With the snow gone (for now) and high temperatures consistently above freezing, new signs of life are starting to emerge. In a local floodplain forest I found these bright red fungi peeking out from the leaf litter. They’re in the genus Sarcoscypha (Sarcoscyphaceae) and are informally referred to as scarlet cup fungi.
As is typical with this genus, these fungi were growing along the edges of a rotting hardwood tree. They’re saprophytic and gain nutrients from the decaying wood. The fruiting bodies emerge in the late winter and early spring, and are often noticed by those who hunt morel mushrooms around this time of year.