Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mushrooms, Amphibians...

Fall is in the air...

 Ruby-throated HummingbirdsArchilochus colubris, are still using the sugar water I put out.   However, the birds we saw all summer  have likely already left.  The birds I am seeing now are birds from further North working their way south.   I will post when I no longer see any hummingbirds.

While Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only species that breeds here, or for that matter, east of the Mississippi, we do get the occassional western species spending the winter.  Every year Ruphous Hummingbirds are reported in the Atlanta metro area.  They make use of nectar feeders left up in hopes of attracting Ruphous and other western species.

This photo was taken by Ryan Bushby(HighInBC) Wikipedia

I get information from this site:  http://www.hummingbirds.net/migration.html and www.allaboutbirds.org

Eastern Screech Owls, Megascops asio, have been whinnying and using the tremolo call.  Two were singing a duet last night. They have been calling from the same direction for a week or so. Since they are considered "solitary" except for the breeding season I am puzzled by their apparent pairing right now.  Maybe it's two birds competing for the same territory.

More Mushrooms: 

 These looks like the Golden Chanterelle on the UGA Natural History site:  http://naturalhistory.uga.edu/~gmnh/mycoherb_site/gabasidios.htm#cancib

They popped up in the lawn.  The website text says this is a choice mushroom for eating.  I am not confident enough to try them.  (Nor would I recommend that anyone eat a mushroom they are not certain about)

Golden Chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius

Powdery Southern Bolete,  Pulveroboletus ravenelii 
False Yellow BoleteBoletus pseudosulphureus

Ripper, my boon hiking companion on the trail.  He occasionally helps me find stuff.  Today I saw him looking up.  I followed his gaze to see a Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura cruising just above the treetops above us.

Southern Toad, Anaxyrus terrestris.  I have been seeing far more of these this year than in any previous year.
  I'm guessing that the very rainy and mild late Spring and Summer weather is responsible for a bumper crop of these little fellows.  The woods across our little branch lies some forested wetland. (mesic forest).  The almost daily showers kept the temporal (temporary) ponds full long enough for great breeding success.  Southern Toads vary in hue from brick read to grey.

Another view:

I found this Four-toed Salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum, under a rock.  I was unsure about it's identity so I submitted a this picture to the Savannah Regional Environmental Lab.  They identified it and said asked for location and date.  Apparently an interesting species.

I recommend this site for GA, N.C. and  S.C. herp identfication:   http://srelherp.uga.edu/salamanders/

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