I love forest life.
Which is probably why I live in a forest. Don’t get me wrong, I love cacti and I have been in love with the desert since a very young age. The beauty and diversity of xeric life is something that draws me back repeatedly. A desert environment is too harsh for me to want to spend a lot of time as my body apparently requires more moisture.
Accordingly, after spending the preceeding 27 years living in central Texas, a decade or so ago it was the right time to move and, after landing in the East Bay, I finally found home in a secondary regrowth redwood forest that is part of a Pacific NW coastal temperate rainforest.
This land is an overgrown mixture of douglas-fir, tanoak, redwood, madrone, chinkapin, california nutmeg, maple, assorted oak species, several ceanothus, dog-wood, hazelnuts, wild blueberries, western huckleberries and pink-flowered currants on rough and sloping terrain discouraging development and encouraging the build up of tree litter and assorted plant decay. In short, this part of Mendocino County is a fungus lover’s dream. There are some challenges for living in a rural location in a rugged forest but it is very well worth any effort.
To balance my love of cacti and the desert it seemed like a nice idea to add a page about something moist and sometimes soft and green. Forest life often fits that description. It is also quite dynamic and fascinating.
I started this out with a view of some of what has fruited since it began raining this winter (2014-2015). I’ll keep making edits to this page and creating new posts whenever enough new things worth adding are in-hand.
Image-only posts are all being backdated to 2010. My intention is to eventually capture as many of the different forms of life here as becomes possible throughout the seasons.
This zeller’s bolete was perhaps the best dressed mushroom of the season.
Although, sometimes earthtones, like this Prince Agaricus, have their own appeal.
Amanita calyptroderma is having an OK year, not as good as many but they were still out in abundance.
These next ones on the other hand are easy and foolproof.
This is an edible truffle that is associated with doug-fir.
Many slime molds live here.
formerly Babesia WA-1
(organized alphabetically by binomial)
Hartweg’s wild ginger or Wild ginger
This species occurs only farther north and east of here but it flowers this time of year.
Cardamine californica var. integrifolia
The Mariposa lillies
There are many different species of these in California and a couple of them live near here.
Claytonia perfoliata subsp. perfoliata
Spotted coralroot orchid
Trout lilly or California fawn-illy
These will be flowering soon!
Common St. Johnswort or Klamath Weed
Coast Iris or Douglas’ Iris
another local wild iris
another local wild iris
natural Wild Iris Hybrids are very common.
This bearded Iris is not a native Iris species
Lathyrus vestitus var. vestitus
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum
False Solomon Seal
Sticky Monkey Flower
Siskiyou monardella, serpentine monardella & Serpentine Coyote Mint
some sort of wild Geranium
Alaska rein orchid
I’ve only seen this mycoparasitic species one time (deer ate this one within a few minutes of being photographed).
We only rarely get snow here unless counting this annual pollen fall from this plant.
Pyrola asarifolia subsp. bracteata
Is just beginning to flower.
Is also just beginning at the end of May and will be flowering as we move into June.
This is an underappreciated beauty.
The north has maples for Fall color; we have poison oak starting in late Summer.
another image from earlier
Ribes sangineum var. glutinosa
Silene laciniata ssp. californica
California Indian Pinks
European Umbrella Milkwort
Along the nearest road.
Along the nearest road.
Yerba del Selva
A lot of cool animals live here. This is a tiny fraction.
Getting photographs for most of them is a real challenge.
Pacific Banana Slug
Western black carpenter ants
Spotted pine sawyer
A bark beetle
One of the many Scarab beetles
California root borer
A parthenogenic doug-fir specialist that is said to be the smallest walking stick insect.
Western Banded Glowworm
Unidentified bug with a Piptoporus betulinus
MAYBE Lithobius forficatus
A Stone Centipede
An endemic genus of spiders
It is almost impossible to go out during mild weather and not pick up a tick in the forest or meadows around here.
This is the business end of one thing about the forest that really sucks, ticks.
These were abundant and especially active during May-June 2015. It has been almost impossible to go out during mild weather and not pick up a tick in the forest or meadows around here right now.
One of several scorpions that live here; species ID may or may not be right. This is an older picture of something that we only very rarely encounter.
California Slender Salamander
California Giant Salamander
Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus
Some of these are solid black and some are speckled with yellow.
Pacific chorus frog
Diadophis punctatus occidentalis
Northwestern Ring-necked Snake
Lampropeltis getula californiae
Pituophis catenifer catenifer
Pacific gopher snake
The next individual was not seen here at home but was encountered while visiting the Shulgin farm.
Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus
Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis
California Red-sided Gartersnake
Plestiodon skiltonianus skiltonianus
Western fence lizard
This image was taken a few miles from home in Ukiah but these live and nest here on site.
This is a conservationist success story. This bird species nearly went extinct due to overhunting. Reintroduction activity (largely through redistribution of existing birds) lead to a huge rebound of the population including in many areas where it did not formerly exist. It is so common now that most people have no idea that it almost disappeared from the planet.
Mephitis mephitis (striped skunk) & Didelphis virginiana (Virginia Opossum)
Western Spotted skunk
Dusky-footed woodrat AKA Pack-rat
Western grey squirrel