Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hunting the elusive

Last Saturday, Rie, Burgess, their dogs Bucky and Bacon, and I drove to Kansas to scout out areas where morels might be coming up. That land has cedars, creeks, plenty of dead trees, mayapples...all the things I've heard you need to be successful with a morel hunt. If only there had been some rain (that one other thing you need to find the elusive morel)...

Bucky had a fabulous time wading in the creek.

It was the perfect depth for a little french bulldog.

Bacon however, questioned that whole get in the water thing.

He preferred to just drink it.

Of course this one showed up to do both, drink the water and then wade in it or maybe it's wade and then drink...anyway, Aussie was the main reason for Bacon being so thirsty. Aussie is twice as tall as Bacon so when those two dogs were going up and down hills, one of those dogs was working twice as hard. And that would not be Aussie.

All in all, a very good day for dogs...just not so much for people because we didn't find any morels...also, a total of nine ticks drove back with us to Missouri (eeeugh! eeeugh! eeugh!).

Earlier in the day, Rie spotted a gray frog on a gray tree.

I hurried over to take a picture but the frog jumped right on my camera and stayed put with his sticky little feet. I had to negotiate him off the lens so I could take some pictures because really, a gray frog?

When I researched what kind of frog it was, I found out it is called an Eastern gray tree frog. Go figure.

Anyway, I returned on Sunday because I wanted to look a little harder for morels and besides, once again the day was gorgeous.

Aussie and I walked into the woods and found mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum), hundreds and hundreds of them...

Smooth yellow violets (Viola pubescens)...

Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), several hillsides of them...

White dogtooth violets, aka Trout lilies (Erythronium albidum)...

Spring beauties (Claytonia virginica)...

And then I saw this. It was about 8 inches above the ground and since there is always something I've never seen before when I go walking on that land, I wondered what kind of plant this was.

Mystifying. I looked at it from another angle.

And then I saw it from the back. No. It couldn't be. Nooooo. Really? A bat? A red bat?

Yes, I had found a little red bat taking a nap just inches above the ground and blissfully asleep while hanging from some frail little plant with just one foot, sort of, it's kind of hard to tell all twisted up like that. Dick says this photo looks like a chicken wing you forgot about in the refrigerator. Well, I think this little bat is pretty darn cute. Look at all that soft red fur.

I took one more picture and then the little guy started to wake up.

And once those eyes opened, he took off down the trail kind of low to the ground and that was that. I researched what kind of bat he was when I got home and it turns out he's an Eastern red bat. Go figure. This identification thing is pretty easy. Maybe this upcoming weekend I will be successful in finding the "Eastern elusive morel." Well, that's what I'm hoping. :-)


Mental P Mama said...

Wow! I knew I was going to love this property! That frog and that bat? Eastern? In the midwest? Go figure. We probably have the western tree frog and western bat here in Connecticut....

Maureen said...

Love these treks, the frog and the bat and the frenchie. Thanks, I needed that!

abb said...

Did you find any morels??

Whoda thunk that bat would decide to nap right there! How very nice for you and your camera.

Leenie said...

Laughed at the dogs enjoying a day playing in the woods. Such a plenty of blossoms. So many bright colors. Even the tree frog with his unimaginative name is super cool. But that red furry thing taking a nap on a twig...and then flying away. Just wildly weird. Next time morels.

Linda said...

I had to get the dictionary out because I'd never heard the word morel before.

I am a real fan of bats. Those are incredibly interesting picture. Good for you. I hope you meet another bat.

A very interesting post.

Deedee said...

Great pictures, Maria! We have the grey tree frogs here in the yard, but I haven't heard them yet this year. I have NEVER seen a red bat before-that's amazing. Bucky is an adorable little guy. thee is nothing better than an outing with dogs- good luck with the morels.

Maria said...

Mental-I love that land so much too... although it means coming home with ticks and chiggers. Yeah, what's with this Eastern thing.....or Western thing? Or for that matter, Southern or Northern? Why no Middle? Huh?

Maureen-Anytime. :-)

TSAnnie-Nope. No morels yet. It's supposed to rain this Friday so hopefully this weekend...

And I KNOW!!!! A little bat just waiting for his picture to be taken...but then, he was asleep, very soundly asleep. :-)

Leenie-I laughed all day because of those dogs. They are just so much fun to spend time with. I felt a little guilty when poor little Bucky fell sideways in the creek and couldn't quite maneuver out... but sorry, it was pretty funny. And that bat. I am still stunned about my luck with that one. And a red one! I had never heard of red bats before...that's why I was so confused about what it might be when I saw it from a distance.

Linda-I'm new to the morel thing too. They're supposed to be the most exquisite thing ever to eat but I have a feeling that's due to all the anticipation and all the hunting. I've never eaten one. I look forward to seeing what all the fuss is about.

I hope I find some more bats too. Apparently the red ones are solitary.

Deedee-I am having the best time with those dogs too. I haven't written about Bella yet but she's another one who joins Aussie and me on our walks. You would think with all this time spent with dogs and loving every minute of it, I would have one of my own......but I don't!

I hope to report back with successful news about morels soon but if not, my search for a morel resulted in my find of the red bat. Equal trade, I think.