I got to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve right around 7:30 am, and as I was walking in, I met Rich Howard, the gentleman who was going to lead a birding walk for us. He’s a very personable man with tons of birding knowledge, and is able to share what he knows in a very giving way. (He’s not a “know it all” snob kind of guy.)
Start Time: 7:30 am
Start Temperature: 40º F
End Time: 12:30 pm
End Temperature: 46º F
Weather: Mostly cloudy, occasional sunshine
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 6 hours
Kilometers Walked: 3
While I was walking over to where Rich was setting up his birding scope, another gentleman named Eric came up to me and asked if I was Mary Hanson. I told him, yes, and he said he wanted to do a macro photography thing for the preserve’s blog on lichen but he didn’t know much about them, and he wondered if I’d be willing to join him and help him with identification. I told him sure, and gave him my calling card so he could contact me later.
My fellow naturalist and friend, Roxanne Moger, joined us and the rest of the small group, which also included Rachael Cowan the volunteer coordinator at the preserve, and we started walking. Within the first few steps we saw almost 15 bird species, including a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks, some Yellow-Billed Magpies, Mourning Doves, White-Breasted Nuthatches and Turkey Vultures.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
I tried getting some photos through the birding scope, but found it difficult to do because everything was “backwards”. And it seemed like my camera had the same reach as the scope did, so, after a few tries at different locations, I decided it wasn’t worth the extra effort.
At one point, we could see two hawks circling over a tree where there was a known hawk nest that had been used for several season. One of the hawks was a Red-Tailed Hawk, but the other hawk was more difficult to ID because it kept moving and was so far away. Rachel thought it might have been a Rough-Legged Hawk, Buteo lagopus, that migrate through this area in the winter, but she wasn’t certain. If it WAS a Rough-Legged Hawk, that would have been a first for me.
The walk took us down the main path and then out toward river (where it’s very hard for me to walk because the rocky surface is so uneven). As knowledgeable and interesting as Rich was, I kept get distracted by the deer and lichen and fungi around us, and once we got to the river side, I bowed out (along with Rachael, her new volunteer and Roxanne).
Roxanne and I then spent another 4 hours walking through the preserve looking at and photographing stuff. I’ve been reading up a bit on lichen and wanted to see if I could locate and get pictures of some of the features I’d read about. Not much luck in that regard, but we did find some interesting fungi and slime molds.
While I was photographing some Red Thread Marasmius mushrooms, a group of 2nd graders and their docent came up and the docent asked me what I was doing. I told her that Roxanne and I were doing the preliminary pass-through walk in anticipation of a fungus walk I’ll be doing with the docents next week.
The woman said, “Oh, the one with Mary Hanson?”
And I said, “That’s me!” Hah!
She then asked if I would talk a little bit about fungi to the second graders. (Eeew, gum-chewing ferrets!) So I plucked up one of the little red mushrooms I was photographing and walked it over to the kids. It’s hard for me to “dumb things down” for children, so I tried using analogies along with the “big words” to help them along.
I told them about the big tree-like structure of mycelium under the ground to which all fungi were connected, and told them that mushrooms, like the one I was holding, were like the apples on that tree. They were the fruit that held the “seeds”, the spores. Then I showed them some of the identifying features of the Marasmius: the red cap, the red stipe, the pale cream-colored gills where the spores were. Some of the kids listened, some were distracted by shiny things, some were totally disengaged, and one said, “We saw bigger mushrooms over there.” And I guess that’s pretty much par for 2nd graders… which is why I prefer teaching adults.
When the group had moved on, Roxanne and I continued to look for stuff, and we came across the first Pure Core Bluet, Clitocybe nuda (Lepista nuda), I’d seen so far this year. They’re a medium-size mushroom that is all lavender in color, including the cap, gills and stipe. Roxanne had never seen one before, so that was a cool first for her.
We also found what I think was a Bishop’s Cap, Coprinellus micaceus. I’ll need to do more research to be sure, though. It had a bell-shaped cap like an Ink Cap mushroom, but the surface was dry and kind of tan in color, and the stipe was heavier and more solid.
Roxanne had brought along a metal ruler, so we used that in some of the pix to get a better sense of scale in them. We also found a medium-sized mushroom with a bright yellow cap, thick stipe and sort of yellow-tan colored gills which Roxanne inadvertently unearthed when she stepped on part of it. Her step brought some of the rest of the mushroom to the surface; otherwise, we would have completely missed it. It was “dry” and kind of heavy so I was thinking maybe it was a gilled bolete (Phylloporus), but I couldn’t find anything that really matched it in my field guides. Then I thought maybe it was a kind of Cortinarius, but it wasn’t at all slimy like those mushrooms are, so for the moment, I wasn’t sure what it was. A little more research and I think I found it: Yellow Knight, Man on Horseback, Tricholoma equestre.
As we were leaving the preserve, we came across another birder with his camera on a monopod, and we started talking about what we’d seen today. He asked if we’d seen the Vermilion Flycatcher in Natomas, and we told him we hadn’t. So, he told us it was in Tanzanite Community Park and he even got out his cellphone and showed us on Google Maps about where in the park it would probably be. We thought that was so nice of him! Neither of us had been to that park yet, so we’re looking forward to going there soon.
He also suggested we go to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery to see the waterfowl going after the scraps of salmon and steelhead in the water. So, we’ll probably check those out over the next few weeks.
After lunch, I finally got back to the house around 2:00 pm.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- Bishop’s Cap, Coprinellus micaceus
- Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Brown Jelly Fungus, Jelly Leaf, Tremella foliacea
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Coffeeberry, California Buckthorn, Frangula californica
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Common Funnel, Infundibulicybe gibba
- Common Ink Cap Mushroom, Coprinopsis atramentaria
- Common Jelly Spot fungus, Dacrymyces stillatus
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Fairy Ring Mushroom, Scotch Bonnet, Marasmius oreades
- False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum complicatum
- False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum hirsutum
- False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum Ostrea
- Fluffy Dust Lichen, Lepraria finkii
- Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
- Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Herring Gull, Larus argentatus [spot on bill, gray legs, pale eye]
- Honey Fungus, Ringless Honey Fungus, Armarilla tabescens
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Many-headed Slime Mold, Physarum leucopus
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Mushroom with gills connecting to stipe; dimple in cap, Arrhenia epichysium
- Nemadtode, unidentified
- Netted Crust Fungus, Byssomerulius corium
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
- Pleated Ink Cap, Parasol Ink Cap, Parasola plicatilis
- Pleated Marasmius, Red-Thread Mushroom, Marasmius plicatulus
- Purple Core, Bluet, Blewit, Clitocybe nuda (Lepista nuda)
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Rough-Legged Hawk, Buteo lagopus [ID not certain]
- Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
- Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona Candelaria
- Slime Mold, Trichia sp. [early white stage; each head on a stalk]
- Split Porecrust, Schizopora paradoxa
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Toothed Crust Fungus, Basidioradulum radula
- Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Gull, Larus occidentalis [spot on bill, pink legs, orange circle around eye]
- White Stubble Rosegill, Volvopluteus gloiocephalusi [white mushroom, slick cap with colored center, pale pink to gills, papery volva]
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica
- Yellow Knight, Man on Horseback, Tricholoma equestre [large, heavy, yellow mushroom]
- Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli