Mostly Deer and Woodpeckers, 11-10-19

I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my weekly volunteer trail-walking gig there. It was 48º at the preserve when I got there.  Still chilly enough that there was a little bit of ground fog in the shadier parts of the preserve and rising steamy fog on the surface of the American River which was neat to see. 

I saw a lot of Acorn Woodpeckers and Scrub Jays today, all of them vying for the acorns remaining on the oak trees.  The Acorn Woodpeckers were also shuffling their cached seeds between limbs and sometimes even between trees, getting things to fit properly in the holes they’d drilled so the acorns didn’t fall out.

Lots of deer out again today, too.  I only saw one of the really big bucks, the three-pointer with the really tall antlers, but saw quite a few does and their fawns and yearlings.  I’ve gotten so I can pretty accurately tell the male from the female fawns just by looking at their faces.  The females have “softer” features than the males.  But to get to the point where you notice that, you have to look at a LOT of deer. 

One spike buck was following after a loan doe but trying to be “cool” and not let her see that he was following her.  Hah! Those horny guys are so funny.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

About halfway through my walk, I had to stop to change out the ScanDisk card. They fill up sometimes, and the whole camera “chokes” until I put in a new one.  Of course, that happened just as I came across a pair of young bucks that were starting to joust, a two-pointer and a spike. I got a video snippet of them, but they were mostly obscured by tall grass and weeds.

I’m thinking that next year when I put together my species list, I’ll also do a count of how many of each thing I see.  I may have to guestimate when I encounter large flocks of birds and fields of wildflowers, but the data might prove interesting in the long run.  I can also submit my data to some of the online citizen science venues like Ebird (  There’s also a list of different citizen science projects through #CalNat at

On my way out of the preserve, I got some photos of Golden-Crowned Sparrows bathing in the small demonstration pond near the nature center, and I got my first glimpse of a Red-Breasted Sapsucker this year.  I’ve seen them there before, but this was the first one for this year.

I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed home.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  3. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  4. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  5. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  6. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  7. Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
  8. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis [male and female plants]
  9. Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
  10. Deer Grass, Muhlenbergia rigens
  11. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  12. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  13. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  14. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  15. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  16. Raccoon, Procyon lotor [tracks]
  17. Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Sphyrapicus ruber
  18. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  19. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  20. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  21. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis