Identify This Fungus

I’ve been a woodsman more than usual this summer, working on fencing in the wooded southern edge of our farm.  We had been experiencing a dry summer until August changed all that with hotter than normal weather and lots of rain.  In the woods this has triggered the fruiting of all kinds of mushrooms.

I’m wondering if these mushrooms are chanterelles or winter chanterelles.  Any fungus folks out there who can help?  I really don’t know about edible fungi beyond puffballs.  I’ve been able to determine by the gill pattern that these aren’t poisonous Jack O’Lanterns.  After tasting one raw, I’d have to say it didn’t taste like much.  It was more stringy than most cultivated edible mushrooms.  Perhaps sauteing or drying would bring out the flavor better.

Mushroom2Right now I’m leaning toward winter chanterelle for a couple reasons.  First, chanterelles are usually described as being found in oak forests.  As evidenced by the leaf litter in the photo above, our woods don’t have many oaks.  They are a mix, probably 70% hardwood and 30% conifers.  The hardwoods are hickory, maple, ash (mostly saplings or dead mature trees), with a few beeches and red and white oaks scattered about.  Second, I am under the impression that chanterelles are rare in August in Upstate NY, usually more abundant in July.  All of this is what I’ve gathered by reading.  In mushroom identification, having a knowledgeable guide is probably worth far more than having a stack of books, so I could be all wrong.

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