River Bend Day 1, 03-17-20

I got up around 7:00 am again today. It’s overcast and chilly (37° F when I got up) but no rain today.  I had a bout of vertigo again just as got up, but I took some Dramamine and muscled through it. 

Right around 8 o’clock, I headed out to the American River Bend Park, figuring that if the vertigo was going to compromise my ability to drive, I’d know that within the first few minutes of the car moving.  I actually had no trouble driving – COVID-19 has cut the traffic down to nothing — but I took my cane with me in case I needed extra support when I was walking.  I had to stop twice, while walking, to vomit, but then after that I was fine.  [TMI, I know, Sorry.] It’s so weird.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I came across several seniors on the trail, all of them happy to be outside and walking. “It’s this great!” seemed to be a recurring theme.  Even with a “shelter in place” order, folks are allowed to go outside for fresh air and exercise as long as everyone stays at least 6 feet away from one another.  We were able to do that for the most part on the trails, but some of the trails are pretty narrow. 

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus

I saw quite a few deer today, including some bucks who had just lost their antlers.  There was also a small herd of them –- mostly does, some yearlings and a fawn with an odd, yellowish patchy-looking coat.  I couldn’t get any photos of him because he was running.  There were about seven deer in that group, and they all ran across the road in front of me. I only got a few photos of one of them.

I could hear lots of birds in the trees including Acorn Woodpeckers, Starlings, White-Breasted Nuthatches and House Wrens, but they were all moving and flitting around, so I only got pictures of a few of them.

House Wren, Troglodytes aedon

Most of my time was spent taking photos of the lichen on the trees, which has plumped up a lot over the past few rainy days, and some of the little flowers and nettles in the grassy areas.  I found some jelly fungi and several Destroying Angel mushrooms along the way, too.  While I was doing that I got an IM from my friend Roxanne asking if I wanted to go to the Riverbend park tomorrow.  I told her I was already there, but I’d like to come back tomorrow with her if she wanted.  It turned out that was a good idea…

Destroying Angel Mushroom, Amanita ocreata

Most of the lichen, flower and fungi photos were taken with my cellphone, and I was thoroughly disappointed when, after I got home and tried to pull them from my phone into my computer, they disappeared.  Lost in the ether.  Guh!!  I’ll try again for those tomorrow.

Anyway, I’d originally gone out to the park because I’d heard through social media that the owls are nesting there again, and I wanted to see if I could find the nest.  I looked in the few places where I knew the owls had been in previous years, but no luck.  While I was photographing some lichen, a homeless man came up to me and asked if I was taking photos of birds, and had I seen the owl’s nest yet.  I told him I couldn’t find the nest and he said it was by the “little parking lot where the hawks had nested last year.”  I knew right where that was, so as I was leaving the park, I went to that spot and… yay!  There was the owl.

Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus

Her nest is in a tough spot to photograph so I walked all the way around the tree it was in, and at different distances, to see where the nest was most visible. (I’d like to take my spotting scope next time to see if I can get a better look at it.)  I’m not sure, because it was hard to see, but I think the mom has at least one fuzzy white baby in there.

I walked for 3 hours and then headed home.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  3. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  4. Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  7. Brown Jelly Fungus, Jelly Leaf, Tremella foliacea
  8. Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
  9. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica
  10. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  11. California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  12. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  13. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  14. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  15. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  16. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  17. Destroying Angel Mushroom, Amanita ocreata
  18. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  19. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  20. False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum Ostrea
  21. Giraffe’s Head Henbit, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  22. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
  23. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  24. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  25. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  26. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  27. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  28. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliate
  29. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  30. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  31. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  32. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  33. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis [heard]
  34. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  35. Santa Barbara Sedge, Carex barbarae
  36. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  37. Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica
  38. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha
  39. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  40. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  41. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  42. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  43. White Ash Tree, Fraxinus Americana
  44. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  45. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare