Category Archives: Injury/Accident

The Buttermilk Trail, 04-26-21

I got up around 5:30 this morning, so I could head out with my friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne to go into the South Yuba River State Park in the Penn Valley area of Nevada County. We were interested in hiking the Buttermilk Bend Trail. It was partly cloudy, slightly breezy and cool all day. A lovely day for a nature walk.

It took about 2 hours to get to the park, including stops for gas, coffee and a potty break. We got there via highways 70, 49 and 20 to Pleasant Valley Road. For the most part, there was a lot to see on the drive, especially as we got closer to the park. Some of the roadside embankments were covered in white Globe Lilies, irises, yellow Pretty Face, blue Ithuriel’s Spears, and French broom. Pretty!

Prettyface, Triteleia ixioides

We went past the historic barn and the covered bridge(which is undergoing a complete overhaul), and pulled into the main parking lot near the head of the trail. We attacked the trail from near the kiosk and had to climb a steep incline to get to the trail itself. Next time, we’ll enter the trail from the end of the parking lot where there’s a shallower incline and several small bridges that lead up onto the trail. After that initial incline, the rest of the trail was VERY easy to walk, and provided beautiful views of flowers, the river, and acres of a wide variety of trees.

All the while we were walking, we were lulled by the sounds of the river.

Between the views, the research we were able to do, the company, and the weather, it was a great hike.

CLICK HERE for photo album #1.
CLICK HERE for photo album #2.

We could smell and see smoke in some spots on the other side of the river, and figured that they were controlled burns. Cal Fire was out there — and that turned out to be a good thing for me. I’ll tell you more about that later.

There were several different kinds of oak trees in the area: coast live, interior live, blue, valley and black oaks.  So, we got to see quite a few galls including some folded leaf galls, some old Gray Mid-Rib Galls, Round Leaf Galls, spring generation galls of the Live Oak Gall Wasp (that look like funnels with a cap on them), and lots of spring generation galls of the Two-Horned Gall Wasp (that look like shiny brown beaks).

We were surprised to find galls on some of the wild lupine, and some examples of “witches’ broom” on a toyon bush.  The broom is caused by a fungus that creates “…an abnormal brush-like cluster of dwarfed weak shoots arising at or near the same point…” Very cool-looking. I’d seen photos of them, but had never seen a live one before.

Also on toyon, was found some wrinkled leaf effects created by woolly aphids. There was one leaf that was so full of the little guys that the honeydew they produced literally poured out onto our hands making everything sticky.

We got to see quite a few butterflies including Pipevine Swallowtails, a Tiger Swallowtail, several beautiful Checkerspots, and some Cabbage Whites. We also saw some species of Blood Bees, mason bees, a camel cricket, and caterpillars. 

As I mentioned before, the flowers were just lovely. We saw one of my favorites: the Twining Snake Lily. They have a spray of dark pink florets at the end of a long stem that twines its way through the trees, bushes and undergrowth to find the sunlight. One of them was growing over our head and came down from the side of the hill and into the tree branches above us.

New-to-me flowers included the White Globe Lilies, Linear-Lobed Owl’s-Clover, Blue Head Gilia and Ookow. The Ookow were so intensely purple-blue they really stood out.

We saw a couple of squirrels and could hear a few different species of birds, including Lesser Goldfinches. They were eating the seeds and tufts from the plants along the trail.

On some of the rocks along the trail, we came across a handful of Western Fence Lizards (the “blue belly” lizard that do push-ups), including one that had splayed itself over the warm surface of the rock, stretching its legs out in all directions so it could flatten its belly on the stone.  On another rock, we found a VERY pregnant female. She had to lift herself up on her front legs to keep her belly from dragging on the ground. Poor baby.

We walked for a little over four hours, which is usually past my strength and pain threshold, but we were seeing so many thing, and the weather was so beautiful, I didn’t stop when I should have.  Just as we got close to the parking lot, I “hit the wall”. I was dizzy, suddenly completely exhausted, and couldn’t walk. Even the feel of the camera and my carry bag around my neck and shoulders was too much. I found a fence post and leaned over it for support while Roxanne went to get the car and bring it closer to me.

