Dog Bob Feral Bends Forest Farm Leaf Litter MycoBob

Newts, turtle sex, and a morel-munching salamander

We had a good, drenching rain on Friday night, prompting me and Althea to spend a lot of time in the woods searching for oddities over the next few days. We weren’t disappointed.

Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)
Althea tries to figure out what these two Common Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina) are up to
A bunch of blonde morels surround our forest altar to Morchella, a tribute to fortunate foraging. I did the same with black morels I found the previous day and found the blondes almost immediately the next morning. Morchella smiles upon such offerings.
Black morels pay tribute to Morchella.
We found this Eastern Red-backed Salamander on a blonde morel (morchella americana) that we foraged over the weekend. We released him back into the wild …
Dwarf Larkspur (Delphinium tricorne)
Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata)
Black-and-gold Flat Millipede (Apheloria virginiensis)


Dog Bob Leaf Litter

A dog and her mossy rock …

Althea loves to stand on things, ranging from moss-covered rocks to downed chestnut oaks. This is her latest conquest.
Dog Bob Phenology Journal

Pileated Woodpeckers, Barred Owls, Turkey Vultures, and Space Karen


By Joshlaymon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

After 3 years of only sporadic sightings, I’m hearing or seeing pileated woodpeckers now almost every time I go out. They’re either thriving or the logging next door is forcing them into more cramped quarters. Most likely the latter. I still get giddy like a little kid whenever one of the Woody Woodpecker Motherfuckers soars over. I’ve even seen a few pairs, presumably mated. The late-succession forest here is ideal for them. Plenty of snags to set up shop in.


During a recent hike, Althea ranged about 50 yards ahead of me on the logging road trail, close enough that I could see her blaze vest as she looked for something to harass. That’s when a large barred owl came flying from her direction toward me, alighting silently on a maple branch about 30 feet overhead. It’s the first good look I’ve gotten at this guy. I hear him often from up at the house, and I’ve seen some sort of raptor bolt from that location before, usually triggered by Althea’s chaos, but I could never tell if it was a hawk or an owl, though I was suspecting the latter because of how preternaturally quiet it was as it wove through the trees toward the creek. This time I got a good look at him as he scanned the nearby trees, blinking, and then looked down and noticed me grinning up at him. As he flew off, a few lines from Yeats fluttered into my head …

Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.

Yates was talking about Caesar, which is what I now call that barred owl.


Sydney was alarmed, looking into the forest that surrounds his room and croaking about a threat of some sort. Usually, it’s one of the red-shouldered hawks sitting in a tree waiting for a chance to pounce on a squirrel. But I couldn’t see anything. Sydney doesn’t do false alarms. Had to be something, which I discovered when I drove out 30 minutes later for groceries. A turkey vulture was dining on a dead squirrel on the road, and I’m certain Sydney could see him flying up into the trees each time a car came by.


I finally killed my Twitter account. Fuck Elon. Life is too short to spend time in a kingdom ruled by Space Karen. I’m taking Mastodon for a test drive and like it so far. It’s already a massive upgrade. No ads. No Space Karen. Lots of dogs.