Testing out the Camera from Norcross

I got up around 7:15 this morning, and headed out almost immediately with Sergeant Margie to the American River Bend Park.  We walked for about three hours and saw a variety of fungi, molds, and birds.  When we first got into the park, there was a doe on the side of the road, but as soon as I got my camera out of its bag, she was already gone off into the thicket.  Dang it!  On our walk, I was surprised to see the amount of pipevine that was already in bloom along the river; it’s about a month early.  And I also saw one or two Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies — which are also early.  There isn’t enough pipevine for their babies to eat yet…  The weather is messing with the plants and critters. The dog and I took a short detour down closer to river, and saw some fry and tadpoles in the water, some fish skeletons on the shore along with some clam shells…

I had two cameras with me on this trip: my big Fujifilm camera, and a smaller pocket-sized camera that Tuleyome got with the Norcross grant.  I wanted to test it out and figure out the settings so I can teach it to folks we lend the cameras to on outings.  The little camera doesn’t do well with long-distance telephoto shots because its range is too shallow, but the macros setting on it is wonderful.  So, it’s great to take on fungus crawls or wildflower walks.  And it’s super easy to use, so it will be easy to teach others how to handle it.    Nice.  I’m glad we were able to get them.

Boids and Turtles

Around 11 o’clock, I went over to the Cosumnes River Preserve to do some bird-watching, but as most of the migrations are nearing their end here, there wasn’t a lot of interesting stuff to see.  I did spend some time taking photos of a small flock of Tree Swallows, and some turtles that were warming themselves in the sun (old Pond Turtles and some Red-Cheeked Slider Turtles).  The Sandhill Cranes are getting ready to leave for the next leg of their migration, and were flying over in large crackle-squawking flocks; that was kind of neat.  I spent about 2 hours there and then headed back home.

Two Kinds of Slime Mold!

It was overcast all day today, but no rain to speak of.  I got up around 7:30 am and headed out with the dog to the American River Bend Park to see if any mushrooms or fungus had woken up there yet.  We saw a lot of the more common mushrooms like Japanese Parasols (Parasola plicatilis), Golden Waxy Caps (Hygrophorus flavescens), reddish-orange Bell Omphalina (Xeromphalina campanella),and Sheathed Woodtuft (Kuehneromyces mutabilis)… and lots of lichens, a big polypore fungus, and some jelly fungus.  The best “catch of the day”, though, was a stump with two different kinds of slime mold growing on it: White Finger Slime Mold (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa ) and Wolf’s Milk Slime Mold (Lycogala epidendrum).  There were several stages of the White Finger including brilliant white and shiny black stages.  The Wolf’s Milk was in its early bright pink stage.  I’d seen the Wolf’s Milk before, but had never seen the White Fingers before — and had never seen two distinctly different molds growing so close to each other.  I think I took about 20 photos of just those two.  Hah!

While we were walking we caught glimpses of deer and jack rabbits, but they moved too quickly for me to get any decent photos of them.  I did get some pictures of birds, though, including a Scrub Jay, several Cedar Waxwings, and a Flicker… So, it was a good walk.  I enjoyed it a lot.

Serpentine Soil Article

My article on serpentine soil has been picked up by the Davis Enterprise newspaper and the Lake County News.  Woo-Hoo!

A 12-15-14 update:  It also appeared on the website for the West Sacramento News-Ledger!