Hearing that the nights are ‘fair drawing in’ is as predictable at this time of year as the leaves fluttering down or the sweet sound of geese above our head, but on the woodland floor something just as amazing becomes apparent.

Fungi seems to be everywhere, but why is there so much of it at this time of year? Well, with so many leaves and dead vegetation falling to the ground it is munch-time for mushrooms. They have the very important job of breaking down dead material that is then enjoyed by a huge number of bugs and grubs.

Fungi is often the leaders in a parade of life that breaks material down into substances that are edible for further waves of species. This makes them extremely important and let’s face it, they are pretty good looking as well!

Walking over to some deadwood I peer some bright orange blob that looks a bit like Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants. What an odd but awesome sight. “Two krabby pates please”. I ask, laughing to myself. Typically there’s no-one around to hear it.

Moving on I find some more downed trees. This time there’s what appears to be a basketball growing out the bark, but still no luck finding out what this one is. That’s not really surprising, there are over 12,000 species of fungi in Scotland, which means you could fill Broadwood Stadium with different specimens and still have 4,000 waiting outside to get in.

One of the best things about nature is the experience of seeing something you have never seen before or might never see again. So next time you are out and see some deadwood have a look, sometimes what seems to be the one of the least interesting parts of nature can hold the greatest surprises!

Grant Fleming

Cumbernauld LL