Found Some Elfin Saddles in the Rain

I got up a little after 7:00 this morning and headed out to the American River Pend Park.  It was overcast and sprinkling very lightly when I got there, and just as I drove down the entry road, a hawk in a tree caught my eye.  So I pulled over and walked into a part of the park and along part of the river I’ve never seen before.  The hawk  flew off, so I didn’t get any photos of him, but I did see quite a few other birds – Flickers, Scrub Jays, Towhees, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye Ducks, geese, Killdeer, Starlings, etc. — and I also came across quite a few mule deer, so that was a fun segue.  Then I drove into my favorite part of the park and started walking, the rain getting heavier and heavier all along the way.  I was hoping to see some neat slime molds and ‘shrooms, but was hampered by the rain.  I did get to see a large crop of Helvella lacunosa, also known as the Fluted Elfin Saddle; there were mostly black ones but a few chalky white ones, too. These bad boys are often overlooked because they like burnt ground and often look like little charred bits of wood or burnt paper.  There were so many of them in this one spot, though, that they were really conspicuous.  I wanted to stay out there longer, but it started pouring… and I’d left my umbrella at the office. D’oh!  Overall, I’d spent about 2 hours at the park before heading home.