Pixie Cup Lichen (Cladonia sp.)
I find this a good time of year to go out and take a look at the little things. The light is coming back and the temperatures are warmer, but the larger vascular plants have yet to obscure the little things with their towering structures of stem and leaf. I went for a short walk this evening and took along my macro lens and flash, thinking there might be some bryophytes or lichens that I could photograph.
There were many small things that caught my eye this evening. There were a couple of different mosses, but most of the bryophytes are still showing the effects of last week’s weather. It is not so much that the weather was cold, but rather that the moisture was minimal and little has fallen since the temperatures have warmed up. There was some black cup fungi and a single small bird feather; but mainly it was the lichens, always abundant and seemingly impervious to all kinds of weather, that ended up being the primary target of my camera this day.
There are not many lichens I know by name. There a few I think I recognize by sight, but that can be a problem with lichens; it is my understanding many species cannot be distinguished without chemical tests. I plan to try to learn the lichens by attempting to find, photograph, and identify as many different species as I can. It remains to be seen whether this approach, which has served me fairly well with vascular plants and birds, will work for the lichens. I will be happy if it gets me a good start down the road to recognizing the lichens.