Thursday, November 19, 2009


Giant mushroomsToday I went on a field trip of the Madsen property, donated to the city of Hillsboro, Oregon's Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. This property is separated from the main Jackson Bottom Wetlands and serves as a field station.

My interest was bird-related, but the theme of the day was mushrooms. Those in the accompanying photo are 9 inches tall and 14 inches in diameter!

I've never paid much attention to wild mushrooms before. Don't tell anyone, but I actually worked for a year or so at a mushroom farm in southern California. My duties included nutritional and moisture analysis of the compost and looking for nematodes under the microscope. But wild mushrooms? I may have stepped on a few, but generally paid them no mind.

Educator and Volunteer Coordinator Jan Curry led us on trails through the old gardens and decades-neglected Christmas tree farm showing us mushrooms everywhere--hundreds, no thousands of mushrooms of a dozen varieties. She also pointed out lichens and ferns.

It was very interesting and the birds were almost forgotten. Almost, but not quite, as we flushed a Great Horned Owl from the dense stand of noble fir. And a Common Raven flew across the farm field.

Later we came across a flock of Chestnut-backed and Black-capped Chickadees with a few Golden-crowned Kinglets and Red-breasted Nuthatches.

The property itself was very interesting with fields, frontage on the Tualatin River,house and farm buildings, several ponds, and forest area.

I look forward to going back in the near future.