Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mushrooms, Moss and Skulls, Oh My!


I got an invitation to go hunting for morels last weekend, and ever the acceptor of invitations to go to the forest, I went along although I have never hunted morels before. The biggest finds of the day turned out to be the deer (or possibly elk, in the case of the larger one) skulls you see above. We came upon the almost entire skeletons of these animals, which were either cougar kills, or, in the opinion of one of the people I was with, possible victims of the terrible freeze we had during the winter.  Another person in our party found a bobcat skull a few miles away. We also found evidence of several grouse kills:





As for morels, well, we didn't find a single one, although we found plenty of what are called "false morels":




Slimy and brain-like they did not suggest edibility and apparently, they aren't---the literature I have read terms them as poisonous.

Walking along a trail a little later, we found these gorgeous fungi:






The offical mushroomer of our party felt that these are Amanita pantherina, related to those classic red fly agaric Amanitas that evoke the fairytale forest.

Not far away from those mushrooms was this amazing bunch of moss and lichen:




I felt lucky to be out and about on a fine and wild spring day!

(ye old disclaimer: I am not a mycologist. I present my pictures for our mutual enjoyment but not for identification purposes. If you are hunting mushrooms, bring an experienced person with you!)


8 comments:

  1. Too bad you didn't find any morels, Tilda but at least you got some skulls! No visible mushrooms here yet. Still lots of snow in the trees where they grow.

    I think it was a hard winter for the animals. There was a dead deer on the neighboring property to us ... we think he tried to jump the barbed wire fence and maybe hurt himself landing in the very deep snow on the other side. Anyway, the coyotes, eagles and ravens saw to it he didn't last long. I made the spouse go grab the skull and ribcage for me. It's sitting on top of the sea can waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. Where will you display your treasures? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, poor deer; here we had a crazy, atypical ice storm and I think that may have helped to do them in.
      I haven't the foggiest idea where I am going to put them---but I'll find a place for them :)

      Delete
  2. Many tend tend to lose their morels in the forrest ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, very jealous! Great finds! Without any size reference to be sure, I'm thinking the skulls you have are both deer, and the one on top is relatively young (judging by the prominent sutures and smaller size). The mushrooms are definitely A. pantherina - very interesting, as A. muscaria usually comes up around November here, I had no idea a related variety would be growing in spring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was shocked to see them in the spring!

      Delete
  4. I love the look of moss, lichen and mushrooms- so your field trip looks like quite the enjoyable field party. Beatuiful pics of your nature walk. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like a magical time...I love the forest...

    ReplyDelete