Below Chris Johnston shares his experience of a course he attended hosted by our Kindrogan Field Centre.
FSC COURSE ON MICRO-FUNGI AT KINDROGAN- MAY 2016
In May I attended a course on Micro-fungi, both the introductory weekend and the subsequent five days (8 days in total).
I have been interested in fungi for a number of years and as a total beginner received excellent tuition and encouragement from Liz Holden who runs the fungi courses at Kindrogan. I have been recording fungi in the Outer Hebrides ever since more recently became interested in micro-fungi on plants. So what better way to improve my skills and knowledge than attend an FSC course; and an opportunity to attend a course led by one of the country’s leading expert on slime moulds and micro-fungi was not to be missed.
Each day, trips were made to suitable habitats, including the grounds around the centre. Finds were taken back to the study room and determinations made where possible. Slime moulds are few and far between in the Outer Hebrides, and although fascinating are not my primary interest, so on balance I found that the emphasis on this group rather than the fungi was a little disappointing. However, this did not detract from a very stimulating and enjoyable experience.
In the past 6 weeks or so I have been out and about looking for both macro and micro-fungi on my home island of South Uist and also on Harris and Mingulay. It is still a little early for fungi, but I have managed to find some interesting examples of rust and smuts which have not been previously recorded on the islands. All my records are submitted to Outer Hebrides Biological Recording Group (OHBR) and made available on the NBN Gateway.
The fine weather has enable the OHBR recorders get out and about on field trips most weekends and I’m encourage that some of my colleagues are keen to learn about some of the more common and easily identifiable micro-fungi on plants. The enthusiasm generated by an FSC course tends to be infectious and enables new skills to spread between friends and fellow biological recorders.
This was my third course at this centre, and as usual the group was made very welcome by the staff at the centre and the food and accommodation were excellent. If you want to learn about wildlife, whether you are a total novice or more experienced, the FSC courses are to be recommended and I have designs on a course at Millport next year.