As fate would have it, that was the same time the firefighters were returning to their vehicles after working on the controlled burns. I wasn’t going to bother them, but as the seconds went by, I was feeling worse and worse, so I called out with a very weak voice. Thankfully, some of them heard me and two came right over to see if I was okay. Those two firefighters ushered me back to the car while another one ran to get me a bottle of water. 

The Cal Fire crew

I felt I was hydrated well enough, but I hadn’t stopped anywhere along the four hours to get something to eat, so I think my glucose levels had just crashed. The firefighters made sure I was safe in the car with Rox and hung around until I ate something. A few minutes later, after some rest and something to eat I was fine. [[THANK YOU to Rox, the Universe, and the guys from Cal Fire @CALFIRENEU]]

It was a long day, but one of my favorite outings in a long time. I was so happy we were told about this trail.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  3. Arabesque Orbweaver Spider, Neoscona arabesca
  4. Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis
  5. Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
  6. Barometer Earthstar, Hygroscopic Earthstar, Astraeus hygrometricus
  7. Bedstraw, Graceful Bedstraw Galium porrigens [very tiny leaves and flowers]
  8. Big Berry Manzanita, Arctostaphylos glauca
  9. Bigelow’s Spike Moss, Selaginella bigelovii
  10. Bird’s Foot Cliffbrake, Pellaea mucronata
  11. Black Grain-Spored Lichen, Sarcogyne hypophaea [black, grainy, on rocks]
  12. Black Locust Tree, Robinia pseudoacacia
  13. Blood Bee, Sphecodes sp.
  14. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  15. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  16. Bluehead Gilia, Gilia capitata
  17. Bowltube Iris, Iris macrosipho
  18. Bristly Fiddleneck, Amsinckia tessellate
  19. Broad-Nosed Weevil, Subfamily: Entiminae
  20. Brown-Eyed Shingle Lichen, Pannaria rubiginosa [on trees]
  21. Buckbrush, Ceanothus cuneatus
  22. Bulbous Meadow-Grass, Poa bulbosa
  23. Bumble Bee, Bombus sp.
  24. Cabbage White butterfly, Pieris rapae
  25. California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  26. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  27. California Bumble Bee, Bombus californicus
  28. California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus
  29. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia]
  30. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  31. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  32. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  33. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  34. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  35. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  36. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  37. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  38. Camel Cricket, Gammarotettix sp.
  39. Canyon Live-Forever, Dudleya cymosa
  40. Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis
  41. Chaparral Honeysuckle, Lonicera interrupta
  42. Chinese Houses, Purple Chinese Houses, Collinsia heterophylla
  43. Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
  44. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange]
  45. Concentric Boulder Lichen, Porpidia crustulata [circles of black spots on rock]
  46. Conical Trashline Orbweaver, Cyclosa conica
  47. Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  48. Copper Underwing Moth, Amphipyra pyramidoides [caterpillars are green with thin white stripe]
  49. Coppered White-Cheeked Jumping Spider, Pelegrina aeneola
  50. Cowpie Crater Lichen, Diploschistes muscorum [pale grey with sunken black apotheca]
  51. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  52. Cretanweed, Hedypnois rhagadioloides [small, yellow, dandelion-like]
  53. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  54. Deerbrush Ceanothus, Ceanothus integerrimus [white]
  55. Dendroalsia Moss, Dendroalsia abietina [long, curling tendrils on trees]
  56. Dove’s-Foot Crane’s-Bill, Geranium molle
  57. Elegant Camouflage Lichen, Melanohalea elegantula [leafy like hoary lichen but much darker gray/black]
  58. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata [red line on leaves]
  59. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum ostrea
  60. Flame Firedot Lichen, Caloplaca ignea [orange on rock, elongated lobes and orange apothecia]
  61. Flower Buprestid Beetle, Acmaeodera hepburnii
  62. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  63. French Broom, Genista monspessulana
  64. Fringepod, Sand Fringepod, Common Lacepod, Thysanocarpus curvipes
  65. Gabb’s Checkerspot Butterfly, Chlosyne gabbii
  66. Gall Inducing Wooly Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
  67. Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
  68. Grassy Tarweed, Madia gracilis
  69. Gray Mid-Rib Gall Wasp, Besbicus multipunctatus
  70. Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana
  71. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  72. Gumweed, Grindelia integrifolia
  73. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa 
  74. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons [white flowers]
  75. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  76. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  77. Ithuriel’s Spear, Triteleia laxa
  78. Labyrinth Orbweaver Spider, Metepeira labyrinthea
  79. Lecidella Lichen, Lecidella elaeochroma [round black spots on white background]
  80. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  81. Linear-Lobed Owl’s-Clover, Castilleja lineariloba
  82. Live Oak Gall Wasp, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
  83. Lupine Stem Gall Midge, Neolasioptera lupini
  84. Lupine, Bush Lupine, Silver Lupine, Lupinus albifrons var. albifrons
  85. Lupine, Chick Lupine, Lupinus microcarpus
  86. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  87. Lupine, Spider Lupine, Lupinus benthamii
  88. Madrone, Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii
  89. Musk Stork’s-Bill, Erodium moschatum
  90. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  91. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [with soredia]
  92. Ookow, Dichelostemma congestum
  93. Osage-Orange, Maclura pomifera
  94. Periwinkle, Greater Periwinkle, Vinca major [on the roadside]
  95. Phacelia, Caterpillar Scorpionweed, Phacelia cicutaria [white]
  96. Pine Spittlebug, Aphrophora cribrata
  97. Pineapple-Weed, Matricaria discoidea
  98. Pipestem Clematis, Old Man’s Beards, Clematis lasiantha
  99. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  100. Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa
  101. Popcorn Flower, Common Popcorn Flower, Plagiobothrys fulvus
  102. Potter’s Wasp, Stenodynerus sp.
  103. Prettyface, Triteleia ixioides
  104. Q-Tips, Micropus californicus
  105. Red Maids, Calandrinia menziesii
  106. Redberry, Hollyleaf Redberry, Rhamnus ilicifolia
  107. Resurrection Plant, Selaginella lepidophylla
  108. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia [on the roadside]
  109. Rock Tripe, Emery Rocktripe Lichen, Umbilicaria phaea
  110. Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  111. Round Leaf Gall Wasp, Heteroecus flavens [formerly Andricus flavens, ball in the middle of the leaf, live oak]
  112. Sanicle, Pacific Sanicle, Sanicula crassicaulis [large, yellow flowers]
  113. Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata [larva]
  114. Shining Pepperweed, Lepidium nitidum
  115. Silver Hairgrass, Ghost Grass, Aira caryophyllea
  116. Silverpuffs, Uropappus lindleyi [like blow wives but with pointed ends]
  117. Simbicid Sawfly, Abia americana [pale caterpillar with black and yellow markings]
  118. Slender Clarkia, Clarkia gracilis
  119. Small-Flowered Catchfly, Silene gallica
  120. Smooth Cliffbrake, Pellaea glabella
  121. Snake Apple Vine, Ibervillea lindheimeri
  122. Snakefly, Agulla adnixa
  123. Striped Volcano Gall Wasp, Andricus atrimentus, Spring generation [looks like a ball at the base of the leaf; dark inside]
  124. Sunflower, Common Woolly Sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatum
  125. Thread-Waisted Wasps, Family: Sphecidae [mud dauber]
  126. Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  127. True Babystars, Leptosiphon bicolor [green puffball with pink flowers]
  128. Tufted Poppy, Eschscholzia caespitosa
  129. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  130. Twining Snakelily, Dichelostemma volubile
  131. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, bisexual gall, spring generation,  Dryocosmus dubiosus [looks like a hard, shiny, brown “beak” on the edge of the leaf]
  132. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  133. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  134. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  135. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  136. Western Spotted Cucumber Beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata undecimpunctata
  137. Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
  138. Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta
  139. Western Virgin’s Bower, Clematis ligusticifolia
  140. White Globe Lily, Calochortus albus
  141. Wild Oat Grass, Chrysopogon aciculatus
  142. Windmill Pink, Hairy Pink, Petrorhagia dubia
  143. Winter Moth, Operophtera brumata [little green caterpillar on oak]
  144. Witches’ Broom on Toyon, Phytoplasma sp.
  145. Wooly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla essigi
  146. Yarrow, Achillea millefolium

So Much Life Today, 12-03-20

I got up around 6:00 this morning, and was out the door by 6:30 to go out to the Mather Lake Regional Park for a walk with my friend Roxanne. It was about 37° when we got to the lake, clear and “crisp”. It was a super-fun, super busy wildlife day. There were actually times when we were telling Mother Nature, “Wait a minute, I want to get photos of this before you show me that!” Hah!

As we were stalking a Great Egret on the side of the lake, we noticed movement on the water beside us. Inside a little hidey-hole we saw a muskrat eating his breakfast. Right near him was a Green Heron trying to eat a “huge” fish. And then a Black Phoebe flew in…

The whole morning was like that — so much life everywhere.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We could see Belted King Fishers flying and face-planting in the water after fish. They move sooooo fast! One of them parked itself on the telephone wire over where the muskrat and friends were found, and I was able to get a so-so photo of it.

And in the same area as the Great Egret on the bank, we saw a pair of Great Blue Herons. We couldn’t tell if their behavior was aggressive or courtship-like, but they kept in close proximity to one another. When one flew to a different part of the bank, the other flew onto a nearby trail so it could keep an eye on the first one. Then when that one flew to a different part of the bank, the other flew into a tree nearby. It was like they were “stalking” each other, getting close but not too close. I tried looking up the behavior in Cornell, but couldn’t really find anything that corresponded to what we were seeing.

I came across the cottonwood tree that was further “excavated” by a beaver (we could see the teeth-marks in the wood), and was surprised to see it blooming with clusters of oyster mushrooms, some black ants, and outcroppings of that Cytospora Canker I just learned to identify yesterday!

I really think that given another week or so, that beaver will have that tree felled and in the water. I also think we spotted the beaver den today, too.

Beaver’s den?

On the lake was the lone Tundra Swan among the Mute Swans, Roxanne found a Fox Sparrow, and I found a Western Bluebird that looked almost sooty-dark.

There were LOADS of Double-Crested Cormorants in the water and in the trees along the edge, grayish juveniles and dark adults. In the water, we also saw a few Buffleheads (!). Then we were surprised by the appearance of a single otter. She poked her head up a few times before swimming off.

There was just so much to see today. I was VERY pleased with the visit.

At one point, while we were heading back to the car, we came across a spot where tree roots were clogging up the trail and I didn’t think I could walk over them. So, I opted instead to walk along the edge of the trail under the branches of a willow tree. As I was ducking under them and moving along, a blackberry vine got wrapped up around my shoe, tripping me, and I fell forward against the tree. Now, for me, that’s “near fatal” because once I’m down, I can’t get back up onto my feet by myself (a combination of muscle weakness and pain in my left hip caused by arthritis and a pinched nerve). Luckily, Rox was with me. She stepped in behind me and lifted me upon to my feet while I used the narrow tree trunk like a handicapped bar to pull myself up. Between the two of us, we got me back up onto my feet. The fall tweaked out my hip joint a bit, but I was still able to walk the rest of the way back to the car. Phew! Thanks, again, Rox for being there and being such a good friend!

We took the scenic route back home, following Zinfandel down toward the vernal pool area where the road is no longer paved all the way to where it intersected with Jackson and other recognizable roads…

Species List:

  1. American Bugleweed, Water Horehound, Lycopus americanus
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius [in flight]
  4. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  5. Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [pink flowers]
  6. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [sign and den]
  7. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
  8. Black Garden Ant, Common Black Ant, Lasius niger
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  10. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  11. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  12. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  13. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  14. Callery Pear, Pyrus calleryana
  15. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  16. Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis
  17. Chinese Willow, Curly Willow, Salix matsudana
  18. Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
  19. Coyote Brush Stem Gall moth, Gnorimoschema baccharisella
  20. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  21. Cytospora Canker, Cytospora chrysosperma [bright orange fruiting body, looks like frozen dodder]
  22. Dog, Canis lupus familiaris
  23. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  24. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  25. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  26. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  27. Goodding’s Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  28. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  29. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  30. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
  31. Green Heron, Butorides virescens
  32. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  33. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  34. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  35. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  36. Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus
  37. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  38. Narrowleaf Cattail, Cattail, Typha angustifolia
  39. Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua
  40. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  41. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius [in flight]
  42. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  43. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  44. Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus
  45. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  46. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  47. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  48. River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
  49. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  50. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  51. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  52. Smallmouth Bass, Micropterus dolomieu
  53. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  54. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  55. Tundra Swan, Cygnus columbianus
  56. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  57. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  58. Western Gull, Larus occidentalis [spot on bill, pink legs, orange circle around eye]
  59. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  60. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  61. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys

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