I did some journaling and checked my email before heading over to the Cosumnes River Preserve.
The temperature gauge said it was 38º at the preserve, but it felt much colder than that. My fingers were “freezing” every time I took some photos, and I had to stop now and then to plunge my hands into my pockets until they thawed out again. Brrr! It remained overcast for the whole day and never got above 50º (lingering around 45º for quite a while).
I walked around the main wetland area near the boardwalk, then crossed the street, and took the wetland path down to the nature center, then back up to the boardwalk area again. There didn’t seem to be very many birds out, but considering the chill, I wasn’t really surprised.
I did get to see a LOT of Wilson’s Snipes; they seemed to be everywhere. And I also got to see some Ring-Necked Ducks which I think are so handsome. The males have an iridescent brown ring around their neck, but you can’t see it unless the duck lifts up its head and stretched its neck (usually to show off to the females). They’re always a treat to see because they’re only in this area for a short time each winter.
There were also a couple of Turkey Vultures who had found dead stuff to snack on. One looked like it was working on the carcass of a Coot, but the other one looked like it had a goose. The thing was too big for the vulture to lift or move…
On the wetland trail I found some earthball fungus commonly called “Dead Man’s Foot” because it looks kind of like a rotting toe-less foot sticking up out of the ground. The things are gross, but they’re interesting at the same time. As they mature and ripen, the whole thing turns into a huge lump of brown spores… I also found some mistletoe (how appropriate) that was full of berries, so I pulled down a sprig to get some photos of it… and then left it for the birds and squirrels who love those things.
I walked for about 3 hours and then headed back to the house.