Mostly Deer Today

I got up around 6:30 this morning and headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my walk.  It was 33° outside when I went out, and there was a light layer of frost on the car.  It was bright and clear, with not even a hint of wind.  When I was done with my walk about 3 hours later, it was 53°…

I was hoping to be able to see some deer today, and the preserve didn’t disappoint.  It was so cold when I first got there, that the deer were all hunkered down in the thickets and long grass.  But as the sun came up a little higher, the deer stepped out and became more visible.  I also saw a couple of Red-Shouldered Hawks, some ducks, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Starlings.  I also passed by Mike Cardwell, the scientist who is doing the rattlesnake studies out on the preserve.  He had his telemetry machine out and was tracking a rattler under a log near the side of the trail.  You can read his blog on the rattlers here: http://www.eyncrattlesnakes.com/?page_id=2

Among the deer, I came across a few adult bucks in their full rack of antlers.  I also came across a pair of very young bucks – one a “spike buck” and one that just had little numbs on its head because its first antlers hadn’t come in yet.  They were play-fighting, butting their heads together and trying to wrestle one another to the ground.  As I was filming them, I could hear two loud-talking women coming up behind me.  I put a hand out, signaling them to stop, but they didn’t.  One of the women shoved past me saying, “We’ll scare them off for you,” and she and her friend walked right out to where the young bucks were playing and scared them off.  I couldn’t believe it.

I also got some video of a Wild Turkey poult.  It was walking and feeding along the side of the trail with its mother and sibling.  I don’t know if it was getting in its adult feathers or if it was going through a severe molt, but, man, it was ratty-looking.  Hah!

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

Here are the video snippets from today:

 

 

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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.