I was up around 7:00 and headed out with the dog to the American River Bend Park for our walk. It was cold, sunny and clear in our part of Sacramento (41º), but a thick fog bank had moved in at the river, so photo-taking was hampered a bit by that. Everything took on a “diffused” look in the images.
I was surprised by the number of Hevella (“Elfin Saddles”) there were all over the place; and not little ones, either. Most of them were the size of my fist. I’ve never seen them that big or that profuse here before. I also found some jelly fungus, and some large specimens of other mushrooms, including Amanita bisporigera, commonly known as Death Angels or Destroying Angels: pure white and deathly poisonous… which seemed appropriate in the foggy environment.
As I was walking along, I thought to myself that this kind of heavy fog would be great for the major predators; the smaller critters wouldn’t see them coming until it was too late. And just as that thought entered my mind, a pair of coyotes stepped out on the path in front of me. The male moved on a bit, but the female – I think she was pregnant – eyed us for quite a while. I got several photos of her, but the fog made her look “fuzzy” in all of the pictures. Still it was neat to see them… I came across another pair in another part of the park after the fog had lifted a bit, and was irritated to see some moron with his two dogs off-leash – one a big Mountain Dog and the other a small white terrier — daring the coyotes to come after the larger of his two dogs. How come some humans are the most STUPID animals in the forest? His big dog might have been a match to one coyote, but not two… and we were only seeing two; there may have been more. And why would he want them to come after his dogs at all? Idiot. The coyotes – a lot smarter than he was — didn’t take his bait and just loped off.
Along the trails, the manroot vines were already shooting up everywhere, sometimes stretching straight up from the ground to grab onto low-lying tree branches like green snakes. And the pipevines are getting their Calabash-pipe flowers on them already (about a month too soon.)
The trees were full of birds, but because of the fog I could get very many photos of them, but I still managed to get some shots of Acorn Woodpeckers, a White-Breasted Nuthatch, and a gorgeous iridescent blue Tree Swallow that was so clean and shiny she looked like she’d just come out of the salon. The fog lifted just before we left the park. The dog and I ended up walking for almost 3 hours (!) and then headed back home.