Mushrooms, Toadstools, and Faerie Rings

The cool, moist weather has been perfect for a bumper crop of mushrooms.  They seem to like growing in patch of hay that has accumulated in front of our horse stalls.  I find it amazing just how quickly the mushroom patch appeared.  Quite literally, they popped up over night.  By the following night they begin to shrivel up, only to be replaced by a new batch of fresh shrooms.

A fresh bunch of mushrooms is just emerging from the damp ground.

Canon EOS 40D + EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM @ 68 mm — f/7.1, 1/250 sec, ISO 100 Continue reading “Mushrooms, Toadstools, and Faerie Rings”

Garden Discovery

A Pleasant Surprise

This weekend I finally got around to picking up the debris that had been strewn about my yard from the last big storm that blew through.  I was working on a pile of palm fronds that were stacked on the lawn when I spied something curious.  A tiny face was staring up at me.

The little creature couldn’t have been more than 2 inches long and maybe a quarter of an inch across.

Was it a earthworm?  No, it had eyes.  Perhaps it was lizard.  I don’t think so.  It seems a bit moist to be a lizard.  It sure looks like a salamander, but I know we don’t have salamanders in inland San Diego County.

While I was puzzling over this fellow’s identity, he just contentedly stared up at me, blinking occasionally.  What could it be?   I gently picked him up and placed him in a pot of chamomile so he wouldn’t wander too far off, and went inside to see if I could ID him.

After a few minutes on Google Images, low and behold, I had a Garden slender salamander (Batrachoseps major major) on my hands.  Apparently these salamanders are fairly common in these parts but I had never seen one around here.  I thought I might grab a few photos of him while I as at it.  He was a very cooperative model and immensely patient while I toiled away taking pictures of him.

A salamander, indeed!  What a pleasant discovery while working in the garden.

Continue reading “Garden Discovery”