Lahemaa National Park

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The view when we got off at the Loksa Tee bus stop.

We don’t have a car in Tallinn, but we managed to use the local bus system to get to Lahemaa National Park for a five-hour hike through boreal forest and bog. It was gorgeous (see below), filled with fantastic wildlife and tons of edible blueberries that yes, you’re allowed to collect. It seems like Estonians view the land through a practical lens, and the mantra of “don’t take more than you need and it’s fine” is the rule here. That being said, DON’T eat anything unless you can positively identify it.

If you’re looking to do the same hike, use Google Maps to find public transit directions to the stop “Loksa Tee” pictured below. The hike will start just east of the bus stop:

Now, motivation for you to go:

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Wood planks form a narrow trail through the wetter, boggier parts of the hike.
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A European Peacock butterfly (Aglais io) perches on purple heather (Calluna) – we last saw this in New Zealand, where it was invasive.
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The little mushroom that could #1.
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The little mushroom that could #2.
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A dense bed of lichens (light yellow) grow on the forest floor here in Lahemaa.
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What I suspect are cowberries, but I wasn’t sure so I didn’t eat any of them.
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An interesting leather-like foliose lichens grows among moss on the forest floor.
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Be yourself, tree. Be yourself.
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Putative chanterelles. We encountered a few women in the park collecting ‘gribui’, or mushrooms, mostly of the chanterelle variety.
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A resting point along the path. You can supposedly take this trail all the way to the sea, but that’s several days of hiking.
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A patch of mushrooms among the moss and decaying pine needles.
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An Alder Moth caterpllar (Acronicta alni) munches on summer’s bounty.
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Fresh wild blueberries hide among the foliage. They’re delicious.
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A salticid in a patch of grass.
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Pine trees grow at the edge of a bog pool. The water here takes on a dark brown hue due to tannins seeping out of the dead plant material beneath. The same thing happens in your tea.
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A lone tree grows on an island in the bog.
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Fruticose lichens growing on the forest floor.
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A polypore fruiting body grows from a fallen tree.
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The color of moss.
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The caterpillar of an Emperor Moth (Saturnia) hangs out between planks along the trail.
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Lengthening shadows in the forest.

And just for you, here’s a panoramic shot – click through to enlarge:

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Made possible by Google Photos.

Stolby Nature Reserve: Fungi

Stolby Nature Reserve in the summer plays host to hundreds, if not thousands of fungi species. Here are some of the gorgeous specimins we saw during our camping and hiking in mid-July. Identified *tentatively* wherever possible.

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Saprophytic white mushrooms with reddish-brown spores growing  on a tree stump.
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A pair of tiny Russula sp. caps. Russula is notorious for being a genus vaguely-defined species.
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An Amanita sp. I would venture, based on the prominent volva and cap shape.
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A scaly/hairy golden mushroom that reminds me of plums and custard (Tricholomopsis rutilans), but without the purple coloring.
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The underside of some saprophytic mushrooms, probably a Pleurotus sp. (oyster mushroom).
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The top side of the same saprophytic mushroom cluster.
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Lycoperdon sp., though it does not appear to have the same properties of most puffballs (a central hole that emits a puff). Perhaps Lycoperdon saccatum?
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A cluster of Coprinellus sp. growing on a log. I’d guess Coprinellus disseminatus.
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A close up of the same Coprinellus cluster.
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A polypore fungi, maybe a young Fomitopsis sp., with guttation droplets on its surface.
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A small cap mushroom with a tiny cricketlike fly on the stem.
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An Artomyces sp. found on a log. The North American species is Artomyces pyxidatus, which looks highly similar to this, so this could either introduced sor a highly-similar native.
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A gilled mushroom hiding along the trail. You can see the lack of pigment on the right that results from shading by the leaf above it.
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The underside of the same mushroom, showing continuous gills down onto the stem.
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Crowded space – a plant shoot and fairy cap grow side-by-side.
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Another small fairy cap growing among moss.
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A bolete or slippery jack (from the porous underside). We found them this way, so it looks like someone else was doing a bit of mushroom ID.
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Another Coprinellus sp., maybe Coprinellus micaceus.
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Small gilled mushrooms growing from a log.
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Another mushroom, this time with gills that end abruptly on the stem (adnate gills).
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A cute little mushroom cluster illuminated by the sunset.

I’d lichen more…

Okay, so technically not just fungi, but lichens do consist of at least one fungal species! Here are two bonus shots of the local lichen for you.

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A free piece of lichen, perhaps fallen from a nearby tree. I can’t tell if this is multiple different lichens, or one that takes a variety of shapes.
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A whole wall of lichen for you!