I left about 6:30 and went over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. It was a lovely 53º when I got there (and got up to about 78º when I left).
The first thing I heard when I got there was the call of a Red-Shouldered Hawk. It was sitting in the top of a tree, a silhouette against the morning sky. I also heard a Cooper’s Hawk and saw it whiz over my head, but I lost it in the trees and couldn’t get any photos of it.
I also spotted a coyote on the trail across a shallow meadow from me, and I managed to get a few photos of it before it caught sight of me, turned around and loped away.
I noticed a half-orb spider web among some tall weeds but couldn’t quite get the camera to focus on it. Then I remembered I had a small spritz-bottle filled with water in my bag, so I used that to wet the web. The tiny drops of mist attached themselves to the strands of the web and I was able to see it and photograph it more easily. The spider probably wasn’t too thrilled with the unexpected “rain fall”, though. Hah!
The water in the river seemed to be lower and flowing more slowly today. I saw Common Mergansers resting on the rocks and could hear the Killdeer screaming at each other out there.
I also saw my first Sulphur Shelf Fungus of the season. This is a fungus that doesn’t like it when it’s real rainy, so it usually shows up in September or October, well ahead of the other fungi.
I got to see quite a few California Ground Squirrels, including some young ones who were peering and darting out of the mouth of one of their burrows before mom came out and got them back indoors. Hah! So cute!
The stand-out sighting, though, was finding several good examples of one of my favorite odd galls today on my walk: the Alder Tongue Gall. It’s caused by a fungus, Taphrina alni, that affects the female pseudocones on the White Alder trees and causes the cones to form long tongue-like tendrils that start out green and turn bright ruby pink. When the fungus goes to spore, all of the tongues turn black and disintegrate.
While I was taking these photos, I could hear a noise on the trail behind me, so I turned around… and found a mama deer with her twin fawns! One of the fawns had a red very sore-looking scrape all the down its nose. I wonder how it got that. It didn’t dampen the little fawn’s spirit, but it sure looked painful. I actually got a video snippet of him nursing.
I actually saw quite a few deer today, including two other does with their single fawns. Most of the fawns are out of their spots now, but I saw one that was still sporting some spots on its rump. The bucks look like they’re still in their velvet, but they should be shedding that over the next month or so.
I walked for about 3 ½ hours and then headed back to the house.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Alder Tongue Gall fungus, Taphrina alni
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus [nymph]
- Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- Buffalo Treehopper, Stictocephala bisonia [exuvia]
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
- Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
- Cottonwood, Fremont Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Coyote, Canis latrans
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Feral Honeybees, Apis mellifera
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
- Lady’s Thumb, Persicaria maculosa
- Meadow Spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius [spittle and larva]
- Nude Buckwheat, Eriogonum nudum
- Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
- Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
- Western Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
- Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
- White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia