A New Slime Mold and Lots of Deer, 12-24-19

I got up at 7:00 this morning and after giving Esteban his breakfast, I headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my regular volunteer trail walking gig.  It was literally freezing outside, 32°F, when I got to the preserve, clear and crisp, with frost on the ground and a little bit of lingering fog in the shadier places. By the afternoon clouds rolled in; it’s suppose to rain tonight and into tomorrow.

Start Time: 7:30 am
Start Temperature: 32º F
End Temperature: 49º F
Weather: Freezing, foggy,clear skies
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 4.5 hours
Kilometers Walked: 3
Number of Individual Species Noted Today: 36

The frost was the first thing I encountered when I got onto the trails.  It was glistening from plants everywhere, and on the leaf litter on the ground. Although I was able to capture some of the hoariness of the frost with the camera, it just didn’t capture the glistening as I hoped it might.  Still, I enjoyed being able to see it. It doesn’t get this cold that often around here, so I appreciate the “specialness” of very cold, frosty days.

Frost of the leaf of a Valley Oak, Quercus lobata

Because of the cold, I wasn’t really expecting to see a lot while I was out and was content to just enjoy the crisp air and exercise, but there were actually LOTS of deer out today…and I find a new (to me) slime mold, so I was very pleased with that.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

 After “discovering” the frost, I saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting up in a tree over the trail. It was all hunkered in on itself trying to warm up as the sun inched up a little more every few minutes.  Then I started seeing deer, after deer, after deer, including two of the big bucks and a couple of younger bucks among the does and yearling fawns.  The big boys were sitting on the ground with their small harems of does around them. 

One doe actually stepped out away from her fawn to come nearer the trail and check me out.  I was in a heavy green jacket and had my scarf wrapped around my neck and face to keep out the cold, and I don’t think she could really tell WHAT I was.  She walked up to within about 8 or 10 feet of me, sniffed at the air, stepped forward a little bit more, sniffed at the air from a different direction, and then, I presume, figured I wasn’t that interesting and walked away.  Her fawn followed after her into the tall grass.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus

I came across several different species of mushrooms and some nice specimens of Black Jelly Roll fungus, but nothing I hadn’t seen before.  I noticed at one point on the trail a Dad had left the trail itself and walked off into the brush to check something out while his wife and toddler stood nearby. I was just about to go over to them and ask them to get back onto the trail when the Dad came out from the brush smiling.  “That’s a new Galerina for me. I think it might be Galerina marginata, but I’m not sure.”  Hah!  A fellow fungus hunter! 

Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa, along with Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia, Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata, and Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina

I also found an old owl pellet near the trail with some leg bones still intact in it, and also came across a field that was fill of frosty-dew-covered spiders’ webs. Got quite a few photos of those.

Orb-Weaver spider, Neoscona sp. [web]

But the big find of the day for me was of the slime mold I had never seen before. I think it’s Spotted Trichia, Trichia botrytis.  It was in its fruiting stage and looked like groupings of tiny deep red (almost black) globes on stalks. Some of the globes were darker than others, and some had matured and swollen enough so that the surface looked spotted (dark red with yellowish tan underneath).

The next step will be for the globes to go to spore.  When they get to that stage, the surface dries out and peels back like petals of a flower to release the slime mold’s yellow spores.  Coolness!

I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed back home.

Species List:

  • Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  • Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
  • Bryum Moss, Bryum capillare
  • California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  • California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  • California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  • Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  • Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
  • European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  • Fairy Ring Mushroom, Scotch Bonnet, Marasmius oreades
  • False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum Ostrea
  • Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  • Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  • Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  • Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
  • Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus androsaceus
  • Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  • Jelly Spot Fungus, Dacrymyces stillatus
  • Narrowleaf Cattail, Cattail, Typha angustifolia
  • Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  • Orb-Weaver spider, Neoscona sp. [web]
  • Peregrine Falcon, Wek-Wek, Falco peregrinus
  • Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  • Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  • Sheet-web spider, Family: Linyphiidae
  • Split Porecrust, Schizopora paradoxa
  • Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  • Spotted Trichia Slime Mold, Trichia botrytis
  • Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  • Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  • Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  • Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  • Western Sycamore, Platanus racemosa
  • White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  • Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica
  • Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis