Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Overcast Day in the Woods

The day was overcast but since the weekend prediction was for rain I decided to go out while it was still dry. I started my walk down by the Shendandoah River where I found Polyporus squamosus (Dryad's Saddle) mushroom.  I collected bit of this one to send to the West Virginia Herbarium.

Polyporus squamosus (Dryad's Saddle)

William C. Roody in Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians says, "Only the young fruitbodies and tender cap margins are suitable for eating. Squamosus means "full of scales."

While there I came across this Millipide. I’m not sure what kind it is. Most of the ones I see are shiny but this one has a dull brown surface which helps it to blend in with the dry soil. It appeared to be stopped and looking into a hole or something. When I knelt down to take a closer look it scurried on as you can imagine.

Lytta aenea (Blister Beetle)

Next was a really beautiful beetle with a beautiful name, Lytta aenea, scurring across one of the bolders next to the river.

From there I drove up to the Blue Ridge Tract to see what was new.  I passed a lot of May Apples in full bloom.  They have been blooming for at least a week and always a delight to see peeking out from under the supersized leaves.

It is certainly greener than when I was here last.

The Dogwoods (Cornus) were in full bloom.

I became totally involved in looking at leaf rollers and all the interesting shapes. I took tons of photos and will have research to do for the next couple of weeks. I will blog about them at a later date. For now I want to share with you one of the more beautiful looking folds. It reminded me of Origami.

Assassin Bug Nymph - Zelus luridus

Another leaf roll had a Assassin Bug Nymph (Zelus luridus) sitting on top probably waiting for the little larvae to come out or this could be it’s shelter, I just don’t know. It is a member of the Reduviidae family. They grab unsuspecting insects in their raptoral front legs and the sick them with their sharp beaks to suck the life out of them. They also inject a small amount of poison that paralyzes them. It is a tough world out there for insects.

Rhagio - Snipe Fly

Back at the parking lot I found some deer hair and bones. A lot of the hunters leave carcasses there and it can get smelly but I also find some good skulls. The hair is interesting because deer hair is hollow and can be useful for fly fishing ties when they use the floating capability of the hair.

My car side mirror was being attacked by a Cardinal defending its territory. I think he probably felt successful because he chased my car away and we both had a successful day.

Be sure to visit other Outdoor Wednesday blogs.


Sherry said...

Great pics. I grew up going on vacation hiking trails like this. My Dad loved it. We were from Western KY and we would go to TN and E. KY a lot.

Gaelyn said...

I love how you see the small things along your walks. Those leaf curls are very cool. Looking more like spring every day. Our snow is slowly melting away but no blooms or bugs yet.

Woodswalker said...

Ooh, look at all the cool stuff you find when you look up close! I was especially pleased to see your baby assassin bug, since I found that one recently and misidentified it as a baby katydid. Or do the two look alike? I love that lime-jello body and ruby-red eye.

Carolyn H said...

I've never seen that Dryad's saddle fungus here at Roundtop--wish I had as it's very cool. I've had a cardinal do the same thing to my side mirror, too--and while I was sitting in the car!

Carolyn H.

squirrel said...

Sherry, I think that is all part of the Applachian Mountains. Pretty neat stuff.

Gaelyn, I can't believe you still have snow. I would be crawling up the wall about now if I were you.

Woodswalker, that assassin bug was a tough one since it was a nymph. I found it curious that we both found one almost the same day.

Carolyn, They say if you can't find morels that maybe the Dryads saddle is the consolation prize. Frankly I would rather keep looking for morels.

Carolyn Ford said...

What a great day to be out in the woods! You do notice all the good stuff so many just walk past...and, such beautiful woods to explore. Very nice post!

Cindy said...

Great photos and interesting commentary. I would love to go for a walk in those woods, they look wonderful.

Ms. Bake-it said...

Great series of photos! I love how you find the things other people might miss. Great shots. I love the beetle's coloring.

~ Tracy

jay said...

Great post! I loved the photos of the bracket fungus and the blister beetle, but the snipe fly wins, hands down. It's a wonderful picture!