I got up around 6:30 this morning and got myself ready to go out to the Cosumnes River Preserve with my friend Roxanne. Roxanne had a new camera she’d gotten for her birthday, a Lumix, and she wanted to test it out.
My cancer pain level was at about a 2 or 3 (instead of an 8 or 11), so I was hoping to do some real walking; I was hoping to make a mile — which I haven’t been able to do since my surgery on October 8th. We weren’t really looking for anything in particular; we really just wanted to get outside and moving so we were open to anything Nature wanted to show us. And she showed us quite a bit: birds, squirrels, lichen, galls, fungi, even a slime mold. Cool.
It was cool outside with some lingering fog and a dense overcast. Not really “cold” but I did need to wear my jacket while I was out of the car.
We took Franklin Road to Twin Cities rather than going along the freeway (because a lot of the freeway on/off ramps were closed for construction). At one cow pasture, we could see hundreds of birds flying overhead and collecting on the roof of the pasture’s hay barn. Starlings. Their noise was incredible.
A little further along the road, we saw a pair of ravens in the top of a tree. They were touching beaks, but I couldn’t tell if they were “kissing” or if one was feeding the other. I know ravens are monogamous; maybe this was a male/female pair strengthening their pair bond.
Among the raptors, we saw Red-Tailed Hawks, Red-Shouldered Hawks, Kites, Kestrels and Northern Harriers, and some Turkey Vultures.
Among the smaller birds, we saw Savannah Sparrows, House Finches, White-Crowned and Golden Crowned Sparrows, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Meadowlarks, Black Phoebes, and Magpies.
In some of the fields, we saw Sandhill Cranes (usually among flocks of Greater White-Fronted Geese that had settled onto the ground at their feet). There were also a few Snow Geese in the mix, some of them juveniles still in their “blue goose” coloring.
In the shallow waters we also saw Black-Necked Stilts, Least Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, and Long-Billed Dowitchers and several Great Egrets. And among the ducks we saw were Green-Winged Teals, Cinnamon Teals, Mallards, Northern Pintails and Northern Shovelers… Oh, and American Coots.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
We chanced across a few of the common, early season mushrooms including Meadow Mushrooms, Scurfy Twiglets, some kind of chanterelle, Yellow Fieldcaps, some tiny Oak Leaf Pinwheels (which I, at first, mistook for Horsehair Fungi), and some pretty little Peeling Oysterlings. We weren’t really looking for them, so they were a nice surprise.
The slime mold we found was an almost-used-up specimen of Chocolate Tube Slime, Stemonitis splendens. It was right on the verge of going totally to spore. We found it on a stick laying by the road.
Checking out other sticks and stumps we found a variety of crust fungi, including some Giraffe Spot, and some really beautiful tooth fungi: one bright yellow orange, and one pure white with huge “teeth”. There was also some bright green Trichoderma viride fungi thrown in the mix of things on the sticks.
Among the lichens we found were Green Shield, Common Sunburst, Hooded Rosette, and Western Strap Lichen. All of those are pretty common and visible almost everywhere in this area.
Because of the lingering fog and overcast, I was hoping to see some Orbweaver spider webs decorated with dew, but no such luck. We DID find sheet web and funnel webs with the droplets on them, however.
We came across several Eastern Fox Squirrels, some of them foraging in the leaf litter, others pulling down twigs and leaves to make their dreys. They’re so accustomed to humans along the trail that they let us get pretty close to them before scurrying off.
Between the drive and the walking we did along the River Trail at the preserve, we were out for almost 6 hours! Although I was totally exhausted at the end of the walk (I hadn’t done that much in weeks), I was very happy and exhilarated that I was able to do it. Nature heals.
This was hike #85 of my annual hike challenge.
Before going home, we stopped at Huckleberry’s restaurant in Elk Grove for a late breakfast-for-lunch lunch. Everything on the menu looked sooooo appetizing; whoever took the photos for that did an excellent job. I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. I ended up ordering the steak and eggs combo with potatoes and huckleberry tea. Ummm… And a bacon Bloody Mary, of course. Hah! Oh…and green fried tomatoes. Never had them before and they were super yummy. Both Rox and I noticed they featured catfish on the lunch menu, so we’ll need to go back soon and get some of that. I love catfish.
We got back home around 3:30 pm, so it was a long but very fun day. Thank you, Rox. And thank you, too, to Melissa who kept an eye on Esteban all day.
Buy Me a Coffee!
Donate $5 to buy me a coffee so I have the fuel I need to keep exploring and bring more of nature to you. Thanks!
- Alcoholic Flux bacteria, Foamy Canker, Slime Flux, Phytophthora sp. X other bacteria [white, brown or black ooze with a yeasty, sour beer smell.]
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
- Ash Flower Gall Mite, Ash Key Gall Mite, Aceria fraxiniflora
- Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [heard]
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
- Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
- Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Briar Rose, Sweet Briar, Rosa rubiginosa [rose hips]
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Chanterelle Mushroom, Cantharellus sp.
- Chocolate Tube Slime Mold, Stemonitis splendens
- Cinnamon Teal, Spatula cyanoptera
- Clustered Gall Wasp, Andricus brunneus
- Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
- Cottonwood Petiole Gall, Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
- Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Praying Mantis, Mantis religiosa [flat body in adults; ootheca is like a football shape, most common one we see]
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Funnel Weaver Spider, Family: Agelenidae
- Giraffe Spots Crust Fungus, Peniophora albobadia
- Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus [heard/glimpsed in parking lot]
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperat
- Green Trichoderma Mold, Trichoderma viride
- Green-winged Teal, Anas crecca
- Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
- Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon [nesting box]
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
- Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
- Meadow Mushroom, Agaricus campestris [white, collared, pink/dark gills]
- Mediterranean Mantis, Iris Mantis, Iris oratoria [thin narrow ootheca]
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Mushroom Fungus, Syzygites megalocarpus
- Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
- Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak-Leaf Pinwheel Mushroom, Collybiopsis quercophila [tiny, on leaf litter]
- Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
- Orange Crust Fungus, Mycoacia sp.
- Peeling Oysterling Mushroom, Crepidotus mollis [small oyster mushroom on sticks/bark]
- Raven, Common Raven, Corvus corax
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Rice, Oryza sativa
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
- RRD, Rose Rosette Disease, Emaravirus sp. [excessive thorniness]
- Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
- Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
- Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
- Scurfy Twiglet Mushroom, Tubaria furfuracea [small, pale orange, wide gills]
- Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
- Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae
- Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
- Spined Turban Gall Wasp, Cynips douglasii [summer gall, pink, spikey top]
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
- Stable Fly, Stomoxys calcitrans
- Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
- Toothed Crust Fungus, Antrodia sp.
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Water Hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- White Ash Tree, Fraxinus americana
- White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Pontania californica
- Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
- Yellow Fieldcap Mushroom, Bolbitius titubans
- Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli
- ?? moss on a downed log
- ?? oak with “sunburned” leaves
- ?? tiny insects on willow leaves