I got up around 6:00 this morning and, after feeding Esteban his breakfast, I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. It had been a while since I’d been there and I was hoping to see some deer. I walked down the main trail to the Meadow Trail and then around to the Pond Trail and back toward the nature center. It was a cool and breezy morning; perfect for a walk.
I saw some deer when I first got into the preserve – mostly does and yearlings; none of the big boys. And I saw one young spike buck, but after that it was slim pickings as far as the deer went.
I was surprised about halfway through my hike, though, by a pretty female fawn who stepped briefly out from the cover of the forest to get a look at me. She even tentatively stomped her tiny hoof at me. OMG, she was sooooo darling. I was able to get a short video snippet and a few still shots of her before she ran off back into the brush.
Another nice surprise was to see how many of the larger Sulphur Shelf fungi had sprouted out since the rain of last week. The Sulphur Shelf don’t need a lot of rain to get them “activated”; in fact, they don’t like it when it’s real wet outside. They are the harbingers of the fungus season, though; usually the first fungi we see each year. I saw quite a few very large, very brightly colored specimens (along with a few that were already fading). I’d come around a bend in the trail, and there would be another specimen. When they’re new and young, as most of these were, they’re absolutely gorgeous: brilliant orange and yellow.
California has two species of Sulphur Shelf: Laetiporus gilbertsonii, which grows on hardwood trees and stumps including oaks and eucalyptus trees, and Laetiporus conifericola which grows on conifer trees. Laetiporus gilbertsonii, also called “Chicken of the Forest” is edible when it’s young, but Laetiporus conifericola really isn’t because it pulls in the pine tar taste from the trees.
According to Mykoweb: “…Edible with caution. Prized by many, this species is also known to occasionally cause gastrointestinal upsets. This appears to be caused by eating old and/or insufficiently cooked specimens. If you decide to try it, eat only the young, fresh, growing margins, in small quantities, and cook it thoroughly…”
On some of the specimens, I could see examples of “guttation”, droplets of moisture exuded from the fungus as it grows. The droplets on Sulphur Shelf are clear, like tears, but on other fungi they can be orange, red or even black.
“…Transpiration and guttation are the two important process of removal of excess water from the plants. However, the two processes are different from each other. Transpiration is the removal of water from the stomata [minute pores in the surface of the epidermis] present on the leaves. On the contrary, guttation is the process of removal of water from the hydathodes [pores along the margins]…”
I was also happy to see a lot of bee activity in the “bee tree”. This is one of two natural bee hives in the preserve.
I walked for about 3 hours and then headed back home.
This was hike #52 (!)in my #52HikeChallenge for the year. Woot! I got the 52 hikes done in 39 weeks. Go me!
- Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Dragonfly, Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly, Sympetrum corruptum
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
- Fly. Flower-Loving Fly, Apiocera sp.
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Moss, Crisped Pincushion, Ulota crispa
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Primrose, Tall Evening Primrose, Oenothera elata
- Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
- Snowberry, Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
- Towhee, California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
- Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
- White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
- Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- ?? Spider egg case
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