Point Reyes (1/22/2023)

Today I spent the day in Pt. Reyes as part of my Mushroom Identification class (through PRNSA’s Field Institute). My dad unknowingly gifted me with this class for Xmas. Thanks, Dad.

It is LATE. There were many FUNGI. This will be BRIEF. Well, for ME.

I spotted 27 different species of fungi in the few hours we were out in the field! The first part of the day was in a classroom, where I essentially got a refresher to my previous Fungi four-day class in the Sierras I took last Spring. This was a good thing. The last couple hours were spent fungi foraging/hunting/finding along the Bear Valley Trail and on the Woodpecker Trail.

It was difficult to pick the ONE FUNGI PHOTO for the primary photos for this post, but I had to go with the one where I caught sight of an Oak-loving Elfin Saddle (I think) and a baby Panther Cap (or Western Panther). They were growing so close together and are most definitely different fungi. To me, they look like buddies. Like they go on adventures together when no one is watching. Yes, a children’s book should be written about them.

In addition to all the fungi I saw, and fungi others first saw, I also saw and heard some birds! California Quail and California Scrub-Jays and Golden-crowned Sparrows and Spotted Towhees and California Towhees and Dark-eyed Juncos and Hermit Thrushes. I even heard (according to the Merlin Sound ID) a Pileated Woodpecker! ALONG THE WOODPECKER TRAIL. Never caught sight of it, but I may have heard one!

Also, I saw a bright orange Butterfly (first one this year!) flitting down the meadow too fast and furious for me to get a photo. I had a showdown with a California Gray Squirrel (it won), and I watched a Brush Rabbit (I think) peeking out of Blackberry bushes on the Earthquake Trail.

Overall, a good class. The instructor is a Senior Fungi Fairy. And here are some of the new things I learned. “Toadstool” comes from “Todestole” where “tode” means “death” in German – it is part of the fungiphobia movement that Anglo-Saxon people apparently started. It doesn’t matter if you pull or cut a fungi as far as “harming it” – you’re not harming it either way. How to pronounce a number of fungi names I have so far been mispronouncing. AND, I knew a decent amount of stuff coming into this, YEP! I may deserve a Fungi Fairy pin now.

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