An Unsuccessful And Uneventful Search For “Red Top” Mushrooms

An Unsuccessful And Uneventful Search For “Red Top” Mushrooms

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Since I was a very young child, I have searched for “red top”  and ” cozie” mushrooms  (birch and orange aspen bolete  mushrooms) in the woods near my home in Hazle Township in Luzerne County.  My dad taught us how to identify them. We enjoyed eating them and we dried some  and made soup for Holy Supper on Christmas Eve.  The usually begin to appear in mid-August,  Unfortunately, my favorite place to find these mushrooms was developed this past year. I was devastated to find the woodlands destroyed. So now I have to find a new place where these mushrooms grow.

So last Saturday I set out to find some “red top” mushrooms. It wasn’t successful search but I did, as I always, enjoy my time roaming the woods of Northeastern  Pennsylvania. Also as I always do on my mushroom hikes,  I took my macro lens and took some photos. . (Sorry I never  reveal my mushroom areas). 

It was  a  cooler and mostly cloudy day as I  set our on my hike. There was a feeling of Fall in the air. And sign of the the end of Summer were visible on my hike. The leaves of many trees were no longer fresh and green. Some  showed signs of age and insect attack, such as these maples leaves,

these oak leaves 

and these birch leaves. 

Some, like this thicket creeper vine has already turned completely red. 

Acorns now appeared on the scrub oaks. 

My walk took me through many old coal mining strip mines. The “red top” mushrooms liked to grow  under the birch, aspen and pine trees that grow in the  soils disturbed by the mining activity. However in this area these trees were overgrown with thick undergrowth and I found no mushrooms.  There were some late summer flowers in bloom long the old coal mining trail such as the evening primrose, 

the steeplebush ,

white meadowsweet, 

and purple loosestrife. 

I encountered almost no wildlife on my five mile hike. There were few birds in the strip mined area, a couple of robins and sparrows.  And not many insects either except for hundreds of grasshoppers, 

a few bees, hornets and wasps and 

this fellow, a male mosquito.

The male mosquitoes do not feed on blood so they look a lot more ferocious to us humans than the females of the species. I have never encountered a female mosquito at rest on all of my hikes.

Their were some wetlands at the end of my hike an I came upon some cattails. 

Some pokeweed plants.

And a few patches of milkweed. I cut this milkweed pod to show the yellow sap that seeps out. This is the only plant a monarch butterfly caterpillar will feed on. I looked but didn’t find any.

 And I didn’t find a single mushroom either. I am not sure if it was that the woods were too old, or because it has been so dry. It was still a nice hike and I will be out there roaming the woods looking again soon. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. Macro mushroom hike August 15 2020.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.     Albert Einstein


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