‘Shrooms, Bucks and Birds!

I slept in a little bit today and didn’t get up until about 7:30.  The dog and I were the out the door before 8:00 and headed over to the American River Bend Park for our walk.  I wanted to go there because I wanted to see if the rains from earlier in the week had awakened the fungi in the park yet.

There weren’t a lot of ‘shrooms out yet, but I did come across some large outcroppings of common “Honey Mushrooms”, and some Sulfur Shelf Fungus.  The best encounters during our walk, though, involved critters.  As we were walking along, I spotted a troop of does bouncing through the grass, and stopped to try to get some photos of them.  They were obscured by brush for the most part and out of range, so I was kind of frustrated by that… until I saw the huge buck following after them.  He walked right out into the open, about 20 feet from me, looked right at me, and took several steps in my direction.  He was sooo gorgeous!  I just stood still (and Sergeant Margie got real quiet and stood at my heels), and shot as many photos of him as I could while he was there.  I noticed that there was another doe a few feet behind him, and for a while it looked he couldn’t decide which direction he wanted to go in — after the harem of does, or back to the solitary one — and I took some video of him while he was deciding.  Finally, he turned away and walked off through the grass — with the solitary doe bouncing after him.  A few minutes later, I saw a prong-buck (one with just a single-point on his antlers; which meant he was less than 2 years old) walk by, heading in the same direction as the harem…

We also got to see a lot of jack rabbits, and watched a flock of Scrub Jays going after an Acorn Woodpecker who was stealing acorns from “their” tree.  And then I spotted a pair of Western Bluebirds; a little male and a female.  The male was showing the female a nest hole he’d found for her and she popped in and out checking it out.  They are such pretty little birds: this shock of brilliant blue with a peach-colored chest and shiny black eyes.  Too cute!

So, even though I didn’t get to see a lot of fungus, I did get to see a lot of lovely critters… and that made my morning!   The dog and I walked around the area for about 2 hours and then headed back to the car.

And he’s a short video of the buck: http://youtu.be/pgyT2314iRo