The article says this is the first major bear attack reported in the area in 8 years. I wonder what exactly is a minor bear attack?
Tuffy P signed us up somewhere or another to receive emailed birding reports. I thought that might mean an email every few days but it turns out that birders are a very industrious lot and they take their hobby oh so seriously. Here are some sample headers from the emails we’ve been receiving:
Hudsonian Godwits @ West perth…
Hudsonian Godwit- Yes, American Golden Plover – Yes, at West Perth Wetlands
Eared Grebe still present at Townsend Sewage Lagoons
Short billed Dowitchers and 6 Black bellied Plovers over Andrew Haydon Park (west)
Jaegerless day at Van Wagner’s, Hamilton
Toronto Islands fall migration – Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers etc.
James Bay shorebirds — Chickney Point
Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Whitby
We’re getting dozens of birding reports. We have more information on bird sightings in Ontario than I imagined possible.
After I posted about oyster mushrooms the other day, someone asked me if there were any other mushrooms I might mistake for oyster mushrooms. In Southern Ontario this time of year, there isn’t much around that might cause confusion (although I say that, I also say that you should never consume any mushroom from the forest unless you can identify it with 100% certainty – always be sure!)
Another mushroom you may see growing from trees in the woods this time of year is the Dryad’s Saddle or Polyporus squamosus.
I usually see these low down on tree trunks. They are much firmer than oysters and have the characteristic brown on them. They also smell kind of like watermelon rind. I understand these are tough but edible, but that said, I know one naturalist who swears he ate some once and they made him sick. I’ve never tried eating these and don’t intend to try them.
The Weather Network has predicted normal summer temperatures this year, but in the Toronto area, higher than normal precipitation. This is good news for the amateur mycologists in the crowd. Last season started off well enough with plenty of morels and plenty of oysters but then a very dry July made it a poor year for chanterelles. Things picked up some later in August and into September. I found my share of hedgehogs, some good puffballs and some milk caps and as usual, plenty of lobster mushrooms.
I missed those chanterelles last year though. I’d love to see a warm wet July this year to get the chanterelles and the summer boletes off to a good start. Just sayin’.
I expected that the last rain would bring out the yellow morels in my area and so today I drove out to a couple spots I know for a look. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Not a morel. Could it be possible that the premature spring followed by colder weather we experienced this year has bolloxed the morel flush? I don’t believe it. Last year I picked morels around May 20 and I got to them towards the end as most of the ones I picked were very big. True, it’s two weeks earlier now, but I believe many plants are early and mayflies are a couple weeks early too.
I did come across a nice patch of young ramps and I brought home enough for a couple dinners. I noticed that fiddleheads are done in my area – the ostrich ferns are a good foot tall.
It’s raining again tonight. I think I’ll wait a few days and see if this rain triggers a flush.
I headed out for the enchanted mushroom forest this morning, along with my buddies Memphis and Ellie Mae. I didn’t find a lot of mushrooms today though.
This is a meager sample of Hypsizygus ulmarius, the so-called Elm Oyster. I say so-called because in Ontario, I’ve only found them on maple trees. I expected to find some better samples for dinner, but nope, this was it.
These are Lycoperdon pyriforme, the Pear-shaped puffball, known in some circles as the “wolf-fart” puffball. These are edibles. The ones in this photo are in various stages of maturity. I should have taken more photos, including close-ups. You can see though, that some of them are a dun colour. These are already in full maturity. If you plan to eat these, pick only the immature ones that are all white. Everywhere you read about the little puffballs, you’ll find a warning to cut them in half to be sure they are in fact puffballs and not immature poisonous amanitas. Never mind that you won’t find amanitas growing on a dead tree – I always take that precaution because the cost of eating deadly amanitas is way too high. In another area of the forest, I found number of samples of another variety of small puffball, known as the gem-studded puffball, Lycoperdon perlatum.
In just one spot near the trail, I came across a bunch of Aborted Entoloma at the base of a stump. These are edibles, and I can say that they’re pretty good. However, they are just so strange, I don’t find them all that appetizing. I expected to also find loads of honey mushrooms nearby, but only found a few.
We enjoyed a great hike on some excellent trails through a forest that has a great deal of variety. And as a bonus for the dogs, we hiked to a big pool in the river where they had a lengthy swim.
Yesterday, someone landed on this little chunk of paradise after entering “King Bolete Ontario Map” in a search engine. King Boletes are Boletus edulis. They have a number of common names, but you may know them best as Porcini – the little pig mushrooms. These mushrooms are available commercially in dried form, and are very delicious with strong earthy flavour once reconstituted. I read somewhere that many of the porcini available commercially are imported from China. Who knew?
It is wishful thinking to expect a King Bolete Ontario Map to exist, but given how tasty they are, I can’t blame the searcher for searching. Let me assure you all that I don’t have any such map. In fact, I’ve yet to stumble into a King Bolete spot. One day I will, and when I do, I will surely go to great length to disguise its location. Sorry about that friends.
However, if you happen to be the proud owner of what you believe to be a King Bolete Ontario Map, I know you will need help authenticating it. Just send it over here and I’ll check out all the spots marked on it this fall and let you know if it is a quality map or not. This is a service I’m willing to provide out of the goodness of my heart.
I was counting on a good rainfall today to encourage some wild mushroom fruiting so my visit to local forests on Friday becomes more than a pleasant walk through the woods (not that I mind a walk through the woods). Where I was, we didn’t enjoy enough rain to seriously wet the ground. I have a reliable report of half an hour of good rain in the Vaughn area, which, while a little encouraging, is not enough to get me excited.
In the spring, the first tasty edible mushrooms to appear in Southern Ontario are morels in May. Those are followed at roughly the beginning of June with oyster mushrooms, and then we don’t see anything much happening on the edible mushroom front for some time.
If we get a little rain, there should be some interesting items starting to pop up in our forests fairly soon. I’m going to do a little scouting mission on Friday to see what’s out there. It could be we haven’t had enough rain and I’ll have hold off on wild mushroom omelettes for a while yet. I won’t know until I have a good look. I know a few places I think of as barometer spots. These are places that might not (but occasionally do) give up a generous number of mushrooms, but are usually good indicators that tell me quickly if certain species are fruiting in the area. On Friday, I’ll be checking these spots and if I have time maybe I’ll also wander into some forest I haven’t had a good look at yet.