This small bright red mushroom, a Scarlet Elf Cup, caught our attention during a birding trip this afternoon. It stood out among the dead leaves of winter along a trail next to the brown muddy Willamette River whose riparian area still lacks the green of the season to come. We had come looking for birds, yet one of the things that impressed us the most was this small fungi poking up through the drab collection of winter. We were taking advantage of the nice weather to go birding at this nearby park with the strange name of Spring Valley Access. The park belongs to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and serves as an access point on the Willamette River Water Trail. I did a post in November on “Trail at Spring Valley”, and have been meaning to return to hike and bird. Today was the day. One of the things that we discovered is there is not just one trail there, but three trails. I believe the trails have been developed by The Salem Area Trail Alliance, and for the most part are unsigned but easy to hike and a great way to take in the natural setting.