I got up around 6:30 this morning, and was out the door a little after 7:00 to head out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. It’s supposed to get up to 92° by this afternoon, and once again the smoke in the air is really bad. 173 AQI (Unhealthy)
I saw lots and lots of deer throughout the preserve today, including does, a couple of fawns, yearlings, spike bucks, 2-pointer bucks and a 4-pointer. One of the does had a partially swollen head. I couldn’t get any closeup photos, so I don’t know if she had wound or not, but the distortion of her head was very obvious.
The 4-pointer buck walked down the hill from the residential area and tried to duck through a break in the fence. Just as I got my camera focused on him, the battery died. Arrrgh! By the time I got a new battery into my camera, the buck had moved down to another part of the fence, jumped it and rushed down the trail. So, I just got a few somewhat blurry shots of him.
The other deer were more cooperative. They were browsing together – including eating a lot of acorns — and grooming one another. When I saw one of the fawns, it was being groomed by an adult deer… but it kept mewling, that little “kitten” sound the fawns make when they’re feeling vulnerable. I thought at first that he was worried about my being there, but then I realized his mom was actually behind me on the other side of a chain link fence. The fawn walked tentatively to me, still mewling, and his mom stepped closer to the fence. The fawn had to cross in front of me on the trail to get to her, and I think that was really difficult for him. I told him, “Go ahead, baby,” and he walked carefully out to the edge of the trail then RAN to mom. Awww!
Further along the trail, I was going to sit on a bench near the pond area, but as I walked toward it, I discovered a buck hidden in the tules, drinking water, and was shocked to realize he was there. For such a large animal, I couldn’t believe he could hide so well in the tules. At one point, he stepped out onto the trail in front of me, so I couldn’t get to the bench I wanted to sit on, and I had to back up and go to the bench nearer to the front of the pond. The buck went back into the pond to drink and dig around the base of the tules, getting his antlers tangled in them.
Another photographer came up while I was watching the buck, and took several picture, too. She also stayed there after I left that area. I saw her again when I was closer to the nature center. She asked if I was photographing another deer, and I told her, no, “Fungus!” She gave me a disappointed, “oh,” and kept on walking.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
There were several very large specimens of Sulphur Shelf fungus throughout the preserve. They’re so bright and strikingly pretty this time of year, it’s hard to miss them.
There were bees in the “bee tree”, but on another part of the trail, I got attacked by wasps. I don’t know where their nest was -– because I was trying to get away from them as fast as I could – but I’m assuming it was in the ground near the trail and my walking by created vibrations they didn’t like. I got stung twice: one on the side of my face near my jaw, and once on my shoulder. I’m not allergic, so I don’t worry too much about getting stung, but wasp stings are painful (to me); they burn, like someone holding a match to your skin. The two stings hurt for the rest of the day.
While I was standing in the area where the bee tree I saw a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks flying in over the trail. One of them lighted on the edge of the nest in the top of the tree near the 4B post, and made some soft calls. Then they both flew off again.
The nest has been there for a couple of years now, but I don’t think the hawks have used it yet. The way it’s situated in the tree, it’s nearly impossible to see inside of it, but if the hawks raised young there, there are a lot of large leafless snags around it on which the fledglings and juveniles could rest as they grew. That could provide lots of photo ops… but so far the hawks have avoided using that particular nest. I don’t know why.
I also saw quite a few squirrels at the preserve, including fox squirrels, gray squirrels and California Ground Squirrels. They’ll all stashing and picking up acorns and walnuts to feed on through the winter. I came across one ground squirrel that was stuffing its face with acorns it found in the parking lot. It’s cheeks were so full, they nearly dragged on the ground. Hah!
I walked for about 3 hours and then headed home.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
- Common Pillbug, Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
- Deer Grass, Muhlenbergia rigens
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Devil’s Beggarticks, Bidens frondosa
- Dun Skipper, Euphyes vestris [dark, dusky brown]
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Mule Fat, Baccharis salicifolia
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
- Spice Bush, California Sweetshrub, Calycanthus occidentalis
- Spotless Lady Beetle, Cycloneda sanguinea
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
- Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
- Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
- Yellowjacket, Western Yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica
- ?? beetle galleries