Category Archives: Injury/Accident

Deer, Oh, Deer, 10-02-20

I got up around 6:30 this morning, and was out the door a little after 7:00 to head out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk.  It’s supposed to get up to 92° by this afternoon, and once again the smoke in the air is really bad. 173 AQI (Unhealthy)  

I saw lots and lots of deer throughout the preserve today, including does, a couple of fawns, yearlings, spike bucks, 2-pointer bucks and a 4-pointer.  One of the does had a partially swollen head. I couldn’t get any closeup photos, so I don’t know if she had wound or not, but the distortion of her head was very obvious.

A female Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, with a deformation on her head.

The 4-pointer buck walked down the hill from the residential area and tried to duck through a break in the fence. Just as I got my camera focused on him, the battery died. Arrrgh!  By the time I got a new battery into my camera, the buck had moved down to another part of the fence, jumped it and rushed down the trail. So, I just got a few somewhat blurry shots of him.

A large Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, buck.

The other deer were more cooperative.  They were browsing together – including eating a lot of acorns — and grooming one another.  When I saw one of the fawns, it was being groomed by an adult deer… but it kept mewling, that little “kitten” sound the fawns make when they’re feeling vulnerable. I thought at first that he was  worried about my being there, but then I realized his mom was actually behind me on the other side of a chain link fence. The fawn walked tentatively to me, still mewling, and his mom stepped closer to the fence.  The fawn had to cross in front of me on the trail to get to her, and I think that was really difficult for him.  I told him, “Go ahead, baby,” and he walked carefully out to the edge of the trail then RAN to mom. Awww!

Further along the trail, I was going to sit on a bench near the pond area, but as I walked toward it, I discovered a buck hidden in the tules, drinking water, and was shocked to realize he was there. For such a large animal, I couldn’t believe he could hide so well in the tules.  At one point, he stepped out onto the trail in front of me, so I couldn’t get to the bench I wanted to sit on, and I had to back up and go to the bench nearer to the front of the pond. The buck went back into the pond to drink and dig around the base of the tules, getting his antlers tangled in them. 

Another photographer came up while I was watching the buck, and took several picture, too.  She also stayed there after I left that area.  I saw her again when I was closer to the nature center. She asked if I was photographing another deer, and I told her, no, “Fungus!”  She gave me a disappointed, “oh,” and kept on walking.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

There were several very large specimens of Sulphur Shelf fungus throughout the preserve. They’re so bright and strikingly pretty this time of year, it’s hard to miss them.

There were bees in the “bee tree”, but on another part of the trail, I got attacked by wasps.  I don’t know where their nest was -– because I was trying to get away from them as fast as I could – but I’m assuming it was in the ground near the trail and my walking by created vibrations they didn’t like. I got stung twice: one on the side of my face near my jaw, and once on my shoulder.  I’m not allergic, so I don’t worry too much about getting stung, but wasp stings are painful (to me); they burn, like someone holding a match to your skin. The two stings hurt for the rest of the day.

While I was standing in the area where the bee tree I saw a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks flying in over the trail.  One of them lighted on the edge of the nest in the top of the tree near the 4B post, and made some soft calls. Then they both flew off again.

Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus

The nest has been there for a couple of years now, but I don’t think the hawks have used it yet. The way it’s situated in the tree, it’s nearly impossible to see inside of it, but if the hawks raised young there, there are a lot of large leafless snags around it on which the fledglings and juveniles could rest as they grew.  That could provide lots of photo ops… but so far the hawks have avoided using that particular nest. I don’t know why.

I also saw quite a few squirrels at the preserve, including fox squirrels, gray squirrels and California Ground Squirrels. They’ll all stashing and picking up acorns and walnuts to feed on through the winter. I came across one ground squirrel that was stuffing its face with acorns it found in the parking lot. It’s cheeks were so full, they nearly dragged on the ground.  Hah!

California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi, with its cheeks full of acorns

I walked for about 3 hours and then headed home.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  4. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  5. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  6. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  7. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  8. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  9. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  10. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  11. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  12. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
  13. Common Pillbug, Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
  14. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  15. Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
  16. Deer Grass, Muhlenbergia rigens
  17. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
  18. Devil’s Beggarticks, Bidens frondosa
  19. Dun Skipper, Euphyes vestris [dark, dusky brown]
  20. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  21. European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  22. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  23. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  24. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
  25. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  26. Mule Fat, Baccharis salicifolia
  27. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  28. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  29. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  30. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  31. Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
  32. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  33. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  34. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  35. Spice Bush, California Sweetshrub, Calycanthus occidentalis
  36. Spotless Lady Beetle, Cycloneda sanguinea
  37. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
  38. Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
  39. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  40. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  41. Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
  42. Yellowjacket, Western Yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica
  43. ?? beetle galleries

Took a Fall at the River Bend Park, 06-05-20

I got up around 6:00 am, and was out the door by 6:30 pm to head over to the American River Bend Park for a walk.  It was a breezy morning with temperatures in the 60’s, and after the last too over-100° days, I was looking forward to getting outside and getting some fresh air and exercise.

I went down to the river bank, which I don’t normally do because the ground is so uneven there, but I wanted to see the summer plants that are starting to bloom there.  So, I took my cane with me to steady me, and for about an hour I did all right. 

Water Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis scorpioides

But then as I was walking closer to the river to get some photos of the willows, the rocks rolled under my foot and I fell down.  I didn’t hit my head, but I did land on my right butt cheek and hip.  My knees are bad as it is, so getting onto them to try to crawl toward a tree (which I’d hoped I could use as a brace to lift myself up) was excruciatingly painful and left them all bashed up and bruised.  I struggled for about 15 minutes and just couldn’t get my feet under myself to stand up, so I called 911 on my cellphone, and was glad that I could get service there.

I was weepy and embarrassed and in pain, but the 911 dispatcher was very understanding of my situation and did all she could to keep me calm.  In fact, she stayed on the line with me for the 30 minutes it took for EMTs to get to me.

Partway through the wait I told her two Turkey Vultures hand landed near me, and she laughed. “Don’t worry, they’re not there for you..” Hah!

Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura

On the river bank there aren’t any markers or anything to tell you where you are, so if something happens, you might as well be in the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t see the trail from where I’d fallen and I have no sense of “distance”, so I couldn’t tell the dispatcher how far away I was from the boat launch area. To try to help, I told her what I could see on the opposite side of the river, namely the different houses.  In front of me, across the river, was a brown house with an arched picture window on it… To the left of me was a white house with a red tile roof and a large sun room on stilts… And to the right of me was a two-story tan house with railing around the balcony and a large lawn out in front…

Apparently, those descriptions were enough to help the EMTs kind of triangulate where I was.  Three of them showed up, lead by one named Brian.  Brian asked me questions, while one of the others took notes and the third one took my blood pressure, pulse and glucose readings.  Among the questions, Brian asked where I was, what my name was, what day it was, and who was the president. I answered that one with, “You mean the despicable Nazi?”  He looked down, stifled a smile and said, “Can you tell me his name?”  And I answered him, ending with “sorry”.  He said, “A lot of people don’t like that question…”

The guy who was taking all the readings tried twice to get a BP reading, but couldn’t get it to work. He did get a pulse, though, 100 bpm, so… not totally dead.

Brian then put electrode pads on my legs and arms and did a heart rhythm trace on me before saying that all of my vitals looked good. He and one of the other guys helped me up onto my feet and held onto me until I was more oriented and could them the direction in which I’d left my car. 

They started to walk me back, when the park ranger, Ranger Smillier, showed up with his truck. It took two of the EMTs, again, to get me up the high step into the front seat of the truck, but once I was situated, they trekked back to their firetruck and the ranger drove me to my car.  He waited until I’d gotten into it and started the engine before he left me.

I went straight home, sore all over with bruised knees and a bruise butt.  And, as Melissa warned me, I’ll be feeling it worse over the next few days… But I didn’t hit my head and never felt “concussed, so I’m okay.  And I have a lot of thank you notes to write and send out tomorrow.

What was weird was, even as I was sitting there in the rocks with 911 on the line, my Naturalist brain wouldn’t shut off and I kept taking photos of what I saw… including the vultures, a mama Mallard duck and her babies, and a mama Common Merganser with her 17, count ‘em, 17 red-headed ducklings.

Common Mergansers, Mergus merganser

Needless to say, I didn’t get very many photos today, but CLICK HERE for the album of what I was able to document.

Species List:

  1. Asian Clam, Corbicula fluminea [small white/brown freshwater clam]
  2. Black Dancer Caddisfly, Mystacides sepulchralis
  3. Brazilian Vervain, Verbena brasiliensis
  4. Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
  5. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  6. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  7. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  8. Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
  9. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  10. Lady’s Thumb Knotweed, Persicaria maculosa [pink]
  11. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  12. Mimosa Tree, Persian Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin
  13. Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria
  14. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  15. Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium
  16. Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
  17. Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale
  18. Smartweed, Persicaria lapathifolia [white]
  19. Sneezeweed, Rosilla, Helenium puberulum
  20. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  21. Water Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis scorpioides
  22. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana