Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wednesday Miscellany

Running errands in downtown Milton, I looked down the street and a hawk was flying down the sidewalk in the opposite direction approximately three feet off the ground. She then arched up into a tree. I hot-footed it down the sidewalk and grabbed a photo before she flew away.

This is the immature Cooper's Hawk that hangs out in the back yards off Rainbow Drive.

Are the two birds above, the same species?

It was raining and when I looked outside the five squirrels gorging on seed all had their tails in exactly the same position. The tails were tight against their backs following their spines with a little curl back on the end. They were using their multi-purpose tails for umbrellas. And why the curl back at the tip? It keeps the gathered rain from dripping in their eyes.

The old glider on the patio is a hot bed of lichen.

Just look at the variety of foliose forms in varied colors. I never really noticed that before.

Here's a piece of bark that was lying nearby covered with apothecia, fruiting bodies. Inside the apothecia is the brown layer of asci, the part of the apothocium that contains the fungal spores.

Look center at the left, large apothocium. There are brown spores that have tipped out of the torn "cup".

Another example of lichen that has creeping color. In this case rose into white. Look at the upper right corner. I'd been looking for something like this but these are yellow and not green.

They are gelatinous and I mean downright squishy. There is a form of lichen that have cyanobacteria as their photosynthetic partner, the photobiont, and they have a gelatinous texture. In that form of lichen the symbiotic partners are all mixed up together instead of being in layers as many of the forms have. In the stratified forms the outside layer is fungal with the algae layered inside and/or a lump of cynobacteria inside.
But the gelatinous lichen I've been able to find have been one or the other shade of green so I'm not sure that these are actually lichen as opposed to something else. I'll keep an eye on them and see what happens as they grow. Some of these symbiotics change radically with age.

And then a visit to Emmie the Emu, who strutted behind his house, peered out and then---

Turned his back and determinedly ignored me. There was some thought earlier in the winter that some other beastie had moved into Emmie's house. He refused to go inside and hunkered down in the snow to sleep in frigid weather, in blizzards, in hail, whatever. Even though Emmie's intense body heat melted an area down to the ground there was still worry that Emmie couldn't be all that comfortable out there unsheltered. So the shed was searched. The straw bales were investigated, the loose straw shuffled and stomped. Nothing. Then one day Emmie simply went in and has been going in ever since. Just one more mystery.
Donegal Browne


John said...

Could the gelatinous yellow things be something like Witches' Butter (a fungus) rather than a lichen?

Donegal Browne said...

Thanks John, just the tip I needed. See the post above this one.