Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mystery Fungus

After a morning of entering Project PROTHO data into the Geographic Information System (GIS) database, we went out searching for any banded Prothontoary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea) remaining at Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest. With a recorded call of a male Prothonotary Warbler, we attracted one unbanded male and A058 (shown in the image). We also came across a family of Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), including several fledglings whose plumage was only red in blotches.

Near the maintenance trail to the equipment barn, we came across a large fungus at the base of a long-dead tree. The fungus, which is over a foot in diameter, is currently a mystery. Whether we know the name or not, we're glad to have the decomposing abilities of fungus in the forest. Between the annual crop of falling leaves and trees dying from age, disease, insects, or lightning, we would rapidly be buried in organic debris if not for fungus!

Images by Mark Musselman

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