Around 9:00 AM this morning I headed out to the Gristmill Recreation Area for a walk even though my cancer was making my left leg hurt a lot (around a 7). I was hoping the movement would help to unbind the affected muscles in my thigh and hip area, but it actually started to make it worse. So I only stayed out there for about an hour.
In that hour, though, I saw quite a bit. There was a huge Bay Tree that was in bloom., the only tree in bloom besides the Almond Trees in the park. The Boxelder Trees were starting to push out their leaves and catkins, and the Mugwort plants and Manroot Vines were starting to come up.
The willow trees were all starting to “pussy” getting their early catkins. On the Arroyo Willows there were the old galls of the Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides. They were all silvery black with age.
I saw a few birds including Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Lesser Goldfinches, Bewick’s Wrens, and a Nuttall’s Woodpecker. I also caught sight of a Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting in the top of a tree with her breast to the morning sun. I saw it just as a group of birders further back on the trail behind me saw the bird. One of the birders with a huge camera on a tripod tried moving in closer to the tree to get some pictures of the hawk. I was able to get one shot in before the bird, spooked by the approaching birder, flew away. The birder was still moving and didn’t get any photos.
I went back to the car and took some pain pills and waited for a few minutes before heading over to the nearby American River Bend Park. By the time I got to the park the pain pills had kicked in and I was able to walk more freely.
The first critters I encountered at the park was a bachelor group of Wild Turkeys. During this time of the year their coloring is especially brilliant. I know some people consider the birds a nuisance, but I think they’re such handsome birds.
There were also deer all over the place on both sides of the road: does, yearlings and bucks. Most of the bucks were younger ones, spike bucks and 2-pointers. But among them was a large 4-pointer (going on 5-). He was stunning.
When I was getting a video snippet of one group of the deer, I saw something zooming back and forth in the grass, and I didn’t know what it was. When I got a better look I realized it was Black-Tailed Jackrabbits chasing one another. I got a video snippet of one of them dashing around.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
There were Pipevine plants starting to show off with their calabash pipe flowers and heart-shaped leaves. They’re the precursors of the Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies and caterpillars.
Among the birds I saw were a Red-Shouldered Hawk, a Western Bluebird, Oak Titmice, Audubon’s Warblers, Acorn Woodpeckers [one of them chasing a Nuttall’s Woodpecker out of its granary tree], and a Northern Flicker. In the water, I saw Common Mergansers, Crows, Common Goldeneyes, a flock of Bufflehead flying over the river, Mallards, gulls, and a small Spotted Sandpiper.
On the other side of the river I watched some Great Egrets fighting over fishing spots, and a Belted Kingfisher nattering angrily at a pair of Canada Geese that decided to float through its fishing grounds.
As I was leaving the park, I came across a Eastern Fox Squirrel that was “bathing” itself on the perch of a tree stump. It was soooo cute!
I was out in the park for about 3 hours, so I walked for a total of 4 hours on this excursion. It was fun, and wonderful to be outdoors, but it was also very wearing and I crashed when I got home. This was hike #6 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Almond Tree, Prunus dulcis
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
- Bay Laurel, California Bay, Umbellularia californica
- Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
- Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola [flyby]
- Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
- California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
- Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Common Merganser, American Common Merganser, Mergus merganser americanus
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
- Flies, Black-Margined Flower Fly, Syrphus opinator
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Gull, Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
- Gull, Larus sp.
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
- Mistletoe, Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
- Mosses, Bonfire Moss, Funaria hygrometrica
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Powder-Edged Speckled Greenshield , Flavopunctelia soredica [pale green, lots of soredia]
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
- Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius
- Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
- Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
- White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
- Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [on stem]
- Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
- Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
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