Mostly Squirrels and Deer Today, 09-16-20

I didn’t get up until almost 7:00 this morning, but it was so pretty outside, 55°(!), that I just had to get out for a walk, so I went over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center/Preserve

The Poltergeist was being a little cranky, so I couldn’t walk very fast and wore out a bit quicker than I normally would.  Still, I managed to put in 3 hours. Go, me. It was 70° when I left the preserve, and got up to about 90° by the afternoon. The air is still kind of crappy: 177 AQI (Unhealthy). That’s lower than yesterday’s figure, but still not good. We’re supposed to get anew short-term weather pattern that will drop the temps a little bit more over the next few days and blow out some of the smoke (hopefully). We’ll see.

At the preserve, we’re between seasons right now, but the first sign of Fall has arrived: the Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii.  We have two kinds in California, this one and the one that grows on conifer trees, Laetiporus conifericola. They look practically identical, but you can eat the one that grows on hard wood trees, and not the one that grows on conifers, so you have to know you’re trees to know which one is edible and which one isn’t. Not that I’d ever eat fungus in the forest, mind you… Sulphur Shelf doesn’t need a lot of moisture to grow, so it’s one of the first of the fungi to make itself visible in the Fall, before the winter rains set in.

Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii

Other than the fungus, I saw mostly deer and Ground Squirrels today. All of the different species of squirrels are busy fattening themselves up and stashing acorns and walnuts for the winter.  The California Ground Squirrels are one of my favorite subjects, and they gave me quite a few photo ops today. Some of them posing near the entrance to their burrows, or standing guard, or eating acorns… They crack me up.

California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi

Most of the deer I saw were does or very young bucks that didn’t have their first antlers yet, and they were all sitting or standing in the tall grass, quite distant from the trail, so I had to get photos of them from around trees, or through the twigs and undergrowth.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus

Sometimes, all I would see was their shadowy silhouettes or just the tops of their ears.  I did manage to get a few “faces”, though, which is always gratifying. Still no fawn sightings yet this season… which seems very odd to me, but then… the does can skip a year between births.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The bees in the “bee tree” were very active this morning. The last time I saw them, they were huddled around the entrance to the hive, but today they were zooming around, coming and going.  They must like the (somewhat) cleaner air, too.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. American Bull Frog, Lithobates catesbeianus
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  4. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  7. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  8. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  9. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  10. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  11. Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis
  12. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  13. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  14. Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
  15. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  16. Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis
  17. European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  18. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  19. Large-flowered Evening-Primrose, Oenothera glazioviana
  20. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  21. Mazegill Fungus, Daedalea quercina
  22. Raccoon, Procyon lotor [scat]
  23. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  24. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  25. Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
  26. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  27. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata