A Birthday Walk at River Bend, 01-22-23

I went out a bit later than usual today, the first time I’ve been out walking in nature for over a month. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to last or how far I could go — my strength and stamina have been pretty minimal since the chemo infusion in December 2022.

I went to the American River Bend Park, and surprised myself in being able to travel a mile… but it took me almost four hours to do that. I had to stop and either it in the car, or sit at a picnic table to catch my breath and relax for a few minutes. Near the end of the walk, my neck and shoulders were hurting from carrying my backpack, and my left leg (where the cancer is) was getting cranky, but I made it. I left the house around 9:30 am and got back home around 2:00 pm. It was clear, crisp and cold while I was out (in the 40’s), and the wind coming off the river was frigid so I was bundled up in layers.

I was looking specifically for fungi, but was open to whatever else I might find. The cool thing about the River Bend Park is that it has a lot of diversity among species: plants, animals, fungi. So you never know what you’ll see, but you’re always guaranteed to find something.

Among the fungi I found were Blewits, Brownits, Deer Mushrooms, Red Threads, a Yellow-Staining Milk Cap, Stubble Rosegills, and others. But most of the mushrooms were few and far between; most of the time I was finding only single specimens. I was looking for but didn’t find any earthstars, large Inkcaps, puffballs, Hellvella mushrooms, coral fungi or birdsnest fungi. I don’t know if it’s too early in the season to see those, or too late.

Of the jelly fungi I found, I was surprised that I didn’t see any yellow Witch’s Butter. I found lots of the Brown Jelly Fungus, and even some Crystal Brain. And in some places the Black Jelly Roll fungus was so prolific it poured off the dead wood substrate and collected in big bubbly-oil-looking puddles on the ground. On one specimen of the stuff, I saw some tiny bright pink Springtails and little pale yellow-orange mites with long spidery legs.

CLICK HERE for the current album of photos.

I also stopped to get lichen photos, although that wasn’t my focus for today. There was a lot of Powder-Edged Speckled Greenshield, covered with soredia. I have to get back into the swing of things, though. I need to look more closely and use the “eyeball” (my macro lens) more.

There were lots and lots of Wild Turkeys around the park; male troupes, everyone looking extra shiny and colorful. Some of them ran up to the car looking for handouts. That’s not a good thing. They shouldn’t get that used to humans.

I didn’t see many other birds, though, which kind of surprised me. Maybe it was too windy for the smaller birds? I got a glimpse of some sparrows, and a Cooper’s Hawk (who kept his back to me), but not many others (other than the ubiquitous Black Phoebe). Because the river was running high and fast, there weren’t many water fowl or shorebirds around. I got some photos of Mallards and a solitary female Common Goldeneye, but that was about it. The only birds I saw and heard a lot of were the Acorn Woodpeckers. They were working hard to get windfall acorns into their granary trees.

Among the mammals I saw were a handful of Fox Squirrels, and a couple of small herds of Columbian Black-Tailed Deer. I saw most of the deer as I was heading out of the park and was seated in my car. I was able to get photos of them — does, yearlings, and 4-pointer bucks — through the open windows of the car.

As I said, I was out for about four hours, and even though it wore me out, I enjoyed it soooo much. I missed being out in nature, and was happy I was able to do this on my birthday. A gift to myself.

This was hike #1 of my #52HikeChallenge for this new year.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Agaric Mushroom, Coprinopsis uliginicola
  3. Alder, White Alder, Alnus rhI ombifolia
  4. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna [heard]
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Black Witches’ Butter, Black Jelly Roll, Exidia glandulosa
  7. Bleachy Entoloma, Entoloma ferruginans
  8. Blewit Mushroom, Purple Core, Lepista nuda
  9. Boreal Button Lichen, Buellia disciformis 
  10. Brown Jelly Fungus, Leafy Brain, Phaeotremella foliacea
  11. Brownit Mushroom, Clitocybe brunneocephala
  12. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis [fly over]
  14. Candleflame Lichen, Candelaria sp.
  15. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  16. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  17. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
  18. Coral Spot, Nectria cinnabarina
  19. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  20. Crust Fungus, Stereum sp.
  21. Crystal Brain Fungus, Myxarium nucleatum
  22. Deer Mushroom, Pluteus cervinus
  23. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger 
  24. Giraffe Spots Crust Fungus, Peniophora albobadia
  25. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  26. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  27. Gull, Larus sp.
  28. Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum
  29. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia
  30. Impatient Inkcap Mushroom, Tulosesus impatiens (formerly Coprinellus impatiens)
  31. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  32. Little Mite, Linopodes sp.
  33. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  34. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  35. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  36. Olive, Olea europaea
  37. Pin-Cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa 
  38. Pleated Marasmius, Red Thread, Marasmius plicatulus
  39. Powder-Edged Speckled Greenshield, Flavopunctelia soredica [pale green, lots of soredia]
  40. Ribbon Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha
  41. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  42. Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  43. Springtail, Subclass Collembola
  44. Tall Psathyrella, Psathyrella longipes
  45. Trumpet Lichen, Cladonia fimbriata
  46. Tuberous Polypore, Polyporus tuberaster [similar to Dryad’s Saddle]
  47. White Stubble Rosegill, Volvopluteus gloiocephalusi [white or gray mushroom, slick cap with colored center, pale pink to gills, papery volva]
  48. Yellow-Staining Milk Cap, Lactarius xanthogalactus [reddish cap, milky

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