I got up around 6:30 this morning and headed over to the American River Bend Park for a walk, hoping to see lots of lichen and the first fungi of the season. I was disappointed to see that all of my favorite haunts in the park had been “bulldozed” and “razed”: fallen trees and limbs removed (along with the fungi and micro-critters were making their home on and under them), grasses mowed down, plants pulled out, some fields overturned (decimating the earthstars)… Soooo sad. Stupid humans. There were gigantic blue trash bin everywhere that interfered with the view in some spots.
When I drove into the horse-trailer area, I found that the fallen trees that are usually a great source of Witches’ Butter jelly fungus were all cut up and carried away. *Sigh* — But I did get a glimpse of a large, fat Black-tailed Jackrabbit bounding away from me through the grass.
It was foggy when I first got there, but the fog burned off after the sun had been up for a little while.
As bummed out as I was about not seeing the regular fungus and lichen stuff, I was very happy to see a small herd of deer which included several does, two bucks (3- and 4-pointers) and a young spike buck. I was able to get some buck-and-doe together photos, as well as single shots. They were such lovely creatures!
Looking more closely at my photos, I could see that one of the bucks was sporting wounds from a recent fight. A spot behind one of his antlers was torn open and there was dried blood in his hair, running down his neck. The injury didn’t seem to impair him; he was standing tall by the does, and staring down the other buck nearby. Sometimes jousts can be ugly.
Then when I was walking along the trail that overlooks the river, I saw a Great Blue Heron, a male/female pair of Common Mergansers, a tiny Spotted Sandpiper and a Belted Kingfisher. The water in the river is real low right now (for the spawning salmon) so there are a lot of exposed rocks for the waterfowl to sit on.
CLICK HERE for the full album of today’s photos.
On some rocks next to where the heron was, there was a pair of Common Mergansers, a male and female. A second female approached them, wanting to sit on the rocks, too, but the first one tried to scare her off by gaping at her. The second female just found a different nearby rock to sit on.
Male and female Common Mergansers a are good example of sexual dimorphism: their coloration and feathering is totally different. Females are a dirty buff-color with a white breast, and they have a crested rusty-red head. Males are black and white with a dirty buff-colored tail and a dark iridescent greenish head.
As I headed back to my car, I saw some Western Bluebirds and a Red-Breasted Sapsucker (which I hardly ever get to see).
I ended up walking for about 3½ hours.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Barometer Earthstar fungus, Astraeus hygrometricus
- Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
- Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
- Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Brown Jelly Fungus, Jelly Leaf, Tremella foliacea
- Bryum Moss, Bryum capillare
- California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
- California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
- Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
- Crust fungus, Byssomerulius corium
- Dead Man’s Foot Fungus, Pisolithus arhizus
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- False Turkey Tail fungus, Crowded Parchment Fungus, Stereum complicatum
- False Turkey Tail fungus, Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum
- Farinose Cartilage Lichen, Ramalina farinacea [like Oakmoss but very thin branches]
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Giraffe’s Spots Fungus, Peniophora albobadia
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- London Plane Tree, Platanus × acerifolia
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Big Leaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
- Red-Breasted Sap Sucker, Sphyrapicus ruber
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
- Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius
- Star Moss, Syntrichia ruralis
- Star Rosette Lichen, Physcia stellaris [on wood, hoary colored, black apothecia]
- Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
- Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
- Tree-skirt Moss, Pseudanomodon attenuatus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
- White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis