Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Return trip

My walk in the woods on Saturday was almost a rerun of my October 31 hike. Again I went to the Blue Ridge Tract of Shannondale Springs WMA and stopped at most of the same places.

You can compare photos of the trail last month and now. Click on the photo for the link back.

You can see the sawed tree that I find so many interesting things like slime molds and flat little beetles. This is where I found the slug last month. Most of these are just under the bark. I can peel back a bit of it to explore the underside and then replace it when I leave. I have been lifting the same section for at least a year now.

Why keep going back? Well, I read somewhere that if you want to see something new keep going over the same route. It usually works. This time I think I saw a lot of the same things but different views and in different stages such as the oyster mushrooms. First is the October photo and next is the latest one. You can see how the mushrooms have opened up more. I will try to remember to take a photo next month and see how it has changed once more.

Just on down the hill is Furnace Run Wetlands. It flows into a drainage ditch that runs under the fire road and into Furnace Run. I found some interesting plants here. One is a River Alder (Alnus serrulata). They are native to the United States and grow about 8-12 feet tall. They have beautiful delicate cones smaller than the tips of my little finger. I wasn’t able to take a photo of the cones but I did find some catkins hanging over the water. River alders are resistant to most insects and disease pests. .

Alder catkins

I am not sure what the other one is. Any suggestions?

UPDATE: Woodswalker has suggested that this is a Branching Bur Reed (Sparganium angustifolium).  I hope she is correct because it is on the WV species of concern list.  I plan on getting back up there this weekend to get a more accurate description and fill out a lot of paper work to submit to the WV Deptartment of Natural Resources.

On up the hill I stopped at my favorite log with all the moss. Last month I found a little snail on cut the log but this one was on the moss log. These photos are a little better and show the pneumostome hole for breathing. I think this slug is rather cute. You can see the black dots of its eyes as it looks over its shoulder at me. The two antennas on the bottom are used for smelling and touch and don’t have eyes. I read that they can glide along a razor blade edge and not be cut but salt is deadly. I think salt may not be all that good for us either and I’ll definitely pass on the razor blade trick.

I found these mushrooms last time but this time I decided to tell you their name…“Deadly Galarina” (Galerina antumnalis). Another common name is “autumn skullcap”. As the name implies they are poisonous and should not be eaten…you will probably die. They are common in my region and found on rotting wood with moss. I recognize it by the small two-inch cinnamon-brown cap and the dark ring (annulus) on the thing stem (stipe). They sort of look like other brown mushrooms so be very careful if you collect and you should take spore prints for a more accurate identification and then don’t eat them. They mostly cluster in small groups but I have seen a lone one standing off from the pack as though it were being shunned for a bad deed. But I have never seen just one on a log.

At that point I turned around for home and left the mushrooms for the slug.

I will be enjoying Thanksgiving Holiday with friends; there is so much to be thankful for.

Visit more places at My World Tuesday.


Gaelyn said...

I very much enjoy walking the same place repeatedly as I always see new things happening, even daily. Looks like those oyster shrooms are past there prime, but I'd stay away from the skullcaps.
I've always thought slugs were cute and can imagine very little people riding them.
Thanks for taking us along once again.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Woodswalker said...

Since you read my blog, Squirrel, you know that I agree with you about returning again and again to the "same" place if you want to see something new. Of course, it is never the same place.

I believe that water plant with the spiky pods is a Branching Bur Reed.

Oh my gosh, those deadly mushrooms look at first glance like the Honey Mushrooms I gather to eat. One has to be very careful before eating them.

Nice retracing of earlier steps. Very interesting to see how things have changed. Thanks for the trip.

Wanda said...

I really enjoy your posts Cheryl...always learn so much from you... Snails and Mushrooms....neither of which will go in my Thanksgiving Dressing!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!