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2014 Spring Foray 6 to Starkey Hill Conservation Area

Date: Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Weather: Partly cloudy and cool
No. Attendees: 23
Foray Leaders: Tim Myles (reporter) & Gene Koczkur
Attendees: Nathaniel Russell, Jamie Russell, Danielle Water, Susanne Vesely, Isabella Vesely, David Poleyko, Daryl Beke, Judy Wagg, Dorothy Guo, Sen Wu, Andreea Scarlat & family, S. Burlakoff, K. Burlakoff, Tyler Myles, Alicesara Myles, Hua Shi, Jiabing Lu, Andrea Bazler, Mark Kubisz, Wan Jing Yang, Kriss Gandier, Dave Gandier
Fungal Species Collected: 34

This was the Society’s first foray to Starkey Hill Conservation Area. A large group was in attendance, about 23 in all. The site’s suitability for spring morel collecting was much in question. The parking area is at the lowest elevation and the trail ascends through white pine and red pine plantations before reaching a high area of kettle lakes and a natural hardwood forest of beech, maple, ash, elm, and apple. We hiked through the pine plantations before fanning out into the hardwood forest. Immediately, one small morel was found, but then none for about half an hour. The attention of many forayers strayed to spring wild flowers such as the red and white trilliums, spring beauties, violets, blue cohosh, toothwort, and marsh marigolds. We also caught glimpses of some rare birds such as the indigo bunting and orchard oriole.

As we started back along the loop trail a dead elm was noticed along the trail and some members recalled that such resources are said to be where morels occur. Initial peering revealed nothing, but some of us decided it was worth closer examination, and crept into the thick under brush, fighting the brambles and thorny buckthorn. Soon calls came fast and excited, “Here’s one!”, “Here’s another!”, “I’ve got one, no two!”…. in all 6 small morels were collected around that one dead elm. A little farther on another dead elm was found and 8 morels were harvested there. A few others were collected in scattered places. In all we collected 20 morels--not bad. About half appeared to be the white morel, Morchella deliciosa, and the others the yellow morel, Morchella esculenta.

In addition to the morels, the only other significant fresh edible was Dryad’s saddle, Polyporus squamosus. We also found one slime mould, some fresh cup fungi, and just two specimens of mushrooms, a mica cap and a velvet stalk. Most of the rest were old specimens of wood rotting fungi from last season, polypores, a few tooth fungi, and puffballs – 34 species in total.

Myxomycetes (Slime Moulds):

  1. Hemitrichia calyculata

Ascomycetes (Sac Fungi):

  1. Peziza badio-confusa (common brown cups)
  2. Peziza vesiculosa (bladder cups)
  3. Discina perlata (pig’s ears)
  4. Morchella esculenta (yellow morels)
  5. Morchella deliciosa (white morels)
  6. Xylaria polymorpha (dead man’s fingers)
  7. Apiosporina morbosa (black knot of cherry)
  8. Diatrype stigma (carbon scab)
  9. Ustulina deusta (carbon cushion)
  10. Hypomyces lactifluorum (lobster mushroom)

Basidiomycetes (Club Fungi):

  1. Lycoperdon pyriforme (pear-shaped puffballs)
  2. Geastrum saccatum (nested earthstar)
  3. Bovista plumbea (tumbling puffball)
  4. Steccherinum ochraceum (ochre spreading tooth fungus)
  5. Irpex lacteus (milky tooth fungus)
  6. Trametes conchifer (little nest polypore)
  7. Trametes versicolor (turkeytail)
  8. Trametes elegans (greening white polypore)
  9. Ganoderma applanatum (artist’s conk)
  10. Ischnoderma resinosum (resinous polypore)
  11. Phellinus ferruginosus (rusty polypore)
  12. Fomes fomentarius (tinder polypore)
  13. Gloeoporus dichrous (gelatinous polypore)
  14. Daedaleopsis confragosa (maze polypore)
  15. Polyporus squamosus (Dryad’s saddle)
  16. Polyporus varius (blackfoot polypore)
  17. Polyporus badius (bay-brown polypore)
  18. Cerrena unicolor (greening velvet polypore)
  19. Trichaptum biforme (purple-toothed polypore)
  20. Stereum hirsutum (parchment fungus)
  21. Coprinus micaeus (mica cap)
  22. Flammulina velutipes (velvet stalk)
  23. Schizophyllum commune (split gill)