Category Archives: Naturalist

Fighting the Fog Along Woodbridge and Staten Roads, 01-04-20

Around 7:30 am, my friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne showed up (with coffee for each of us) and drove us around to the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, Staten Island Road and into the city of Elk Grove.

Start Time: 7:30 am
Start Temperature: 39º F
End Time: 12:30 pm
End Temperature: 51º F
Weather: Overcast, foggy, a little drizzly
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 5 hours

I’d purchased Lands Passes (day pass) for both of us for Woodbridge, but had never been there before. So, I didn’t realize we couldn’t actually get into the reserve by ourselves; you have to have a ranger guide you on a tour. Instead, we drove into the pull-outs along the road, and then walked along the road for a mile or two, looking out into the reserve and at the farms around it.

Right across from one of the pull-outs was a large vineyard, and we were surprised to see most of the vines still heavy with drying, rotting fruit. I took some establishing shots before focusing on the wildlife we could see.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

It was pretty foggy outside when we got there, and when the sun came out it created a bright glare that was hard to photograph through and against. Still, we managed to get quite a few photos of birds.

It was foggy when we first arrived, which made photo-taking somewhat difficult. (Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii)

Lots of Sandhill Cranes and Red-Tailed Hawks along the road. We were also teased by a Cooper’s Hawk and an American Kestrel who kept landing near us and then flying off before we could get any really good shots of them. Once the fog lifted our photography improved somewhat.

Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii

In one area, someone had tossed out some cracked corn on the ground, and there were sparrows, blackbirds and Mockingbirds eating it. Someone had also dumped four old Christmas trees there which I thought was sooooo rude.

The Sandhill Cranes seemed to be all over the place, in small flocks and onesies-twosies. In some spots they were standing in among the chaff of what we think were fields of corn, and as big as the birds are, they seemed to blend right in. Sometimes we didn’t see then until we were almost right next to them. Amazing.

Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis, adults and a juvenile.

“Sandhill cranes mate for life. When they form a pair bond, it can last for years, until one of the cranes dies… Mated pairs and their juvenile offspring stay together all through the winter, until the 9- to 10-month-old juveniles finally separate from their parents the following spring. During migration and winter the family units group together with other families and nonbreeders, forming loose roosting and feeding flocks—in some places numbering in the tens of thousands. “

I looked to see if I could spot some banded birds, but… no luck there.

In one of the flooded fields, we saw Black-Necked Stilts, some Northern Shovelers, Coots, a few Dowitchers and Dunlin. In another field there were Shovelers, Pintails and Mallards. So a lot of waterfowl… just most of it was out of the range of our camera, or back-lit so they were hard to see. There were also lots of Red-Winged Blackbirds and flocks of House Finches here and there.

A male Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata, in his “eclipse plumage”. According to RSPB: “Eclipse plumage is temporary or transition plumage. Ducks are peculiar in that they molt all their flight feathers — the long, wing feathers; — at once. For about a month, they can’t fly and very vulnerable to predators. To provide some protection, particularly for the brightly-colored males, the molt starts with their bright body feathers. These are replaced by dowdy brown ones, making them look much like females.”

In another area, there were also cattle sitting and grazing in a field, and the herd included several cows with their calves. We got to see some of the calves nursing.

Charolais Cattle, Bos Taurus var. Charolais

There was also one spot in a field where a Red-Tailed Hawk was trying to eat from what looked like a duck carcass… and there were several seagulls around him trying to steal his meal. I think they were Ring-Billed gulls, but I need to double-check on that. One of the gulls was so brazen that it walked up and sat right behind the hawk, like he was waiting for an opening.

As we were heading back toward Sacramento, in some spots along the road, we found groupings of cast off watermelons and cantaloupes. They looked like they’d just been dumped…but they’ll drop seeds as they deteriorate. We also some Osage oranges in a tree/shrub along the way, and came across what looked like a very unkempt apple orchard with loads of apples on some of the trees.

We drove for about 5 hours before stopping in Elk Grove for lunch.

Species List:

  1. American Coot, Fulica americana
  2. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
  3. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  6. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  7. Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
  8. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  9. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  10. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  11. Charolais Cattle, Bos Taurus var. Charolais
  12. Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  13. Common Mustard, Brassica rapa
  14. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
  15. Cultivated Apple, Malus domestica ssp.
  16. Cultivated Watermelon, Citrullus lanatus
  17. Dunlin, Calidris alpina
  18. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  19. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  20. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  21. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  22. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  23. Holstein Cattle, Bos taurus var. Holstein
  24. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  25. House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
  26. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  27. Long-Billed Dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
  28. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  29. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  30. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  31. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  32. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  33. Osage-Orange, Maclura pomifera
  34. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  35. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  36. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  37. Ring-Billed Gull, Larus delawarensis
  38. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
  39. Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
  40. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  41. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  42. Umbilicated cap mushroom, maybe Arrhenia obscurata
  43. Western Gull, Larus occidentalis 
  44. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  45. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys

A Visit from a Sweat Bee, 01-02-2020

I was surprised to find a female sweat bee, on our back porch this afternoon. One of her wings had gone wonky and she was trying to get it back into the right folded position on her back. (You can sometimes tell the females from the males by the fact that the female’s legs are so hairy.)

There are several different genera of sweat bees and over 150 different species, so identification can sometimes be tricky, but I think our visitor was either a Pure Golden Green Sweat Bee, Augochlora pura, or maybe a Peridot Bee Augochlorella pomoniella. I’m basing that on her overall coloring and the fact that her tegula (the bit where her wing attaches to her body) is dark rather than green (like they are in the genus Augochloropsis). I’m leaning more toward the Peridot Bee because it’s found throughout California, whereas the Pure Golden Green Sweat Bee is usually found in the eastern US (on the other side of the Rockys).

According to the US Forest Service:

“… Augochlora makes her nests under the loose bark of old trees. Where you see a fallen log on the forest floor female Augochlora see valuable real estate. She builds cells made of mud and debris found under the bark that she glues together. She works throughout the days gathering pollen from her favorite flowers, carrying it back to her log home on her hind legs. In her nest, she mixes the pollen with some nectar and her own saliva. Scientists think that her saliva has antiseptic qualities that help keep this food fresh and add extra protection to the eggs. Once she has gathered enough food for one larva she lays an egg inside the cell and seals it. Her nests are lined with an impermeable thin membrane that she produces from glands on her body. The nests need all this protection because there are marauding ants and many other little predators that would promptly devour her babies; bee larvae make delicious meals for hungry predators. ..” CLICK HERE to read more.

New Critters on New Years Day, 01-01-20

I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Preserve for a walk around 7:15 am.  My friend and fellow naturalist, Roxanne, and fellow volunteer Trail Walker, Mary M. (“The Other Mary”) joined me in the parking lot.  Roxanne had just gotten a new macro lens for her camera and she was anxious to try it out, so a lot of our focus was on fungi and tiny things. 

Start Time: 8:00 am
Start Temperature: 43º F
End Time: 11:30 pm
End Temperature: 51º F
Weather: Mostly cloudy, slight bit of rain
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 4.5 hours
Kilometers Walked: 3

We were worried that our focus on the little stuff would bore The Other Mary; she likes taking pictures of the deer and turkeys.  So luckily we were able to see quite a deer, including some of the big 4-pointer bucks.  The rest of the time, she listened to us talk as we explained the different facets of lichen and took close ups of the fungi and slime molds.

As I mentioned, we got to see several of the big bucks in the preserve. At one point, two of them were standing together in close proximity, so we all tried to get a “two-fer” shot of them with our cameras.  As we were taking the pictures we each realized that the cameras wouldn’t focus on both bucks at the same time, so we had to take some shots with the buck in the foreground in focus, and some with the buck in the background in focus. Made for an interesting little lesson on depth and field of vision.

We also saw a few does with their fawns, including one mom that was grooming her fawn. Those moments always make for some sweet photographs.

We weren’t seeing a lot of large fungi, in fact hardly any, so we picked up fallen sticks and small logs and looked under and around them to look for the smaller stuff.  We found a lot of splitgill and Black Jelly Roll fungi that way, but also came across several tiny worms, white spidery-looking things (which I couldn’t identify, they were so small) and a couple of critters that were new to me: a tiny pinkish millipede, possibly Gosodesmus claremontus, and a House Pseudoscorpion, Chelifer cancroides, which is a kind of arachnid that looks like a scorpion in the front and a spider in the back. 

Apparently, there are over 3000 species, so I’m not totally sure if I got the ID right, but I picked the most common one in California that lives under oak branches on the ground (and in houses, too, I guess).  The pseudoscorpion was almost the same color as the log, so we didn’t really see it until it started moving, and even then it was hard to keep track of it.  Using the macro attachment on my cellphone, I was able to get a few fairly good photos of it.

House Pseudoscorpion, Chelifer cancroides

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The Other Mary had to leave about halfway through the walk, so it was just Roxanne and me for the last hour or so.  We found another big buck sunning himself in the long grass and also found a small bachelor flock of male Wild Turkeys.  Among the small stuff, we found some jelly fungi, including Witches Butter on some False Turkey Tail, a couple different species of slime mold, and more little ghostly-looking pure white splitgill.

Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica , on False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum hirsutum

We walked for about 3 ½ hours and then headed out. I was surprised by how many people we saw out there walking today; I’ve never been out there when there were that many people without some kind of event going on.  Lots of parents with small children who were more interested in splashing in the mud puddles than anything else. On the one hand, I dislike crowds and all the noise and disruption they bring with them, but on the other hand, it was nice to see people getting outside into nature and taking advantage of the opportunities of fresh air and a little exercise on this first day of the new year.

 I couldn’t get into the nature center to log my hours (because they were closed for the holiday), so I’ll try to remember to do that next week when I’m there. 

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Barometer Earthstar fungus, Astraeus hygrometricus
  3. Beard Lichen, Usnea sp.
  4. Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
  5. Brown Jelly Fungus, Jelly Leaf, Tremella foliacea
  6. Bryum Moss, Bryum capillare
  7. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  8. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  9. Common Earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris
  10. Common Pin Mold, Mucor mucedo
  11. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  12. Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
  13. Creeping Moss, Conardia compacta
  14. Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronate
  15. Deadly Galerina, Galerina autumnalis
  16. False Coral Mushroom, Tremellodendron sp.
  17. False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum hirsutum
  18. False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum ostrea
  19. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  20. Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  21. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  22. Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
  23. Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus androsaceus
  24. House Pseudoscorpion, Chelifer cancroides
  25. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  26. Jelly Spot Jelly Fungus, Dacrymyces chrysospermus
  27. Millipede, possibly Gosodesmus claremontus
  28. Mower’s Mushroom, Haymaker Mushroom, Panaeolus foenisecii
  29. Oak-loving Gymnopus, Gymnopus dryophilus
  30. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  31. Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  32. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  33. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  34. Rock Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia conspersa
  35. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  36. Snowy Oysterlings, Cheimonophyllum candidissimum
  37. Split Porecrust, Schizopora paradoxa
  38. Splitgill Fungus, Schizophyllum sp.
  39. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  40. Spotted Trichia, Trichia botrytis
  41. Star Moss, Syntrichia ruralis
  42. Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans
  43. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  44. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  45. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus 
  46. White Cane Marasmus, Marasmiellus candidus
  47. White Spheroid Slime Mold, Physarum cinereum
  48. Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica

I Have Started an Eventbrite Account, 12-30-19

I have set up an account with Eventbrite through which I’ll post the upcoming events I’m going to and/or will be hosting. The majority of the events will be for adults only, focused on seniors, and free of charge.

Go to : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tuesday-nature-walk-at-effie-yeaw-tickets-87743620531 to start with, and then click the FOLLOW button and sign up to get updates as new outings are planned.

A Surprising Lack of Fungi, 12-27-19

Up at 6:00 am to get my dog Esteban fed and pottied and myself ready to go to Lake Solano Park with mt friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne. It was clear and 36°F outside when Roxanne and I left the house around 7:00 am. Before going to the park, we stopped at the Putah Creek Café in Winters for breakfast. 

Start Time: 8:30 am
Start Temperature: 40ºF
End Temperature: 49º F
Weather: Clear, sunny and cool with a slight breeze
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 6.5 hours
Kilometers Walked: 3
Number of Individual Species Noted Today: 54

We got to Lake Solano Park around 8:30 am, and it was about 40°F when we arrived; clear, crisp and a little breezy.  I  was worried the gates wouldn’t be open yet. (They used to open them at 9:00. I always thought it was stupid to restrict access to the park at 9:00, because right across the street is a campground, and it was ridiculous, in my mind, to make the people who had paid for camping to wait until 9 o’clock to access the park.) But the gates were open when Roxanne and I got there, and the apparently new signage said they open at 8:00 am now. 

