Fungi in the Fog, 12-17-21

I got up a little before 7:00 this morning, fed and pottied Esteban, and had some breakfast before heading out to Mather Lake Regional Park. I usually don’t go out that late (around 8:00 am), but it was SUPER foggy this morning, and I wanted the sun to come up a little bit more so I could see where I was going.

You can normally see across the lake to the opposite shore. Not so much today.

I hadn’t been to the lake in a while, and I was anxious to see what I might find there. When I got to the park, the fog was still heavy, dragging its belly on the ground in most places, and it was a finger-nipping 37ºF. I was dressed in three layers (my shirt, the vest my naturalist students had given to me, and my hooded jacket), so I was relatively warm…-ish.

The fog makes it difficult to take photos because the camera doesn’t know what to focus on. I like the “diffused” look of some of them, though. The fog would split open periodically to let the sun in, then close up again.

Mostly Mute Swans, Cygnus olor

The first thing I saw was the white bodies of Mute Swans floating on the water, looking otherworldly. They seemed to dominate the lake this morning; I think they’re pairing up for the breeding season and setting down their nesting spots. I saw a couple of them bullying a pair of Canada Geese out of their resting place.

Among the Mute Swan, I saw one Tundra Swan.  I watched it as it flew in, its wing-flap pattern different than that of the Mute Swans. It circled once before landing softly on the water.

With all the moisture in the air, the lichens were wide awake, some of them reproducing, showing off their suction-cup-looking apothecia.

CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos

There were also a few fungi I didn’t expect to see, like Shaggy Mane inkcap mushrooms, Layered Cup fungus, some Brownflesh Bracket,  and a couple of Pungent Slippery Jacks (which were new to me) among others.

I was hoping to see otters, and I saw one, but it was so far away, I couldn’t get any really decent photos of it.  It was swimming back and forth in a tight formation as though searching a specific area for fish. I didn’t see it catch anything, but it was very persistent.

As always, I reported it to the Otter Spotters website.

It also looked to me like the beaver’s den had some new branches piled onto it. I’ve never see the beavers there, but I’ve seen the trees they’ve felled and they seem to maintain their den pretty well.

Beavers den

What surprised me was the number of new Coyote Brush flower galls there were on the bushes (and it looks like they like the female bushes more than the males, but that was just a cursory observation). They usually don’t show up until the spring, but here they were, some bushes covered in them. It was very curious.

Because of the damp and cold, I only walked for a little over 2 hours.  This was hike #91 in my annual hike challenge. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make my goal of 104 hikes this year but I’m pretty dang close.

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Species List:

  1. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  2. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [den]
  3. Brown Parachute Mushroom, Collybiopsis villosipes
  4. Brownflesh Bracket,  Coriolopsis gallica
  5. Callery Pear, Pyrus calleryana
  6. Common Button Lichen, Buellia erubescens [small black dots on wood, by themselves or on a background of white, gray, etc.]
  7. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
  8. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  9. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  10. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  11. Elongate Springtail, Order: Entomobryomorpha
  12. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  13. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  14. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  15. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  16. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  17. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  18. Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
  19. Horse Mushroom, Agaricus arvensis
  20. Layered Cup, Peziza varia
  21. Magpie Inkcap, Common Inkcap, Coprinopsis picacea
  22. Moss, Wood Bristle-Moss, Lewinskya affinis
  23. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  24. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  25. Oak-loving Gymnopus Mushroom, Gymnopus dryophilus [tan-orange with pale gills; cap can be flat or curved up as it ages]
  26. Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus
  27. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  28. Pin-Cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa [bright orange, apothecia, close, piled]
  29. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  30. Poplar Sunburst Lichen, Xanthomendoza hasseana [sunburst on Cottonwood]
  31. Pungent Slippery Jack, Suillus pungens
  32. River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
  33. Rosy Navel Mushroom, Contumyces rosellus
  34. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  35. Scurfy Twiglet Mushroom, Tubaria furfuracea [small, pale tan/ orange, wide gills]
  36. Shadow Lichen, Family: Physciaceae
  37. Shaggy Mane Inkcap Mushroom, Coprinus comatus
  38. Silky Pink Gill Mushroom, Nolanea sericea (Entoloma sericeum ssp. sericeum) [very dark brown cap with a nipple on top]
  39. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  40. Trembling Crust Fungus, Merulius tremellosus
  41. Tuberous Polypore, Polyporus tuberaster
  42. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  43. Tundra Swan, Cygnus columbianus
  44. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  45. ?? Felty Mouse Ear, Order: Pezizales