March Rains in San Mateo – Thornwood Open Space Preserve, 2019

March brought rain to San Mateo County, and the rain transformed the landscape. Colors became more vivid, new scents filled the air, quiet streams grew noisy with churning water, rivulets appeared from out of nowhere, and puddles, which are habitats for frogs and salamanders, formed everywhere. Being a shy introvert, frogs and salamanders are my favorite kind of company, so out into the rain we went!

Isn’t he beautiful!? Could it be an oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)?

Witch’s butter (Exidia glandulosa)?

An innocent-looking death cap (Amanita phalloides)?

Lipstick powder horn lichen (Cladonia macilenta)?

Can you spot the Turret spider burrow?

Lots of turret spider burrows!

Do you think it was staring back at me?

Terrible photo (the little guy wasn’t in the mood to pose for pictures), but what an interesting spider. Can you see it? It’s shiny and black with at least five white, chevron stripes on its abdomen, and was maybe the size of a quarter (about 25 mm diameter).

Xystocheir dissecta. This guy has a secret… he glows under black light!

Periwinkle (Vinca major)? It’s always dismaying to find out that a pretty flower is invasive. The California Invasive Plant Council lists the Vinca major as invasive.

Resources Consulted
California Fungi—Pleurotus ostreatus,
Cladonia macilenta, CalPhotos photo database
“Glowing Millipedes Accidentally Found on Alcatraz,” by Douglas Main for Live Science (27 March 2013)
“Mushroom Hunting for Beginners,” powerpoint presentation by Drew Drozynski (3 March 2018)
Thornwood Preserve, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space
Vinca major, California Invasive Plant Council

We Saw a Florida Box Turtle! Dec 2015

25°38’56.13″N 80°30’55.71″W elev 5 ft
Edge of Everglades Trail
Everglades National Park
Red line represents 8.7 miles (14 km)

Edge of Everglades North map_1200

“X” marks the spot where we saw it. [Nous avons vu une Terrapene carolina bauri! “X” marque l’endtoit ou nous l’avons vu.]


A hinged plastron enables it to close its shell tightly. [Un plastron a charnieres le permet de bien fermer la carapace.]





We also saw Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) butterflies. [Nous avons vu des Agraulis vanillae egalement.]


And some horny Southeastern lubber grasshoppers (Romalea microptera). [Et des Romalea microptera tres excites.]


And four-inch long Florida ivory millipedes. I love their colorings. Their stomachs are white! [Et des Florida ivory millipedes qui etaient dix centemetres de long. J’aime leur couleurs. Leur ventres sont blancs!]


Florida is a strange place. Its relationship with nature has a fraught history. [Florida est un pays etrange. La relation avec le millieu naturel a une histoire tendue.]


Can you believe that this was once a street? [Pouvez vous imaginer que il’y avais une route ici?]


[Je m’excuse pour n’utiliser pas des accents. C’est difficile les utiliser avec]