Submitted by Terry Heller
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Bees invading hummingbird feeders
We have a problem with bees going on our hummingbird feeder up at our cabin near Black River Falls. I have to take the feeders down for they chase away all the hummingbirds. We also had a downy woodpecker up on our hummingbird feeder
Abbott's sphinx moth caterpillar
Adults are typically viewable in Wisconsin between May and June. This little guy, when fully grown, will have a strong yellow band and in flight, the moth buzzes like a bee!
Bear enjoys nice outdoor sit
My game camera took this picture a few days before my first Wisconsin bear hunt. The timer on the camera indicated it was taken when I started my ATV to come check the bait. The cabin is a quarter mile away! This bear is on alert!
Hairy mushrooms on mushrooms
Early last fall I stumbled across these mushrooms growing on a piece of oak firewood in a shady spot on my property. It was early morning and the dew had collected on the hairs of the mushrooms and made them sparkle in the morning sunshine. The hairs were approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. I have never seen this type of mushroom before or since. I've tried unsuccessfully to look for these on the internet. Can you tell me what they are?
What you have run across is an example of a fungus growing on another fungus. The sparkling hairs that you see are really a fungus growing through the cap of the typical looking mushroom underneath. The capped mushroom is most likely Mycena haematopus. Mycena is a large genus of mushrooms that are often hard to identify to a specific species. However, the species Mycena haematopus is easier to recognize than most, since it produces a reddish liquid when squeezed and has the nickname of "bleeding Mycena." The "hairs" growing out of the Mycena cap belong to the species Spinellus fusiger. If you were to look closely at these fibers, you would see that their tops look like pin-heads. These pin-heads contain the spores of the Spinellus. When dispersed, these spores are the seeds that will produce more of the fungus. Your photo nicely illustrates two of the several ecological lifestyles that the fascinating fungi can have. The Mycena is a saprobe helping to break down the wood of the log, while the Spinellus is a parasite living off of the Mycena. For more information and a bit of fun, see Tom Volk's fungus of the month where University of Wisconsin-La Crosse mycologist Tom Volk ponders which mushroom to select for his "Fungus of the Month" to commemorate Einstein's 125th birthday in 2004. He finally settle on — you guessed it — the wild-haired Spinellus fusiger.
Northern water snake does the fishing
While fishing last June in the Elkhorn area, I had the unique experience of landing a catch that was both interesting and a bit unnerving. As I reeled in what I expected to be your average 7-inch bluegill, my line went thump! There are also some pretty sizable bass in the lake I was fishing, so I thought "GAME ON," and began reeling in harder. When I got my prize to shore, I was surprised to find my 7-inch bluegill and a 3-foot-long snake attempting to steal it! This snake tried and tried to eat the fish for approximately 45 minutes before giving up. What type of snake is this?
Jim, thank you for your photo. We've identified this snake as a northern water snake, and they have been known to latch onto angler's catches in the past. Thanks for capturing this moment!
Fishing lures — moving away from lead
I just finished a few articles in the February issue of your magazine. I was disappointed to read the information on summer walleye fishing, specifically when Mr. Uttech recommends using "leaded jigs," when it is well known what a hazard lead is to waterfowl. I think the writer and your magazine missed an opportunity to educate your readers who may still be unaware of the damage lead does to these birds and to encourage people to use safer alternatives.
A wild parsnip project
Don't get burned. But if you do, consider participating in our wild parsnip survey. Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine invites you to help with a year-long project to update the "Burned by wild parsnip" articles from June 1999 and June 2000 — with a new article in June 2016.
Wild parsnip is the yellow-flowered, non-native biennial weed (Pastinaca sativa) that causes "phyto-photo-dermatitis" — painful, burning red rashes and blisters that form when the juice from leaves, stems or flowers gets on your skin in the presence of sunlight. Within 24 to 48 hours, the symptoms appear.
*Missing counties are: Adams, Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, Kenosha, Langlade, Marathon, Marquette, Menominee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Vilas, Washburn and Waukesha.
David Eagan is an honorary fellow with the Wisconsin State Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison.