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3:00 snapshot #957: "Life at Home."


Come to think of it, "Life at Home" might be a good alternate title for this blog, since I'm somewhat less urban than I once was and rather less of a pantheist as well. Then again, it's probably in use by 500 Granny Bloggers.

House sparrows attempted to build a nest on our house. This spot, at a place where some electrical conduit bends near enough to an external rafter to brace a platform of dry grass, was the same exact spot that they tried last year. I had to push the thing down every day for like two weeks before they finally gave up. This time I pushed it down once, then we sprayed them with a hose whenever they came back--it didn't take long. Before you scold me for being mean to the birdies, house sparrows are nasty invaders that outcompete native birds for food and nesting space, killing the chicks of bluebirds and others to steal nest cavities. I won't tolerate them on my house.

This is probably/maybe an immature running crab spider, but the picture doesn't capture enough detail to get close to identifying it. We could simply call it the "toilet seat spider," but we should avoid needlessly upsetting the wife.

This cute coprinoid mushroom (what I would have called a coprinus mushroom in the past, when I was younger and more sure of myself) popped up in our compost container. There have been quite a few of them in there lately--the only moist place in the yard. I used Arora's Mushrooms Demystified key and Kuo's The Mushroom Expert key, and both indicated that this mushroom is in a general group, but that if I wanted to know more I should spend some time looking at it under a microscope. I hit a dead end with Kuo's key when it asked "Pileocystidia present or pileocystidia absent?" Following both paths led to questions about "Velar sphaerocysts" or very specific questions about the spores and spore-producing cells.
Suffice it to say, these mushrooms have the main coprinoid feature, that is the caps turns to black liquid, and they do it very quickly. I have found them with the cap closed, as pictured, completely deliquesced--just a hollow stem remaining--but I have not found them with cap open.
The substrate includes rotting vegetable matter, animal feces (guinea pig), and wet hay; all things that happen to have their own coprinoid specialists.

And of course my lovely wife and my aging dog. Don't tell her about the spider.


Apr. 20th, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
little house on the prairie is already taken so "life at home' it is!!!

If you have a big enough yard and lots of trees there is no harm pushing away few sparrows from some electrical conduit!!!

I have stellar and scrub jays in my yard so the sparrows have met their match for sure.....but I really miss the cardinals(not the team so much...that's one thing we don't have here :(


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