I got up around 7:00 am and was out the door by about 7:30 to go for a walk at the American River Bend Park. It was sunny but cool at the river, about 46° when I got there.
Weather: Mostly sunny, a little haze
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 5 hours
Start Time: 8:00 am
End Time: 12:00 pm
Start Temperature: 46º F
End Temperature: 58º F
Miles Walked: 2
I was looking for fungi and wanted to get some closeup photos of the soredia on Oakmoss Lichen, but also saw and heard quite a few birds along the way. There was a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks flying back and forth between a couple of trees. I wonder if they were picking a nesting spot. In the river, I saw Buffledheads and Common Goldeneye. They’re both ducks in the genus Bucephala and I wonder if they ever interbreed.
There was also a female Common Merganser and a Snowy Egret nearby on the shore. And when I stopped to get some photos and video of a small flock of Lesser Goldfinches, I was surprised to see a couple of White-Breasted Nuthatches and Northern Flickers who came down into the same area. And them some Spotted Towhees started bathing in a puddle just up the trail. Stand still, and nature comes to you… sometimes.
Part of my research today included turning over some larger logs to see who or what was living underneath them, and in doing so, I came across two different species of Darkling Beetles. Darklings, also called “Stink Bugs” (although technically they’re not bugs, they’re beetles) are what mealworms grown up to be. There are over 20,000 species (!) of them worldwide so properly identifying them can be a bit tricky.
I usually base my IDs on some major identifiers like the shape and size of pronotum (between the head and the abdomen), the segments in the antennae, and the markings on the elytra (the wing covers). Some are smooth and glossy, some have striped grooves, some had pits… Nature is so diverse.
I also found three different kinds of slime mold including White Spheroid, Lilac Physarum and Tan Bullet! The colors and shapes of these things always amaze me.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos
As I mentioned, I made a point of looking for the soredia on Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri. One specimen gave me views of the soredia AND apothecia, AND also had some Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona Candelaria growing on it. A three-fer!
There were lots and lots of Inkcap mushrooms around, and quite a number of Blewits, too. I was happy to see some Red-Cracking Bolete mushrooms, also called Russian Reds, at the park. I haven’t seen them there for almost a decade! Boletes have tubes under the cap instead of gills, and some of them stain blue when you cut them.
My sister Melissa had postulated that we’re seeing more fungi this year because of the foggy mornings, and I think she’s really onto something there. With the protracted drought, we didn’t have much fog over the past several years, whereas, this year we’re having a lot of fog.
I also found a really nice grouping of six Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus quercophilus, on a leaf. This kind of mushroom can dry up into little pin-prick sized ‘shrooms when it’s hot outside, survive the summer, and then reappear as full-sized mushrooms in the next rainy season. They LOVE leaf litter.
When I was getting some close ups of some Black Jelly Roll fungus, I could see a tiny pink creature crawling on it, so I switched from photo to video and got a little snippet of its movements. It was a Pink Elongated Springtail, Podura sp. In the video you see it walking along, falling over, and then springing away.
They move sooooo fast when they spring you can’t keep track of them. Here’s a cool article on springtails and their “mysterious” collophore: https://entomologytoday.org/2015/08/27/the-collophore-helps-put-the-spring-in-springtails/
So, I ended up seeing a lot more than I was actually looking for, which always makes for a fun walk. I was so involved with what I was seeing, too, that I lost track of time. At one point, I wondered why I was so tired… until I looked at the time and realized I’d been walking for about 4 hours! Time flies when you’re ‘shrooming.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Anomodon Moss, Anomodon attenuates [low lying, soft, bushy moss]
- Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
- Barometer Earthstar fungus, Astraeus hygrometricus
- Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Cavalier Mushroom, Melanoleuca melaleuca
- Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Common Ink Cap Mushroom, Coprinopsis atramentaria
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Crystal Brain Fungus, Granular Jelly Roll, Myxarium nucleatum
- Darkling Beetle, Eleodes scabrosus [pitted pronotum and elytra]
- Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat, Bradysia sp. [larvae]
- Deer Shield Mushroom, Pluteus cervinus
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Fairy Ring Mushroom, Scotch Bonnet, Marasmius oreades
- False Turkey Tail fungus, Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum
- Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
- Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Green Trichoderma Mold, Trichoderma viride
- Honey Fungus, Ringless Honey Fungus, Armarilla tabescens
- Horsehair Mushroom, Oak-leaf Pinwheel, Gymnopus quercophilus
- Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus androsaceus
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
- Miner’s Lettuce Claytonia perfoliate
- Mower’s Mushroom, Haymaker Mushroom, Panaeolus foenisecii
- Netted Crust Fungus, Byssomerulius corium
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
- Obscure Darkling Beetle, Eleodes obscura [striped grooves on elytra]
- Palomino Cup Fungus, Peziza repanda
- Pink Elongated Springtail, Podura sp.
- Pleated Ink Cap, Parasol Ink Cap, Parasola plicatilis
- Pleated Marasmius, Red-Thread Mushroom, Marasmius plicatulus
- Pocket-Stalked Russula, Russula cerolens [white stipe and yellow-tan gills]
- Purple Core, Bluet, Blewit, Clitocybe nuda (Lepista nuda)
- Rain-Beetle, Pterostichus melanarius [black, shiny pronotum, grooved elytra]
- Red-Cracking Bolete, Russian Red, Xerocomellus chrysenteron
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Shrubby Sunburst Lichen Polycauliona Candelaria
- Silky Pink Gill Mushroom, Nolanea sericea (Entoloma sericeum ssp. sericeum)
- Slime Mold, Lilac Physarum Slime Mold, Physarum globuliferum
- Slime Mold, Tan Bullet Slime Mold, Arcyria cinereal
- Slime Mold, White Spheroid Slime Mold, Physarum cinereum
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha
- Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans
- Trembling Crust Fungus, Merulius tremellosus [white or orange-tinted, forms brackets, a little bit of a tooth on the underside]
- Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
- White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
- White Jelly Fungus, Ductifera pululahuana
- White Stubble Rosegill, Volvopluteus gloiocephalusi
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica
- Yellow Fieldcap, Bolbitius titubans
- ?? Nolenae mushroom [dark brown cap]
- ?? Tiny ballooning spider