I was hoping to see waterfowl and fungi at the park, and although we saw quite a few bird species, we didn’t see much in the way of fungi…or lichen for that matter.  I’d never noticed before that the park was nearly devoid of lichen on the trees, but it was very obvious today, and I wondered about it.  The park sits right alongside Putah Creek and includes a mix of oaks, pine trees, black walnut trees, alders, Box elders and sycamores. I’d supposed because of the variety of trees and the proximity to a water source, different kinds of lichen and fungi would be in abundance, but I was wrong.  We saw very little lichen, and less than a handful of fungi… And most of what we did find was on fallen sticks and limbs on the ground.

Pinwheel Mushroom, Tetrapyrgos nigripes

I wonder what is inhibiting the lichen and fungal growth there.  Is it TOO close to the water source? Is there contamination from the surrounding farms? Does the park rangers’ use of herbicides in the park kill the lichen and the mycelium?   

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We were also hoping to see the resident Screech Owl.  Folks who had been to the park last week had posted photos of him, but he wasn’t visible today.  Maybe he was down inside his tree; it WAS kind of cold out there in the early hours and there was that little breeze that made the air feel colder than it was.

We DID get to see a lot of Bufflehead ducks and Common Goldeneyes, Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets and some Great Blue Herons, lots of funny Acorn Woodpeckers, and several pairs of Phainopeplas.  That’s the only bird whose general call I can do fairly well (it’s one note), so I was able to call out some of the males and got a few good photos of them.  They’re always fun to see; kind of “punk” looking.  And we heard and saw some California Quail. 

A juvenile male Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens

We also came across some of the resident peafowl.  One young male, who hadn’t gotten his long trailing tail feathers in yet, was displaying in front of a female, oblivious to the fact that he had nuthin’ to show her.  She was not impressed and just walked away. And the Acorn Woodpeckers were all over the park, moving acorns back and forth between their granary trees.

Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus , female

 As far as the fungi went, we found some oyster mushrooms on a couple of trees, some of the everyday Mower’s Mushrooms, and some Black Jelly Roll fungus… Along with the Black Jelly Roll, we saw something that I think was another kind of slime mold, maybe Comatricha nigra.  We found it on the end of a couple of different dead-fall branches, and on one of them it was adjacent to Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa

Slime mold (Comatricha sp. )

There was also a tiny-tiny snail shell next to one outcropping that we could only see when I attached the macro lens to my cellphone.  That attachment is a boon when I’m researching slime molds and other minutia in the field, but I’d really like to get a powerful microscope (with a camera attachment) to see more of the details on these teeny things.

Oh, and speaking of slime molds I found a good resource for ID-ing them at the Eumycetozoan Project database.  Sometimes just being able to see photos of them in advance help me to more easily see them and identify them when I’m out in the field.            

Roxanne and I walked for about 4½ hours and then headed back to Sacramento.

Species List:

• Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
• American Wigeon, Anas americana
• Arundo, Giant Reed, Arundo donax
• Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
• Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [heard]
• Black Comatricha Slime Mold, Comatricha nigra
• Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
• Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
• Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
• Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
• Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
• Bryum Moss, Bryum capillare
• Bufflehead, Bucephala albeola
• Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
• California Buckeye Chestnut, Aesculus californica
• California Quail, Callipepla californica
• California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
• Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
• Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota [nests]
• Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
• Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
• Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
• Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
• Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
• Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana
• Great Blue Heron, Ardea Herodias
• Great Egret, Ardea alba
• Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
• Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
• Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
• Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
• Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus
• Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus
• Mower’s Mushroom, Haymaker Mushroom, Panaeolus foenisecii
• Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus [heard]
• Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
• Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
• Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
• Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus
• Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens
• Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
• Pinwheel Mushroom, Tetrapyrgos nigripes
• Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
• Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
• Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
• Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
• Slime mold (maybe Lamproderma arcyrioides or Lamproderma scintillans)
• Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
• Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
• Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
• Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
• Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
• Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
• White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
• White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis

A New Slime Mold and Lots of Deer, 12-24-19

I got up at 7:00 this morning and after giving Esteban his breakfast, I headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my regular volunteer trail walking gig.  It was literally freezing outside, 32°F, when I got to the preserve, clear and crisp, with frost on the ground and a little bit of lingering fog in the shadier places. By the afternoon clouds rolled in; it’s suppose to rain tonight and into tomorrow.

Start Time: 7:30 am
Start Temperature: 32º F
End Temperature: 49º F
Weather: Freezing, foggy,clear skies
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 4.5 hours
Kilometers Walked: 3
Number of Individual Species Noted Today: 36

The frost was the first thing I encountered when I got onto the trails.  It was glistening from plants everywhere, and on the leaf litter on the ground. Although I was able to capture some of the hoariness of the frost with the camera, it just didn’t capture the glistening as I hoped it might.  Still, I enjoyed being able to see it. It doesn’t get this cold that often around here, so I appreciate the “specialness” of very cold, frosty days.

Frost of the leaf of a Valley Oak, Quercus lobata

Because of the cold, I wasn’t really expecting to see a lot while I was out and was content to just enjoy the crisp air and exercise, but there were actually LOTS of deer out today…and I find a new (to me) slime mold, so I was very pleased with that.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

 After “discovering” the frost, I saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting up in a tree over the trail. It was all hunkered in on itself trying to warm up as the sun inched up a little more every few minutes.  Then I started seeing deer, after deer, after deer, including two of the big bucks and a couple of younger bucks among the does and yearling fawns.  The big boys were sitting on the ground with their small harems of does around them. 

One doe actually stepped out away from her fawn to come nearer the trail and check me out.  I was in a heavy green jacket and had my scarf wrapped around my neck and face to keep out the cold, and I don’t think she could really tell WHAT I was.  She walked up to within about 8 or 10 feet of me, sniffed at the air, stepped forward a little bit more, sniffed at the air from a different direction, and then, I presume, figured I wasn’t that interesting and walked away.  Her fawn followed after her into the tall grass.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus

I came across several different species of mushrooms and some nice specimens of Black Jelly Roll fungus, but nothing I hadn’t seen before.  I noticed at one point on the trail a Dad had left the trail itself and walked off into the brush to check something out while his wife and toddler stood nearby. I was just about to go over to them and ask them to get back onto the trail when the Dad came out from the brush smiling.  “That’s a new Galerina for me. I think it might be Galerina marginata, but I’m not sure.”  Hah!  A fellow fungus hunter! 

Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa, along with Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia, Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata, and Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina

I also found an old owl pellet near the trail with some leg bones still intact in it, and also came across a field that was fill of frosty-dew-covered spiders’ webs. Got quite a few photos of those.

Orb-Weaver spider, Neoscona sp. [web]

But the big find of the day for me was of the slime mold I had never seen before. I think it’s Spotted Trichia, Trichia botrytis.  It was in its fruiting stage and looked like groupings of tiny deep red (almost black) globes on stalks. Some of the globes were darker than others, and some had matured and swollen enough so that the surface looked spotted (dark red with yellowish tan underneath).

The next step will be for the globes to go to spore.  When they get to that stage, the surface dries out and peels back like petals of a flower to release the slime mold’s yellow spores.  Coolness!

I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed back home.

Species List:

  • Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  • Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
  • Bryum Moss, Bryum capillare
  • California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  • California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  • California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  • Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  • Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
  • European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  • Fairy Ring Mushroom, Scotch Bonnet, Marasmius oreades
  • False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum Ostrea
  • Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  • Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  • Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  • Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
  • Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus androsaceus
  • Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  • Jelly Spot Fungus, Dacrymyces stillatus
  • Narrowleaf Cattail, Cattail, Typha angustifolia
  • Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  • Orb-Weaver spider, Neoscona sp. [web]
  • Peregrine Falcon, Wek-Wek, Falco peregrinus
  • Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  • Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  • Sheet-web spider, Family: Linyphiidae
  • Split Porecrust, Schizopora paradoxa
  • Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  • Spotted Trichia Slime Mold, Trichia botrytis
  • Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  • Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  • Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  • Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  • Western Sycamore, Platanus racemosa
  • White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  • Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica
  • Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis