Redbuds and Slime Molds at the River Park

Redbud Tree. ©2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.
Redbud Tree. ©2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.

I got up around 7:00 am.  A big storm was expected to move in later this afternoon so I figured I’d better get outside while it was still relatively dry outside.  Almost made it.  It did start raining, but nothing too heavy…  I went over to the American River Bend Park and walked around for about 3 hours.  There was lots of Dog Vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) out today, and I could tell by looking at the patches of it that Friday had been a BIG day for the stuff.  It goes to spore quickly, and I could see huge areas where it was already crusted over and going dark.  Yesterday those areas would have all been covered with bright yellow froth…  Missed it.  Dang it. Still, I got to see some smaller patches of the stuff, and also came across some White Finger slime mold (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa) in another spot (but it was already going dark, too.)

In the high grass I saw a lot of Giraffe’s Head, Blue Dicks and Woodland Stars; and the Valley Sedge is starting to show off.  I also came across some Stinging Nettles (Urtica urens).  They were right next to a large mushroom.  I always forget what those guys look like until I get stung by one.  The plants have microscopic hairs on them called trichomes that inject histamine and other crap into your skin when you brush up against them.  It burns like heck for 10 to 20 minutes, but doesn’t do any damage (at least not to my skin).  Still, it’s really annoying and painful.  I should knew better, but the dang plants get me at least once every spring…

The oak trees are starting to sport their catkins – to which a lot of people are allergic – and the Redbud trees were all in bloom.  There’s one very large Redbud in the park that shows off every year, and it was standing in all its pink glory when I was there today.  So pretty.  I also got to see some fungi including mushrooms, jellies and puff balls.   Didn’t see any deer today, but I did get some photos of a Red-Shouldered Hawk, some Canada Geese, and a Great Egret.

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And here’s a time-lapse video of the Dog Vomit Slime mold so you can see how it changes over the course of a day:

I also encountered two of my pet peeves on the trail: a bicyclist on the “no bicycles” nature trail.  He was going fast right down the middle of the narrow trail; I had to step off the trail into the wet grass so he wouldn’t run me over.  And then there was a jerk walking his dog off-leash (which is illegal) but holding a leash in his hand – like that helps.  His dog walks right up to me and puts its giant nose in my groin.  Uh.  Idiot Human, get control of your animal!  I hate those kinds of people: the ones who go through life thinking the rules apply to everyone else on the planet except them.  Must be nice to have no have no scruples…

Anyway, when I was done with my walk, I headed home, stopping at Togo’s to pick up some sandwiches.  Then I relaxed with the dogs for the rest of the day.  We had some hard rain in the late afternoon, but the major storm didn’t hit until the evening.