All Sorts of Critters Were Out Today! 07-30-17

I got up around 5:30 and headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve.  The sun was just coming up as I got there.

When I first started walking the trail, I could hear Wild Turkeys in the trees around me, so I looked for them.  They were waaaaaaaaay the heck up in the trees, about 60 or 70 feet up squeaking and gibbering at each other.  They’re not super strong fliers, but they can travel short distances when they want to.  As they came out of the trees, though, I could hear them crashing through leaves and branches.  One zoomed right over my head and landed (not too gracefully) in a tree down the trail from me.

Click Here for the full album of photos and video snippets.

As I was walking down another part of the trail, I saw two fawns hiding in the branches of some low-growing tree, so I stopped to look at them.  They were caught between being scared and being curious. One would inch its way forward and then retreat while the other stuck its nose out toward me to check my scent… I went around the side of the trees – but slowly, haltingly, because I didn’t want to startle them – and saw their mom coming toward me from across a shallow field.  She had left her kids in the shade while she browsed.  When the fawns saw her, they ran right up to her and started to nurse. So cute!  I got a little video of that.  Then. While the babies were out n the open, I took a bunch of photos of them.  Their mom wasn’t too sure about my camera, so she maneuvered herself in between me and her kids, and then walked them back toward the trees.  She then went around behind me and across the trail – and the fawns went running and stotting after her.  Made my morning.

Right after I saw them, a mother Wild Turkey came down the trail with her fledgling poult. Just the one; I’m assuming she lost the others.  There are a lot of coyotes around there.  In fact, as I was heading out of the preserve later, I saw one of the docents standing in front of the nature center. “You just missed a great shot,” she said.

“Mother and fawn?” I asked.

“Mother chasing a coyote away from her fawn!”

Whoa.

I came across other deer, including another female with one fawn that was a little older than the spotted twins but still “snack sized”.  And I saw two bucks in their velvet. I was able to get some photos of one of them, but the other one bolted as soon as he saw me.

Lot to Fox Squirrels and California Ground Squirrels around. It seemed like every Fox Squirrel I saw was chewing through the hide of a black walnut. One of the Ground Squirrels was makings its loud chirp!-chirp!-chirp! alarm call.  There was actually a Siamese cat out there, stalking it. The cat gave up, though, when the squirrel kept up its racket.

I got to see and get some photos of a Flame Skimmer dragonfly as well as a blue Pondhawks, and also found my first Saucer and Spiny Turban galls of the season.  More wasp galls should be making their appearance over the next month or so.

So I got to see a lot of different things on my 3 ½ hour walk, then I headed back home.

Posted by

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. In 2018 Ms. Hanson will help 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 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.