First Slime Mold of the Season, 12-03-19

Start Time: 7:30 am
Start Temperature: 54ºF
End Temperature: 61º F
Weather: Overcast, no rain
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 4 hours
Miles Walked: 3.5
Number of Individual Species Noted Today: 47

I got up around 7:30 am and headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. I REALLY needed to get outside and walk.  My car, Vincenzo, is still in the shop today, so Melissa let me borrow her car. It was 54º at the river and overcast.  The cloud cover all day but we didn’t get any rain.

I only got periodic glimpses of the deer at the preserve, but there were a lot of different bird species around, the lichens were all fluffed up from the rains, and the fungi are starting to make an appearance like the crust fungi, jelly fungi and some spent Barometer Earthstars,

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

 I get excited about weird things… like the first slime mold sighting of the season! Woo-hoo!  I found a small specimen of Red Tube Slime Mold (Stemonitis fusca), also called Brown Tube Slime Mold or “Birthday Cake”. It starts out pure white, then the tubes lengthen and stand up on threads and the whole group turns red or pink or burgundy. Then as the mass goes to spore, it all turns brown and disintegrates into “dust”. ((The “Birthday Cake” variation of this slime mold retains light-colored tops of each of the stems, so it looks like frosting on top of a Red Velvet cake.)) You can see a video of how this slime mold forms at:

Red Tube Slime Mold, Stemonitis fusca

I saw a lot of evidence of mole activity on and around the trails, and one spot where it looked like a coyote had dug into the ground trying to get one of them.

I also found a Jerusalem Cricket in one of the puddles on the trail. It was dead, drowned, and I wondered if it had been driven there by Horsehair Worm parasites. I took photos of the cricket but didn’t cut it open to see if there were any worms in its brain or body.

Jerusalem Cricket, Stenopelmatus fuscus

In the river I tracked a huge, well-traveled, worn out Chinook Salmon in the shallows along the bank. There were gulls and Turkey Vultures sitting along the river waiting for the fish to die.

Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, swimming in the shallows

I ended up walking for about 3 hours and then headed back home.

Species List:

  1. Barometer Earthstar fungus, Astraeus hygrometricus
  2. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  3. Black Fan Fungus, Thelephora cuticularis
  4. Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Brown Jelly Fungus, Jelly Leaf, Tremella foliacea
  7. Bryum Moss, Bryum capillare
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  10. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  11. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  12. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  14. Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
  15. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  16. Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  17. Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
  18. Cottonwood, Fremont Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  19. Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
  20. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  21. False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum hirsutum
  22. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  23. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  24. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  25. Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  26. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  27. Jelly Spot Fungus, Dacrymyces stillatus
  28. Jerusalem Cricket, Stenopelmatus fuscus
  29. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  30. Mazegill Fungus, Daedalea quercina
  31. Mole, Broad-Footed Mole, Scapanus latimanus [holes and piles]   
  32. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  33. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  34. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  35. Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  36. Pipevine, California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  37. Red Tube Slime Mold, Stemonitis fusca
  38. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  39. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  40. Stereum Crust Fungus, Golden Curtain Crust, Stereum complicatum
  41. Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
  42. Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans
  43. Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
  44. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  45. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  46. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  47. Western Gull, Larus occidentalis