I’ve been to Whistle Lake about 50 times, but usually only between May and September. In the dead of winter, the Anacortes Community Forest Lands – which houses Whistle Lake, Heart Lake, and Mt. Eerie – are still luscious and mildly abandoned which makes it perfect for sneaking around looking for mushrooms. Yesterday, we got all winter-geared up (coffee.) and walked a few miles around the forest to level up in mycology.

We definitely found some mushrooms! Some that I’ve seen a hundred times, some I’ve never seen in my life. Most of them weren’t even identified until I got home, and then when I thought I’d identified them, 90% of my guesses were wrong. Science!

No effing idea. Someone suggested it may be Hypholoma sp.?

I posted all of these in the PNW Mushroom ID forum on Facebook (which is full of smart people – the vast majority of whom are male – with only the occasional garbage heap making a kerfuffle) so hopefully the IDs will be solidified soon!


If I had to wager a guess, I’d say this is maybe a Red-Belted Conk? It’s so hard, it sounds like you’re knocking on a door when you tap on it. Some of these conks are useful, others are just alluring. This one is one of the alluring ones. So pretty, though! Also shout out to that water droplet for being picturesque AF.

This one was a first for me! Toothed Jelly Fungus (honestly, what else could it even be called) is almost see-through, but looks like… a ghost tongue? Not really sure the best way to describe it. It looks like the ear of the monster from The Abyss.

This one, like the one at the top of this post, is a variety of Witch’s Butter… but I learned that things called “witch’s butter” are mostly just orange and oozy – and not always related! I originally thought this was the “Witch’s Butter” from David Arora’s All the Rain Promises and More – Tremella mesenterica – but someone in the PNW Mushroom ID Forum made a good point that lead us to identifying it as Dacrymyces chrysospermus – aka “witch’s butter.”

That point was that Tremella mesenterica was actually a parasite, and it feeds exclusively on Turkey Tail Mushrooms (Stereum hirsutum – you’ve likely seen them before and, once you do see them, you realize they’re everywhere). This little gooplet wasn’t feeding on anyone, it was just minding it own business, gooping it up on this old Douglas Fir.

These were some of the prettiest mushrooms I found today, and they

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a proper mushroom hunt without a billion tiny, unidentified, little brown mushrooms.

There are some rough guesses on all of these, but the sheer number of mushrooms that look like this makes identification seem like a pretty daunting task.

Last but most certainly not least, the most confounding mushroom of the day: the __???__:

Oyster family? Weird oddball? Aliens?! If you know what these are, please ease my agony and just tell me. My Mushrooms Demystified is all but lost in the mail, so I am left to my own devices which is… the internet. Help: send it.

There are a couple of breaks in the rain this week, and I hope to get out to Dugualla Bay to see if they’ve got some snacks for me!