I headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my walk today. When I got there, it was early-morning sunny and very breezy. A sign at the front of the trails let people know that the winds could bring down parts of the trees and trees might fall and block the trails, so take caution. The winds were about 25 mph and pretty constant; sometimes you’d get a heavy gust but nothing that would knock you or spin you around. Every once in a while, I’d get attacked by a dust devil or swirls of fallen leaves, but I didn’t encounter anything more ferocious than that.
Because of the winds, though, I didn’t see any rabbits and the deer where kind of hunkered down in more protected areas rather than being out in the fields. Prey animals like the big-eared mule deer and rabbits depend a lot on hearing, and when it’s really windy, the sound of the moving air messes up their auditory input. They can differentiate between a gust of wind moving through the grass and a predator moving through the grass, so they try to stay sheltered from the wind when they can. The deer I saw were all in the shelter of trees or browsing close to tall stands of bushes.
I saw a few of the younger bucks today, including some spike bucks, a 2-pointer and a three-pointer. One of the spike bucks was feeling his oats and running and stotting all over the place. He ran across the trail right in front of me and then came to a crashing halt when the 3-point buck stepped into view. Hah! You could almost hear the brakes screeching.
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There were a lot of Turkey Vultures out and about, riding the swirling gusts of wind into the sky and zooming down again. It looked like they were having fun. Not too, too many little birds were skittering around, though. I’m assuming the they didn’t want to have to fight the wind unless it was entirely necessary.
Although we seldom get a lot, we’re just starting to see some Fall color around here. The Chinese Pistache trees, Liquidambars, and Trees of Heaven are starting to turn orange and fiery red. We need one good cold snap for them to go into full-color mode.
I didn’t see any migrating waterfowl in the river, but there were a few gulls, Mallards, Common Mergansers and a Great Blue Heron. Oh, and I saw a Spotted Sandpiper (without its spots) bopping around a rock in the water.
Among a small group of female Wild Turkeys, I saw the one with the injured leg again. When I was trying to get some video of her, some of the other ends moved in around her – almost as if in a “protective” mode. I was expecting them to take advantage of her injury and knock her around, but they didn’t. I was kind of surprised by that.
Not surprisingly, I saw a lot of Wild Turkey tracks on the trails, along with deer track, and what I think were a jackrabbit’s and raccoon’s tracks.
On my way out of the preserve I found a Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting in a tree next to the demonstration pond. He posed for a while and then took off low over the ground, making the ground squirrels “cheep!” their alarm calls.
I walked for about 3 ½ hours and then headed back home.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Cottonwood, Fremont Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- Feral Honeybees, Apis mellifera
- Flax-Leaf Horseweed, Erigeron canadensis
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
- Liquidambar, Liquid Amber Tree, Liquidambar styraciflua
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Raccoon, Procyon lotor
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius
- Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
- Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Gull, Larus occidentalis
- Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis