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What's That?

On this page you will find things that I came across while in the woods that made me smile,made me wonder at Mother Nature or just astonished me so much that I could not resist sharing it with others. Visit this page often, it's a lottery, you never know what will turn up next.

Below are photographs of the Destroying Angel,Amanita virosa. When these were found, we photographed them, and then dug down to expose the volva to enable us to take more photographs. We were astonished to see a Red Back Salamander,Pletheron cinereus clinging to the volva. This little guy,no longer than 2" (50mm) and about 1/4" (6 mm) wide was alive and well. Salamanders eat a variety of of invertebrates namely ants, beetles,spiders,snails, millipedes, centipedes etc.
At the time, he seemed to be suffering no ill effects from clinging to one of the deadliest mushrooms in North America.

Destroying Angel,Amanita virosa with a surprise visitor.

Red Back Salamander on Amanita virosa.

Red Back Salamander on Amanita virosa.

While in a very wet bog I came across the Horned Bladderwort,Utricularia cornuta, pictured below. So I did what I always do,I started taking pictures. When I arrived home I downloaded the photos on to my computer and it wasn't until then that I saw the spider. The spider is commonly known as a Crab Spider,Misumena vatia. This spider can be yellow or white and is able to change colour "at will". Apparently it is commonly found on species of Goldenrod,Solidago spp. The transformation from white to yellow takes between 10-25 days,the reverse only about 6 days. FASCINATING!

Crab Spider,Misumena vatia.
Coming out !

Crab Spider, Misumena cornuta.
NO !, I think I'll go back.

Crab Spider,Misumena vatia.
Can anybody see me??

This species of beetle feeds on carrion and decaying fungi. However in this case they were tricked. The Stinkhorn, as it's name suggests, is famous for the evil smelling goo that appears at the top of the column.
Actually Stinkhorns are amazing fungi that reproduce by using carrion as a means of carrying off their spores. Flies are attracted to the gleba, at the top of the column,which contains the spores in a sticky mass. The sticky "goo" sticks to the flies and they unwittingly carry the spores off to another likely spot.

Stinkhorn and Necrophila americana.

Stinkhorn and Necrophila americana.

Necophila americana.

If you would like to see a Stinkhorn before the bugs got to it, click on the image to the right.

Netted Stinkhorn,Dictyophora duplicata.

Bald Eagles in my backyard!
Well,not literally, but within a 20 minute drive or so.
This must be  one of Northern Nova Scotia's best kept secrets. 
With the Winter severely curtailing my activities, I turned to Geocaching. So, having identified a few likely geocaches that I knew were in the general area of the eagles we set out for a day of 'caching and eagle spotting.
I had been meaning to pay the Eagles a call for quite some time but never seemed to get around to it until just before Valentine's day 2010. When we arrived there I realised what I had been missing. What a wonderful sight! All those majestic birds sitting in "their" tree. I had been told that if you are lucky you can see as many as forty individuals perched in that same tree surveying their territory. 
My knowledge of birds is limited, but in the image at the extreme right I would assume that the eagle at the very top of the tree is the "alpha" male. Is this how the phrase "pecking order" came about? Am I joking ?,well,yes,probably :-).

Bald Eagle.
Bald Eagle and friends.

Bald eagle.
Lunch Time!

Bald Eagles.
Alpha Eagle at the top? Is this the "PECKING ORDER"?

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All photographs on this site have been taken by myself and are copyright. Copying images from this site is illegal.