Mostly Deer and the Stink-Eye from a Hawk, 08-27-19

Around 6:00 am, I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my normal Tuesday volunteer trail-walking thing.  I know it was going up to 102º today, so I kept the walk relatively short.  It was 63º at the river when I got there; and it was already 82º by the time I left around 9:30 am.  My fellow trail-walker Mary Messenger (The Other Mary) had arrived a few minutes before I did, so we walked together for the most part.

It seemed like only the deer were out in force today, so we got some fairly good photos of them, and we also saw a young Red-Shouldered Hawk and a few other birds.  Heard the Northern Flickers… I’ve missed their call. If they’re coming back it means Fall is around the corner (yay!).

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Among the deer, we saw several boys in their velvet.  Some of them were underneath the low branches of a Black Walnut tree in the shade so it was hard to get photos of them.  I snap away anyway hoping to get SOMETHING that’s useable. (It seemed like I got quite a few shots of them “yelling” – their mouths wide open as they moved their food around their teeth.)  I saw the one deer with the long face (which is think is more pure Mule Deer than the Columbian Black-Tailed subspecies), and the one that is sort of blond (which I think is the one I saw as a fawn when he had a really bad cough.)  Wish there was some way I could do a more accurate account of them as individuals.

Waaaaaatsaaaaaaap, homey?!

 We saw one fawn with its mom, but mom was very protective of it and trotted away when she saw it.  So, we basically got a lot of butt-shots of that one.

Everywhere we went, we could hear the scrape-scrape-scrape-scrape of the Eastern Fox Squirrels and Western Gray Squirrels busily chewing the husks off of the walnuts. They’re such noisy eaters! 

And I could also hear the buzzy song of the cicadas in the trees, especially around the small pond.  Apparently, it’s the males who sing – and the females who “click”. I think the species we have around here is the Say’s Cicada (based on its coloring and its sound). They’re too high up in the shrubbery for me to get any photos of them, though, – and, of course, they shut up as soon as you get close to them, so it’s hard to triangulate on their location.  Smart beasties. 

 On one part of the trail we met up with a couple of photographers, Gene and Cathy. They stopped and chatted about what they were looking for and what they’d been seeing lately.  Last week, they said, they spent about 2 hours going back and forth along the riverbank following the flight of an osprey… And then they got to see it dive into the water after a fish. The fish was so big, the bird couldn’t get up out of the water with it and had to wing-paddle its way to the shore (on the opposite side of the river) to eat it.  Wow!  How cool was that?!  We exchanged information on other sightings, like the bucks jousting in the fall, the melanistic squirrel, the first sighting of the twin fawns this year.  Gene said, “Everyone’s seen them this year but me!”  Hah! It was nice to meet them.

I was surprised when further along the same trail I encountered a group of birders and found that my former naturalist student (now graduate) Pam was among them.  She gave me a hug and let me know what she’s been up to lately.  She’s trying to learn more about birding and nature observation in general and has been volunteering with the local SPCA and wildlife rescue group.  My students rock!

As we were finishing up our walk, we caught sight of the young Red-Shouldered Hawk that seems to hang around the trees near the nature center a lot.  Definitely a boy, based on his coloring.  I think he’s figured out that there are frogs and crawfish in the little pond there, so he can grab snacks from it throughout the day.  He gave us the stink-eye for a while and then flew off.

The young Red-Shouldered Hawk by the little pond.

We also a young California Scrub Jay trying to get the meat out of a piece of a black walnut.  Those things are really solid, and when the jay smacked down on it with his beak, the nut went flying and ricocheted off of the wire fence beside him!  Then the bird just stood there for a minute, looking kind of embarrassed… Hah!

Because it was heating up quickly outside by then, The Other Mary and I cut our walk short and headed back to our respective homes. 


1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
2. Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus (nymph)
3. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
4. Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, Tramea lacerate
5. Black Walnut Tree, Juglans nigra
6. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
7. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
8. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
9. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
10. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
11. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
12. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
13. Fiery Skipper, Hylephila phyleus
14. Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
15. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
16. Flax-Leaf Horseweed, Erigeron canadensis
17. Jimson Weed, Datura stramonium
18. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus (heard)
19. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
20. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
21. Red Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus
22. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
23. Ribbed Cocoon-Maker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella
24. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
25. Say’s Cicada, Okanagana rimosa rimosa (heard)
26. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus (heard)
27. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
28. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
29. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus