Monday, October 20, 2014

Camille Park

Coyote.
Our homeschool group has had several gatherings lately at Camille Park in Beaverton.  It has a nature play area which is really nice.  Wildlife seems to feel welcome there too.  Jasper saw a baby mouse run under a hinged ramp, which he lifted to reveal a mouse nest. He caught one of the little mice, which didn't seem too terrified of being held.   At our last visit, a coyote wandered boldly around and caught a few chipmunks before disappearing.  The kids were fascinated. I contacted various officials to let them know there was a coyote on the loose in the park.  After all, it's a place where small children run around freely every single day.  While there are precious few documented cases of coyotes actually killing kids, there are quite a few more cases of coyotes making a good effort to carry them off when adults aren't watching.  I'm sure we'd all prefer that they don't try! No one was even remotely interested in my report.  So when you visit this terrific playground, keep your eye out for wildlife.
Coyote.
Juvenile mouse.
Juvenile mouse.
Mouse nest.
Woolyworm.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chanterelle Mushroom Foraging


Jasper finds chanterelle #1.
We went on a chanterelle hunt with the Oregon Mycological Society.  Once again we went to the Tillamook State Forest.  This time, the foraging spot our guide chose was not heavily picked.  But it had far fewer mushrooms than it might have in previous years because this fall has not been very rainy so far.  We found a grand total of one chanterelle in our first hour.  Then in our second hour, after deciding that we were thoroughly ready to give up, we suddenly found a small clump.  Upon closer inspection, we found 46 mushrooms in one small area!  It was very exciting!  We had a lovely mushroomy dinner.  Their fall mushroom show is happening today, 12PM-5PM in Miller Hall of the World Forestry Center!  It will have stunning mushroom displays, mushroom growing kits for sale at great prices, info on mushroom id, dying with mushrooms, mushroom recipes, mushroom id books, etc.  Check it out:  https://wildmushrooms.org/node/442 
Jasper found this lovely, huge shrimp russula. 
Chanterelles.
Chanterelles.
Chanterelles.
Some neato mushrooms gathered by all the foragers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gorman Nature Center

When we visit Jasper's Grandma, it's hard to resist a ramble at Gorman Nature Center.  They have a wonderful room full of aquariums displaying the vast array of wildlife to be found in the area.  But the real draw is the park, with ponds, meadows and forests to explore.  
Garter snakes.
Photo by Jasper.
Bullfrog tadpole.  Photo by Jasper.
Photo by Jasper.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mohican State Park

While visiting Jasper's Grandma, we took a short hike at Mohican State Park. We began at a covered bridge, wandered through lovely woods with a stream stuffed with salamanders, and came to dramatic sandstone cliffs with a small trickle of water spraying down. This is Big Lyons Falls.  The walls are completely covered with carved graffiti, both new and old.  On the way back we stopped to explore the fire tower which still stands in the park.  You can climb the stairs but the trapdoor is locked.  This time I let Jasper to the climbing and I gazed up.

Mushroom with visiting ant.  Photo by Jasper.
Grub.  Photo by Jasper.
Salamander. Photo by Jasper.
End-band net-wing beetle.  Photo by Jasper.
Caterpillar. Photo by Jasper.
Caterpillar. Photo by Jasper.
Millipede. Photo by Jasper.
Caterpillar. Photo by Jasper.
Daddy long-legs. Photo by Jasper.
Salamander.
Salamander.
Lady's thumb.
Eastern American toad.
Covered bridge.
Fire tower.