Friday, November 30, 2018

Bird's Nest Fungi

There is an old cliche, about how chance favors the prepared mind. This is an example thereto.

I had heard of and seen pictures of the so called "Bird's Nest Fungi". And had been looking for it in my outdoor travels. And this fall I found some in our yard.

There are several varieties, and my fungi field guides describe them all as "common and widespread". Yet this was the first I'd ever found.

This was a very good year for all manner of fungi in our yard and throughout the Northeast United States. And it was while I was photographing the various mushrooms, puffballs, and shelf fungi in the yard that I noticed these. At first, I thought they were acorn caps, the acorns having fallen away. But this is where the prepared mind, and the fact that I was already thinking about fungi, came in to play.

And the light bulb lit.

As you've no doubt surmised, they are called "Bird's Nest Fungi" because of the nest shaped cup and egg like peridioles (spore casings). They form on the wood debris, a stick in this case, littering the forest floor.

And they are tiny! That is a US 10¢ piece, our smallest coin. Which is obviously one of the reasons they are so hard to find. And it I hadn't been down on the ground photographing other fungi I would not have seen these.

So keep looking down.

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