Slept in a tiny bit today and got up around 7:30 am. I was tentatively planning on heading up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge because the weather was supposed to be lovely today (crisp and clear with hardly any wind) which is good for birding… but I was just too tired to make that long drive. So, I went over to the American River Bend Park and walked around for about 3 hours.
I was hoping to see some coral fungus (it’s wet enough for them to start making their appearance), but nope. I did get to see lots of mushrooms of different colors and sizes, including some large Jack-o-Lantern mushrooms: they’re bright orange and considered to be “mildly” toxic (although I don’t know how poison can really ever be considered “mild”). There was a lot of cup fungus out, too. Mostly the palomino-colored stuff, but I also found some that were deep purple. I think those were Ascocoryne cylichnium, known as Purple Jelly Disks. Among the leaf litter I was also pleased to find a couple of different kinds of slime mold: yellow-orange and white.
Along the river, I got to see a Great Blue Heron posing in the early-morning light, along with a pair of Common Mergansers. And I got some shots of a tiny Hermit Thrush. They’re so cute… then I came across what seemed to be a small bachelor group of mule deer: one with no antlers yet, a young 1½ prong buck (the prongs were really too small to count as 2) and a mature 4-prong buck. In that same area, I also found some bones: an almost fulling intact small animal skull (maybe a skunk or a small dog – like a Chihuahua — based solely on its canine teeth); and the top portion of a larger skull that was broken into pieces. There were no teeth around associated with the larger skull so I’m not sure what it was. Maybe a coyote, based on its size. The smaller skull still had some sinews around the jaw and a tiny bit of skin and fur, so it must’ve been a more recent kill than whatever the large-skulled animal was. I thought it odd that both skulls were in the same general location – as though that was a place that a larger animal regularly went to when it wanted a little privacy to eat.
As I said, I walked around for about 3 hours and then headed back home. When I got there, I was happy to see camellias starting to bloom on one of the bushes by the front door. There’s a pair of House Wrens that frequent that bush a lot; I wonder if they’re thinking of building a nest there.
I took a little while to settle in at the house, then changed into my pajamas – which I wore for the rest of the day. As an extended birthday treat for myself, I cooked up a small duck and had that with salad, ripe green olives, and champagne. I think I’ve now milked just about everything I can out of my birthday. Hah!