Vacation Day 7: Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve

DAY 7 OF MY VACATION.  I got up around 7:15 this morning and headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. Traffic that early in the morning on a Friday was hideous, of course, so it took longer to get to the preserve than it normally would. Still, I got there without incident – and made it there before the busload of ferrets showed up.

CLICK HERE to see the album of photos.

There seemed to be deer everywhere today. Lots of moms and their babies. At one point along the trail, there were two moms with their sets of still-nursing twins. They stopped to keep an eye on me while their babies checked out the nearby twigs and grass.  One of the older females stepped right out onto the trail and headed right toward me as though to say, “Don’t mess with the kids.”  I kept quiet and stood my ground, and the group hung around me for about 10 minutes or so before continuing on.  Some of them would sniff the air to check me out, and the one older mom kept watching me, ready to step up if she had to… It was kind of neat. I later came across a pair of 2-point bucks, but they were walking away from me, so I didn’t get any really good photos of them.

At another point, I heard an Acorn Woodpecker making a lot of noise and thrashing its head up and down – which they usually do when there’s a predator too close to their tree.  Then I saw a Cooper’s Hawk fly out with the woodpecker chasing after it.  The hawk landed in a nearby tree for a little while and then took off again after the woodpecker decided to leave it alone.

The only sighting of coyotes today was super-fresh scat on the trail.  It looked like the coyote was eating whatever it could find, including some green wild grapes, grass, seeds and other stuff…

I also saw several Red-Shouldered Hawks.  Most of them were in flight, and the one that landed somewhere where I could see it was pretty far away, so I didn’t get any really good shots of them.  Other bird sightings included Spotted Towhees, Golden-Crowned Sparrows and Song Sparrows, along with a few Mallards.

I walked around for about 2 hours and then headed back to the car.

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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.