Yakkety Dexter

Dexter loved going to Paynetown for Leah’s birthday party, and showed a real affinity for watching the boats being launched at the ramp, and even more for Vickey’s kayak. We paddled and floated for about 45 minutes total. He sat on my lap and helped me paddle, and at times did it by himself (after proclaiming “mine, mine, mine”). In the short video below, he is letting me know it is time to get back on the water!

Amanita Muscaria spring flush

Amanita muscaria
Amanita muscaria growing under spruce in May 2016

Check it out, Amanita muscaria has fruited again in the spring under the spruce trees just south of the Jacobs School of Music Library building. They fruit here abundantly in late summer, under both stands of spruce, which are about 100 feet apart. This leads me to think they are connected through the mycelial network, underneath two different paths that separates spruce stands. In the past two years that I have seen these early flushes, the mushrooms appeared under the eastern stand, while this time they are under the larger western trees. So this brings up a number of questions about the timing and placement of these fruitings, none of which I can answer!

Pileated Woodpeckers in Dunn Woods

I heard the distinctive and insistant call of a pileated woodpecker, (Dryocopus pileatus) in Dunn Woods today. I am relatively sure that is what I heard, as I pulled out my phone and opened Merlin Bird ID, and listened to the various other calls of other peckers: red-bellied, red-headed, downy and hairy woodpeckers, as well as the flicker. The call of the flicker was the only one that came close to the raucous call of the pileated, a repeated ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki. I made the call for pileated woodpecker over the flicker by the habitat. Dunn Woods has quite a few trees that have died since the big winds in 2011 when so many maples were downed. Dead standing trees are a cafeteria for pileated (and other woodpeckers), but flickers prefer to eat in more open habitats, walking on the ground to scare up ants and beetles with their curved beaks.

Pileated Woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus
Pileated Woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus

Pileated woodpeckers have been in Bloomington for many years. Before the property on Curry Pike became Cook Inc, it was a large beech grove, and everyone seemed to know that the woodpeckers nested there. So no one was surprised to see one in town working on an old silver maple. When that property was logged, I think the larger group dispersed around town, but I have no proof.

Over a decade ago I noticed that there were pileated woodpeckers in Winslow Woods park, they have been nesting in the many beech tree cavities in the park. I remember seeing them silhouetted against the sunset while I was working in community garden, and the sound of them calling in mature beech forest that covers that sinkhole rich park.

So it is easy to see why there was one in the woods today. There are quite a few large dead trees that make q buffet of carpenter ants and other insects for the peckers to eat. A lot of trees (a majority of them hard maple) were lost in the decimating winds of May 2011. But these trees most likely died from draught stress in the years that followed, and they are still standing and providing food and shelter for the woodpeckers of Dunn Woods.

Daisy Fleabane

Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus
Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus

Erigeron philadelphicus, aka Daisy fleabane, Philadelphia fleabane, or common fleabane, is native to North America and is commonly found along roadsides, in fields, and in open forest like Dunn Woods. It is a member of the aster family, is easy to spot as it is has multiple flower heads, and it is often a foot to two feet tall with colorful pink-white flowers with hundreds of florets surrounding a bright yellow center. The name comes from the folk belief that the dried plant would repel fleas.

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula in Dunn Woods

These little guys are pretty common, but so small as to go un-noticed unless you are looking closely. They grow in groups on leaf litter in most Indiana woodlands, and are amazingly beautiful in their symmetry. M. rotula is genetically related to the much larger Scotch bonnet, aka the fairy ring mushroom, Marasmius oreades.

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula
Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula-The sectioned cap looks a bit lit a parachute explaining half the name
Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula
Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula
Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula
Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula-The gills do not attach to the stem (stipe), but rather terminate in a thin collar that surrounds the stipe, giving it the second part of its common name.
Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula
Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula-They are all small, with caps from 3/16″ to 3/4″ (5-20 mm) wide.