Fungi, a Coyote and a Great Horned Owl, 01-28-18

I headed out to the American River Bend Park for a walk this morning. It was overcast and foggy, and about 38º there. Brrr!

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular so I just ambled around the park, taking this trail and then that one. I came across quite a few different mushrooms and other fungi including some Blewits, Mycena, Russula, Black Jelly Roll and Witch’s Butter, and Elfin Saddles.

What really stood out for me, though, were the little Western Bluebirds who were flying around, courting and looking for early places to set up their nests. They’re such pretty little birds.

CLICK HERE for an album of photos.

While I was following them around, I saw a big nest in a nearby tree and took some photos of it. I realized there was something in the nest, so I used my zoom lens to see if I could tell what it was. A Great Horned Owl! Wow! I approached the tree to try to get a better view of the bird, and it didn’t like that. The owl flew off, wings totally silent, across the forest and into another tree too far away for me to get any good pictures of her there. But how cool to be able to see it. If it keeps that nest through the breeding season, it should make for really great photos throughout the next several months.

At another point, I was walking through a field and caught sight of a coyote loping through the grass. I got him into my camera’s eyesight… just as some kid came by on the trail and screamed, “Coyote! Hi, Coyote!” and the coyote ran off. Guh!

I walked for about 3 hours and then went back home

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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.