It was the weak sunlight filtering through the almost-leafless overhead branches that drew my eyes to these fungi, their droplets of oozing liquid glinting as the light fell on them.
These are Alder brackets, Inonotus radiatus, a common species which, as you might expect from the name, is most often found on dead and dying Alder trees, though it does also grow on other species of hardwood trees.
According to the First Nature website, ‘Inonotus, the genus name of the Alder Bracket fungus, comes from ino– a prefix meaning fibrous, and ot which means an ear; the ending –us merely turns it into the form of a Latinised noun. The specific name radiatus comes from the Latin radi– meaning a ray, spoke or plate, and it is probably a reference to the radial wrinkles that are often evident on the upper surfaces of mature Alder Brackets.’
As you can see from my last photograph, these particular brackets were also home to several tiny larvae, perhaps of fungus gnats, though I can’t be sure of that.