book, highlights my mistakes and fills me in on the facts I’ve missed.