Paul Norwood had recently found a couple of new-to-me species that were easily accessible, and offered to take me out to see them.
Connor, Rowan, and I joined Paul after lunch and went to Thimbleberry Lake trailhead parking lot. From there we walked up along the guard rail to where the upper half or more of a hemlock tree was lying, having snapped off during recent winds.
This tree had many branches with dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium tsugense) – this is a parasitic plant that is one of the things responsible for causing the witch’s brooms that form on hemlocks.
As we arrived back at the parking lot, Shawn (Parks & Grounds Maintenance Supervisor for Sitka) pulled in and mentioned he had seen some unfamiliar small gray birds up at the Kimsham Ballfields earlier in the day. He was confident they were not juncos (smaller than that), but couldn’t say much more about them.
We decided to take a detour to check around and see if the birds might be there – we didn’t find them, but it was interesting to see some snow on the ground.
Our final stop was Blue Lake Road to look for a different species of bird’s nest fungus.
Usually there is more snow out towards Sawmill Cove than in town, but for some reason that was not the case today.
As we walked up the road, there were snow flakes falling, but they were not sticking significantly.
It took a little searching, but Paul did refind the fungus (Crucibulum) growing at the base of a roadside rock face.