Dunn Woods Memories

Dunn Woods, Natural Heart of IU

March 23, 2016
by mitch
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Signs of Spring 2016

Here are a few pictures of renewed life going on in Dunn Woods during this early spring.

Spring Beauty-Claytonia virginica

Spring Beauty – Claytonia virginica

Purple Spring Beauty

Purple Spring Beauty – Claytonia virginica

Harpinger of Spring, akd Salt and Pepper - Erigenia bulbosa

Harpinger of Spring, aka Salt and Pepper – Erigenia bulbosa

Cutleaf Toothwort - Cardamine concatenata

Cutleaf Toothwort – Cardamine concatenata

Cutleaf Toothwort - Cardamine concatenata

Cutleaf Toothwort – Cardamine concatenata

May Apple-Podophyllum peltatum

May Apple-Podophyllum peltatum

Wild Mint - Mentha arvensis

Wild Mint – Mentha arvensis

Magnolia in Dunn Woods

Magnolia grows as an understory tree in Dunn Woods

March 23, 2016
by mitch
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Oysters in Dunn Woods!

Yep, oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) grow in Dunn Woods. I found this specimen in early February during warm spell. They dried out and lasted through the subsequent freeze cycle, they are a cool/cold weather loving species, and quite delicious to boot. There are numerous companies that offer spawn, plugs, and kits for growing oysters at home as they are one of the easiest to grow, and are happy to fruit on a number of carboniferous substrates. So logs, wood chips, newspaper, and even coffee grounds will support mycelial growth and fruiting.

Oyster Mushroom - Pleurotus ostreatus

Oyster Mushroom – Pleurotus ostreatus – on dead tree

Dried out Oyster mushroom

Dried out Oyster mushroom

March 18, 2016
by mitch
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Turkey Tails – Trametes and Stereum

These two mushrooms are often confused with each other as they have a similar appearance, both resembling a turkey’s tail, fan-like and with bands of muted browns, gray-blues, tans, whites and even green (when colonized by algae). Both are common year round on dead and dying wood, and both are white rot decomposers, eating the brown lignons in wood, leaving the white cellulose for other fungi. Trametes versicolor is the true turkey tail, whereas Stereum ostrea is known as false turkey tail. It is not a polypore like T. versicolor, it has no pores underneath the cap, and is classed as a crust fungi.

Sterium ostea, aka False Turkey Tail

Sterium ostea, aka False Turkey Tail

Sterium ostrea underside, note the smooth surface, no pores, ridges or teeth.

Sterium ostrea underside, note the smooth surface, no pores, ridges or teeth.

Trametes versicolor, aka Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor, aka Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor pores

Trametes versicolor pores

Phlebia incarnata, Sterium ostrea

Sterium ostrea with Phlebia incarnata being the pink one. P. incarnata is always found growing with Stereum, but Stereum is often found alone. Both are crust fungi, their undersides do not have true pores or gills, but P. incarnata can have folds on the surface that can appear like a toothed mushroom.

March 10, 2016
by mitch
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Raptors at Bryan Hall?

No, not exactly, but a pair of Cooper’s Hawks have been nesting in Dunn Woods since I first noticed them in 2008. Their nests are easy to distinguish from that of the numerous squirrels in the woods, always very high, and made of sticks and stems rather than leaves. The latest one is in a large tree close to Bryan Hall, they have been observed by workers on the third floor, just a hundred feet or so from the east facing windows.

As you may now, Bloomington has had a winter influx of crows over the last few years, and they roost at night in large groups numbering in the hundreds. At dusk you can see them flying together to one of their favorite spots on the west side, at the courthouse, in Elm Heights and in Dunn Woods. Here they are at my house on a cold February evening.

So the city, and IU, have found a way to keep the crows away. Downtown on the square, at Bryan Hall, and at Morrison Hall, as evening comes on, squawks and calls from a variety of raptors are broadcast to the night skies. This seems to push the crows to another roosting spot (like Elm Heights), and thus keep the crow dropping off the parking meters on the square, and footpaths in Dunn Woods. But the giant murders of crows stop roosting in town as soon as the weather gets warm, apparently they have better things to do and places to be.

But IU keeps the recordings going through March and April (and maybe longer). This seems like overkill, and may well have kept the Cooper’s Hawks from nesting. At the very least it is keeping the mammals and smaller birds in on edge through sunset and dusk. I am wondering who to ask about having the recordings turned off now that the weather is warm and there is no need for the (disconcerting and annoying) recordings?

March 9, 2016
by mitch
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Morphology of Mushrooms

This is a great chart on the morphology of of mushrooms, there is a mycological jargon that can be very confusing, this helps with the basics of mushroom structure.

Mushroom cap morphology

By debivort GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)