Finally Saw a Few Deer, 09-09-20

I got up around 6:00 am and then headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center/Preserve for a walk.  The smoke in the air was pretty bad and the sun was only barely visible through it. The temperatures were better than they have been, though: about 61° when I got to the preserve and “only” got up to about 98° in the afternoon.

Smoke obscuring the sun at the nature preserve

I wasn’t focused on anything in particular today, just walked for the exercise of it. It was nice, then to be able to come across several Columbian Black-Tailed deer, including a young male with his antlers still in their velvet. I haven’t been seeing much of them lately, and still haven’t seen any of this year’s fawns. I wonder where they’ve all gotten to.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus.Ayoung buckin his velvet.

I could hear the distinctive hooting of a pair of Great Horned Owls, the male’s voice deeper than the female’s. I tried to figure out where they were, and looked through the treetops along the trail looking for “the shadow that is darker than other shadows”, but I couldn’t spot them. I think they were out nearer to the edge of the river where I didn’t go. 

As I was looking, though, I saw a small flock of three Sandhill Cranes flying overhead.  It’s a tiny bit early to see them; they usually show up in late September and throughout October.  So that was a fun sighting.  The birds are endemic to North America, so birders come from all over the world to see them when they’re migrating.

The bees were in the “bee tree”, but were congregated around the opening, rather than flying around.  I believe they were working to add an extra layer of antibacterial, antifungal propolis to the exterior opening of the hive. Propolis is a substance which keeps beeswax from going bad.  “… Made by the bees by combining tree resin with wax flakes and pollen, propolis is used to used fix and strengthen the beehive while protecting the hive with an antiseptic barrier – the name propolis comes from the Greek meaning ‘defense of the city’…”

Western Honeybees, Apis mellifera,laying down an extra layer of propolis outside the mouth of the hive.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I was also happily surprised to see a couple of Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonflies. I’ve seen so few this year, any sighting is welcomed one, especially this late in the season.          

Even in the smoke, I walked for about 2½ hours before heading home.

In Other News:

In my email, I got a note from Bruce from Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine.  He wrote: “Our featured species in the November/December issue is the Yellow-billed Magpie. We would love to feature your video in our Digital edition of the magazine. I can’t offer any payment, but I can give you a one year subscription to our magazine. And you will also have a photo credit.”

How exciting! I told him, sure, he was able to use it as long as I got photo credit. Here is the video snippet he was referring to:

Species List:

  1. Alder Tongue, Western American Alder Tongue Gall Fungus, Taphrina occidentalis
  2. American Bull Frog, Lithobates catesbeianus
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  4. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  7. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  8. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  9. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  10. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  11. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  12. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  13. Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis
  14. European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  15. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
  16. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus [heard]
  17. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus  bifrons [white flowers]
  18. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  19. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
  20. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  21. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis [flying overhead]
  22. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, unisexual gall, 1st generation,  Dryocosmus dubiosus [small gall with a horn on either end]
  23. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  24. Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly, Sympetrum corruptum
  25. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  26. Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi