Nature-Friends at Parnassus: End of Summer Update

By Amethyst

The forests on Parnassus are rich with life. The species come and go, with some appearing only briefly while migrating, or, in the case of mushrooms, for just a week while fruiting.

We are always finding new species. We’d love your help identifying more, either online or in person on Parnassus.

Newly Identified Friends:

New Mushroom Friends:

We find a new species of mushroom at least twice a week. Often they change colors over the course of their brief lives, making identification very difficult. We’ll only post those we’ve identified. That is, unless they are very cool. Like this one.

New Species: Orange Jelly Mushroom, Red Raspberry Slime, Turkey Tail, Russula Cremoricolor, Cat Dapperling, Ravenels Bolete, False Virgin’s Lepidella, Fly Agaric (below)

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New Tree Friends:

Amethyst continues to be fascinated by the diversity of tree life. He found what we believe are sugar maples- ones large enough that he can’t wrap his arms around. We won’t say they are sugar maples for sure until we tap them for sap.

Our wonderful book, “What Tree is That?”, from the Arbor Day Foundation, only includes some 100 species. So, we picked up the full Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. We’ve identified many more trees as a result, and are revisiting some identifications we’d made earlier.

New Species: Sugar Maple, Hophornbeam, Serviceberry (two species), Witch Hazel, Table Mountain Pine (not Loblolly Pine), Pignut Hickory (not butternut), Shagbark/Shellbark Hickory (not pecan), Black Tupelo

New Fruiting/Flowering Plant Friends:

Morning Glory (below), American Burnweed

New Bird Friends: Our avian friends usually sit on the tops of the trees, so identification by sight is difficult. Learning to recognize birds’ voices, though, has its own rich rewards. Their calls are more varied and individual-specific than we ever realized.

New Species: Wild Turkey, Cedar Waxwing, Barred Owl, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Wood Pewee, American Goldfinch

New Reptile/Amphibian Friends:

Red Eft Salamander (below), Hog Nosed Snake, Ribbon Snake (see “scary things” post on Facebook for snake photos)

New Insect Friends:

Black Widow, Wolf Spider, Walking Stick, Puss Caterpillar (these ones are truly testing our resolve on the “nature is friends” refrain that Camp Gemstone has adopted), and this butterfly that we have been unable to identify but which is very abundant on Parnassus:

Previously-Discovered Friends at Parnassus:

Tree Friends: Chestnut Oak, Pin Oak, White Oak, Red Maple, Sassafras, Sycamore, Flowering Dogwood  (removed: Loblolly Pine, Butternut, Pecan, Chinkapin Oak)

Fruiting/Flowering Plant Friends: Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Concord Grape

Mammal Friends: White Tailed Deer (and fawns!), Squirrel, Chipmunk, Deer Mouse, Woodland Jumping Mouse

Bird Friends: Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Whippoorwill, Crow, Raven, Red Headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Robin, Great Horned Owl, Cardinal, Turkey Vulture

Reptile/Amphibian/Crustacean Friends: Eastern Box Turtle, Five-lined Skink, Fence Sitting Lizard, Common Toad, Crayfish

Insect Friends: Hoverfly, Honeybee, Bumblebee, White-Lipped Forest Snail (?)

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