Above, some not Urnula craterium.
We kept finding these every spring, always snugged up tight against Eastern red cedars (which are running rampant in the woods here, never put in their place from natural fires).
At first glance they seemed like devil’s urns, but they’re smaller, and the growth habit is clearly different. One of my mushroom books has a “hairy black cup” but it says it grows on decaying conifers, so scratch that one. I sent some images to a real live mycologist who said “Hi Lisa. Those are definitely not Urnula. But there are a lot of small black cup fungi, and I can't tell which species they are. Happy hunting!” So at least now we know that much.
An actual Urnula to refresh your memory.
Above, three crane flies all tangled up.
There was a little area maybe 10’ x 10’ and they were all over the place, just inches above the ground. I cannot say with certainty what they were doing but I’d guess it had a lot to do with hooking up.
That’s a big dryad’s saddle! A solid 18” across, with a man for scale. Also called “pheasant back”. They smell just like cucumber or watermelon rind. I tried one once (cooked) and did not like it one bit. Just too weird. Even sauteed in butter, which I thought made everything delicious.
There’s a morel right in the middle of the image above, and note the bare earth at bottom of image, that’s the trail.
I found several right there (in fact, most of the morels I found this year were right on the trail), and a running guy and his polite doggie stopped and asked if I was having any luck, and I showed him my bag, and he said he has "a buddy with some acreage" (a phrase commonly heard in the mushroom world) and they use GPS to mark spots but they hadn't found any.
I never find a ton, but I never get past two big parks right near my house. I don't mind at all; there's plenty of other stuff, and other mushrooms without so much anxiety attached to them.
I walked around a tree and there were these! I said, “Oh, excuse me, sorry sorry sorry” and backed away, then found a tree to peek around. Leaned camera on tree and zoomed in. I've seen turtles mating before, but never the male leaning back like that.
Real rue anemones, these three were all on one stem. Is the big one just more mature? I think this image might be more interesting if you view large by clicking it.
Another aspect of turtles.
I spent so long taking pictures of this that my friend, who had wandered on ahead, came back to find me and asked some other people on the trail if they’d seen me. They had not. I saw them, though.
I had my face so close to the vast whiteness that I didn't notice the scutes scattered around until I sat back for a bit.
Yes, you can count the ridges to get some idea of how old a box turtle is, but past a certain age the ridges are very close together so it's hard to be accurate. I've never been able to count more than 16, and wild box turtles can live to be at least 30 years old. Wild ones usually live longer than captive ones!
Well, that's that.