Another Tuleyome Tales Article Published

My “Tuleyome Tales” article and photos on Great Horned Owls was published in the Daily Democrat newspaper over the weekend.  Yay!

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First Encounter with a Snaketail Dragonfly

I got up around 7:30 again this morning, and headed out to the American River Bend Park.  I didn’t find the slime molds I was hoping to encounter, but I saw a lot of other neat stuff, so I was happy with the walk.  We saw the normal array of Scrub Jays, Acorn Woodpeckers, a black-footed great Egret in his mating feathers (I got some video of him walking through the shallows, eating stuff), a Great Blue Heron, Tree Swallows, Turkey Vultures, and Wild Turkeys.  There were Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars all over the place, and we saw a Tussock Moth caterpillar, Crane Flies, a Snake Fly, a Yellow Sac spider and her glob of eggs, and an absolutely gorgeous yellow and black Bison Snaketail dragonfly.  I’d never seen one of them before; that was neat find.  He even let me coax him up onto my finger so I could get more close-ups of him.  They’re called “snaketails” because the end of their tail is broadened like the hood of a cobra.  Very kewl!  On the river we also spied a mama Mallard duck and her three babies.  I was worried that the little ones would be tugged downstream by the current, but they were strong little swimmers.  Mama had her hands… err… webbed feet full with the three of them.

Duckling season!  I’ll have to get over to the duck pond in town and see if the mamas there have kiddies yet…

The dog and I walked for about 2 ½ hours before starting back home again.

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Cotton Tails and Orb Weavers

I let myself sleep in a tiny bit on Saturday, and didn’t get up until after 7:30 am.  I did some laundry and had a little breakfast, and then went out to the Cosumnes River Preserve — and pretty much the place all to myself for about 2½ hours.  Wow, that was nice!  We had a lot of rain yesterday, and I really wanted to get over to the American River Bend Park to see if there was any slime mold waking up — but the trails were closed for a marathon today…  The riparian area at the Cosumnes River Preserve isn’t as nice at the area at the American River, but I made due.  Saw a lot of damselflies in a variety of colors, including black ones, brilliant blue ones, and pale multicolored ones.  I also saw quite a few Cottontail Rabbits.  One came out onto the path and posed for me a couple of times, so I got lots of photos and some video of him.  They’re not as big as the Jack Rabbits at the River Bend Park, but are sure cute!

I later came across a spider I’d never seen before; it had an odd-shaped hump on its back (like a traffic cone) and sat with all of its legs gathered up around its face.  Weird.  I looked it up as soon as I got home and found out it was a kind of Trash-line Orb Weaver spider (Cyclosa conica).  I’d seen trash-line webs before, but never a spider like this one; so that was kewl.  There was also a tiny bright yellow Araneus orb spider with an egg sac that was almost bigger than she was.  Further on, I got my first in-person look at an American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis).  At first all I saw was a yellow flash go by me, and then I saw it perching in the wetland area on some tule.  Such a pretty little thing.  On the way back to the car, I saw some Tiger Swallowtail butterflies flitting around through all the weeds and wildflowers that abutted the parking lot area.  More pretty pretties… so it was a nice trip.

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Easter at the River Bend Park

At the American River Bend Park it was far less crowded than the stores in the morning.  (Thank goodness.)  The Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars are now out in force; they’re almost everywhere you look.  I also found a Tussock Moth caterpillar on the side of an oak tree, and several Red Admiral caterpillars getting fat on stinging nettles.  We came across a young male Mule Deer who was just starting to get his antler buds, and a handsome male Egret in his mating feathers (although his doo kind of got mussed by the wind).  We also saw a female Merganser duck and a Red-Cheeked Slider Turtle sharing a rock in the river.  The water level is pretty low right now, which makes it easier for the turtles to go out deeper into the river to sun bathe. And we saw lizards, a fat cricket, and other bugs…  The buckeye chestnut trees are starting to get their blooms and the cow vetch is all pretty in purple… A lovely walk…

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