A Blond Fawn, 03-20-20

 I got up around 7:00 am and headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk.  I was surprised by how many people were there; no social distancing.  At one point, I had to raise my cane and nudge a woman back who came up on me and asked me what I was taking photos of.  Six feet, please.  At the River Bend Park I came across maybe 5 people on the trails; at Effie there were at least 50. I don’t think I’ll go back there any time soon. 

Saw a lot of usual suspects today but among them were some neat spottings. One was a California Ground Squirrel that had just come up out of its burrow and was snacking on the plants outside its door.

California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi

Another was a Black Phoebe building a new nest under the eaves of the nature center.  The female does all the nest building while the male watches and protects the site. This female went to the little pond in the front of the nature center, dug up some mud and flew it back to the building under the eaves to the nest site over and over again. She didn’t like it when I got too close to the pond, so I didn’t get any clear shots of her collecting the mud in her beak. [[If you want to attract Phoebes to nest around your home, remember, they need a water/mud source nearby.]]

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans, building her nest
Working on the new nest
Collecting mud for the nest

There are two other old nests near this same area at the preserve, and it’s not unusual for Phoebes to use the same nest over and over again, so I’m assuming the previous nests are either unstable or are filled with mites or something… so the female is starting a new one. It may take this mom about 2 weeks to finish the mud cup and fill it with grasses.

Phoebes can have three broods in one year, so here’s hoping this nest will get a lot of use.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Then I also came across a Columbian Black-Tailed Deer doe who had two older fawns with her.  One of the fawns was the normal tan/brown color with a typical black tail, but the other one was very blond, a very light straw color, and had a brown tail.  I don’t know if it was leucistic or what, but it will be interesting to see if it retains its light coat as it ages.            

The blond Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus,fawn
A male Rio Grande Wild Turkey in full strut beside a Columbian Black-Tailed deer fawn.

I tried to get a picture of a tiny cynipid wasp (the kind associated with galls on oak trees).  They’re very small, black and shiny, and don’t live very long, so they’re hard to spot.  I got my camera on it, but it was so small and moved so fast that the only clear shot I got of it was of its butt on the edge of a Live Oak leaf.  Hah!

Live Oak Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis

It was nice outside, and my vertigo was under control so I was able to walk for about 4 hours. 

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
  6. Bittercress, Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum
  9. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  10. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  11. Buckbrush, Ceanothus cuneatus
  12. Bush Lupine, Lupinus albifrons
  13. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  14. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  15. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  16. California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  17. California Pore Lichen, Pertusaria californic
  18. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  19. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  20. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  21. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii [scat]
  22. Destroying Angel Mushroom, Amanita ocreata
  23. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  24. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  25. Fluffy Dust Lichen, Pacific Fluffy Dust Lichen, Lepraria pacifica [blue-green dust lichen]
  26. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  27. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  28. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  29. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  30. Live Oak Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
  31. Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha sp .
  32. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  33. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  34. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  35. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  36. Santa Barbara Sedge, Carex barbarae
  37. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae [webs]
  38. Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
  39. Slime Mold, Insect Egg Slime Mold, Badhamia sp.
  40. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  41. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  42. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus
  43. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  44. Wall Barley, Hordeum murinu
  45. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis