Category Archives: Volunteering

Turkeys in the Trees, 11-23-21

I got up around 6:30 am again and got myself ready to go out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk.

When I got there I couldn’t help but notice that most of the Wild Turkeys were all up in the trees, complaining like there was something on the ground that frightened them. I figured it must have been rattlesnakes or a coyote, but I couldn’t see either one.

I was hoping for some slimes molds and fungi, but I don’t think it’s really wet enough here — at least where I’m looking. I did find some white slime mold (in a very hear-to-photograph space, and something that I thought might have been black slime mold. It turned out to be a sort of lichen; one I’d never documented before so that was cool. No great photos, though.

Honeycomb Coral Slime Mold, Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa, which may be covered by another kind of fungus

A lot of the fungi that I was able to spot was off the trail — and you can’t leave the trails at Effie — so I was relegated to getting distance shot of them.

At one spot, though, I found some Red-Threads [AKA Pleated Marasmius]. They’re such pretty little things with their wine-colored caps and pale, broadly-spread-apart gills. I thought at first they might be Bleeding Mycena, but the stipe didn’t bleed when broken.

Near the riverside, I stopped to see if I could spot some salmon in the water. I did see the splash of some of them racing against the current, but couldn’t really see the fish themselves.

I got to see two different species of hawks along the trail. First, I caught sight of a Cooper’s Hawk, and then I saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk flying from one tree to another.

When I pointed the Red-Shouldered Hawk out to a newbie birder, she tried to argue that it was a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk or a Cooper’s Hawk, and I explained why I believed it was a Red-Shouldered (the reddish capelet around the neck, the mottled back, the barred tail). She insisted the barring would be thinner on a Red-Shouldered and, she complained, she couldn’t see the rusty coloring of its breast. I told her she couldn’t see that because the bird had its back to her. (Duh!) Then the bird turned around flew down into the grass trying to catch something. “Oh,” the woman said, “I guess you’re right. That is a Red-Shouldered Hawk.”  Never question me, woman. Hah!

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Later, I was watching the Acorn Woodpeckers at their granary tree and saw one that was doing “maintenance”. When it found a rotten acorn or something that didn’t quite fit, it threw it on the ground. I’d seen the woodpeckers move acorns from one hole to the next but I’d never seen them toss stuff away before. A new behavior for me.

I could hear a lot of different birds — Nuttall’s woodpeckers, Oak Titmice, California Towhees, Spotted Towhees, California Quail — but only managed to catch a glimpse of some of them, and didn’t get photos of any of them. I saw several small flocks of Canada Geese flying overhead. There were Black Phoebes around, and I got photos of some of them.

The Interior Live Oak trees were boasting a variety of tiny galls from the summer months, most of the galls gone brown with age.  But I noticed that one many of the leaves there was the telltale dark brownish lines left by more galls that had seemingly been aborted before they grew. The sudden shifts in the weather must have been too much for the miniscule larvae inside the galls, and both they and the galls died.

I also got to see a few of the deer on the property.

I noted, as I was leaving the preserve, that the “rattlesnake habitat” play area had been turned into a new native plant garden. Well, that was a smart thing to do.

Refurbishment of the “rattlesnake habitat” into a native plants garden.

Previously, the area had been all stepping stones and boulders, and was meant for kids to jump around and climb… but the rattlesnakes loved hiding and sleeping along the edges of the rocks — and I know of at least one occasion when a child was bitten by one of the snakes (because I was there when it happened, and took some photos of the snake when it had been captured live and put in a bucket to be transferred to another part of the preserve). Workers pulled out all of the boulders except for one, and set down flowers beds surrounded by river rocks. We’ll see how much the snakes like that.

I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed home. This was hike #87 of my annual hike challenge.


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Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna [heard]
  3. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  4. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  5. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
  6. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  7. California Mycena Mushroom, Mycena californiensis
  8. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  9. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  10. California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  11. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  12. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  14. Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
  15. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  16. Common Bonnet Mushroom, Mycena galericulata
  17. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser [male, in river]
  18. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
  19. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
  20. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis [female]
  21. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  22. Cumberland Rock-Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia [gray on rocks, brown apotheca
  23. Cumberland Rock-Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia [gray on rocks, brown apotheca]
  24. Dog Vomit Slime Mold, Fuligo septica
  25. Dryad’s Saddle, Hawk’s Wing, Polyporus squamosus
  26. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  27. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum hirsutum [thin, flattish, brown underside]
  28. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  29. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  30. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  31. Honey Fungus, Honey Mushroom, Armillaria mellea
  32. Honeycomb Coral Slime Mold, Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa [white]
  33. Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
  34. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  35. Kernel Flower Gall Wasp, Callirhytis serricornis
  36. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  37. Mealy Rim Lichen, Lecanora strobilina [greenish apothecia]
  38. Needle Lichen, Chaenotheca ferruginea [tiny black raised spots on wood]
  39. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  40. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  41. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  42. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  43. Oak-loving Gymnopus Mushrooms, Gymnopus dryophilus [tan-orange with pale gills; cap can be flat or curved up as it ages]
  44. Ochre Bracket Fungus, Trametes ochracea
  45. Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  46. Paltry Puffball, Puffball Fungus, Bovista californica
  47. Pleated Marasmius, Red Thread, Marasmius plicatulus
  48. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
  49. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  50. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  51. Scaly Rustgill Mushroom, Gymnopilus sapineus [rusty red top, yellowish gills that turn rusty with age]
  52. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  53. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  54. Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
  55. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  56. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, unisexual gall, summer generation,  Dryocosmus dubiosus [small, green or mottled, on back of leaf along the midvein]
  57. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  58. Yellow Fieldcap Mushroom, Bolbitius titubans

Found More Fungi Than We Expected To, 11-19-21

I got up around 6:30 again this morning and got myself ready to go out to the American River Bend Park for a walk with my friend Roxanne. I was hoping to see some fungi and some slime molds. We got the fungi but no slime molds.

It was drizzly and overcast, but the rain was nice to us. It rained a lot as we stopped for coffee and headed in toward the park, but once we got moving along the trails, it stopped. I’d brought an umbrella with me, but didn’t really need it.

When we got to the gates of the park, there was cadre of male Wild Turkeys walking by, blocking the road. This time of year, the males travel in bachelor groups and vie with one another for supremacy over roosting spots in the winter.

Besides the turkeys, we didn’t really see a lot of birds. I could hear Northern Flickers, California Quail, and Oak Titmice, but I couldn’t see them to get a photo. I did get a photo of a Spotted Towhee early in our walk, and a couple of a Lark Sparrow we saw on our way out of the park. We’d stopped to get photos of some Telegraphweed plants and were surprised when the sparrows showed up. We hardly ever get to see Lark Sparrows (which I think is the prettiest of the sparrows in California) so we’re always excited when we get the chance to see one.

We went into the first turn-out, near the manicured lawn and picnic tables, and looked through some of the rougher areas around the lawn for fungi.  We found some nice specimens of  Honey Fungus, Yellow Fieldcaps, Scaly Rustgill mushrooms and Dryad’s Saddle polypores among others.

On the lawn we found some Death Caps, which are sort of in the same family of deadly mushrooms as the Destroying Angels. Unlike the angels, which are pure white all over, the Death Caps have a yellow cap. I don’t think I’d ever seen them in that lawn before, so that was a nice find.

When photographing some lichen, Rox found a nice crop of the reddish-orange “moles” of the Orange Hobnail Canker, a plant pathogen that was discovered in 1916 by Stephen Bruner. We also found Green Shield lichen, Shrubby Sunburst, and  Hoary Rosette Lichen. We weren’t really focused on lichen on this trip, so I’m sure there were a lot more that I missed recording.

One of the trees we found clumps of sandy “mud” on the side of a tree, and then red woody sawdust on another tree… I think it might have been termite signs, but I’m not sure.

Mustard Yellow Polypore, Fuscoporia gilva, a type of bracket fungus

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We then went over to equestrian area to see if we could find any jelly fungi, but there weren’t any out yet. As we drove out of there, we saw some “melted” inkcap mushrooms in one of the fields, and stopped to get pictures of those. The inkcaps have a high water content so as they age, their gills liquify and leave a black inky sluice on your skin.

Then we drove toward the camping area (and restrooms) and looked around the fields there. On the way we came across a Columbian Black-Tailed doe and her two fawns. Sooooo beautiful. 

In the fields I was looking for some earthstars but didn’t see any.  We DID find some False Turkey-Tail fungus, puffballs, and horsehair fungus, and Roxanne found a lovely specimen of Oak Mazegill.

We walked for almost 3½ hours which I thought was pretty good for me considering my “depleted” state, especially with all of the bending over and climbing over fallen logs that we had to do. It was exhausting but fun.

We then went over to Brookfield’s Restaurant in Rancho Cordova for lunch. Rox had a Rueben sandwich and sweet potato fries and I had a French dip and regular fries. I also had coffee and a mimosa. So yummy! Thank you, Roxanne.


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Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Brown Jelly Fungus, Leafy Brain, Phaeotremella foliacea
  3. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  4. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  5. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  6. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  7. Cavalier Mushroom, Melanoleuca sp.
  8. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  9. Common Ink Cap, Coprinopsis atramentaria [large]
  10. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  11. Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat, Bradysia sp. [larvae]
  12. Deathcap Mushroom, Amanita phalloides [yellow cap, everything else is white]
  13. Dryad’s Saddle, Hawk’s Wing, Polyporus squamosus
  14. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  15. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum hirsutum [thin, flattish, brown underside]
  16. Foothill Shoulderband Snail, Helminthoglypta cypreophila
  17. Fragrant Funnel Mushroom, Clitocybe fragrans
  18. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  19. Goldenhaired Inkcap Mushroom, Parasola auricoma [like parasol mushrooms but with a goldish button in the middle of the cap]
  20. Green Trichoderma Mold, Trichoderma viride
  21. Harvestmen,  Order: Opiliones [tiny clear “spider” on the gills of a mushroom]
  22. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  23. Honey Fungus, Honey Mushroom, Armillaria mellea
  24. Horsehair Fungus, Gymnopus androsaceus [thin black stipe]
  25. Lark Sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
  26. Meadow Puffball, Lycoperdon pratense [pure white, smooth surface]
  27. Mock Strawberry, Potentilla indica
  28. Mustard Yellow Polypore, Fuscoporia gilva [bracket type fungus]
  29. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  30. Oak Mazegill, Daedalea quercina
  31. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  32. Oak-loving Gymnopus, Gymnopus dryophilus [tan-orange with pale gills; cap can be flat or curved up as it ages]
  33. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
  34. Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  35. Orange Hobnail Canker, Endothia gyrosa [hard reddish-orange pimples on trees]
  36. Peeling Oysterling Mushroom, Crepidotus mollis [small oyster mushroom on sticks/bark]
  37. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  38. Scaly Rustgill Mushroom, Gymnopilus sapineus [rusty red top, yellowish gills that turn rusty with age]
  39. Scaly Shield Mushroom, Pluteus petasatus
  40. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  41. Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
  42. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  43. Sulphur Shelf Fungus, Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf, Laetiporus gilbertsonii
  44. Tall Psathyrella Mushroom, Psathyrella longipes [tan cap that often splits, dark tan gills]
  45. Telegraphweed, Heterotheca grandiflora [soft felted leaves, yellow flowers]
  46. Toothed Crust Fungus, Antrodia sp.
  47. Western Deer Mushroom, Pluteus exilis [heavy, dark cap and white stipe and gills]
  48. White Clover, Trifolium repens
  49. Yellow Fieldcap Mushroom, Bolbitius titubans
  50. ?? mold on deer scat
  51. ?? Sandy mud on the bark of a tree

Nature Showed Us a Lot, 11-15-21

I got up around 6:30 this morning and got myself ready to go out to the Cosumnes River Preserve with my friend Roxanne. Roxanne had a new camera she’d gotten for her birthday, a Lumix, and she wanted to test it out.

Certified California Naturalist Roxanne, testing her new camera on photographing Red-Winged Blackbirds among the tules.

My cancer pain level was at about a 2 or 3 (instead of an 8 or 11), so I was hoping to do some real walking; I was hoping to make a mile — which I haven’t been able to do since my surgery on October 8th. We weren’t really looking for anything in particular; we really just wanted to get outside and moving so we were open to anything Nature wanted to show us. And she showed us quite a bit: birds, squirrels, lichen, galls, fungi, even a slime mold. Cool.

It was cool outside with some lingering fog and a dense overcast. Not really “cold” but I did need to wear my jacket while I was out of the car.

We took Franklin Road to Twin Cities rather than going along the freeway (because a lot of the freeway on/off ramps were closed for construction). At one cow pasture, we could see hundreds of birds flying overhead and collecting on the roof of the pasture’s hay barn. Starlings. Their noise was incredible.

A little further along the road, we saw a pair of ravens in the top of a tree. They were touching beaks, but I couldn’t tell if they were “kissing” or if one was feeding the other.  I know ravens are monogamous; maybe this was a male/female pair strengthening their pair bond.

Among the raptors, we saw Red-Tailed Hawks, Red-Shouldered Hawks, Kites, Kestrels and Northern Harriers, and some Turkey Vultures.

Among the smaller birds, we saw Savannah Sparrows, House Finches, White-Crowned and Golden Crowned Sparrows, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Meadowlarks, Black Phoebes, and Magpies.

In some of the fields, we saw Sandhill Cranes (usually among flocks of Greater White-Fronted Geese that had settled onto the ground at their feet). There were also a few Snow Geese in the mix, some of them juveniles still in their “blue goose” coloring.

In the shallow waters we also saw Black-Necked Stilts, Least Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, and Long-Billed Dowitchers and several Great Egrets. And among the ducks we saw were Green-Winged Teals, Cinnamon Teals, Mallards, Northern Pintails and Northern Shovelers… Oh, and American Coots.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We chanced across a few of the common, early season mushrooms including Meadow Mushrooms, Scurfy Twiglets, some kind of chanterelle, Yellow Fieldcaps, some tiny Oak Leaf Pinwheels (which I, at first, mistook for Horsehair Fungi), and some pretty little Peeling Oysterlings.  We weren’t really looking for them, so they were a nice surprise.

The slime mold we found was an almost-used-up specimen of Chocolate Tube Slime, Stemonitis splendens. It was right on the verge of going totally to spore. We found it on a stick laying by the road.

Checking out other sticks and stumps we found a variety of crust fungi, including some Giraffe Spot, and some really beautiful tooth fungi: one bright yellow orange, and one pure white with huge “teeth”.  There was also some bright green Trichoderma viride fungi thrown in the mix of things on the sticks.

Among the lichens we found were Green Shield, Common Sunburst, Hooded Rosette, and Western Strap Lichen. All of those are pretty common and visible almost everywhere in this area.

Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina, and Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]

Because of the lingering fog and overcast, I was hoping to see some Orbweaver spider webs decorated with dew, but no such luck. We DID find sheet web and funnel webs with the droplets on them, however.

Grass reflected in dew drops on the web of a Sheet Weaver Spider, Family: Linyphiidae

We came across several Eastern Fox Squirrels, some of them foraging in the leaf litter, others pulling down twigs and leaves to make their dreys. They’re so accustomed to humans along the trail that they let us get pretty close to them before scurrying off.

Between the drive and the walking we did along the River Trail at the preserve, we were out for almost 6 hours! Although I was totally exhausted at the end of the walk (I hadn’t done that much in weeks), I was very happy and exhilarated that I was able to do it.  Nature heals.

This was hike #85 of my annual hike challenge.

Before going home, we stopped at Huckleberry’s restaurant in Elk Grove for a late breakfast-for-lunch lunch. Everything on the menu looked sooooo appetizing; whoever took the photos for that did an excellent job. I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. I ended up ordering the steak and eggs combo with potatoes and huckleberry tea. Ummm… And a bacon Bloody Mary, of course. Hah! Oh…and green fried tomatoes. Never had them before and they were super yummy. Both Rox and I noticed they featured catfish on the lunch menu, so we’ll need to go back soon and get some of that. I love catfish.

We got back home around 3:30 pm, so it was a long but very fun day. Thank you, Rox.  And thank you, too, to Melissa who kept an eye on Esteban all day.

Buy Me a Coffee!

Donate $5 to buy me a coffee so I have the fuel I need to keep exploring and bring more of nature to you. Thanks!

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Species List:

  1. Alcoholic Flux bacteria, Foamy Canker, Slime Flux, Phytophthora sp. X other bacteria [white, brown or black ooze with a yeasty, sour beer smell.]
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
  4. Ash Flower Gall Mite, Ash Key Gall Mite, Aceria fraxiniflora
  5. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [heard]
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  8. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  9. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  10. Briar Rose, Sweet Briar, Rosa rubiginosa [rose hips]
  11. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  12. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  13. Chanterelle Mushroom, Cantharellus sp.
  14. Chocolate Tube Slime Mold, Stemonitis splendens
  15. Cinnamon Teal, Spatula cyanoptera
  16. Clustered Gall Wasp, Andricus brunneus
  17. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  18. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
  19. Cottonwood Petiole Gall, Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
  20. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  21. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  22. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  23. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  24. Dunlin, Calidris alpina
  25. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  26. European Praying Mantis, Mantis religiosa [flat body in adults; ootheca is like a football shape, most common one we see]
  27. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  28. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
  29. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  30. Funnel Weaver Spider, Family: Agelenidae
  31. Giraffe Spots Crust Fungus, Peniophora albobadia
  32. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  33. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  34. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  35. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  36. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus [heard/glimpsed in parking lot]
  37. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperat
  38. Green Trichoderma Mold, Trichoderma viride
  39. Green-winged Teal, Anas crecca
  40. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  41. Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
  42. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  43. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon [nesting box]
  44. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  45. Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
  46. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  47. Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
  48. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  49. Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
  50. Meadow Mushroom, Agaricus campestris [white, collared, pink/dark gills]
  51. Mediterranean Mantis, Iris Mantis, Iris oratoria [thin narrow ootheca]
  52. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  53. Mushroom Fungus, Syzygites megalocarpus
  54. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
  55. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  56. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  57. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  58. Oak-Leaf Pinwheel Mushroom, Collybiopsis quercophila [tiny, on leaf litter]
  59. Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  60. Orange Crust Fungus, Mycoacia sp.
  61. Peeling Oysterling Mushroom, Crepidotus mollis [small oyster mushroom on sticks/bark]
  62. Raven, Common Raven, Corvus corax
  63. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
  64. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  65. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  66. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  67. Rice, Oryza sativa
  68. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  69. Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
  70. RRD, Rose Rosette Disease, Emaravirus sp. [excessive thorniness]
  71. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  72. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
  73. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  74. Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
  75. Scurfy Twiglet Mushroom, Tubaria furfuracea [small, pale orange, wide gills]
  76. Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
  77. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae
  78. Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
  79. Spined Turban Gall Wasp, Cynips douglasii [summer gall, pink, spikey top]
  80. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
  81. Stable Fly, Stomoxys calcitrans
  82. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  83. Toothed Crust Fungus, Antrodia sp.
  84. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  85. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  86. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  87. Water Hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes
  88. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  89. White Ash Tree, Fraxinus americana
  90. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  91. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  92. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Pontania californica
  93. Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
  94. Yellow Fieldcap Mushroom, Bolbitius titubans
  95. Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli
  96. ?? moss on a downed log
  97. ?? oak with “sunburned” leaves
  98. ?? tiny insects on willow leaves

Along Staten Island Road, 11-08-21

I got up around 7:00 this morning and had a light breakfast of toast and black coffee before heading out for a drive to Staten Island Road with my friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne. We left the house around 8:00 am. I was in pain and moving slowly but figured I could handle an outing during which I didn’t have to walk a lot.

I told the Universe I wanted to see a species of bird I’d never seen before (it IS migrating season after all) and a Snipe. I got the snipe; two, in fact. I don’t know why those odd little birds make me happy, but they do.

We saw quite a few raptors on the drive including several Red-Tailed Hawks, a Red-Shouldered Hawk, a couple of American Kestrels and Northern Harriers. That’s the most of them we’ve seen in a long time.

In the fields were flocks of Canada and Cackling Geese and Greater White-Fronted Geese. There were Sandhill Cranes in the fields, too, even among the cattle. Overhead, too, there were so many flocks moving around, some of them very large, that the air was filled with noise.

Cackling Geese, Branta hutchinsii, and Red-Winged Blackbirds, Agelaius phoeniceus

Along the fences we saw tons of House Finches, Brewer’s Blackbirds, and Red-Winged Blackbirds. We also came across a Black Phoebe and a Say’s Phoebe, some White-Crowned Sparrows and Savannah Sparrows.

And in one of the sloughs, we saw a pair of Great Blue Herons. It’s unusual to see two so close together, and I wondered if they were a mated pair or siblings.

In the flooded fields we saw Northern Shovels, Ruddy Ducks, Canvasback ducks, Tundra Swans and Mute Swans, Killdeer, American Pipits, a Bufflehead, a Greater Yellowlegs, a Black-Necked Stilt, and American Coots in the water.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We were out for about 3 hours before I started to get hungry and in pain, so we quit the road and headed into town to look for somewhere to have lunch.  The first place we came across was Olive Garden. I haven’t eaten there in ages, and their all-you-can-eat soup and salad lunch really appealed to me. So, I had the Zuppa Toscana soup, salad and breadsticks, a spinach-artichoke dip appetizer with flatbread crisps, iced tea, and Italian donut puffs with raspberry sauce. Sooooooooooo yummy.


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Species List:

  1. American Coot, Fulica americana
  2. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
  3. American Pipit, Anthus rubescens
  4. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
  5. Black Angus Cattle, Bos taurus var. Black Angus
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  8. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  9. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  10. Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsii
  11. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  12. Canvasback Duck, Aythya valisineria
  13. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
  14. Eared Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
  15. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
  16. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  17. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  18. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  19. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  20. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  21. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  22. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  23. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
  24. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  25. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  26. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  27. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  28. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  29. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  30. Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
  31. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
  32. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  33. Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
  34. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  35. Tundra Swan, Cygnus columbianus
  36. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  37. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  38. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  39. Wilson’s Snipe, Gallinago delicata