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: 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Smallfruit Beggarticks (Bidens mitis)

September 7th, 2014 
Smallfruit Beggarticks (Bidens mitis) – also known as Coastal Plain Tickseed-sunflower 
Walton County, Georgia

This is one of my favorite late Summer-Fall wildflowers. I can’t find a source for seeds so I am going to be stalking these plants in the hope of getting some seed. Unfortunately, the county mowed the roadsides recently so it’s going to be more of a challenge than I’d hoped. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mushroom: Lepiota Mushrooms And Buds

September 4th to 8th, 2014
Mushroom: Lepiota Mushrooms And Buds 
Walton County, GA

Ten or more generations of these mushrooms have grown on the pile of wood chips. Often the buds are as beautiful as the fully developed mushrooms.

Related posts:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Raccoon Mum And Kits Again

On August 25th, Mum and the three kits returned. Mum posed quite nicely.

On August 31, Mum and only two kits visited again. It’s unlikely that the third kit had left the group. Kits usually stay with their mother for about a year; it’s probable that the third kit is dead.

On September 7th, Mum decided to eat in style on the platform feeder. She left the kits on the ground. They haven’t tried to climb the feeder yet. Wonder how long it will be before curiosity gets the better of them?

Related post:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Indian Cucumber (Medeola virginiana)

A plant in bud in April at Boggs Creek Recreation Area in Lumpkin County, Georgia 

Plants in bloom in May in the Warwoman Wildlife Management Area in Rabun County, Georgia 

Berries on plants in September at Boggs Creek Recreation Area in Lumpkin County, Georgia; these will turn completely black when ripe.

August 28th, 2014
Indian Cucumber (Medeola virginiana) 
Lumpkin and Rabun counties, Georgia