Mushrooms, A Mosquito And A Red Eft: Another Hike With My Macro Lens

Mushrooms, A Mosquito And A Red Eft: Another Hike With My Macro Lens

macro July 4 (9 of 43)
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As many of you who follow my blog may know, I have been gathering edible mushrooms in our woodlands  since I was around three years old. Yep,  my dad taught me and my siblings this Polish tradition  when we were very young. I have posted a few blogs on my dad and mushrooms and you can search them in my blog archives.  The species I picked with my dad begin to grow in late August. However I have learned many new species of edible mushrooms  and they start growing in early July. So on Saturday morning I  took a hike to see if any were growing. My mushroom locations are secret  so I have been taking my  macro lens along so as not to provide hints to where I am. We mushrooms hunters are protective of our spots. It was sunny and hot when I began my hike.  I saw a few wild morning glories growing along  the trail and these also reminded me of my dad. He planted them in our backyard when I was a child. morning glory on mushrooms hike

The trail was muddy and the leaves still wet from the heavy thunderstorms we got the night before. leaves on mushrooms hike

Soon after I began my hike I began seeing these colorful and common critters crawling on the eft on mushrooms hike

This is the red eft stage of the eastern red- spotted newt. This common salamander is found in all of the  counties of Pennsylvania. red eft mushrooms hike

I find them every year on my mushroom hikes especially after a rain. I saw dozens of them on my 3 mile hike on Saturday. This is he juvenile stage of the newt.  It spends about three months in a pond or vernal pool and leaves as a red eft. It lives on land for three years returning to a pond to live the rest of its life as a red spotted newt. I have also posted a few blogs on this critter that can be found in my archives. 

Continuing my hike I saw this long legged insect hanging from a leaf. It is another common critter, not as cute as the red eft, a male mosquito. 

Unlike the females they do not feed on blood and do not bite. Luckily, I did not encounter a lot of females on my hike.

Looking on the ground I found my first edible mushroom. A black trumpet. (As I  state every year, please do not pick any wild mushroom unless you are absolutely positive of its species. Some species can make you very sick or even kill you. Please consult an expert before you consume any mushroom you are not sure of.)black trumpet mushrooms

There were a number of russula mushroom also growing along the trails. Some varieties of this species are edible but I haven’t tried them. russula mushrooms

I also found one Lactarius volemus mushroom. They are locally know as milker or milky mushrooms and sought after by many mushroom hunters. 

This mushroom brought back many happy memories. It is a brown birch mushrooms and was one of the two species my dad taught me and my siblings to pick as young children. We called it a “cozie” mushroom . I was surprised to find it in these deep woods. We found it growing under the pine and oak trees in the coal strip mine areas near my home.

There were  a few chanterelle mushrooms starting to grow. These are another delicious edible mushroom.  Unfortunately, this was the last edible mushroom I would find on my hike. 

There were also a few amanita mushrooms growing on the trail. Many of this species of mushroom are poisonous and some deadly. These may be deadly destroying angel mushrooms. 

These interesting plants,  Indian pipes or ghost plants , do not produce chlorophyll. 

There were also a few spotted wintergreen plants growing in the woodlands

I left the deeper woods and, while walking to my Jeep, found some wildflowers in bloom including this grass pink, 

some daisy fleabane flowers,

meadow buttercups an

chicory flowers.  Although I didn’t find enough mushrooms for even a small meal I once again enjoyed the beauty that surrounds is if you just head into the forests and  keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike with my macro lens. Macro mushroom hike July 4 2020. 

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. Henry David Thoreau

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