Spotted this Fly Agaric walking past the graveyard of St Michael's Church in Pirbight. Only had the zoom lens with me, so propped it on the wall of the graveyard and got this shot form distance. Sometimes a shot just falls into your lap.....
A couple of days later , and although the universal veil is still intact, this Fly Agaric has noticeably swelled in size, and if you look closelyyou can see the classic colour of this toadstool starting to show through. If you look even closer, towards the base, you'll see a Sminthurinus niger globular springtail, and also a couple of eggs from one of the flies that feed on this species.
Was very grateful to a local dog-walker who saw me rolling araound on the floor taking fungi photos, and pointed me in the direction of a few red and white toadstools nearby. Lovely examples and very lucky to find this one in fairly decent nick, especially considering how badly nibbled the small emerging bulbs were. Love the large annulus on this specimen, the remnants of the partial veil that covered the gills as it developed.
This Fly Agaric is making a good fight of pushing through the moss here, and into what looks like a ditch but is actually at the end of something that speaks to the history of this area. This toadstool is on the wall of a trench dug by the soldiers practising of heading off to fight in The Great War. The woods in my local area are peppered with signs of army maneuvres, we often find evidence of recent forays. Quite often though, the trenches are much older and are very obviously replicas of front line trenches, ad it's here that the young recruits based at local barracks would train.. A sobering reminder that many of those that trained in this very trench never made it back home. We are a very lucky generation.