October Memories


Wisps of clouds and soft colors defined a warm and peaceful sunrise


Natural rhythms were interrupted by unusually warm, dry and erratic weather patterns


Early leaf drop and muted colors in woodlands shifted attention to the landscape underfoot


The Harvest Moon reminded all of the landscape overhead


Harvested fields were crowded with hungry geese


Gulls as well as geese foraged in dense, low fog on cold mornings


Searches for fall landscapes led to familiar haunts, like the old mill pond


Driven more by photoperiod than the tricky warm weather, a mature male beaver prepared for winter by harvesting an aspen tree and stashing branches at the family lodge


Staghorn Sumac was on fire!


A large ash tree, dead for many years, returned to life. An impressive mass of “Chicken-of-the woods” fungus fruited on the base of the snag and lit up a drab woodland scene.


October reflections

Photos by NB Hunter (October 2017). © All Rights Reserved.



Fruiting Bodies!

Woodlands come alive in late summer as fungi and related plants respond to warm, moist growing conditions with visible forms of their life cycles. Fruiting bodies of myriad shapes, sizes and colors appear, sometimes overnight (they thrive in darkness!). The show can be every bit as rewarding as the spring flush of wildflowers…and just as fleeting too.


Mushrooms emerging through a layer of spruce needles



Coral Fungus

The Ghost Plant (Indian Pipe) made its way into this series on fungi because it lacks chlorophyll and can grow in the dark. In reality, it is a non-photosynthetic flowering plant that parasitizes the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi associated with tree roots.


The Ghost Plant (Indian Pipe)



Spindle Fungus


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Wildflower Practice!?

Despite the warm, moist conditions, my woodlot is devoid of wildflowers. It’s too early, and the cold, snowy weather moving in this direction will hold things up a bit longer.  Under the circumstances, I was ecstatic over this brightly colored macro opportunity, discovered while working in the woods:

Cup fungus on a fallen branch


Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Super Cold, Super Cooled

The erratic weather of March helps explain why the definition of “snow” isn’t as simple as one might think. Yesterday morning I discovered a light coating of “graupel”, one of the many types of snow.

The morning temperature at ground level was in the low teens. Cold!!! That night, super-cooled water droplets in the cloud layer had coated snowflakes, which then fell as tiny white balls called graupel (also soft hail, snow pellets).


Graupel and frost on Turkey Tail mushroom


Graupel and frost on moss and leaves


Graupel and frost on a moss-covered log

Photos by NB Hunter 19March2016. © All Rights Reserved.


Autumn Macros: Fungi

Many types of fungi flourish in the warm, damp conditions that accompany early autumn. I don’t know their taxonomy as well as I should, but love to photograph them. 

Hollow trees, especially the large, old survivors, are woodland magnets that rarely escape my attention. This old growth sugar maple, a boundary line tree, is one that I always approach with great anticipation – perhaps a fisher, raccoon or owl has taken up residence? I discovered something quite different and unexpected on this trip: mushrooms, growing in the damp, dark recesses of the cavity. The last images in my post are a small sampling of this intriguing microsite.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

A Close Look at Early Fall

Good weather and daily trail walks in a quiet natural area give me the opportunity to capture unusual images of ordinary things.

These photos from last week must be shared:


The fruit of Cranberrybush Viburnum; these will persist into the winter


A maple leaf suspended in mid-air by a strand of spider web; a challenging subject, as it was swaying and spinning in a slight breeze and the background was constantly changing.


A bee on Aster


Red-panicle Dogwood ( also called Gray-stemmed or Gray Dogwood)


Slug feeding on a puffball

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Fun with Fungi – Finale

A major goal of this blog is to provide personal images and text that encompass a wide array of environmental subjects. Deer and foxes are in my radar now, as are the increasingly rich landscapes of autumn. I’m ending the series on fungi with no specific theme, other than beauty. The images cover several of the major taxonomic groups of fungi, including the shelf/bracket, teeth, puffball and cup fungi. These are all late summer – early fall photos taken in Central New York, and are among my favorites.


Hericium, in the teeth fungi group; Lion’s Mane (unofficially, I call it the icicle fungus!)


A Varnish Shelf Fungus on a rotting log (hemlock I believe)


Unidentified mushroom or bolete


Shelf/bracket fungus




Shelf/bracket fungus on a rotting log


Yellow Fairy Cups. This tiny cup fungus has colonized the end of a 15-year-old, 12-inch diameter log (aspen).


Yellow Fairy Cups — macro.

Photos by NB Hunter. ©  All Rights Reserved.