Category Archives: CABiodiversityDay

Saw My First Fawns Today, 09-11-21

I got up around 6:00 this morning and headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. I hadn’t been there in a while. It was 61º when I got there, and went up to 90º by the afternoon.

Noise from the work being done in the river was really distracting, even overwhelming at times. Huge trucks are carrying and dumping gravel along the river side, and even larger front loaders are shoveling it around and laying it down in layers.  The work is to reform the river bottom to make it more amenable to the winter run salmon and steelhead.

From the Water Forum: “…For over 10 years, the Water Forum has partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), along with the city and county of Sacramento to implement gravel restoration projects in the lower American River to promote the wild spawning of native steelhead and salmon… Quality spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead is limited on the lower American River because of Nimbus and Folsom Dams.

“Fall-run Chinook Salmon migrate upstream as adults to spawn from October through December. In the egg-laying process, females create a ‘nest’ in loose gravel in flowing water, depositing their eggs and then covering them up with more gravel.  Gravel is carefully placed in the river before fall-run salmon are triggered by cooling temperatures to spawn, and after the high spring and summer flows. The channel restoration projects are designed to create habitat based on modeling that takes into account factors such as water velocity and depth.  The project replenishes a resource that has historically been an important part of the lower American River and its delicate ecosystem…”

This is the first time work has been done near the Effie Yeaw preserve. It will be interesting to see if the changes really lure the salmon in to lay their eggs there.  This is site 30 of about 53 work sites along the river, and the cost for the work on just this site is over $4-million. Yikes!

Anyway, the first thing I saw was a female coyote.  She crossed the road in front of my car, then loped up into the tall grass. Two people walked by with their dogs on leashes, and the coyote turned to follow them. The humans walking the dogs saw the coyote, and pulled their pets behind them to protect them. The coyote then turned back and disappeared into the woods. She was beautiful; I wish I had been able to get more photos of her.

Coyote, Canis latrans

I saw a few deer, including a pair of moms with their fawns. These were the first fawns I’ve seen this season. They were maybe three or four months old and just getting out of their spots. The fawns were really feeling their oats and were running, stotting, and boinging off of tree trunks and fallen snags. It was hard to get photos of them; they were mostly just moving blurs. Finally, their moms led them off into the high grass and understory twiggy things where I couldn’t follow.

I came across one young buck, still in his velvet, but I didn’t see any older ones. I wonder if the noise in the river is keeping them at bay?

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I saw Acorn Woodpeckers collecting acorns and moving them about in their granary trees. I also saw one drilling a new hole. According to Cornell: “…The birds drill the holes primarily in the winter, in the thick bark of dead limbs where the drilling does no harm to a living tree…” 

And a good article on the birds can be found HERE.

I also came across wild turkeys, quail and a few other birds, but not a lot. 

I walked for about 2 ½ hours and started to head back to the car. Even though I was tired by then, I made the effort to go take a look at the “bee tree” down one of the other trails. For some reason, seeing that the hive there is still active makes me happy. [And it was very active this morning.]

I also noticed little flags in the ground in the field near the tree and a new narrow trench dug out. I think they’re working on restoring and upgrading their fire suppression system. [So, more noise and dirt for the wildlife to have to deal with.]

The surprise of the day was seeing two very small specimens of Sulphur Shelf fungus.  It’s usually the first fungus to appear in the fall because it doesn’t need a lot of rain to wake up the spores. Should be seeing a lot of it out over the next few months.

The whole walk ended up taking about 3 hours. This was hike #78 of my annual hike challenge. #CABiodiversityDay.

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Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  4. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  5. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  6. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  7. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  8. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  9. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  10. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  11. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  12. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis [flyover]
  13. Clustered Gall Wasp, Andricus brunneus
  14. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  15. Coyote, Canis latrans
  16. Devil’s Beggarticks, Bidens frondosa
  17. Dog, Canis lupus familiaris
  18. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  19. European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  20. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  21. Gall Inducing Wooly Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
  22. Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
  23. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  24. Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
  25. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
  26. Live Oak Gall Wasp, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
  27. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  28. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
  29. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  30. Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas [cup shaped, sometimes rough edges]
  31. Shaggy Bracket Fungus, Inonotus hispidus
  32. Striped Volcano Gall Wasp, Andricus atrimentus, Summer generation [looks like a tiny volcano]
  33. Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
  34. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  35. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  36. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis [heard]

Doves at the House, 09-07-21

We have a pair of Eurasian Collared Doves (Streptopelia decaocto) building a late-season nest in the palm tree in the backyard. The male was bringing the female twigs for the construction. #CABiodiversityDay

According to Cornell: “…Building usually done by female with male gathering material. Male gives excitement calls while bringing female nest material; on arrival pair give nest calls and billing occurs… Male may push nesting materials directly under female. Build nest during daylight hours; usually takes 1–3 days…Incubation by both parents, with female sitting on nest through night and male relieving female in early morning for about 8 hours. Incubating bird usually summons mate for relief; male gives advertising call, female gives nest call…In warmer regions, Eurasian Collared-Doves can nest year-round, which may help explain their success as colonizers…”

“…Eurasian Collared-Doves made their way to North America via the Bahamas, where several birds escaped from a pet shop during a mid-1970s burglary; the shop owner then released the rest of the flock of approximately 50 doves. Others were set free on the island of Guadeloupe when a volcano threatened eruption. From these two sites the birds likely spread to Florida, and now occur over most of North America…Eurasian Collared-Doves are one of very few species that can drink “head down,” submerging their bills and sucking water as though drinking through a straw. Most birds must scoop water and tip the head back to let it run down into the throat…”

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Species List:

  • Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
  • Queen Palm, Syagrus romanzoffiana