Friday, March 29, 2013

OHC - Moss, Lichen & Mushrooms

My son and I took a walk in a local game refuge to look for any moss, lichen, and mushrooms.  There were still large areas with snow on the ground, but around the bases of trees and along the stream banks, the sun had done its work.

The thing that amazed me about this month's challenge was the incredible diversity of species.

Here are some of our mosses (although, I think some are not true mosses, but club mosses).

It's like everyone is looking in one direction.

These look like mini ferns.

These remind me of sea anemones.

Now onto our mushroom collection.  Some of these are absolutely beautiful.


I love these.  They formed on a stump left by a beaver.
Some kind of slime mold.

I think this might be called Ceramic parchment.

Since it is on a coniferous tree, I am going to say it is Orange Jelly.

Some kind of puffball.  I was surprised to find it in early March.
I thought it was a fall fungus.

We also found some lichen, but the pictures were not that great.

This month, we really just spent our time looking for as many different species as we could find.  It is funny how once you start looking, you see them everywhere.  Our next step will be to work on identification.

Granby - McLean Game Refuge

It was a gorgeous day and the boys wanted to go to the park to play basketball, so I decided to take a walk in the McLean Game Refuge.

The mottled bark of the sycamore is beautiful.
I crossed the bridge from Salmon Brook Park into the refuge and turned right when I got to the blue/orange/red blazed trail.  These trails run together for a bit before first the red and then the orange trail turn off.  Each trail completes a circuit with the blue trail being the longest.  I took the blue trail today.

The trail had patches of ice and mud, but nothing too serious and those disappeared altogether once I started going uphill.  At one rock outcropping, I could see through the trees to the Barndoor Hills.  The hill on the left is in the game refuge.  Boy, it looks a long way away.

Barndoor Hills in the distance.
Today, I saw my first butterfly of the year.  Actually, I saw three.  I saw two Mourning Cloaks and then a smaller orange one that I did not get a good look at as it flitted by.

Mourning Cloak.
Once the blue trail got down to the woods road, I found the trail was pretty icy.  I think more people use these trails and the snow gets packed down and doesn't melt as quickly.  It wasn't too treacherous, although I think some trekking poles would have been helpful.

Woods road was icy.
The trail brings you around to Trout Pond.  I did not see any trout today, but I did see a couple of geese tipping their tails in the air looking for food on the bottom of the pond.  I also saw a few turtles basking in the sun on a log along the pond's edge.

Senator McLean's cabin with a view of Trout Pond partially covered with ice.

After leaving the pond, I turned left on the loop back toward Salmon Brook Park.  In the lower muddy area between the game refuge and the park, I found some skunk cabbage in bloom.  Near the bridge, in a dryer, sandier spot, I saw some yellow flowers that I at first took for dandelions, but upon closer inspection, I believe they are coltsfoot.

Skunk cabbage.