While hiking around Mosquito Cove last week, I happened to notice this yellow coating on the mud underneath a stump. I thought it might be spores or something from a fungus growing underneath the stump, but when my brother looked underneath, he didn’t see anything. He went around to the other side to get a better look at the mud (he was looking for tracks) and noticed that what I had originally taken to be a yellow coating, actually was more reflective. You could only see the yellow from certain angles, as it was reflecting the light.
After he was done looking for tracks, I got down and took a closer look. They yellow was in a very thin layer on top of the mud. Just by touching my finger to the mud, it went away (presumably, sticking to my finger). The first picture below shows a dark patch in the middle where I touched the mud. It also seemed to be sensitive to light (which probably should not be too surprising, given the reflective properties). The second photo below has a dark line across the lower portion. That is from a stick I removed. It was not touching the ground there, but presumably would have shaded it (I think the effect was more in line with a shading action rather than a covering action if it had been something falling from above).
The effect is not unlike Goblin Gold Moss (Schistostega pennata), but the color was much more golden yellow, and the habitat was different. When I’ve seen Goblin Gold growing, it’s not been in such muddy areas where standing water would occur, and it has always had a much greener looking glow. That said, I wonder if perhaps this just might be an alternative form of the Goblin Gold. Anyone have any idea what this is?