Lots of Diversity in a Small Space, 01-30-20

I got up around 7:00 am and was out the door by about 7:30 to go for a walk at the American River Bend Park.  It was sunny but cool at the river, about 46° when I got there.

Weather: Mostly sunny, a little haze
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 5 hours
Start Time: 8:00 am
End Time: 12:00 pm
Start Temperature: 46º F
End Temperature: 58º F
Miles Walked: 2

I was looking for fungi and wanted to get some closeup photos of the soredia on Oakmoss Lichen, but also saw and heard quite a few birds along the way.  There was a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks flying back and forth between a couple of trees.  I wonder if they were picking a nesting spot.  In the river, I saw Buffledheads and Common Goldeneye.  They’re both ducks in the genus Bucephala and I wonder if they ever interbreed.

There was also a female Common Merganser and a Snowy Egret nearby on the shore.  And when I stopped to get some photos and video of a small flock of Lesser Goldfinches, I was surprised to see a couple of White-Breasted Nuthatches and Northern Flickers who came down into the same area.  And them some Spotted Towhees started bathing in a puddle just up the trail. Stand still, and nature comes to you… sometimes.  

Part of my research today included turning over some larger logs to see who or what was living underneath them, and in doing so, I came across two different species of Darkling Beetles. Darklings, also called “Stink Bugs” (although technically they’re not bugs, they’re beetles) are what mealworms grown up to be. There are over 20,000 species (!) of them worldwide so properly identifying them can be a bit tricky. 

Darkling Beetle, Eleodes scabrosus

I usually base my IDs on some major identifiers like the shape and size of pronotum (between the head and the abdomen), the segments in the antennae, and the markings on the elytra (the wing covers).  Some are smooth and glossy, some have striped grooves, some had pits… Nature is so diverse.

I also found three different kinds of slime mold including White Spheroid, Lilac Physarum and Tan Bullet! The colors and shapes of these things always amaze me.

Lilac Physarum Slime Mold, Physarum globuliferum

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos

As I mentioned, I made a point of looking for the soredia on Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri. One specimen gave me views of the soredia AND apothecia, AND also had some Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona Candelaria growing on it. A three-fer!

The pale crumbly bits are the soredia, the disk shapes are the apothecia, and the yellow stuff is the Shrubby Sunburst lichen.

There were lots and lots of Inkcap mushrooms around, and quite a number of Blewits, too. I was happy to see some Red-Cracking Bolete mushrooms, also called Russian Reds, at the park.  I haven’t seen them there for almost a decade!  Boletes have tubes under the cap instead of gills, and some of them stain blue when you cut them.

Red-Cracking Bolete, Russian Red, Xerocomellus chrysenteron

My sister Melissa had postulated that we’re seeing more fungi this year because of the foggy mornings, and I think she’s really onto something there.  With the protracted drought, we didn’t have much fog over the past several years, whereas, this year we’re having a lot of fog.

I also found a really nice grouping of six Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus quercophilus, on a leaf.  This kind of mushroom can dry up into little pin-prick sized ‘shrooms when it’s hot outside, survive the summer, and then reappear as full-sized mushrooms in the next rainy season.  They LOVE leaf litter.

When I was getting some close ups of some Black Jelly Roll fungus, I could see a tiny pink creature crawling on it, so I switched from photo to video and got a little snippet of its movements.  It was a Pink Elongated Springtail, Podura sp. In the video you see it walking along, falling over, and then springing away.  

They move sooooo fast when they spring you can’t keep track of them.  Here’s a cool article on springtails and their “mysterious” collophore: https://entomologytoday.org/2015/08/27/the-collophore-helps-put-the-spring-in-springtails/

So, I ended up seeing a lot more than I was actually looking for, which always makes for a fun walk.  I was so involved with what I was seeing, too, that I lost track of time.  At one point, I wondered why I was so tired… until I looked at the time and realized I’d been walking for about 4 hours!  Time flies when you’re ‘shrooming.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anomodon Moss, Anomodon attenuates [low lying, soft, bushy moss]
  3. Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  4. Barometer Earthstar fungus, Astraeus hygrometricus
  5. Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  8. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  9. Cavalier Mushroom, Melanoleuca melaleuca
  10. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  11. Common Ink Cap Mushroom, Coprinopsis atramentaria
  12. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  13. Crystal Brain Fungus, Granular Jelly Roll, Myxarium nucleatum
  14. Darkling Beetle, Eleodes scabrosus [pitted pronotum and elytra]
  15. Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat, Bradysia sp. [larvae]
  16. Deer Shield Mushroom, Pluteus cervinus
  17. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  18. Fairy Ring Mushroom, Scotch Bonnet, Marasmius oreades
  19. False Turkey Tail fungus, Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum
  20. Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
  21. Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  22. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  23. Green Trichoderma MoldTrichoderma viride 
  24. Honey Fungus, Ringless Honey Fungus, Armarilla tabescens
  25. Horsehair Mushroom, Oak-leaf Pinwheel, Gymnopus quercophilus
  26. Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus androsaceus
  27. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  28. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  29. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
  30. Miner’s Lettuce Claytonia perfoliate
  31. Mower’s Mushroom, Haymaker Mushroom, Panaeolus foenisecii
  32. Netted Crust Fungus, Byssomerulius corium
  33. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  34. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  35. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  36. Obscure Darkling Beetle, Eleodes obscura [striped grooves on elytra]
  37. Palomino Cup Fungus, Peziza repanda
  38. Pink Elongated Springtail, Podura sp.
  39. Pleated Ink Cap, Parasol Ink Cap, Parasola plicatilis
  40. Pleated Marasmius, Red-Thread Mushroom, Marasmius plicatulus
  41. Pocket-Stalked Russula, Russula cerolens [white stipe and yellow-tan gills]
  42. Purple Core, Bluet, Blewit, Clitocybe nuda (Lepista nuda)
  43. Rain-Beetle, Pterostichus melanarius [black, shiny pronotum, grooved elytra]
  44. Red-Cracking Bolete, Russian Red, Xerocomellus chrysenteron
  45. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  46. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  47. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen Polycauliona Candelaria
  48. Silky Pink Gill Mushroom, Nolanea sericea (Entoloma sericeum ssp. sericeum) 
  49. Slime Mold, Lilac Physarum Slime Mold, Physarum globuliferum
  50. Slime Mold, Tan Bullet Slime Mold, Arcyria cinereal
  51. Slime Mold, White Spheroid Slime Mold, Physarum cinereum
  52. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  53. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  54. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha
  55. Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans
  56. Trembling Crust Fungus, Merulius tremellosus [white or orange-tinted, forms brackets, a little bit of a tooth on the underside]
  57. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  58. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  59. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  60. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  61. White Jelly Fungus, Ductifera pululahuana
  62. White Stubble Rosegill, Volvopluteus gloiocephalusi
  63. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  64. Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica
  65. Yellow Fieldcap, Bolbitius titubans
  66. ?? Nolenae mushroom [dark brown cap]
  67. ?? Tiny ballooning spider