urbpan: (dandelion)
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I decided on a bit of a whim to do an Urban Nature Walk in Franklin Park. I took Charlie. We met one other walk participant there. I was there to find mushroom species for the Franklin Park Biodiversity Project.

many more pics )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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I stood with another naturalist (actually a bona fide scientist who I admire and feel honored to hang out with sometimes) waiting for a third to arrive, when we noticed this wasp. Neither of us felt threatened, as she was extremely busy digging about in the sand. The sand was left over from the winter road treatment, and so was shallow and not very hard packed--not great for the wasp's purposes. She dug in one area and then another, occasionally picking up a pebble larger than her head with her mandibles and placing it away from her work zone. She was trying to find a place to dig a burrow in which to lay her eggs. Once she found one (she'll have better luck over at the baseball infields across the street) she'd then go find caterpillars and sawfly larvae (which humans often mistake for caterpillars, so I guess, close enough?) sting them to paralyze them, and stuff them down the hole with her eggs.

This genus of moth is Ammophila which means "sand-lover," and the silvery dashes on the thorax indicate that this is probably A. procera.

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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This remote snowy plain is actually the golf course in Franklin Park in Boston.

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I went across the street from the zoo after work last Tuesday, when there was still some snow (actually sleet piled up white) on the ground, to look at the freaky landscape.

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Of course, I was not alone.

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As far as these Canada geese are concerned, a golf course in Boston is as good as a tundra in northern Canada.
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Monday moody blurry selfie.
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First time this year that this parking lot is full. Beautiful day, April vacation week.
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I stand triumphant over the last remnants of the Franklin Park snow farm.
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The snow recorded a crow walking in a spiral
urbpan: (dandelion)
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A stone wall on Glen Lane. Glen Lane divides Franklin Park into The Greeting (now the zoo) and The Country Park (now the golf course). Outside the zoo fence it's called Glen Road, and it turns into Green Street, a well known street in Jamaica Plain. I mainly think of it as the place where the zoo staff parks.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Another one of those typically beautiful New England winter scenes.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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These little guys are coming out of the same stump I posted about recently--I have no chance of making an identification, I'm just so delighted that mushrooms are fruiting in the dead of winter.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Peekin' in at the end of a meeting.

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Not far away, a juvenile red-tail stares into the city streets.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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A quiet day after xmas in the zoo service yard. Huge red oaks keep silent vigil.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Growing inconspicuously inside a huge hollow stump (probably an oak, based on the size and location), I nearly missed these mushrooms. It was December 24th 2014 and the cluster of caps glistening there looked like--if you'll pardon some zookeeper earthiness--a pile of deer scat. But it was levitating near the rim of the hollow stump, so I stopped and angled my camera down to look at them from below. I will guess that these are Mycena mushrooms, pending confirmation from the experts.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Here again I'm testing the camera's macro ability--these are lichens and mosses growing on the surface of a storm drain. I'll have to assume here that the mosses started it, and then the lichen fungi found the moss covered metal to be close enough to earth to colonize. My field guide doesn't have a section on lichens growing on steel. These are probably Cladonia sp., but again I'd love input from the real experts.

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This crustose lichen on smooth tree bark is probably something in Lecidela, Lecidea, or Porpidea.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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A dead tree among the merely sleeping.
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Glen Lane as seen through my windshield.
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Self portrait on bike, with fall leaves, and iPhone tucked into hat.
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Exidia recisa, also known as elm brain or brown witch's butter. I had fungi on my own brain because earlier I had done a zookeeper training class on mushrooms.

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One of the students spotted this group of attractive agarics! I plucked one, bisected it to show that the gills were free (not connected to the stalk) and brought half of it back to take a spore print.

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The spores were dark brown. This, along with the habitat (growing directly on the ground), the prominent ring, the free pinkish gills, the tan and white cap, and the thick stem all added up to the genus Agaricus, the same group that grocery store buttons and portobellos belong to. However a combination of other characteristics including the scaly top darkest in the middle, the fact that the flesh bruised reddish when handled, and tand geography (northeastern US) leaned it toward A. placomyces, a species known to be poisonous, at least to some people. In the future I'll know to look for a phenolic smell and bright yellow color inside the base of the stem to positively identify mushrooms to this species.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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But only sugar maples
urbpan: (dandelion)
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On the zoo mulch, a perfect trio of Cyathus stratus.


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