I woke up around 4:00 this morning with a dream in my head, and wrote it down before going back to bed. Then I got up around 6:00 AM, fed the dog his breakfast, and got myself ready for a walk at the Gristmill Access to the American River. I wasn’t expecting to see much, but I really needed the exercise, so out I went.
The first thing I saw when I drove into the area was a Western Gray Squirrel munching on an acorn in a Tree of Heaven tree, Ailanthus altissima. The trees are invasive (from China), but this time of year they sport some really beautiful color. I got still shots and a video clip of the squirrel.
I was able to find some specimens of fungi including Rosegill mushrooms, Yellow Fieldcaps, and Common Fieldcaps, among others. I also found some Cytospora Canker, Cytospora chrysosperma. I thought at first I was seeing Orange Hobnail Canker, but closer inspection revealed that rather than hard little knobs, I was seeing curling strings — typical of Cytospora.
Under the caps of some of the mushrooms I found some tiny mites and fungus gnats. I was looking for springtails, too, but didn’t find any.
I wasn’t really looking for lichen today, but saw some really nice specimens I couldn’t pass up.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
Saw and heard quite a few birds, but the funniest sighting was seeing a European Starling sitting up, haughty, in its tree… and it was totally oblivious to a White-Breasted Nuthatch climbing up the side of the tree right next to it.
I could hear Nuttall’s Woodpeckers in the trees around me, and even caught a glimpse of one, but I couldn’t get any photos of it because it moved too fast. A Downy Woodpecker was more cooperative, and let me get some good shots before it took off.
I also found one of the best “stick birds” I’d ever seen. It looked like a turkey sitting down on a stump.
I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed home. This was hike #88 in my annual hike challenge.
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- Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
- California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- Candleflame Lichen, Candelaria concolor [bright yellow-orange]
- Common Fieldcap Mushroom, Agrocybe pediades
- Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Cytospora Canker, Cytospora chrysosperma [bright orange fruiting body, looks like frozen dodder]
- Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat, Bradysia sp.
- Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Farinose Cartilage Lichen, Ramalina farinacea [like Oakmoss but very thin branches]
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Frosted Rim-Lichen, Lecanora caesiorubella [white with white apothecia]
- Fungus Gnat, Family: Mycetophilidae [mosquito-like]
- Giraffe Spots, Peniophora albobadia [flat, brown w/light rim]
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Linopodes Mite, Linopodes sp. [tiny translucent spidery-looking thing with very ling front legs]
- Liquid Ambar, American Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Pale Brittlestem Mushroom, Candolleomyces candolleanus
- Pin-Cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa [bright orange, apothecia, close, piled]
- Red-Legged Mite, Penthaleus sp.
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
- Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
- Western Ragweed, Ambrosia psilostachya
- White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
- White Stubble Rosegill, Volvopluteus gloiocephalusi [white or gray mushroom, slick cap with colored center, pale pink to gills, papery volva]
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Yellow Fieldcap Mushroom, Bolbitius titubans
- ?? Half-Cup Fungus with no gills, Stereum sp.
- ?? Shredded wood pulp