Sunday, January 24, 2016

Changing Plans

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I rolled out of bed early Saturday morning and drove all the way to Stinson Beach and out along Bolinas Lagoon to hike up the little-known, unmaintained Morse Gulch Trail. I was disappointed to find the trail flooded with running water. You'd probably want to be wearing shorts and sandals to go up there. 

I considered heading out to Point Reyes, but it was a bit too windy for that to be appealing, so I drove up Bolinas-Fairfax Road instead and stopped to poke around the redwoods near these little roadside waterfalls. It was a little ominous to see the understory of ferns in such sad shape. They haven't bounced back from the drought as nicely as one might wish. Sword fern is probably the canary in the coal mine for the redwood forest as a whole. 

Hygrocybe punicea
I've been re-reading The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs. Lots of interesting and surprising, beautifully written stories about water in the desert. No one in a desert takes water for granted.

It was quite blustery up on Bolinas Ridge. That weird-looking spot on the ridgeline in this image is a tree, and I thought the tiny spot next to it was a person (until I visited a week later and saw that it was the top of an adjacent Doug fir tree). A few squalls blew through as I explored along the ridge, each time chasing me back to the car to await their passing.

Speaking of passing, this is all that's left of a tall acorn granary and nesting tree that I've photographed a few times. For years I've always slowed down to a crawl to check the bird action here. There's a convenient pull-out in case I'd want to stop to watch the goings-on. High winds and rot finally took their toll. The acorn woodpecker in this image was probably born in that tree.

While I was poking around I found this deer-browsed bay laurel that appeared to have been sculpted by an arborist.

It was difficult to do photography in the space between rain squalls, but I stuck with it for one of my favorite mushrooms, the purple Laccaria, and an enticingly delicate coral mushroom.

I always forget how hard it can be to look up a coral fungus in a mushroom guide. There are several genera that can be called "coral fungus," and even with pictures I can only guess that this one's a particular species of Ramaria. Maybe you can help me. Can you look at the spores and tell if cystidia are absent and clamp connections are present?

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1 comment:

  1. Gee, I didn't realize how much I've missed your photography. Your fungi photos are always the best. I've not seen much fungi activity in Annadel so far. I need to get off the established trails and start beating the brush as in years past.