Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mushroom: Yellow Parasol Mushroom (Leucocoprinus birnbaumii/Lepiota lutea)

September 16th, 2014. This is the first time I have seen this mushroom. It was growing in the grass at the edge of the roadway. It is an exquisite lemon-yellow color – just like the photographs I had seen. Apparently it’s not uncommon for this mushroom to turns up in flower pots. 

Identification resource:
- Mushroom Expert: Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mushroom: Eastern American Blusher (Amanita amerirubescens)?

September 16th, 2014. I found these beautiful mushrooms in several locations – primarily in grassy areas (mowed) and under a large oak tree - beside the road. I managed to get images of various stages of their development. 

A bud
A bud, with another smaller bud emerging beside it

On the way to being a mushroom
A partially open mushroom with a small bud
A fully opened mushroom with a small bud
A closer view of the mushroom in the previous image. The fallen veil is clearly visible at the base of the stem
An older mushroom. The cap is slightly concave.
 Identification resource:
- Mushroom Expert: Amanita rubescens  
- Alan Cressler: Amanita amerirubescens 
- Alan Cressler: Amanita rubescens

Monday, September 29, 2014

Northern Slender Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis)

September 15th – 18th, 2014. Some spikes of the Northern Slender Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis) flowered in our field a couple of weeks ago. 

The flowers on a spike in the shade of Eastern Red Cedar trees were spaced relatively widely on the stem.

Two spikes flowered in the grass where they got more sun. The flowers were spaced densely along the spike.

A close view of the flowers. The Northern Slender Lady's Tresses is identified by the green spot on the lip.

Identification resource: 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mushroom: Amanita polypyramis

September 10th, 2014. These striking mushrooms grew at the base of a small sapling at the edge of the woods. It wasn’t the size of the mushrooms that caught my attention but the large veil which had fallen from the cap of one of them.

Even from a distance the veil is visible on the ground under the mushroom
The mushrooms, up close and illuminated with artificial light

A closer view of the stem and veil

The veil

Identification resource:
Alan Cressler: Amanita polypyramis

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

September 10th, 2014 
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
Walton County, Georgia

Almost camouflaged against the pine straw. I would not have seen it if it hadn’t been feeding on the Smallfruit Beggarticks (Biden mitis) nearby.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mushroom: Amanita sp.

September 10th, 2014 
Mushroom: Amanita sp. 
Walton County, GA

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Midland Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon pleuralis)

September 7th, 2014. I saw it when I was a fair way away from it. It just looked like some roadkill – maybe a squirrel. It didn’t move. As I got closer, I could see it was a snake. I assumed it was dead because, had it been alive, it should have seen me and shifted into high gear to get off the road.

It was a short, fat snake with a tail that tapered sharply to the tip. A Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)? But, as I got closer, I could see that it was a dark orange-red color – not the dark brown and beige of a Copperhead. My first thought was Corn Snake/Red Rat Snake (Elaphe guttata) but the body was the wrong shape. There were some ‘newborn’ babies near the body but the ants had already started devouring them. This indicated that this snake was not a Corn Snake which lays eggs and is not a live bearer.

Some sleuthing led me to identify it as a Midland Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon pleuralis). The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory does not list the Midland Water Snake on its Snakes of the Carolinas and Georgia page although several images of this snake are posted here. A photograph comparing the Copperhead with the Midland Water Snake is posted here. 

I’m not sure what killed it. It hadn’t been run over. There was evidence of a puncture wound on it’s back (visible in the last image). It was sad that it had been killed but did offer a unique opportunity to see this beautiful snake up close.

As I rode away, I kept checking my rear vision mirror – still somehow expecting the snake to slither off the road.

Identification resources: