Showing posts sorted by relevance for query mushrooms. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query mushrooms. Sort by date Show all posts

August 27, 2014

Dodging Anatoly and Other Mushroom Thoughts

Emerging king bolete.


Baskets were stacked in the pickup's bed — big, flat-bottomed baskets with integral handles — serious mushroom-collecting baskets.

I had just parked M's Jeep at the edge of a little clear-cut, a spot close to but not too close to the place we call "the mushroom store." We were standing behind it, her looking sort of woods-ninja, all in black with binocular slung, me in the red shirt I wore so that she could keep track of me. No packs, no baskets, no bags.

That pickup came up the narrow rocky Forest Service road and stopped, "Finding any mushrooms?" asked the driver. He was  a big guy with a pronounced Eastern European or Russian accent.

"We're looking for elk,*" I answered. Sorry, Anatoly, you think I am going to tell you? Archery season was two weeks away at that point, so scouting is a reasonable thing to be doing in the boreal forest.

He and his passenger drove off and turned onto another little logging road that went right to "the store." But then we heard doors slamming, and we saw the truck coming out again as we slung our packs (each holding several string or cloth shopping bags) and walked into the woods

Hunting mushrooms is like hunting elk in this respect: You do better away from roads. The farther we walked, the more we saw. When we saw big boletes next to one of the old logging roads, I knew that "Anatoly" had not ventured that far.


The local Search & Rescue (SAR) group drops hints about some kind of Chicago (Polish immigrant) — Wet Mountains pipeline: unprepared flatlanders getting dropped off to hunt mushrooms and becoming lost. ("Anatoly" did not strike me as one of those.) Apparently they are out there somewhere.

I have always felt there was a sort of snobbery with SAR: the mountain climbers they pluck (dead or alive) off peaks like Crestone Needle are idiots, but heroic idiots. The lost mushroom hunters are laughable idiots, "old ladies," etc., in their re-telling. But you won't get easily lost mushroom-hunting if you know to walk uphill — the roads are on the ridges. And blown-down trees usually point northeast. (I have relied on both of those bits of knowledge at one time or another.)

Is This All There Is?

We cut and cleaned mushrooms part of two days, filling the electric dehydrator and the screens in the greenhouse. Now that they are in jars, will the season allow us another hunt? But once the storage shelf in the basement is full, I find my desire changing

It is like the old fly-fishing dictum: First you want to catch fish, then you want to catch the most fish, then you want to catch the most difficult fish.

First I want to find "good" mushrooms, then I want to find lots of mushrooms and then . . . maybe I want to learn more about all those mushrooms that I walk past, whether they are "good" or not.
* OK, if the Huichol Indians, while on their sacred peyote hunt, can refer to the cactus buttons as "deer," I can refer to Boletus edulis as "elk"—especially as the elk do eat them. I saw some with cervid tooth marks and only the stems remaining.

July 27, 2015

Four-legged Forager

Suillus americanus (Wikimedia Commons).
July rains brought a brief flush of Slippery Jack mushrooms (Suillus americanus) near the house. We don't see them every year; it takes wet weather to bring out the mushrooms in this ponderosa pine-Douglas fir-Gambel oak environment.

 I collected a few on morning dog walks for drying— they turn wormy very quickly, and many that look good are not. The flavor is OK, nothing special, but they are mushrooms and picking them fulfills the Hunting and Gathering Imperative.

But someone was watching.

Twice this morning Fisher the dog darted into the oak brush and started munching. He was after the mushrooms — and he does not care if they are dessicated and/or wormy. (We have to keep him away from screens of drying mushrooms at home.)

So this is another one of those dog-behavior conundrums. Does he like mushrooms naturally, or does he like them because they are People Food and hence higher-status than Dog Food?

M. says that he is a dog out of place (but then she says that a lot). If we had truffles, he could have easily been trained to find them.

Given his love for finding dead stuff in the woods, he could have been an outstanding corpse-searching dog too.

November 18, 2015

Mushrooms: Manipulating Your Mind . . . and the Weather?

Helen Macdonald's latest New York Times column is on mushroom hunting, in which she observes,
Hunting for mushrooms can feel surprisingly like hunting animals, particularly if you’re searching for edible species. Looking for chanterelles, I’ve found myself walking on tiptoe across mossy stumps as if they might hear me coming. It’s a bad idea to walk around and try to spot them directly. They have an uncanny ability to hide from the searching eye. 
And they can change your perception too — and I am not talking about the designated "hallucinogenic" mushrooms either, but the ones we eat for food. 

Beyond that, some researchers suggest that mushrooms can make it rain. Their spores are like cloud-seeding.
“We can watch big water droplets grow as vapor condenses on (the mushroom spore’s) surface,” said senior author Nicholas Money of Miami University’s Biology Department. “Nothing else works like this in nature.”
Read the rest.

August 16, 2013

Monsoon on the Conejos (3) Pagosa Springs & Assorted Mushroom Thoughts

Boletus edulis in the Wet Mountains
Saturday the 10th was our last full day of the camping trip. I put away the fly rods and picked more mushrooms (and wild strawberries) on Cumbres Pass, then drove on west through Chama, N.M, to Pagosa Springs.

I had planned to be in Pagosa the previous weekend for a state-sponsored fire class, but it was cancelled, so this was sort of a consolation visit.

In Pagosa, the weather was warm, and the San Juan River was running high and brown. Tubing outfitters were busy shuttling their customers to the east side of town so that they could ride down past the city park and the mineral springs, where the terraces were crowded with bathers.

In the midst of this "rubber hatch," I saw one guy casting a spinning rod. I thought of congratulating him for upholding the archetype of the always-optimistic fisherman, but he gave up and walked away.

We visited a couple of thrift stores—nothing exciting—where does all the outdoor gear go?—and then had a late lunch/early supper at the Riff-Raff brew pub ("Hoppy people. Hoppy earth").

I reckoned that my cabrito burger with Hatch green chiles was sort of quasi-locavore-ish.

It rained steadily most of the way back to the campground.

The next morning I observed a mulie doe moving strangely through the woods. She had her nose down like a dog following a scent trail.

Was she eating mushrooms? I had picked a few in that area, mostly Suillis  ("slippery jacks"). I tried to follow, but I could not get too close without spooking her, and there were a lot of spruce boughs in the way.

I did see some Suillis that had been scraped by what looked like a deer's lower incisors (Deer don't have upper incisors.) Were there fewer mushrooms than before? Not sure.

Two days later, having done well on a mushroom hunt closer to home, M. and I were easing down a rough forest road in the Jeep when we saw a squirrel wrestling — or something — in the road. It turned out to be trying to carry the stem of a Boletus edulis ("king bolete"), which was nearly as big as it was.

Yesterday M. was walking Fisher on lead down the driveway when he dashed into the oak brush, dragging her along. He had scented another bolete, one unfortunately past its prime. It was probably another Boletus chrysenteron, which grows under oaks, like the one he snarfed off the kitchen counter a few days ago.

Does this mean that he might have a talent for finding good mushrooms? If the French have truffle-sniffing dogs, could we have a Southern Rockies bolete-sniffing dog? Further research is required.

August 13, 2010

Scaly's No Friend of Mine

I think this is Pholiota squarrosa, "Scaly Pholiota"
My Colorado and New Mexico blogging compadres are all talking mushrooms. This is turning into one of the years that we will remember.

M. and I returned to the mountain-that-shall-not-be-named today. On the way up there, we saw a woman standing by the side of the Forest Service road, holding a suspiciously lumpy cloth grocery bag.

Damn, the word is getting out.

Higher up, we met a family of woodcutters—no problem there—but also this old guy coming hurridly out the one-lane road in a van, who did not meet my eye—suspicious behavior!

We drove nervously on to our parking spot. (Note, we do not park exactly where we look for mushrooms.)

Someone had been there—many of the hawkswing mushrooms that we had passed by last Friday were now gone. On the other hand, we found a bunch of king boletes popping up. In fact, we got more than last week.

M. spotted some clusters of the pictured mushroom at the base of an old, dead aspen tree, surrounded by little firs. They were enough like hawkswing mushrooms to make me look twice, although the presence of gills instead of spore tubes meant that they were not.

Pulling out my two field guides, I decided that they could be "scaly Pholiota," Pholiota squarrosa, a mushroom that was better left alone. (Anyone know better?)

Personally, I think that "Scaly Pholiota" sounds like some greasy guy sitting behind an earthenware mug of sour wine in a Lindsey Davis mystery.

August 25, 2006

Mushroom days - 2

With thunder in the distance, M. and I took a walk in the Wet Mountains on Thursday looking for mushrooms.

We walked into a mother lode of hawk's wing mushrooms (Sarcodon imbricatus), getting that crazy mushroom visual effect where you see one and then suddenly your eyes adjust and you realize that you are surrounded.

I think the king bolete-hunters had already been through, because we were finding only a few old ones (and we were close to the access road), while other similar-appearing mushrooms had been knocked over but left in place.

Then, in a tight, doghair stand of little firs that we had to push into head-down, we found a sackfull. It's like elk hunting: "They're in the thick timber, boys."

The book in the photo is, of course, Vera Stucky Evenson's Mushrooms of Colorado and the Southern Rocky Mountains.

To stay bemushroomed in the literary sense, read Andy Letcher's Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, which is actually about much more than Amanita and Psilocybe.

For one thing, Letcher demolishes R. Gordon Wasson's distinction between "mycophobic" and "mycophilic" cultures with clear historical evidence.

August 16, 2005

Local knowledge

Three cheers for Vera Stucky Evenson, author of The Mushrooms of Colorado. Those white mushrooms were indeed Agaricus campestris. M. and I ate them on last night's pizza, and we're still here 24 hours later. (Yes, I made spore prints too.)

The cat ate some too--he must have liked the oiliness of sauteed mushrooms--but he later left his on the bathroom floor. Cats and fungi: not a good combination.

Local knowledge can be hard to come by. When I taught an environmental-issues section of freshman composition, my student typically knew (or thought that they knew) more about the Brazilian rain forest than about the Wet Mountains, which they could see from the classroom windows, not 30 miles away.

The Pueblo Mountain Park Environmental Center has taken a good step with the publication of .Plants of Pueblo Mountain Park, which fits our ecological niche over here too. (Graphic design by Shawna Shoaf.)

This evening after supper I strapped on my authentic Lithuanian mushroom basket, and M. and I walked the ridge behind the house, picking boletes. "Probably the surest mushrooms to recognize beyond the Foolproof Four [morels, puffballs, shaggy mane, sulfur polymore] are the boletes," writes Lorentz Pearson in The Mushroom Manual.

My eccentric sister in Kaunas provided the basket. She bought it from a street vendor--it looks like an angler's creel, but it lacks the slot in the lid into which to deposit the spotted trout. Maybe it was supposed to be a creel anyway, but since the few Lithuanians I have met were mycophiles, it's a mushroom basket.

It was Germans who started us gathering boletes. Years ago, we were hiking the Horsethief Park trail on the west side of Pike's Peak when we encountered a group of elderly German women with shopping bags--typical Army brides from Colorado Springs--and they were doing some serious mushroom-picking.

They taught us boletes, and then they pointed us one way while they went another way.

One member of that particular demographic established an unfortunate reputation with the local Search and Rescue group. She was so busy one summer afternoon a couple of years ago looking down for edible fungi that she got lost and spent a chilly night in the Wets. And now the S&R people are convinced that all mushroom-hunters are distracted and easily lost.

"You look like a mushroom-gathering peasant," M. said as I scooped boletes from the pine needles. "But you're not colorful enough."

August 10, 2017

Off to See the King

King bolete. Slightly past its prime, but with careful trimming and slicing,
onto the drying screen it goes.

After last Friday's hailstorm left our vegetable gardens looking bombed and machine-gunned, there was only one thing left to look forward to — mushroom season.

I envy people who live in wetter climates like Alaska and the Pacific Northwest for this one thing: they can hunt mushrooms much of the year. We get some in the early summer, but the frenzy starts in August.

The first part of the week produced a flush of "slippery jacks" (Suillus granulatus) near the house. They are boletes but low-grade ones (from the eating standpoint)  that quickly turn wormy and mushy — the window for picking them lasts about two days.  M. says that they are "too bland" but dries and adds them to her vegetable soup stock mixture.

Today M. and I  drove up to the mountainside that we call The Mushroom Store, and the first thing we saw was a car parked in "our spot," a little pullout that I like because it is is a couple hundred yards from where the picking starts, instead of right beside it. I pulled onto a nearby old logging road instead, and we got out as quietly as we could.

We started toward the first area that we always check — and saw movement through the trees. Time for another route. We wear muted colors and communicate with little whistles and hand gestures. You never know, there might be Russians.

So we faded off into the woods and in about an hour had 23 pounds of mushrooms, mostly boletes with some hawk's wings. That made for a couple of hours of processing — the dehydrator full and laboring, screens all over the greenhouse, another screen on the hood of M's Jeep in the garage — for now, because it's raining. We will be dancing them in and out of the sunshine for the next two days.

All this rain — the high water, flash floods, sandbagging — at least it's producing mushrooms here in the Southern Rockies.

August 23, 2014

Would You Eat Amanita if David Arora Cooked It?

David Arora's book All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms  is one of our favorites, right after Vera Evenson's Mushrooms of Colorado and the Southern Rocky Mountains. (His magnum opus is Mushrooms Demystified.)

So with that expertise, would you sit down to a steaming plate of Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) if he cooked them?

Wild-food blogger Langdon Cook did and got an education.

More than any other species, though, Arora is known for serving his guests Amanita muscaria. This practice is not uncontroversial. Amanita muscaria, also known as the fly agaric for its ancient use as a pesticide, is generally considered by English-language field guides to be a dangerous toxic mushroom. It’s been documented as a hallucinogen and used as a drug by social groups as varied as middle-class American hippies and Siberian reindeer herders, and occasionally it’s implicated in deaths, though not directly. In one recent case a victim ate the mushroom for its psychotropic effects and died of hypothermia.
But, as Arora points out in his workshops, Amanita muscaria is also used as food. It turns out the mushroom can be easily detoxified and consumed.

But you still get the feeling that Cook is torn between his desire to write honestly and worries about telling people to go eat any kind of Amanita.

August 07, 2010

Going to the Mushroom Store

Sarcodon imbricatus (hawkswing) with pint Nalgene bottle for scale.
The weather has turned monsoonal, with heavy rain almost every day. We are experiencing a condition known as humidity, from the Proto-Indo-European root *wegw-.

Having recently visited Chicago and Vermont, I am prepared for such unusual conditions.

And they have brought on the mushrooms!

Yesterday M. and I took her visiting nephew mushroom-hunting in the Wet Mountains. We drove straight to our favorite spot, warning him that although sometimes it was like "going to the mushroom store," you can never be certain what you will find.

No worries. We parked the Jeep and filled three shopping bags with hawskwing and king bolete mushrooms in no time at all

That was far more than we could fit into the food dryer, so the rest are sliced into strips and spread on old window screens in the greenhouse.

But with all the humidity, we may have to rotate those greenhouse mushrooms through the electric dryer after the first batch has finished.

(Some nice boletes from New Mexico.)

August 07, 2008

Wolves, Madness, and Mushrooms

I have started Nevada Barr's latest novel, Winter Study

It is set in Isle Royale National Park in midwinter, and Barr, whose latest efforts seemed to be lapsing into chick lit, has raised her personal bar on this one. A group of wolf researchers seemed to be stalked by . . . something, and everyone is on the edge of going mad, I tell you, completely mad.

Or in Barr's words, "A crazy-making current was running through the island." I suspect the explanation will be prosaic, but the build-up is fun.

Meanwhile, after two days (!) of later-summer rains, M. is starting to crack. She mutters about living in the Pacific Northwest. She talks to moths. We had better dry her out soon.

Still, August rains mean mushrooms. Blogging will drop off after Sunday, for we are are going mushroom hunting.

For mushrooms, I favor a light, expanding bullet. Shot placement is everything.

September 17, 2014

A Quick Journey to Fungal Paradise

The Anchorage-Seward train running past Kenai Lake
Semi-free range mycophiles
Just back from Anchorage, a trip that was part work and part pleasure. Alaska is outside the remit of this blog, but I wanted to record a few images none the less.

The train photo is from the Coastal Classic train, almost purely a tourist train, where the engineer slows way down when the onboard guide announces a moose or bear sighting. The water is Kenai Lake.

My hosts are extraordinary urban foragers, and their 8-year-old son celebrated his birthday by inviting some of his friends to go mushroom hunting, which is to say that some hunted mushrooms (none knew as much as he already does) while others just ran around waving sticks, but it was all good. Afterwards, ice cream.

Some of the moms and dads were there too, to keep an eye on the kids and watch out for free-range moose. But actually, when the boy and I went geocaching in another of Anchorage's large and mostly wild city parks, it was he who spotted the moose while I was busy looking at the GPS receiver!

I was seeing mushrooms that I knew only from books, and there were countless other colorful fungi to photograph and marvel at.

Coming home, the 737's overhead bins were full of fishing rod cases, and yes, I was a little envious, but at least I had a bag of Alaska gold (Phaeolepiota aurea) in my suitcase.
Delicate, lovely, don't know what it is.
Young Alaska gold mushroom, Phaeolepiota aurea. See also the red box that the boy is holding.

September 03, 2013

What Killed the Russian Skiers? (2)

The torn tent at the skiers' campsite
Five years ago I first read of what is sometimes called "the Dyatlov Pass Incident" and was thoroughly creeped out.

This article offers another telling and more photographs, but the mystery remains. (Note: the page is "safe for work," but some networks may block the overall website.)

If the tent was struck by an avalanche, how did they get out? People have died under relatively small amounts of snow — a foot or two — when it was heavily compacted.How come the skis used as tent poles are still standing if an avalanche swept over it?  And was that even an avalanche-prone slope?

Wouldn't experienced backcountry skiers who survived an avalanche have not reconstructed their camp as best they could?

I keep thinking that the radiation readings might be misleading, not the real issue — but that is just conjecture.

M. wonders if they did not eat bad mushrooms. That seems as possible as anything. Since it was February, someone would have had to make an error while picking mushrooms in the forest the previous season, then bring them along in dried form to be reconstituted and cooked in a stew or something. That could possibly explain the apparent delirium. Maybe.

August 13, 2013

Monsoon on the Conejos (1)

We brought a screen for drying mushrooms.
The campground host's name tag said "Noah." That should have been a hint.*

M. and I set out Thursday for a camping trip to the Conejos River. I had looked at the stream flow online, and it was up from July's average, but I still had this picture in my mind from other late-summer trips: clear waters, a slight crispness in the air.

Just getting there had its moments. When we stopped in Antonito to get some snacks from the trailer, people driving by kept looking at us. Sure, Antonito seems a little insular, but why the stares?

Maybe it was because the Jeep and the pop-up trailer were liberally coated with mud.

Conditions on the Secret Cut-off Road had been worse than I had expected. Seeing the trailer in the rear-view mirror going sideways is unsettling. All I could think was, "This would be worse if I were going downhill."

We kept going and later in the afternoon reached the Forest Service campground that was our destination. About 5:30 p.m. it started raining. That would be the pattern: two-hour downpours each afternoon or evening.

But with a hot meal, wine, a good book, and a Coleman lantern, all was good.

Friday morning I got up (mist-filtered sun), put on hip boots, and walked to one of my favorite fishing spots. The river looked like chocolate milk. A tributary stream was re-enacting the June run-off.

Walking back to the campground, I picked a few mushrooms. That would be the theme.

(to be continued)

* No, there was no name tag. I am joking.

July 16, 2013

A Truce with Summer

The higher you go, the wetter it looks.
It has rained more than three inches at the house  this month, which is great, but we are still in "extreme drought," say the meteorologists.

But the dampness, temporary as it may be, eased my mind. For the first time, it felt as though summer was not the enemy.

M. and I wondered if any mushrooms were coming up at higher elevations. So we went into the misty mountains.

We tried "The Mushroom Mine," and saw only one or two inedible varieties. As I drove up the Forest Service road, I spotted an excellent bolete nearby. Oh no, said the cook, it's too close to the road! Mushrooms soak up pollution!

And that would be the only one we saw, even up at the area we call The Mushroom Store. But there were flowers.
Yellow: some kind of Potentilla, I think. White: yarrow.
This flower I am not sure of. Anyone?

Columbines are the state flower, and you are required by law to photograph them.
And we shall return — even if the foothills dry out again.

UPDATE: Al Schneider at Southwest Colorado Wildflowers suggests that the mystery yellow flower above is a species of Corydalis and that the Potentilla is specifically Potentilla gracilis variety pulcherrima. Thanks!

August 17, 2012

When It Comes to Mushroom-Hunting . . .

. . . I am glad that I do not live in one of the chic parts of Colorado.

Otherwise, instead of trying to out-maneuver mysterious Russians, I would be coping with the luxury trade.
Within minutes, legal recruiter Morgan Warren, 36, of Houston had cut a mushroom the size of a portobello. An hour later, while sipping wine, snacking and sitting in camp chairs the Four Season staff brought, the group reconvened to examine the dozens of mushrooms they had collected. . . . . Then it was back to the SUVs, which dropped everyone off at an aspen grove to stomp through a thicket of prickly plants and fallen logs to find more species.
Apparently they go out, pick everything in sight, and then let some expert hired by the Four Seasons Resort at Vail. tell them what is what.

It is sort of like the way that Sir George Gore went hunting in the Rocky Mountains in the 1850s: Shoot everything, and let the guides sort them out.
"That was the takeaway for me — how bad I was at mushroom picking," quipped Warren's husband, David Warren. "I picked 99 pounds of mushrooms, none of which I can eat."

August 11, 2009

Trout between the Tree Trunks

Up into the Sangres today to beat the heat. No mushrooms in sight--I do think the Wets are the place for mushrooms.

But the trout were there in a small creek that flows through a real jungle, where you crawl out on old silvered tree trunks cut by long-gone beavers to dap a brushy dry fly into three feet of flowing stream that is exposed between the tree trunks.

No room to play a fish, obviously -- you "horse" it out, or it breaks off. Both happened.

At one point, realizing that I could only see a few feet in any direction, I was momentarily glad that there are no grizzly bears hereabouts. On the other hand, if there were, I would wear my bear spray cannister on my hip and fish anyway. Carefully.

Meanwhile, Colorado newspapers are having a time with the case of the late Donna Munson, whom it appears was killed by one of the bears that she fed all the time -- in defiance of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Was her maternal instinct in overdrive? ("These animals need me!") Was she advertising that she was more in tune with wild critters than is the average Coloradan? Was she another "animal hoarder" of the type Mary Scriver encountered in her former job?

Like Timothy Treadwell, she inadvertently caused the death of two bears. That seems to be what such people do.

August 22, 2008

Blog Stew with Mushrooms

• Apparently, I have stumbled on a photographic cliché: when you post mushroom pictures, such as this one from 2006, you should always include the field guide!

• Another group of mushroom hunters gets lost in the Wet Mountains. (M. is cheering for the 92-year-old man, lost or not.)

Several years ago I heard a member of Custer County Search & Rescue say that mushroom hunters were the group of outdoor users most likely to get lost. She based this statement on exactly one (1) anecdote. Now she has two. It's a trend.

• Nevertheless, it was mushroom hunting that pushed me to invest in a GPS unit -- one of Garmin's cheapest. I am still ambivalent about it, and I have a whole GPS post half-written in my head.

• This is from five years ago, but apparently Russian mushroom hunters get lost too. Eleven are still unaccounted for, the article says. Not like this, I hope.

• And mushrooms are kosher, not that that fact matters at all to us.

August 12, 2008

Monsoon Mushrooms

Puffball and king boleteIt has been raining a lot in southwest Conejos County, but most of the mushrooms M. and were seeing were not the ones that we wanted to eat. M.'s Trujillo Meadows bolete patch of 2006 produced only the one in my hand.

Were we too early? Too late? I guess that uncertainty is why they call it "mushroom hunting," not "mushroom gathering.

Young, pickable puffballs were pretty prolific. They are just not as interesting to eat.

We will be looking closer to home in the Wet Mountains next, now that we have had some rain here.

July 21, 2007

A Walk in the Wets

Rain threatened, but M. and I set out around noon to see if recent wet weather had brought up any mushrooms nearby in the Wet Mountains.

Yarrow was blooming, mixed with wallflower.

One fir tree displayed a yellow ball of dwarf mistletoe (not the kind that Druids harvest).

M. moved into hunting-and-gathering mode and started spotting mushrooms.

The boletes were coming up. We ate all that we harvested tonight. When we get more, we will dry them.

On the way back to the Jeep, we encountered a ferocious beast. (Note to British readers: this is not the kind of skunk that you smoke.)

This half-grown skunk ran down the trail ahead of us with its tail in the air, just like a house cat. It seemed to have no clue about using its main weapon.