Monday, September 7, 2009
This is not a bird, but it's still kind of cool. Whatever it it.
It's the last official weekend of summer, and everyone I knew is getting some.
On their blogs and tweets and by e-mail, they brag about how great it is, and how surely everyone must be getting some--it's a three-day weekend, they say, and there are a lot of people out there looking for the exact same thing as you. So if you're not getting any, it's your fault for not trying.
On a weekend like this, if you don't get outside and find some good migrating warblers, you are a sorry-ass loser.
I'm pleased to report I'm not a TOTAL sorry-ass loser. But despite three mornings spent craning my neck at weird angles while peering at microscopic, backlit flying objects in the tops of 4-story-trees, my weekend count was disappointingly low. I did get one lifer—a Blue-winged Warbler at San Felasco Hammock—but apart from that, only the usual suspects in tinier than expected numbers: tons of Northern Parulas, a single Prothonotory Warbler, a couple of Yellow-throated Warblers and Ovenbirds, a nice big flock of Yellow Warblers, and a single immature American Redstart. And all of these successfully eluded our attempts to get decent photos of them.
So my consolation eye candy for this week is something else that's kept me occupied on the trails: the strange and colorful mushrooms that have been popping up after the heavy rains of the last few weeks.
The variety of mushrooms out here is far bigger and more dramatic than back in California: in the coastal scrub of southern California, most life forms—birds, insects, and mushrooms (when it's wet enough to support them)—are beige or brown, like the surrounding sand and rocks. Here, plants and animals are much brighter, like this Day-Glo orange shroom:
Just as alien to me as bright orange mushrooms were these green mushrooms, which look almost like misplaced leaves growing from strange angles out of the tree trunk:
Here are some lacy white ones. I don't know the names of any of these varieties, nor do I know if they are poisonous or not:
These cute little red things, however, just look poisonous to me. Or at the very least, seriously hallucinogenic.
For some reason, I couldn't get my camera to allow a closer shot of these (nor the other, equally cool-looking red mushroom with white dots that I spotted last week). And as I mentioned, I don't know the proper names for any of these varieties. Any ID help will be gratefully accepted!