Click on any picture to see a larger image
In the Northern tip of the Sierra Madre Mountains, this year was noted by late spring rains but lingering cold weather. This seemed to delay the appearance of many of the species and also lengthened some of their appearances.
For some species, this resulted in a fairly decent quantity to collect, but for most of the rest, the numbers were much less than expected. The morels this year were fairly abundant, but most of the Boletus species were not.
Findings, February 14 - August 6 (top)
Sunday, February 14th: Today, we decided to get out into the sunshine and take advantage of the slightly warmer weather (above freezing).
We checked close to home around 3600 ft but noticed no fungi, so we decided to go a little farther down the canyon towards the Greenville Wye (SR89/SR70).
On the way up an old road, we didn't notice anything distinctive, but on the way back, after seeing a small batch of mushrooms, we began to see more and more different species: a red and white Russula, a cream-colored Lactarius, some small Laccaria from the L. amethytina group, some white, slightly anise-scented Tricholoma, and several other LBMs, more than a few being quite attractive.
Just before we got back to the car, we spotted what looked like a Sparassis crispa, but most of it had previously been frozen.
I think it was actually a Tremella mesenterica or Brown Witch's Butter.
Nice to be out looking again though.
Monday, February 15th: Encouraged by yesterday's finds, we decided to go a little farther down the Feather River Canyon to Caribou.
We were not disappointed. We saw lots of species and were able to bring home enough Blewits for a nice meal.
Pictures at caribou 2-15-10.htm
Tuesday, March 9th: The other day, Cecelia decided to take advantage of the sunshine go back down the Feather River Canyon to Caribou. There still was a little snow on the ground in some places, and it was very cold.
But we were there and we had our heavy clothing, so we tried to make the most of it.
In short, we did bring home a few edibles, saw many species that we had seen the last time, but noticed a few that we didn't. The orange cup mushrooms and the large number of Black Helvellas were the biggest surprise.
Below is a link to some of the pictures I took that day. To see a larger image, click on the thumbnail image, and in some computers clicking on it again will yield an even larger image.
Pictures are at caribou 3-09-10.htm.
If you have names for any of the mushrooms, please let me know.
Sunday, April 4th: When we went to Arroyo Grande this April, we first went to Santa Barbara and were able to catch a few late-in-the-season golden chanterelles, which were some of the best-tasting ever.
Later, we went for a nice hike in Cambria and at San Simeon Point, a bit north of Pismo Beach.
At the state park along the beach in Cambria, we saw a few red-staining agaricus, the Agaricus fuscofibrillosus, a solitary, bright red Rusulla, one blewit, but only a few mushrooms in total. We then went to the point at San Simeon, and wandered though the woods there.
We did find more of the red-staining agaricus, but none fresh enough for the table.
Towards the end of the walk, we started seeing more and more Shaggy Parasols (Macrolepiota rachodes), more than we have ever seen before. We collected several for the table.
On our daughter's property in Arroyo Grande, we found a few too-old blewits, and one agaricus that I tentatively identified as an A. bitorquis, because of its stout nature and dense flesh. The gills were very dark brown.
However, when I sliced it open, it stained slightly orange.
So I thought it might be an A. bisporus, or even an A. bernardii, because their top soil had come from a local beach area and might have more than a normal amount of salt.
In any case, it tasted great.
More pictures at arroyo 04-05-10.
Saturday, April 24th: On Saturday, Cecelia and I went up to Lake Almanor for a short walk along the bike path to see what we might find up that way.
We didn't see but a few in any quantity but were pleasantly surprised to see what we did. We saw one ascomycete what looked like a Discina perlata, growing on a rotten branch, several snow bank mushrooms and white hygrophorus, one being very huge, maybe a few Melanoleuca, and a few burn pile mushrooms. We also saw one tiny bright orange Caloscypha fulgens, a pretty good morel indicator, but NO morels yet.
A pleasant trip on a beautiful day.
More pictures at almanor 4-24-10.
Thursday, April 29: As the rain continues to fall and it gets a bit warmer, more and more mushrooms are starting to appear around here.
A friend who lives near Lake Almanor said he recently picked about 2 pounds of morels in his back yard.
Today, I found an all-white deer mushroom in town, a Pluteus pellitus, growing out of a maple tree stump.
Later, we went to a campground at about 3000 ft. to see what might be coming up there. While walking to the campground, we saw a nice clump of Fried Chicken mushrooms, the Lyophyllum decastes, and I just took a picture.
They didn't look very fresh to me.
In the campground, we found some sheathed Armillaria albolanaripes, a few other unidentified species, and lots more lyophyllum. We started gathering these this time.
Just before we left the campground, Cecelia spotted a couple of morels along the side of the road. We picked those and decided to go back through the campground, just walking along the road and checking both sides this time, instead of going through the center.
We found lots more of everything, and the last picture was of them in the back of the car.
The lyophyllum, we cooked and ate tonight, and the morels, not being as fresh as I would like for the table, are all in the drier.
Pictures at spanish creek 04-29-10/
Friday, April 30: Today, we took a drive up towards the Moonlight Fire area, to see if any burn site morels were still around.
We parked along the side of the road at about 4400 ft. and started walking towards Lights Creek.
On the way down, we spotted one morel in a grassy field.
As we got closer, we found more, gathered those and continued finding them in small bunches.
There wasn't a lot, but more than we found a year after the big fire, which was none.
After walking for a long time, we decided to check a little higher in elevation, at 5300 ft, and were surprised at the lack of snow.
We found no morels, but took a few nature pictures which included a beautiful Porterella flower and some almost black cup fungus.
Back towards home, we took a few more nature pictures, which included a small wood violet and a calbovista puffball.
This time I named the pictures: moonlight 04-30-10/
I heard that others were doing better at the fire, morel-wise, but we were happy with the day.
Saturday, May 1: Yesterday Cecelia and I went to some closer areas at 4400 ft., but didn't see any morels there yet. That doesn't mean they aren't there, just that we didn't see any. However, we did finally find some Gyromitra montana/gigas, more Discina perlata, and two new mushrooms for me, neither which I have not IDed yet.
The other pictures are at gigas-05-02-10/
Any clues for me on the two unknown ones?
Sunday, May 2: Today, we had a short visit with a friend from Santa Barbara, so Cecelia served him the morels for lunch with a side of Chicken Curry, or was it the other way around? He was very pleased.
Soon after he left, we went up to some of our 4400 ft. morels spots to see what we might find.
The first stop was under a power line crossing, where we usually find a few morels, and we found 4 nice-sized morels.
Because there seem to be no more in the area, I dubbed these "power line morels".
At the second stop, we found no morels but did find a few of what Mike Thomas likes to call the "mountain portabello", i.e., the amber-staining Agaricus albolutescens. This is the earliest in the year that we have ever found them, a pleasant surprise.
During the rest of the search we saw lots of white hygrophorus, various snow mushrooms, and picked more Agaricus albolutescens, a few Discina perlata and Gyromitra gigas/montana. And from a tip from a local, I found one more morel, this time in a fairly recently disturbed area.
We also saw one yellow Ramaria, the first for the season.
At the same spot as we found the last morel, I also found and picked a Geopora cooperi or "fuzzy truffle". I had not seen one of these for several years.
I ate the agaricus and morels for dinner, along with the chicken curry.
Pictures are at sunday-05-02-10/, with names again.
So the season is finally starting! Just need to find a recently disturbed area.
Wednesday, May 12th: We went our for a few hours today, checking out some of our favorite morel spots. All of the most faithful spots near the lake produced only a few morels, plus we picked some G. gigas and Discina perlata and a few Agaricus albolutescens.
At one of the last spots, I said, "I'm going to park the car close to the picking area, and we should find some morels right close by."
The only one we found there was very tiny but it was near the road and about 8 feet from the car's back tire.
I covered it with a piece of very thin bark.
Most of the other morels we picked today were the size we like and very fresh.
We also saw some of the largest Discina perlata ever.
Monday May 17th: Today we did a lot of walking at 4500 ft., even getting lost at one point, but eventually got to check a few other spots on the way home. At all the spots, we found at least some.
Also found some Gryomitra gigas, one Geopora cooperii (fuzzy truffle), two Calbovista subsculpta (puffball), and a patch of Albatrellus ellisii (greening goat's foot).
I plan to dry most of the morels and smoke a few for this weekend's dinner/foray.
Rain is expected this weekend however, but it also was today, and we only got a few sprinkles.
Today's total for the both of us (Cecelia picked this time also): 4 1/2 pounds, the most we have picked on one day ever (10am-2pm), I think.
Tuesday, May 18th: Found a few more pounds today. We also went to an area that we have never checked. Most all were big, so it looked like we were the first ones to pick there. It was an even older logged area than the other side of the highway. Still finding lots of A. albolutescens
Lots of forest out there.
Wednesday, May 19th: It was a little wet today, but we still had enough dry time to get about 2 lbs of morels plus lots of the A. albolutescens.
We stopped for a spell at three places on the way back from the dentist. The first two had some very old fire rings, and the last was where we usually don't ever find many.
We did good enough at both places before it began to rain too much for our comfort.
Many we saw today were still fresh and very young, so I guess the season will be going for a few more weeks at that elevation.
Yesterday we went on the other side of the highway a bit further south and did the best we have done for a while, again finding what looked like an unpicked area.
We have rechecked a few good spots less than a week later and always found some decent-sized ones.
Friday May 21: At a couple of our special "old faithful" spots near the lake, we picked 7 lbs of morels and 1 1/2 lbs of the A. albolutescens. At the last and best 2 spots, there was very little walking involved.
None required a long drive. And it started to snow just as we were going to return home.
Thursday, May 27th: Yes, it has been a very good year for finding morels.
We took advantage of the rain stopping today and went up to a few of our spots at 4500 ft.
The first spot was mainly to find a cap Cecelia lost on Saturday, but we found a few large but old morels along the way, and these were still good enough for the drier. We didn't find the cap however. We decided to cross the road and recheck a few spots we had just picked over pretty well on Saturday with a few friends and here we did much better.
There we found both small fresh ones and large older ones, and even found our first pair of King Boletes (Boletus rex-veris), with larger than usual (for here) bulbous bases, caps about 3 and 4 inches in diameter.
A pleasant enough surprise.
We saw lots of fresh Sarcosphaera crassa, and here is one I cut showing the thick skin, almost 3/8 inch: Sarcosphaera.JPG
We continued to a few other spots and were pleasantly surprised by the numbers. We brought back 2 1/2 pounds this time before the rain got too heavy for comfort.
Here is a picture of three large ones near a fire ring: fire-ring 20morels.JPG
We have been going out almost daily since the first week of May, and were pleased to find the fresh young ones today.
Each day we have found between 1 and up to 7 pounds.
Every time we go out, we have also picked lots of the Amber-staining Agaricus albolutescens or a few Gyromitra gigas.
Nice year so far!
It should continue a bit longer too!
Monday, June 7th: Today we went out mainly to look for king boletes (the spring porcini), but mostly only found a few morels, after lots and lots of walking.
However, near the last spot we checked, Cecelia found two Kings, pictures of the largest are attached.
So this year's great morel season appears to be winding down at 4500 ft, but the king bolete season may have finally begun.
Tuesday, June 8: Today I decided to check some of my more local spring king boletus spots at 4500 ft.
After walking around most of the usual spots, I only found one, so I decided then to wait a few more days before returning.
However, on the way back, as I passed my friend's property, I saw what looked like a partially exposed large bolete. I stopped the car to check, and it was actually a group of 4, ranging in size from 3 to 7 inches.
I went up to my friend's house to let him come down to see them, and we noticed a few more along the way back.
He let me share in some of the bounty.
So far, all of the king boletes we have found have been in the sunnier and drier places. Then one has to be fast to beat the flies (or deer)!
Wednesday, June 9: Rechecked a few of our boletus spots today and found a few more, plus several morels. One nibbled pair of kings was where you found some on the bike path one year. The largest was found in the pile under a large ponderosa pine and was under a huge mound.
Monday, June 21: This afternoon, I decided to go back to one of my king bolete (Boletus rex-veris) spots at 4500 ft, before we left for a 4-day trip, knowing that the season, once started, can develop pretty rapidly.
The first one I saw was right along the side of the road and was about 9 inches across. Unfortunately it was petty soft and had lots of evidence of infestation. So I left it, hoping that wasn't a sign that I was already too late. If I didn't have better luck, I could bring it home for the drier.
However, as I continued along my short journey, I found 7 more, ranging in size from 3 to 8 inches, and all very firm. Many still had white pores.
The largest ones I found were just before I reached the car. Nice prizes for the day.
I have been experimenting with smoking some when I have lots to spare, and then marinating them in a salad dressing. The results were well worth the effort, so I may do more.
The morels are no longer being found at this spot, but on Saturday, on a foray with Bock Chan and Wayne Cameron, we did see a few at 4800 ft.
Wednesday and Thursday, June 30 & July 1: The day after we returned from a short trip down south, we checked a few of our local boletus spots, a few at 4500 ft, and some others at 5100 ft.
On the 30th, we checked some of our favorite spots at 4500 ft., and after not seeing much at first, we finally found one spring king, the Boletus rex-veris. On the way back to the car, we rechecked, more thoroughly, one of the spots we had briefly checked before and then found several red-capped butter boletes, the Boletus regius.
So we were not disappointed.
The next day, we went up to 5100 ft. and again saw very little at first. We then checked our first Calvatia sculpta puffball spot and saw that they area had recently been harvested, but found a nice-sized puffball nearby, a Calbovista subsculpta.
So we continued to our other puffball spot and was able to pick a few there.
We then went to check our Butter Bolete spots nearby and saw a few on the edge and bank of the dirt road, but none on the flat areas. So I decided to walk along the road on the way back, with Cecelia in the car, and between the two of us, few spotted and filled the basket with Boletus regius. I think we may have even found a few early Boletus abieticola, a crisp, fir-loving butter bolete usually found in early summer.
This is the one we missed id-ed for years as a B. appendiculatus, which is a fall, oak-loving butter bolete.
On the way home, we stopped at another 4500 ft. spot and were pleasantly surprised at how many Spring Kings we collected.
So the season is still here for some of the boletes, though lessening for the spring kings, and I suspect the Boletus abieticola will soon be out in larger numbers. It was a beautiful day, and even the mosquitoes were tolerable.
We have been BBQ-ing or smoking the boletes, and still find the results very tasty.
Monday, July 5: Yesterday, we met with our friend Chris Albion to check a few of our 5100 ft. bolete spots.
We got there a bit earlier than he did, but we found only one bolete at the first spot, a large but white-pored B. rex-veris under a large mound and in a very shady location.
We have been checking the same spot for a few weeks, and this was the first mushroom we found, a good sign that the season has finally started there.
We continued to our second spot, but saw very little except lots of small amanitas, probably the A. aprica, according to Chris.
As we were leaving for a hopefully more productive spot, Chris appeared, and we all traveled together to the next spot, where we sometimes pick Calvatia sculpta. Chris was delayed as he stopped to pick a bolete along the side of the road.
The calvatia that were there looked like they had stopped growing since the last time we were there, so we all browsed the area looking for signs of boletes.
I only found one spring king, so we decided to check along the sides of the road.
This time Cecelia spotted some red-capped butter boletes on the side of the road where we usually don't find any.
We continued down the road, finding a few some spring kings and lots of the red-capped boletes as we went, and were surprised at how many fairly fresh Sarcosphaera crassa (pink crowns) were under several of the mounds we checked.
Most all of the red-capped boletes we found that day were in the sunnier locations in very sandy soil. The spring kings were usually found in shadier areas in firmer soil, covered with duff.
At the last spot, Chris spotted a few red-capped boletes among a bunch of twigs in full sun. Near those, I saw a mound under a log, and after moving the log, I found two spring kings.
It was a great day with pleasant weather to be shared with good company.
Thursday, July 8: Today I returned to a few of my spots at 5100 ft. and found more spring kings and butter boletes.
The few kings were all found in the coolest spots.
It seems like the season may have finally started at the first spot, where I only found one king on Monday.
This time I found 3 fresh kings and 1 butter bolete, where I usually find lots of both.
Being in the southern tip of the cascades with lots of red fir, we should be seeing some B. abieticola up there soon.
I also picked what I though was a B. zelleri, but after tasting it, I decided I had actually picked a small B. rubripes.
Wednesday, July 21: We had been out checking our bolete spots about every 3 days, usually bringing at least few B. regius butter boletes and an occasional Spring King home each time, while we were keeping our eyes open for the B. abieticola, the firm, fir-loving butter bolete that grows at around 5000 ft.
Today, at one of our 5100 ft. spots, the first boletes we found were Spring Kings, the B. rex-veris, a BIG surprise considering the late time of year. The first was pretty large but with most of the top surface nibbled off. The second was smaller, with over 50% removed.
As we walked, we were pleasantly surprised to finally find some Boletus. abieticola, one of my favorites.
But this was the same date that we would usually see them first.
We also found some tannish-red Ramaria, with unusually thick stems. I may try to prepare these tonight.
I picked about a half basket of mushrooms, plenty enough for today.
The largest rex-veris was unsuitable for the drier, but the smaller was worm-free.
So the B. abieticola have emerged!
Friday, July 30th: Today, I went back to a few of my boletus spots in the southern tip of the Cascades at 4800 ft. and found a few more Boletus abieticola. This is the latest I have ever found them at these spots, but on this Friday, they were not found in the usual numbers.
The first spot was in mostly full shade near a creek and yielded the most. The second spot was in mostly full sun, and I only found one.
It was difficult to find any that were worm-free, but the worms typically found in this beautiful butter bolete are very tiny.
I dried the less desirable looking ones, and the rest were grilled. This crisp bolete is one of my favorites and one of the few mushrooms to be able to be found in the summer. And deliciously edible too!
Higher resolution pictures at http://mushroomobserver.org/49441
Monday, August 2: I returned to the same spots at 4800 ft. after 3 days and only found a few small B. abieticola.
I will return in 4 days minimum next time.
Friday, August 6:
We went back and again only found one B. abieticola, about 5 ft from the creek and about 8 inches below the surface.
It looks like the official end of the season for that species at that elevation
Featured Mushroom, the Boletus abieticola (top)
This is one of my favorite boletes to find, it is one of the few edible mushrooms to be found in the summer, and is also delicious to eat.