Vacation Day One: American River Bend Park

Day One of my vacation.  I got up around 7:15 this morning and headed out to the American River Bend Park for a walk.  The weather was perfect while I was out there, starting out around 50° with a bit of a breeze, and then getting up to about 70° by the time I headed home.

Spring was fully “sprung” at the park and I got to see the Wild Turkey in strut, Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly eggs, hatchlings and some nearly adult caterpillars (as well as the adult butterflies everywhere), Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, Buckeyes and Painted Ladies.  And I think I saw a Monarch, but it was too far away to be sure.  I also got some photos of the Mule Deer (mostly does and their yearlings), several hawks (including a gorgeous red-eyed Cooper’s Hawk who posed for me near her nest), Acorn Woodpeckers, Spotted Towhees, Tree Swallows and other birds.  The Tree Swallows are pretty noisy little dudes, and I was able to locate two of their nests because of that.  One of the nests was too high for me to get any good shots of it, but the second one was closer to the ground, and I was able to photograph the mama looking out through the nest-hole.  I also saw a bunch of Lady Bugs, Craneflies, Snakeflies, Damselflies, wasps, mosquitoes, moths, crickets, Boxelder Beetles, and what I think was a Common Soldier Beetle (Cantharis pellucida).  When the trail took me closer to the river, I saw two cormorants sunning themselves on the rocks.

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There was so much to see that I got carried away and lost track of time.  I ended up walking for almost 4½ hours!  That’s waaaaay too long for me, and by the time I got back to the car, my feet and ankles were killing me. I stopped at Togo’s on the way home to pick up some sandwiches for “linner” and could barely walk across the parking lot.