Category Archives: Cancer

The Baby Swallow was the Standout Today, 06-09-23

I got my carcass up around 6:00 AM today, got my dog Esteban fed and pottied, and then headed over to the Cosumnes River Preserve for a walk. My cancer-leg was hurting (around a persistent “4”) but I needed to get outside and move around.

The gates were all open when I got there. I was hoping to see some Monarch caterpillars on the narrowleaf milkweed plants near the nature center [as advertised] but I didn’t see any. I wondered if the staff removed them, for their protection, to continue to raise them indoors. I DID get to see some of the metallic blue Cobalt Milkweed Beetles, yellow Oleander Aphids, and black-and-red Large Milkweed Bugs.

A cool sighting was a nest box with a family of Tree Sparrows living in it. The female, and her almost-fully fledged baby took turns sticking their head out of the box, while dad flew in occasionally with food for everyone. Eventually, mom left the box and tag-teamed with dad to feed the youngster.

I saw both parents chasing off Scrub Jays and Western Bluebirds that came near the nest. Mom also buzz-bombed me when I was sitting at a picnic table near the next box.

“…Benefits of territoriality and aggressiveness in male birds of many species are well established, especially when females are limiting. However, much of Tree Swallow biology has probably been shaped by the historical shortage of nest sites rather than mates, leading to strong selection pressure on females to obtain cavities for breeding…female Tree Swallows engaging in greater frequency of aggressive interactions with conspecifics tended to deposit higher amounts of testosterone in their eggs (Whittingham and Schwabl 2002), with possible subsequent effects on growth and survival of nestlings…” Cornell

A couple of weird things: On the paved part of the trail, I kept seeing little things that looked kind of like silverfish, but they hopped! A little research informed me that they were Bristletails. I don’t know that I’d ever seen one before.

…Jumping Bristletails… have a hunched back like a shrimp, but resemble a silverfish with three [tails] at the tip of the abdomen: one long, with two shorter ones on either side of it… Their large eyes sit on top of the head and are so close together that they touch. Their scales are slightly reflective so they may appear to be a coppery metallic color… The Bristletails’ diet includes leaf litter, rotting vegetation, and other organic matter…” —

The other weird thing, was seeing a huge hoard of the white Leafcurl Ash Aphid [Prociphilus fraxinifolii]. My identification of them seemed verified by the fact that, (1) they were on an ash tree that was obviously dealing with leafcurl, and (2) they had spun fine waxy filaments around their bodies. They were producing so much honeydew that it was literally dripping off the leaves of the tree.

On this same tree, I also found several examples of the galls of the Ash Flower Gall Mite. And on the nearby willows there were the galls of both the Willow Bead Gall Mite and the Willow Apple Gall Sawfly. And, of course, there were lots of Oak Apples on the Valley Oaks.

Flowers seen in bloom included: milkweed, wild Chicory, Spikeweed, Pepperweed, Turkey Tangle Frog Fruit, two different species of sage, Crown Brodiaea, the new-to-me Common Flax, and others.

As for birds, besides the Tree Swallows, of course, I saw Western Kingbirds, Red-Winged Blackbirds, House Finches, hummingbirds, Goldfinches, and others.

I walked down the main trail, but only made it to the bridge and back before I had to head back to the car. The pain in my leg had increased to about a “7” by then, and was very distracting (and debilitating). On most days when I walk, the exercise seems to work the pain out. Today, not so much. That’s how it goes with cancer, I guess. *Sigh*

So… I was only out for about 3 hours. But I did get to see quite a bit in that time. This was hike #34 of my #52hikechallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  2. Aphid, Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
  3. Ash Flower Gall Mite, Aceria fraxiniflora
  4. Ash Leafcurl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii
  5. Ash Tree, California Ash, Fraxinus dipetala
  6. Bindweed, Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis
  7. Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus
  8. Bladderpod, Cleomella arborea
  9. Bristletails, Order: Archaeognatha
  10. Broadleaved Pepperweed, Lepidium latifolium
  11. Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
  12. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica [chased off by swallows]
  13. Cattail, Narrow-Leaf Cattail, Typha angustifolia
  14. Chicory, Cichorium intybus
  15. Cobalt Milkweed Beetle, Chrysochus cobaltinus
  16. Common Flax, Linum usitatissimum
  17. Common Hedge Parsley, Torilis arvensis
  18. Common Spikeweed, Centromadia pungens
  19. Crown Brodiaea, Brodiaea coronaria
  20. Cudweed, Western Marsh Cudweed, Gnaphalium palustre [soft, lamb]
  21. Dock, Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
  22. Gumweed, Great Valley Gumweed, Grindelia camporum
  23. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  24. Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  25. Ladybeetle, Variegated Lady Beetle, Hippodamia variegata
  26. Large Milkweed Bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus
  27. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  28. Milkweed, Narrowleaf Milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis
  29. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  30. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  31. Primrose, Tall Evening Primrose, Oenothera elata
  32. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  33. Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
  34. Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
  35. Rushes, Irisleaf Rush, Juncus xiphioides
  36. Sage, Cleveland Sage, Salvia clevelandii
  37. Sage, Hummingbird Sage, Salvia spathacea
  38. Stinking Chamomile, Anthemis cotula [small white daisy-shape]
  39. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  40. Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
  41. Turkey Tangle Frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora
  42. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana [chased off by swallows]
  43. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  44. Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
  45. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  46. Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua

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This and That at Effie Yeaw, 05-21-23

Around 6:45 AM today, I decided to go over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. My “cancer-leg” was hurting, around a “5”, but I thought the walk might loosen up the muscles and stretch it out.

I was surprised that it was actually cloudy and chilly at the preserve. I wished I had brought my jacket with me. The place was pretty quiet as far as humans went; I saw just a handful of people on the trails and most of them were around my age — and that made for a quiet restful place to walk this morning. No screaming children.

There was a lot of birdsong in the air, but I was unable to get photos of most of the birds — like the Black Phoebes, wrens and quails. I did get a few photos, though, of the ubiquitous Acorn Woodpeckers, Spotted Towhees, a Western Bluebird, White-Breasted Nuthatches, and others.

It was really a “squirrel day”, though. I saw them everywhere. Mostly Eastern Fox Squirrels — including one very pregnant female. But I also came across Western Gray Squirrels and a few California Ground Squirrels. One of the Ground Squirrels was a pregnant female who seemed to be standing guard outside her large burrow. As I watched, another Ground Squirrel came up from the burrow and relieved her. [You can READ MORE about the Ground Squirrels in an article I wrote in 2017.]

The Ground Squirrels and Western Gray Squirrels are native to California, but in many areas the Western Grays have been driven out by the invasive Fox Squirrels.

“…Both eastern gray and eastern fox were brought from the other side of the United States in the early 1900s and have been increasing their range and population ever since, both on their own and from humans deliberately spreading them through the state, unaware of the consequent damage to environment, agriculture, and property that would cause. Meanwhile, the western gray has decreased in range and abundance…” Bay Nature

A very pregnant Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]

Another reason why the Fox Squirrels outnumber the Gray Squirrels is because the Fox Squirrels breed twice a year, and the Gray Squirrels only breed once a year.

“…Fox Squirrels mate twice a year, from mid-December to early January and June. Gray Squirrels mate from December to February and May to June…” Welcome Wildlife.

As I was walking along — I took the Pond Trail –I noticed that the tree across from the 4B stanchion had been felled. That upset me because for several consecutive years the resident Red-Shouldered Hawks had used that tree to hold their back-up nesting site. The hawks cleaned and brought new material for a nest in that tree each year– even though they actually chose a different site to nest.

And worse than that loss was the fact that it looked like the “bee tree”, where wild honeybees had built and maintained a hive for several years, had been broken open, its different trunks split apart. I couldn’t see the entrance hole to the hive and didn’t see any bees there. A travesty. That made me so angry and sad. And it just seemed to really hit home for me that there is NOTHING in the preserve that hasn’t been disrupted or manipulated by humans tasked with “protecting” the space.

There are plots where they’re trying to grow more Showy Milkweed at the expense of natural plants and grasses. And there were outcroppings of Lupines and Fleabane that has escaped the confines of the gardens near the Nature Center and showed up near the river. I also saw what looked like dip-system lines and hoses in the “nature area”.

The river was running very high. There was so much water that some of it was gathered into a large pond that reach out very near to the trail. The geese were making use of it to exercise their goslings. I’m assuming the extra water is from the snowmelt in the Sierras.

I had been looking for deer in the preserve today, but only found a small group of them browsing on elderberry leaves near the large river-pond. They were all mostly in silhouette from where I stood, but I was able to tell that one of them was a young buck in his velvet.

I was happy to see that the wild, native Elegant Clarkia was starting to bloom near the river, and I found a few outcroppings of Harvest Brodiaea, a perennial herb that is also native to California. There was a little bit of the Miniature Lupine left in a few spots, and the California Trees were in bloom.

I was able to find a few more insects to add to my species list for the year including a kind of Darkling Beetle, a silverfish, and a Ground Spider (that looked like it was made of rubber). I also found a couple of galls including Oak Apples and a Fimbriate Wasp gall.

I realized, as I continued on, that I was often distracted by my pain, and I was keeping an eye on the trail under my feet where it was very rocky, so I wasn’t doing much of my “naturalist eye” thing. I wasn’t immersing myself in the environment, and I wasn’t looking for or seeing much detail as I normally might. [I’m thinking of my friend and my naturalist student Deborah Dash who died recently, and I am really missing her insights, comments, and her encouraging naturalist work right now.]

I was out for about 3½ hours and was tired when I got home. This was hike #29 o my #52hikechallenge for this year.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Aphids, Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
  3. Araneomorph Meshweaver Spider, Dictyna sp.
  4. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  5. Blackberry, Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus
  6. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  7. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. California Pipevine, Aristolochia californica
  10. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  11. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  12. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  14. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  15. Common Hedge Parsley, Torilis arvensis
  16. Coyote Mint, Monardella villosa
  17. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  18. Darkling Beetle, Coniontis sp. [shiny, smooth carapace]
  19. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  20. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata
  21. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  22. Fimbriate Gall Wasp, Andricus opertus [on Valley Oak leaf]
  23. Frog, American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus
  24. Ground Spider, Zelotes sp.
  25. Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum
  26. Harvest Brodiaea, Brodiaea elegans
  27. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [flyover, heard]
  28. Leafy Fleabane, Erigeron foliosus
  29. Lupine, Chick Lupine, Lupinus microcarpus [yellow, white]
  30. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  31. Mexican Social Spider, Mallos sp. [tiny, body like an Orbweaver]
  32. Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  33. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  34. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  35. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  36. Oak, Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  37. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  38. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  39. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  40. Olive, Olea europaea
  41. Penstamon, Bunchleaf Penstemon, Penstemon heterophyllus
  42. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  43. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  44. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  45. Silverfish, Allacrotelsa spinulata
  46. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor [flyover]
  47. Thistle, Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
  48. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  49. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  50. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  51. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  52. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  53. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon [glimpsed, heard]
  54. Yarrow, Common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
  55. Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum
  56. ??? Ladybeetle eggs

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Lots to See at Mather Lake, 05-15-23

Around 7:00 this morning I headed over to the Mather Lake Regional Park for a walk. It was already 56ºF when I got to the park and was over 77ºF by the time I left just a few hours later.

I was looking for whatever galls might be out there, but was also open to looking for just about whatever caught my eye. As I was walking in, I met another photographer who wanted to get photos of the Mute Swan cygnets that had been reported there. The fluffy white cygnets are always fun to see; I asked him to let me know if/when he found them. A few minutes later he returned and said, “They’re on the other side of the lake. I may have to drive over there and see if I can view them from the road.” I was able to get a couple of VERY distant photos of them, but I hope he had better luck.

The swans are non-natives and can displace the native geese for food and nesting sites. The flock at Mather Park expands and contracts with the birth, development, and flights of the cygnets there.

According to Cornell: “…Females and males similar in size at hatching, but females slightly lighter; after about 2 wk, males larger than females. Tarsus and neck length follow similar growth patterns as mass; thus cygnets must learn to swim and feed before they can fly…”

Along with the swans, I also saw both Downy and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers. At one spot, there were two male Nuttall’s chasing each other around a tree, but they moved so quickly it was hard to get any photos of them.

There were also Canada Geese (some with goslings], Red-Wing and Brewer’s Blackbirds, and Great-Tailed Grackles. I saw a Kingbird gathering nesting materials, and saw several Tree Swallows claiming and using nests. The swallows and the Western Bluebirds often compete for nesting spots — they both use cavities to nest in — and I saw a female Western Bluebird sitting on the sidelines, seemingly waiting for the swallows to settle down somewhere.

I also saw some male House Wrens singing around their nesting spots, a male Anna’s Hummingbird displaying from the top of a tree and a Scrub Jay looking for food on the ground. I startled a Great Blue Heron from the edge of the lake where I was walking, and he flew off over to the opposite side of the lake. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any ducks or coots.

I saw a nest near the top of a telephone pole, but I couldn’t see the bird who took off suddenly from it to identify it. I didn’t check the restroom facility to see if the Cliff Swallows were building nests in there like they did last year.

There were a lot of different and new-to-me flies buzzing all around, and a few beetles snuggled up in the hawkbit flowers and thistles. At a spot on the trail where there was some still-wet goose excretion, a troupe of flies and a larger metallic green Hairy Maggot Blow Fly were puddling. [The video isn’t very long because my battery went out while I was filming them.]

I did eventually get to see some galls including the galls made by Coyote Brush Rust, the Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, and the Willow Bead Gall Mite. When my friend Roxanne and I were last out together, we looked for new pinecone galls on the willows, but only found old ones from last year. Today, I found ones that were just emerging: some in clusters that looked like small heads of cauliflower, and others that looked like rosettes. I’d never seen them this “young” before.

Among the plants and trees were the usual: Goodding’s and Narrowleaf willows, Fremont’s Cottonwoods, Coast Live Oaks. And I also photographed the Cork Oaks, some of the grasses and rushes, Tree of Heaven, Turkey Tangle Frogfruit flowers, thistles and more. And the Woolly Marbles were looking very woolly along the sides of the trail.

Going back to the car after my walk, I think I was suffering the effects of heat exhaustion and could barely make it from the lake to the parking lot, and my “cancer leg” was killing me. It doesn’t take much heat to affect me because, since chemo, my body has trouble thermoregulating. Even in the 77ºF weather, I was suffering from exhaustion, slight dizziness, and and inability to walk very far. I’d tell myself to “just get to that next spot of shade” or “just get that telephone pole” or “now, just get to that fence and you can rest for a moment.” And little buy little, I moved myself forward.

It took me about 30 minutes to get to the car, where I was able to collapse in the front seat, and drink some water with the air conditioner blasting at me. Plah! I thought I was being careful about how much I walked, but the heat snuck up on me. These days, I really should get out by 6:00 for my walks to beat the quickening heat of the early afternoons.

As I drove out of the parking lot, a Western Fence Lizard greeted me from the heights of its rock mountain.

I took Zinfandel Drive to Jackson/Highway 16 East, using the dirt road that runs by the vernal pools, and was very surprised to see several stands of White Brodiaea and a long stand of Narrowleaf Mule’s Ears which I had never seen there before. Amazing. The deep rains earlier in the year must have awakened their seeds and bulbs.

I walked for about 3 hours before heading back home. This was hike #28 of my #52hikechallenge for the year. When I got back home, my leg was in so much pain I had to take the last of my heavy duty pain pills — and then was in medication-induced stupor for the rest of the day. Man that stuff is brutal! But it DID relieve my pain.

Species List:

  1. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [den]
  4. Bee Fly, Greater Bee Fly, Bombylius major
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  7. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  8. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  9. Common St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum
  10. Coyote Brush Rust, Puccinia evadens
  11. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  12. Damselfly, Common Bluet, Enallagma cyathigerum
  13. Damselfly, Pacific Forktail, Ischnura cervula
  14. Downy Woodpecker, Dryobates pubescens
  15. Drone Fly, Subfamily: Eristalinae
  16. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
  17. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  18. Flies, Hairy Maggot Blow Fly, Chrysomya rufifacies [metallic green]
  19. Flies, Large-Tailed Aphideater, Eupeodes volucris [hoverfly]
  20. Flies, Long-Legged Fly, Dolichopus sp.
  21. Flies, Narrow-Headed Marsh Fly, Helophilus fasciatus
  22. Flies, Seaweed Flies, Fucellia sp.
  23. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  24. Geranium, Cut-Leaved Crane’s-Bill, Geranium dissectum
  25. Grasses, Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
  26. Grasses, Wild Oat, Avena fatua
  27. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  28. Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  29. Gregg’s Pine, Pinus greggii [tree at Mather]
  30. Hairy Hawkbit, Leontodon saxatilis [yellow]
  31. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  32. Long-Jawed Orbweaver Spider, Tetragnatha versicolor
  33. Mediterranean Katydid, Phaneroptera nana [nymph]
  34. Metallic Woodboring Beetle, Anthaxia sp.
  35. Mirid Bug, Potato Mirid, Closterotomus norwegicus [green]
  36. Mule’s Ears, Narrowleaf Mule-Ears, Wyethia angustifolia [orange]
  37. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  38. Narrowleaf Cottonrose, Logfia gallica
  39. Nodding Thistle Receptacle Weevil, Rhinocyllus conicus
  40. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  41. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  42. Oak, Cork Oak, Quercus suber
  43. Pond Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta
  44. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  45. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  46. Rose, Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora [white flowers]
  47. Shining Pepperweed, Lepidium nitidum
  48. Small Melilot, Melilotus indicus [yellow]
  49. Sowthistle, Prickly Sowthistle, Sonchus asper
  50. Squarestem Spikerush, Eleocharis quadrangulata
  51. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  52. Thistle, Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  53. Thistle, Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
  54. Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
  55. Turkey Tangle Frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora
  56. Valley Tassels, Castilleja attenuata
  57. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  58. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  59. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  60. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  61. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  62. White Brodiaea, Triteleia hyacinthina
  63. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  64. Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
  65. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  66. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  67. Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua
  68. Woolly Marbles, Low Woolly Marbles, Psilocarphus brevissimus
  69. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon

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Lots of Deer on a Birding Trip, 02-22-23

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.

Species List:

  1. Acorn WoodpeckerMelanerpes formicivorus
  2. Almond Tree, Prunus dulcis
  3. Anna’s HummingbirdCalypte anna
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Bay Laurel, California Bay, Umbellularia californica
  6. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  9. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  10. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola [flyby]
  11. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
  12. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  13. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  14. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica 
  15. California MugwortArtemisia douglasiana
  16. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  17. California Scrub JayAphelocoma californica
  18. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  19. Columbian Black-Tailed DeerOdocoileus hemionus columbianus
  20. Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
  21. Common GoldeneyeBucephala clangula
  22. Common Merganser, American Common Merganser, Mergus merganser americanus
  23. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  24. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  25. Eastern Fox SquirrelSciurus niger [rusty belly]
  26. Flies, Black-Margined Flower Fly, Syrphus opinator
  27. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  28. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  29. Gull, Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
  30. Gull, Larus sp.
  31. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  32. Mallard DuckAnas platyrhynchos
  33. Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  34. Mistletoe, Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
  35. Mosses, Bonfire Moss, Funaria hygrometrica
  36. Mourning DoveZenaida macroura
  37. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  38. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  39. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  40. Oak TitmouseBaeolophus inornatus
  41. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  42. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  43. Powder-Edged Speckled Greenshield , Flavopunctelia soredica [pale green, lots of soredia]
  44. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  45. Rio Grande Wild TurkeyMeleagris gallopavo intermedia
  46. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  47. Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius
  48. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
  49. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  50. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  51. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  52. White HorehoundMarrubium vulgare
  53. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [on stem]
  54. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  55. Wren, Bewick’s WrenThryomanes bewickii

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