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.
I was invited to join a hiking group for a day on the Finger Lakes Trail in Central New York and promised to post some trip highlights. I’m not a regular distance hiker so, with a 5-hour hike ahead of me, I decided to travel light. I regretted that decision about 5 minutes into the adventure. There was a photo opportunity at every bend in the trail, but the forecast for a bright, clear day was dead wrong. It was overcast and misty and I really regretted not having my good macro and a real tripod in my pack.
Red Eft, land form of the Red-spotted Newt
The group, including the Outdoor Recreation Club from Morrisville State College and the Bullthistle Hiking Club, was interested in all things natural, but the theme of the hike was the overwhelming variety and abundance of fruiting bodies!
Coral Fungus (Crown-tipped)
Coral Fungus (Orange Spindle)
Coral Fungus (Crested)
I’ll finish the post with this image because it was new to me, the color is quite unusual, and — the common name begs to be published!
The weather is warm and wet – a great time to explore the world of fruiting bodies! I started slowing down to examine and appreciate the fruiting structures of fungi several years ago, while hiking sections of the Finger Lakes Trail in Central New York. My hiking partner was interested, and it didn’t take much convincing for me to follow suit. I’ve invested in several good references – Mushrooms Demystified by Arora and Mushrooms of West Virginiaand the Central Appalachians by Roody are top shelf – but have yet to get much beyond a very general understanding of the subjects I’m photographing. If I were to gather mushrooms to flavor the evening meal, it would probably be a “last supper”!
“Identification, after all, is not an end in itself, but a means toward acquiring a deeper knowledge and keener appreciation of our co-inhabitants on this planet.” – Arora in Mushrooms Demystified
My initial post on the subject features the fungi with reproductive structures characterized by a distinct cap and stalk – mushrooms.
Yes, slugs love mushrooms! Fungi are also eaten by many insects and mammals, including deer, squirrels and chipmunks. Recently, I watched a fawn grazing on mushrooms (the deer that I featured in “The Orphan” on 9/8/13) and wondered about its innate ability to be selective.
“Mushrooms…are miracles – miracles which we can explain but not fully comprehend.” Arora in Mushrooms Demystified