Journal archives for January 2024

January 02, 2024

New Year 2024 starts with a bang!

It is a venerable tradition that the New York Mycological Society holds a Fungus Foray in Central Park every New Year's Day. This year's outing started at 12 noon on Monday January 1st, meeting up at Central Park West at 96th Street.

I had reminded my friends David Ringer, Misha Zitser and Steven Bodzin about it, because it had been quite a while since I had seen each of them, and I really value any outing I can take along with one or more of my favorite iNat NYC co-observers.

In the end, all three of those friends of mine came, plus about 40 other mycological members, that is, out of a total of about 3,000 members of NYMS. A senior member explained to me that there had been one New Year's Day when there was a foot of snow on the ground, and another year when the temperature was only about 6 degrees, but in both cases they got a good turn-out!

We entered the park near 'The Pool" and then we climbed the Great Hill and searched the woodland all around that area. The weather was in the low 40s, and it was mostly sunny. I was there for 4 hours and was very tired when I got home, plus my foot was hurting. But I did really great. I surprised myself.

I found nine new-to-me species, thanks to some help from the other iNatters. Among the 95 observations I made, I was lucky that I saw several animal lifers:

American Green-Winged Teal, thanks to David Ringer. 1

Ground Wolf Spider, thanks to Misha. 1

Metallus rohweri, a sawfly leafminer with no common name.

Pine Witches Broom Phytoplasma, but this might turn out to be normal epicormic growths on Pitch Pine. 1

…And several of the fungi I photographed were new to me too: …

Merismodes anomala – looks like coral cups when you use some magnification 3

Peroneutypa scoria – little twig-like branches 2

Propolis farinosa – white oval marks 2

Hypoxylon perforatum – they look like little beige cakes 1

Plus, I finally paid attention to what is a new-to-me plant pathogen fungus, and new to NYC:
Raspberry leaf spot, Sphaerulina rubi 1

I was happy that Sigrid Jakob, who was leading the walk, told me that in 2023 I had added three new species to the MSNY fungus list for New York City, all of them plant pathogens.

And I was also pleased that I got to observe three slug species under logs: Limax maximus, a Mesarion species, and one Arion hortensis.

I was kind of surprised that I found a couple of small clumps of Allegeny Spurge, which I have seen only once before near the Reservoir.

We also came across a friendly lady who was walking her pet chicken in the park. What a nice hen it was, and you could pet its soft brown feathers.

All in all quite a tiring walk, but a lovely afternoon in the Park.

Posted on January 02, 2024 07:26 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 27 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 25, 2024

Looking at, and loading up, some old images from the 1990s

Back in the 1990s my (now) husband Ed and I had several fabulous vacations to the private island of Mustique, which is one of the Grenadines, a chain of small Caribbean islands between Saint Vincent and Grenada. I had discovered that to stay at the Cotton House hotel on Mustique in mid-April (the shoulder season) was just about affordable. We could choose MAP, Modified American Plan, which included breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. If you stayed a week you got one extra day free. We visited Mustique in 1991, 1992, 1993, skipped a year, and then went in 1995, and 1996. Back then I made photo albums using the color prints of the photos from the vacations. The photos eventually included one or two rolls of underwater shots from a disposable underwater camera, and one roll of shots from a disposable 3-D camera.

I had not looked at those albums for many years, but yesterday I got the albums out again because I knew there were some interesting nature pics that I could, and probably should, upload to iNat.

It was a lot of work to get the images and the relevant data uploaded. First photographing the old color prints using my cell phone and the iNat app, then working out and putting in the correct name for the location, then putting the map pin in the correct place, then deciding what the date would have been, and putting that in, and finally working out the name of the organism.

Mustique was always on the expensive side, even in 1991, but In 1996 we discovered that the cost of staying at the Cotton House hotel in 1997 was going to increase rather steeply, and it was going to include some extra amenities that we did not care about at all (a monogrammed bathrobe, a CD player in your room, and the cost of drinks would be included in day rate, except for wine with meals), so we asked the hotel manager, who was French, whether he could suggest some other destinations in the Caribbean that we might like.

One place he suggested was Montpelier Plantation Inn on the island of Nevis, which was where Princess Di took her sons, the two Princes, when they were young. When I wrote and got a brochure about that hotel, the brochure also included a listing for a hotel called Golden Rock, which was described as being the place to stay if you wanted to see the African Green Vervet monkeys, thousands of which live on Nevis. My husband Ed is crazy about monkeys, so we decided to make our spring Caribbean trip in 1997 be a trip to Nevis. And 25 years later we are still going to Nevis each year.

I had also created photo albums of our first few Nevis trips, so I decided to go through those photos too.

Posted on January 25, 2024 03:54 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 9 observations | 6 comments | Leave a comment