I got up a bit after 7:00 this morning and headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my weekly volunteer trail walking gig there. It was about 47° when I got there and about 62° when I left, so I only needed to wear my light jacket (and actually took that off about halfway through my walk). I got to the preserve right around 8:00 am.
The first thing I noticed was that I didn’t the pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks at the nest they were building in a tree at the head of the main trail. I don’t know if I just missed them, or if they’ve chosen somewhere else to nest… I saw and heard Red-Shouldered Hawks all over the preserve today, so they’re out there.
I also heard a lot of male California Quails “chi-ca-going” at each other, so I tried to track them down. One sounded like it was near the riverside but I couldn’t see it. Another was calling from the scraggly undercover near an oak tree ahead of me on the trail, so I waited for him. He eventually came out with one female, and they ran up the trail then into the rocks by the river… so I got butt-shots of them, but nothing face forward. Still, I got hear and see them which is always a treat. They’re such funny, pretty little birds with their dingle-ball headgear.
CLICK HERE for the album of photos.
I also watched some Common Mergansers, a male and a female, fishing in the river with wither faces in the water.
I got to see quite a few deer – at one point, I was able to count 21 of them disbursed on either side of the trail. Most of them were in places where they were backlit by the rising sun, so… not as many good photos as I was hoping for. Most of the deer are shedding their winter coats and look a bit “choppy” all over.
Rachael, the volunteer coordinator at the preserve, told me the bucks were losing their antlers already. But that seemed early to me (they can usually keep them through March); and I’ve seen lots of bucks who still have them – even today . Deborah Dash, one of my naturalist class graduates, recently posted a photo from one of her walks that looks like a male that just shed his antlers… so, I don’t know. It still seems early to me.
Everything in Nature is screwed up by Climate Change, though, and the fact that we’ve had some days in the 70’s here in February is symptomatic of that, I think.
I was also able to find maybe a dozen of the galls of the Two-Horned Gall Wasp on the Live Oak trees, and those seemed to be too early, too. I hope the tiny larvae inside the galls don’t freeze when the temperature drops down to “normal” again.
As I walked along, I could hear the members of bachelor groups of Wild Turkeys fighting with one another. They have to set the hierarchy in place before the mating season starts, and fights can get pretty aggressive. The fights I heard were over before I got to the birds, so I missed those, but I was still able to get some photos of some of the individual males.
I also saw some Jackrabbits today. Seems like “forever” since I’ve seen them. They’re the heralds of Spring to me.
I walked for about 3 ½ hours and then headed home.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
- Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- Bird Hoverfly, Eupeodes volucris
- Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
- Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- California Quail, Callipepla californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Dry Rock Pimple, Staurothele areolata
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Cream Narcissus, Narcissus tazetta
- Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
- Cumberland Rock-Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- Farinose Cartilage Lichen, Ramalina farinacea [like Oakmoss but very thin branches]
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
- Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
- Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
- Ink Lichen, Placynthium nigrum [pitch black, fine grained]
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Jack-o-Lantern, Western Jack-o-Lantern, Omphalotus olivascens
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
- Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Big Leaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Netted Crust Fungus, Byssomerulius corium
- Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
- Olive Tree, Olea europaea
- Periwinkle, Vinca major
- Pin-cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Shrubby Sunburst Lichen Polycauliona Candelaria
- Slime Mold, Spotted Trichia Slime Mold, Trichia botrytis
- Soap Plant, Wavy Leafed Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Stonewall Rim Lichen, Lecona muralis
- Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha
- Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans
- Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys