I got up around 7:00 this morning, and headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. (And, yes, Vincenzo started right up, so the battery issue is no longer an issue.)
The full moon was still out, but heading down into the clouds on the horizon, so I only got a fast photo of it through a tree in the neighbor’s yard.
I got to the preserve around 8:00 am. It was 33° at the river when I got there, but crept up to about 53° by the time I left. In the shaded areas, frost was still heavy on the ground.
The first thing I saw was a Scrub Jay being harassed by two Yellow-Billed Magpies. I don’t know what their argument was about, but I couldn’t get any photos of them because they were high in a tree among all the stickery branches. What I saw the most of today (besides lichen) were the Columbian Black-Tailed deer.
I counted fourteen deer throughout my walk, including a couple of spike bucks, two 4-pointers and a 2-pointer buck. I was hoping to see some jousting, but no such luck. Among the spikes, I saw two of them with sort of “mirrored” antlers. One had a long spike on the left and a short one on the right, and the other had a long spike on the right and a short one on the left.
I got a few photos of the bucks doing their “Flehmen Sniff” thing, where they curl their upper lip, suck the air and pull the scent into their mouth through their upper teeth to the organ in the roof of the mouth that can parse out the data in the scent: the age of the doe, the state of her health, is she reading mating… Amazing.
Towards the end of my walk, I came across one of the large 4-point bucks just sitting in a field, in the tall grass, with his back to the trees. Just sitting there, watching all the humans go by. He was quite impressive.
Most of the birds were being very elusive – hiding behind grasses or twiglets, or flitting away just as I was focusing the camera on them. The frustrations of a nature photographer.
While I was trying to get photos of a Spotted Towhee, though, two deer walked up behind me on the trail and crossed over to climb a hill on the opposite side. I didn’t even know they were there until they started their ascent. Sneaky! I got a few pix of them just before a young spike buck arrived to sniff the other two deer up. That hillside it pretty steep, so there was no way I could follow them up it, but I did get a few photos of them from the base of it.
There were Fox Squirrels all over the place, eating or hiding acorns, and chasing one another around the trees.
About halfway through the walk, I stopped at a bench to rest for a minute and saw a sign taped to the bench that warned that it was under surveillance to keep people from vandalizing it. The first thought that went through my mind was, “damn those vandals!”, and the second thought was, “I guess I’d better watch what I do while I’m out here resting,” hah!
When I got up from the bench, I was startled to see a doe and a buck with vegetation stuck in his antlers, racing past me toward another part of the preserve – and a huge, thick-furred coyote chasing after them. Even at her rate of speed, there was no way the coyote was able to catch up with the deer. They were just too long-legged and moving too fast. I then saw the coyote break off and start chasing a jackrabbit, but she wasn’t successful in getting that either. Of course, while all this action is happening, I’m not able to focus on or film any of it.
When the coyote gave up on the jackrabbit, it turned around and came toward where I was, and I got a little bit of video of it through the grasses and trees. The coyote was really panting by then, so I don’t know if she had enough energy for another chase right away.
Later, I saw a real mangy coyote (almost devoid of fur) crossing the rocks near the river’s edge. It’s tail was just a long naked rope trailing behind it. He was NOT a healthy boy.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
Along with the tree and rock lichen I photographed today, I also came across some of the first mushrooms of the season: some Oak-Loving Gymnopus and some Honey Fungus. I was hoping to see some nice Barometer Earthstars, but only found a few very small specimens.
I walked for about three hours and the headed back home.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
- Barometer Earthstar fungus, Astraeus hygrometricus
- Bay Laurel Tree, Laurus nobilis
- Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Coyote, Canis latrans
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Farinose Cartilage Lichen, Ramalina farinacea [like Oakmoss but very thin branches]
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
- Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Honey Fungus, Honey Mushroom, Armillaria mellea
- Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Lords and Ladies, Wild Arum, Arum maculatum
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Oak-loving Gymnopus, Gymnopus dryophilus [tan-orange with pale gills; cap can be flat or curved up as it ages]
- Paltry Puffball, Puffball Fungus, Bovista californica
- Pin-Cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa [bright orange, apothecia, close, piled]
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus [heard]
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Rock Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia conspersa
- Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
- Sunken Disk Lichen, Aspicilia sp. [like crusty patches on rock, tan to black]
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli