Thursday, March 13, 2008

Frustrating Fungus

Once again, my eye was taken with a fungus or mushroom I found in the forest, and once again I am frustrated with my inability to be confident of an identification. I think this is the early stage of the jack-o-lantern fungus, but I sure wouldn't bet a paycheck on it. If I'm right, this thing is pretty poisonous. In later stages of the jack-o-lantern's development, the rounded portion flattens out to some extent. I guess my only solution is to go back to the same spot and see how it looks on my next visit, not that that's a hardship assignment.

In non-mushroom activity: spring continues to arrive, sneaking in on little birds wings at night. I'm always surprised, and by this time I probably shouldn't be, by the number of birds I see at night. Even when it's not a migration season, I commonly see or startle birds on my evening walks. For a while, I thought the lights at Roundtop confused the birds into thinking it wasn't night, but as the years have gone on, I've decided that it's the lights at Roundtop that allow me to see what the birds are doing during the dark hours.

For example: last night around 9 p.m. I heard two house finches singing happily. I saw a small flock of Tundra swans inexplicably heading south--who knows what they were up to? A large flock of robins appeared out of the south, flew over the mountain and settled not far from my feet. I saw a few juncos and several unidentified sparrow-sized birds flitting around the bottom of several conifers.

This morning the robins were all singing away, and spring's dawn chorus is getting louder and more prolonged with each morning that passes. But I think I'm going to give up on mushrooms for a while--at least until my new mushroom book arrives, the one my fantasies imagine will make identifications a snap!


Dana Jones said...

Even though my first thought was it looks yummy, I wouldn't try to eat it. I have friends that harvest wild mushrooms for food, but I'm too chicken.

Carolyn H said...

Dana, I've always been too chicken too. I ate wild morels once that someone I trusted picked, but that's about as brave as I've gotten. Doesnt' seem worth the risk to me, and I didn't see anything special with the morels anyway.

Carolyn H.