Mostly Deer and Galls Today, 08-28-16

I got up at :00 this morning, and headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve.  It was another gorgeous day: 56° when I went out to the preserve, and by 10:30 when I was heading home, it was still only 68° outside.  It didn’t get into the high 70’s until the later afternoon…

I was walking for the exercise more than anything else; just open to whatever Nature wanted to show me today.  I saw a lot of mule deer, including some babies just out of their spots and some males sporting new shiny antlers (now that the velvet has all been shed).  There was one grouping of five that stopped right in front of me along the trail near the nature center building, and it was the first time I’d ever heard deer vocalizing at one another.  The group was made up of females and some yearlings, and they made these odd, deep, low-volume “groans” at one another.  Because I’d never heard the deer make so much as a peep before, at first I didn’t believe what I was hearing.  But the sound went on for several minutes, and intensified a little bit when another female joined the group.  I wonder what they were saying to one another…

CLICK HERE for the complete album of photos from today.

All around the preserve I found a lot of galls on the oak trees; nothing new, but a wide variety of them. I also came across a pair of adult female Wild Turkeys.  Each of them had a single surviving poult, one a little older than other.  I got a little video of them walking the trail in front of me pecking at the ground for grit and seeds.

CLICK HERE to see the video.

I also came across one oak tree where some of the acorns had obviously been infested with something and were malformed and “weeping” some kind of fluid.  I know there are wasps, weevils and moths that infest acorns, but didn’t break the acorns open to see what was inside of them… And I got a couple of photos of some katydid nymphs, and the abandoned exoskeleton of a large praying mantis in the brush around the nature center.

At one of the man-made ponds I found some young Bullfrogs loitering on the rocks and fallen tules as I was heading back toward my car.  I found the frogs just as a family was coming up to the pond, so I told them about the frogs and the parents were as excited to see them as the kids were.  The mom told me this was their first time at the preserve and they’d hardly gotten in the front gate and they’d already spotted a small herd of deer and the frogs; they were very happy.

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Mary K. Hanson is a breast cancer survivor who, at age 61, took coursework to become a Certified California Naturalist. The author of “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ blog, Ms. Hanson has also written nature-based feature articles published in regional newspapers, authored over ten books, including her "Cool Stuff Along the American" series of guide books, and has had her photographs featured in books, articles, calendars, on the American River Parkway Foundation’s Instagram stream, and even the White House blog. This year Ms. Hanson is helping to launch and teach a new Certified California Naturalist course through Tuleyome, in partnership with the University of California and the Woodland Library, so members of the public can themselves become certified as naturalists in the state. All of the photos seen on her website were taken by Ms. Hanson herself (unless noted otherwise) with moderate- to low-end photographic equipment more easily affordable to the everyday nature enthusiast. She also occasionally leads photo-walks through the American River Bend Park for the public and is sometimes available for public speaking.