It was a pleasant morning in Estabrook Park. Signs of fall are starting to show, and some are probably being accelerated by the long stretch of dry weather we’ve been having. I’ve seen flocks of Canada geese flying out of the river valley in v-formations, and some of the sumac leaves by the falls are starting to turn red. I’m still waiting for more asters to bloom, which got a nice mention, along with monarchs and the painted lady we just saw yesterday, in the NYT this morning, of all places.
The only critters I saw this morning were chipmunks, rabbits, grey squirrels, and one wood duck on the river. Oh, and a slew of robbins and cabbage white butterflies. The river is lower than I’ve seen it this year, and the jewelweed and even brown-eyed susans are starting to struggle with the lack of water.
My one new find for the day is this big bracket fungus, which appears to be Chicken of the Woods or Sulphur Shelf (Laetiporus sulphureus), growing from a log laying on the “island” formed when the river is high enough to flood the oxbow pond north of the falls, where mallard ducklings swam for a while. The muddy bottom of the “pond” has finally dried out enough for me to walk across without sinking in.
It’s big like the dryad’s saddle, aka pheasant’s back (Cerioporus squamosus) we’ve seen several times before, but distinctly yellow-orange, and not off-white like the white-pore version we might have seen once.
I read that “due to its taste, Laetiporus sulphureus has been called the chicken polypore and chicken-of-the-woods (not to be confused with Grifola frondosa, the so-called hen-of-the-woods).
Many people think that the mushroom tastes like crab or lobster leading to the nickname lobster-of-the-woods. The authors of Mushrooms in Color said that the mushroom tastes good sauteed in butter or prepared in a cream sauce served on toast or rice. It is highly regarded in Germany and North America.”
Maybe it would go well with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, eh?