Michigan Underfoot

Wrinkled Shield Lichen

Wrinkled Shield Lichen

Memorial Day morning in Iosco County we explored the forest around us, and while we were looking for birds mostly in the trees above, it was impossible to ignore the seemingly endless world underfoot. It was also an opportunity to get used to using my relatively new Canon macro 100mm lens. So although this is a bit off topic unless you can hear the mosses singing, I feel compelled to share some of these images with you.

Four Tooth Moss

Four Tooth Moss

At a loss trying to identify even some of these, I managed to find a book by Janice M. Glime on Amazon that is devoted to mosses and liverworts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Isle Royale; although this is farther north than we were, some of the mosses and lichens were present. It’s a beautiful book and makes me now want to visit the U.P.!

42318

There was a lot of the moss below and I believe it is a Cushion Moss, which describes it perfectly where it occurs.

Cushion Moss

Cushion Moss

I have no idea what the moss is below, and if you do, please weigh in!

I have no idea what this is but it looks like a miniature forest

I have no idea what this is but it looks like a miniature forest

Again, the moss below grows like the cushion moss, but I cannot find anything like it with the darker growth emerging out of it.

This looks like the cushion moss but now it has little trees growing out of it!

This looks like the cushion moss but now it has little trees growing out of it!

This is sandy soil, and whatever creature calls this home, below, has made a perfect entrance to its hole. This could be an insect nest. If you recognize it please let me know.

Some Creature's Sand Castle

Some Creature’s Sand Castle

The leaves on the forest floor had a poetry all their own. The wonder of being in a completely different habitat and ecosystem comes rushing back when I review these photographs.

Forest Floor

Forest Floor

The half-eaten egg below must have belonged to a larger bird. I wonder if it was a Ruffed Grouse egg, as we occasionally heard the males drumming.

As yet unidentified egg

As yet unidentified egg

The one thing I definitely recognized on sight: Fiddlehead Fern.

Fiddlehead Fern

Fiddlehead Fern

And now it’s back to the Summer Solstice in Illinois: we are presently in between thunderstorms. It’s cool when the clouds come over and hot when the sun shines through. Time to go for a swim and see if there are any Cedar Waxwings eating the now-ripe Serviceberries outside the entrance to the gym.

 

8 thoughts on “Michigan Underfoot

  1. Interesting pictures. I can’t help on the moss ID even though I have got a good moss and fern book. I have found that it is not enough to have the book. You have to read it too.

    • Very true, and when I started reading I realized I should have been paying much more attention to exactly where these things were growing which would have helped to figure them out.

  2. I’m sure there are plenty of people who could have ignored the gorund level view. I’m glad you caught it.
    I always call all of those tree mosses haircap moss. I have no idea how accurate this is, but it works for me!

    • Thanks for your comment. I think we were taking it all in, but it was nice to be able to take pictures because doing so, and now trying to put names to the mosses, like the birds, enhances the whole experience somehow. Maybe the desire to identify or name something is a form of keeping or claiming it, and then on some level we’re invested in it. 🙂

  3. Hi Lisa,
    Those little trees are indeed a species of Polytrichum (hairy cap moss), probably Polytrichum ohioense. the “trees” coming out of the cushion moss are also a species of Polytrichum. I’m glad the book was helpful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s