These fit the description of Hygrocybe miniata: they are small (the big one is not quite 2cm across, or a bit over half an inch), fairly flat on top (some others are more pointy) and the cap is not sticky. There’s a spot in these woods where we find them each October, and it’s always lovely to see them.
We usually find a fair amount of edibles in this forest, such as this log of oysters. One of the perks of hunting in a forest with huge old trees is that when they fall down and a mushroom comes out on them, you get a ton of mushrooms!
We had a treat this time, because we went in late September, so we caught the beech rooters flushing. I can’t speak for our other species of Xerula/Hymenopellis, but X./H. furfuracea is a really delicious mushroom. You can’t eat the stems – they are too cartilaginous – but the caps get nicely crispy and rich in a pan with a little butter.
Usually we come in October and I guess we miss them, but… well, my friends were mostly indulging me on this day, picking this obscure mushroom because I was entertainingly enthusiastic about it; but after they tried it at home they were very enthusiastic themselves.
Well, their skepticism in the field worked out well for me, because I got to bring home a full paper lunch bag of caps, more than I ever have found at one time before (they each took only a few). I had one tomato left from my dad’s garden, and one lovely peach from the farmer’s market; so I made a salad of the peach and tomato and some smoked whitefish and the beech rooters and it was really heavenly.