Tag Archives: mushrooms

November musings by Ken Wilson

November is our best ‘Blue Hole’ month on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula, when oftentimes overhead is a rainshadow enclave of blue surrounded by cloud. November is also our windiest month. November rainfall elsewhere on the Peninsula is generally two to four times greater than here. How frequent the weather forecast says rain, and all we see is blue! This month averages only four or five degrees warmer than December and January, so combine a moderate wind and cooler air temp, and the windchill makes for a wintery day.

Indifferent to the storms, seabirds are in abundance and a variety fly a thousand and more miles from the Arctic and subarctic to spend the winter here. Meanwhile, bird and mammal species prepare for winter: some of our summer birds fly south; eagles concentrate at salmon spawning streams; squirrels store food in clever hiding places; other species build up fat reserves; many insects survive as dormant eggs and larvae; miniscule shrews eat a lot every single day – even every single hour – sort of like we do. Evergreen trees are still photosynthesizing but more slowly. Deer antlers scar tree trunks. Mammals leave their tracks on muddy trails. 

Autumn mushrooms arise with a great diversity in size, shape, and color. Though unpredictable from year to year, there’s a mushroom plenitude sandwiched between heavy rains and killing frosts. Look for Chlorociboria aeruginosa (Turquoise Elf Cup) growing on rotting, barkless wood on the forest floor. There’s a photo in the attached newsletter.

When strong tidal currents and strong wind oppose each other, don’t plan a ferry ride to Whidbey unless you have a motel room reserved over there. But it’s a great time to watch the turmoil from the beach at the Point Wilson lighthouse. And finally, despite short days, plan outside time for the serene days (and nights) that do commonly intervene between November’s storms. 

Meandering on Marrowstone

Channel linking Kilisut Harbor and Oak Bay

On October, 18, 2019, the Natural History Society visited Marrowstone Island. We gathered at the entrance to Marrowstone with oceanographer Peter Rhines to review the restoration of the channel linking Kilisut Harbor and Oak Bay.

Then we walked through a vernal pond and swamp system on a beautiful property owned by Kurt Steinbach, a recent graduate of the Land Trust’s Northwest Naturalist program.  Kurt says these habitats are locally common but hold many secrets due to their inherent inaccessible nature.

Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail fungus) on Kindbergia praelonga (Slender Beaked Moss)

We timed this outing to coincide with the end of the dry season for easier access, and to take advantage of walking paths he maintains. We expected to see lichens, mushrooms, and mosses revived by the returning rains. We looked for species that have evolved to thrive in a dynamic system with such a variable water table.

Ken at JLTnatural@saveland.org provided meeting time and place, what to bring, and additional information about both projects.

Fall Walk in Cappy’s Trails

Everyone was invited to join the Natural History Society for a fall walk on Cappy’s Trails. There is a special magic in the woods as the weather turns and the days grow shorter. Plants and wildlife respond to the shift in seasons and prepare for the winter ahead.  We looked for signs of fall that can we observed in the forests and wetlands around Cappy’s Trails.


On November 6, 2017, Ken Wilson and Caroline Robertson led a leisurely stroll through the woods to observe signs of autumn on the Quimper Peninsula.

We dressed comfortably for a slow walk in fall weather, and brought our field guides. The autumn rains brought a variety of mushrooms that we identified and learned about.

Janell at JLTnatural@saveland.org was the contact for location and details.


A Mushroom Walk

On November 20, 2015, we learned about mushrooms with the Natural History Society. We joined mushroom enthusiast Caroline Robertson and naturalist Ken Wilson for an introduction to local mushrooms.

We looked at the features that distinguish one mushroom from another and tried our hand at identifying some of the common species we found. We learned some ecological roles and astonishing facts. We dressed for the weather and uneven terrain.

The number of participants was limited. Janell at JLTnatural@saveland.org was the contact for information.