Monadenia fidelis // Pacific Sideband Snail // Camas Hill

With the weather turning cooler, we look forward to the annual Metchosin MycoBlitz.  See below for the announcement (and for a report of other 2017 BioBlitzes).

A lot of Metchosin species have been located during the six years of the Metchosin BioBlitzes and MycoBlitzes. Our species count edged over the 2300 mark in 2016. Here is the summary of our counts at the beginning of 2017, broken down by organism groups.  You can view the entire set of observations--more than 10,000--by species group and by scientific name. You can also download an Excel spreadsheet of all of our data (but with specific observation locations removed). The spreadsheet was updated in May, 2017.  Finally, in the Results tab at the left are descriptions of each of our BioBlitz events, with lots of pictures and good memories of days in the field.

Metchosin MycoBlitz 2017

Clavaria purpurea, Matheson, 2010

The fifth Metchosin MycoBlitz will take place on Saturday, November 4, 2017. At the BioBlitzes, which are usually in the spring, we've counted all manner of birds, bugs, fish, plants, fungi, bees, butterflies,etc. Fungi, however, are thin on the ground in the spring, so we extend our blitzing to the fall with a targeted MycoBlitz in order to inventory some of the hundreds of fungi that press up their autumnal fruiting bodies.

A number of mycology specialists will be on hand to lead us to three Metchosin locations. At these locations the experts will do field identification and collect samples of mushrooms for table display and further study. Metchosin residents, members of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society, Pearson students, and anyone else with an eye for/interest in mushrooms are welcome to join the MycoBlitz leaders on the Saturday hunt. Rain or shine!

Helvella infula at Royal Roads, 2008
Pholiota aurivella, Neild Rd, 2011

The November 4 MycoBlitz will start at the parking lot of the Metchosin Municipal Hall, 4450 Happy Valley Road (just behind the Fire Hall) at 9:00 am. We will return to the same place by noon. At 12:10 pm, Guest are invited to attend a mini-film fest on mushrooms in the social room of the nearby Fire Hall. Bring a brown bag lunch (coffee and tea will be provided) and eat it while you watch a collection of Kem and Andy's best internet clips on mushrooms.  After the film, walk back to to the Council Chambers and see the immense bounty of Metchosin fungal species that the experts have laid out and labeled for our Metchosin inventory of species.

The MycoBlitz doubles as November's Metchosin Talk and Walk event. Everyone is welcome to join us the evening before the MycoBlitz, on Friday, November 3, 2017, 7:00 pm, for a talk by Roo Vandegrift, world renowned mycologist from the University of Oregon. Roo, besides being the owner of an amazing beard, is an engaging speaker (hear and see him in this video) who will deliver a riveting presentation on ascomycetes, the less well-known spore-shooting sac fungi. The talk will be at the Metchosin Municipal Hall Council Chambers.

Roo Vandegrift
MycoBlitz 2017 speaker, Roo Vandegrift

Cant' get enouugh of mushrooms? The UBC Botanical Garden has a Forum that lists all of the mushroom events in BC.

Lichen Talk and Walk in March, 2017

The black spots on this Tower Point lungwort lichen look, at first glance, as though they might be reproductive structures of the lichen. In fact, the spots are a fungus (Plectocarpon lichenum) living on the lichen.  Photo by Kem Luther.(Click for larger version.)

Ryan Batten, Hans Roemer, and Kem Luther, along with Jenifer Penny and Marta Donovan from the Conservation Data Centre, visited Tower Point at Witty's Lagoon CRD Park on March 7, 2017, to check out the lichens.  

Alas, the weather at Tower Point was not very cooperative. The group of researchers, confronted by a stinging salt spray and crashing waves, struggled to stay warm and dry enough to enjoy the lichens.  They did find a number of interesting lichens, however, and one fungus that is a symbiont on lichens (pictured above) The fungus was a new addition to the Metchosin BioBlitz database.

Nephroma Tephromela
 Two lichens from Devonian. The one at the top is Nephroma laevigatum, Mustard Kidney Lichen. It is easy to identify because it is the only Nephroma whose medulla (inner layer) is a bright yellow. The other is the common but stunning crustose rock lichen, Tephromela atra (black-eye lichen). Photos by Kem Luther (Click for larger versions.)

Devonian 2017 lichen foray group
Ryan Batten (light blue coat) shows some tree-based lichens to the members of the Devonian walk and talk group. Photo by Moralea Milne. (Click for a larger version.)

The experience at the Tower Point site convinced the group to take the participants from the talk and walk coming up later in the week to Devonian Park. On Saturday, March 11, 2017, a group of about 15 people accompanied Ryan on this walk.

The two lichen forays to Tower Point and to Devonian added four new lichens to the BioBlitz inventory, bringing the total to 294. The new ones were Melanelia olivacea (Spotted Camouflage Lichen), Punctelia jeckeri (Speckled Shield Lichen), Leptogium gelatinosum (Petaled Vinyl), and Menegazzia terebrata (Tree Flute Lichen). One moss and one fungus were also added.

 While scanning the Devonian Park rocks for interesting lichens, Ryan came across a moss that isn't seen much around Metchosin. This is Ulota phyllantha, an urn moss that is characterized by numerous gemmae (small cell clusters that can grow into new mosses) clinging to the tops of the moss stems. Photo by Kem Luther. (Click for larger versions.)

SVIMS Mushroom Foray at Pearson, March 4, 2017

Pearson 2017 foray group
The SVIMS group gathers at Pearson at 10:00 am, March 4, 2017, to organize the upcoming foray. Photo by James Hollko (Click for larger version.)

On March 4, 2017, around 35 SVIMS members joined Puget Sound Mycological Society's Danny Miller and Vancouver Mycological Society member Brooke Fochuk for a foray in the Pearson College woods.

Also present at this 2017 foray were four nonhuman mushroom hunters--truffle dogs. The dogs have been specially trained to seek out underground mushrooms and point out the locations to their human controllers--a job usually done in previous centuries by truffle pigs. Many of the underground mushrooms in Metchosin are inedible, but a few are choice, including the Oregon White Truffle and Oregon Black Truffle. For further information on BC Truffles, see this article by SVIMS member Shannon Berch. At the Pearson event, the dogs failed to find any truffles (except the ones explicitly planted to show the dogs' ability), but everyone enjoyed watching the truffle dogs do their work.

Brooke and Dexter Larissa and Luna
 Brooke Fochuk with her truffle dog Dexter (top) talks to Juliet Pendray. Larissa and her truffle dog Della (bottom). Photos by Adolf Ceska (Click for larger versions.)

Pearson 2017 SVIMS foray leaders
Some leaders of the SVIMS foray. Left to right, Adolf Ceska, Bryce Kendrick, Oluna Ceska, Danny Miller. Danny Miller is the Education Chair of the Puget Sound Mycological Society. Photo by James Hollko (Click for larger version.)

Several foray leaders, including Metchosin's own Andy MacKinnon, helped the attendees identify the mushrooms. Adolf and Oluna Ceska and Bryce Kendrick later compiled a list of 45 different mushroom species found during the day.

The 45 species were entered into the Metchosin BioBlitz database. A dozen of the sightings were completely new to the database. They were Arrhenia epichysium, Cladobotryum mycophilum, Coniophora puteana, Galerina dimorphocystis, Gloeophyllum sepiarium, Helvella maculata, Hypocrea sp., Leptodontidium elatius/trabinellum, Mycena parabolica, Penicillium sp., Propolis leonis, and Sarea resinae.

Fomitopsis cajanderi Fomitopsis cajanderi bottom
 A beauty discovered at the 2017 SVIMS Pearson College foray--Fomitopsis cajanderi, the Rosy Conk. Top and bottom shown. Photos by James Hollko. (Click for larger versions.)

Artwork by Gala Milne

              Artwork by Gala Milne