Fungus forays: and not-at-all annoying padding characters

I’ve wittered on before about the dearth of large fungi in my bailiwick. This year, the intense drought of late summer (we had a tropical downpour yesterday, though it lasted less than an hour) has not helped.
Last year was a little more productive, and it was suggested that the explanation was the lack of collecting for the restaurant trade.
But a friend has suggested another possible cause: is there a link to the Muntjac population explosion?
Deer culling has also been affected by the pandemic - with restaurants closed and many people suffering cash-flow problems, there was no market for the venison. So the numbers have increased further - the number of road-kills locally is evidence for this.
But do deer eat a lot of fungi? I really don’t know. Does anyone else?

I have also noticed the decline in large fungi over the years since 1980’s-90’s particularly in the south of England. Suspect there are many causes including climate change and atmospheric pollution along with the collecting for restaurants. For example if many of the larger fungi in groups such as Boletes and several of the other groups are late summer-early autumn species and climate has now shifted to being very dry during that period then no wonder less are seen.
There are one or two long-term studies of fungal yield from set plots but as far as I know none from the UK and it is more difficult to reconstruct records from data in BMS and other datasets which don’t sample systematically.

Peter Marren’s book Mushrooms The natural and world of British Fungi shows, (via a google search), some long term surveys in the section headed Fungal Treasurehouses.
p.s.The google link is too long to be usefully entered here.

Yes - I have the book, will need to revisit it.
Some “proper” rain last night, so it may be worth foraying in a few days. If I have any petrol…

That book does look nice may try to find one for under £10.
It is much the same here (dearth) but I am determined to put up more than my share into Mike’s Project by stepping sideways into Micro-fungi.
recent rain has brought on a few ‘toadstools’ but they seem to be very short-lasting - perhaps a feature of the drought.
I am disappointed for there not to be an open Forum on National FunGus Day nor for there NOT to be a LINK to iSpot in there because WE respond to photos and questions
I have only recently come to some of these - GOOD Value
and MUCH better WebValue than the unimaginative World Fungus Day: We Need You! – Mycological Society of America

Struggling to stay on-line today - lots of error messages. Thanks for this, will revisit when the site is more stable.

Via your last link above, eventually I came to Introduction to Identifying Fungi - YouTube (one of the Natural History Live videos). Excellent for beginners. Best watched at 1.5/1.75 speed.

I’m afraid i don’t know how much fungi deer consume, although among other animals, i’m told studies seem to indicate that grey squirrels have a notable level of discerning expertise - they recognise and prize certain species over others.

Funnily enough i pondered the same thing as you a couple of weeks ago - except the subject was cattle, rather than deer.
Despite having spent many years encountering them on a weekly, sometimes daily basis when surveying or walking, i saw something new a week or so ago.
As i was driving across a local common, a stray cow was briskly making her way to rejoin her cohorts when she abruptly stopped in her tracks, immediately lowered her head and without hesitation gobbled up a golf ball lying among the grass. Before moments later spitting it back out and setting off purposefully once more.
Mistaken for a small, fresh puffball or a button Agaricus ‘treat’?

While i’ve frequently seen herds of cows and troopings of mushrooms sharing the same paddock and sometimes the latter crushed and flattened by the former, i can’t recall ever seeing cattle eating fungi or evidence of them doing so (i’m not necessarily saying they never do of course!).

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Thanks for all comments and links here.
The fondness of some ungulates/ruminants for fungi is well-known (reindeer and fly agaric). But it seems that not too much is known about the dietary preferences of our ‘newer’ species. I can vouch for the claim that they seem to like Rosaceae, though. At Holme Fen, they wisely leave a “hedge” of bramble around the edges of the birch stands; but if you scramble through these, you’ll find almost a lawn of well-nibbled herbage.
And the one that visits our garden has a fondness for a rose-type bush (no idea what it is beyond that: multi-stemmed, tall, prickly!) that grows near the back door.