Post-Christmas Deer, 12-26-21

I got up around 7:00 AM and headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. I was hoping to take advantage of the early morning sunshine. When I got to the preserve, it was cold(37º) and breezy but the sun was shining. Within about 20 minutes, though, all the clouds moved back in threatening rain. Luckily, the rain didn’t start until after I was done with my walk and had gotten back into my car.

California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose

The highlight of the walk was all of the deer I saw. I counted 22 along the way. Most of them were in small  groups of two or three, but the largest concentration I saw was 10 in one field, six does and four bucks including a handsome four-pointer, and the one with the wonky antlers.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

They were close enough to the trail that I could smell the boys’ heady musky scent. I love that smell: a sort mix of burning wood and horse manure. All of these deer were laying in the grass except for one of the bucks who stood up when he saw me coming down the trail and kept in eye on me.

I’m used to seeing the Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, with their large mule-deer ears (right). But on Sunday, I found some deer with shorter ears (left). I wonder if they have some Sitka, Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis, genes in there.

The Sitkas are another subspecies of mule deer that are usually only found in coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest and in British Columbia. They have shorter ears and spotted coats. I suppose some cross breeding has been going on, or, more likely, the short ears are from throwback genes in the black-tailed deer gene pool.

There were lots of puddles on the trails from the recent rains, and I checked those I passed for any sign of hairworms. Nada. It might be the wrong time of year for them.

Rio Grande Wild Turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia, and puddles along the trail.

I found quite a few different mushroom species, but nothing outside of the norms.

I also found some pinkish/flesh-colored slime mold on the underside of a log. It was too early in its fruiting body stage to tell exactly what species it was, but it could have been Red Raspberry Slime Mold, Tubifera ferruginosa, or (more likely) very early stage of Carnival Candy Slime Mold, Arcyria denudata.

I walked for about 3 hours and then headed home, stopping at Donut Time for some donuts and a Vietnamese coffee. This was hike #92 of my annual hike challenge.

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Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  3. California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  4. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  5. Carnival Candy Slime Mold, Arcyria denudata
  6. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  7. Common Bonnet Mushroom, Mycena galericulata
  8. Deceiver Mushroom, Laccaria laccata [reddish-tan, dimpled, goblet shaped]
  9. Fragrant Funnel Mushroom, Clitocybe fragrans
  10. Gem-Studded Puffball, Common Puffball, Lycoperdon perlatum
  11. Giraffe Spots Crust Fungus, Peniophora albobadia
  12. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  13. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  14. Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
  15. Jack-o-Lantern, Western Jack-o-Lantern, Omphalotus olivascens
  16. Lilac Oysterling, Panus conchatus
  17. Lords and Ladies, Wild Arum, Arum italicumm
  18. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliate [first leaves, just starting to sprout]
  19. Oak Mazegill, Daedalea quercina
  20. Pleated Marasmius, Red Thread, Marasmius plicatulus
  21. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  22. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  23. Silky Pink Gill Mushroom, Nolanea sericea (Entoloma sericeum ssp. sericeum) [very dark brown cap with a nipple on top]
  24. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard, glimpsed]
  25. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  26. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  27. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  28. White Stubble Rosegill, Volvopluteus gloiocephalusi [white or gray mushroom, slick cap with colored center, pale pink to gills, papery volva]
  29. ?? Grey mushroom with white gills on wood, Hydropus sp.
  30. ?? Pink-tinged fungus, Chromelosporium sp.
  31. ?? white mold