A Many Otter Morning, 03-20-21

I got up at 6:30 this morning, so I could head out with my friend Roxanne to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. We had heard online that the Yellow-Headed Blackbirds (YHB) were starting to show up at the bypass again.

I’ve seen some juvenile and female YHBs, but they were individuals, here and there. I’ve never seen the fully mature males, which have vibrant yellow heads, and I’ve never them in flocks before. So, Rox and I decided we’d go to look for them. Then some of our naturalist friends Rachael and Karlyn said they wanted to go, too, so we told them we’d meet them over at the bypass around 8:00 am.

Rox met me at the house around 7:00 and we headed in toward Davis, stopping briefly to get some coffee and then trying to see if the Burrowing Owls were out by the ag fields. We didn’t see any owls — the fact that a woman went jogging right by where it was didn’t help –but I did catch a glimpse of a Yellowthroat and I saw my first ever Horned Lark. It was a young female, and wasn’t showing any horns (which can be raised or lowered), but, hey, it was a “lifer” for me!

Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris

We then went to the Yolo Bypass and met up with Karlyn and Rachael at the parking lot in front of the start of the auto tour route. Rox and I went in one car, and Rachael and Karlyn went in another. Rachael couldn’t stay for the whole day, so we tried to keep an eye on the clock as we went along.

We were seeing a lot of the usual suspects: sparrows, egrets, some ibises, but also saw a handsome Raven sitting on top of a post. He posed for a while before taking off. 

As we went along, though, Roxanne spotted some dark forms galloping across the road in the distance. We realized right away that they were North American River Otters, Lontra canadensis, and saw them go into a slough/ditch area by a bridge. It was hard not to just SPEED to the spot, but we didn’t want to startle the otters, so Rox drove toward them at a moderated speed.

Our sort of stealth was rewarded when we got to the bridge and found a whole raft of otters in the water. As we watched them, the otters used the large drainage pipe adjacent to bridge to move from one side of it to another; sometimes hiding from us by piling up inside the pipe. Sometimes all we saw with the rippling effect they had on the water, or the bubbles they released when they were submerged.

Eventually, the otters felt comfortable enough to come out and climb onto the levee on the side opposite from us where they shook their fur, did some grooming, greeted and rolled over one another, and even did their “poopy dance”. All the while, one or more of them would be snorting at us; low sounds, like they were grumbling about us under their breath.

We counted SIX of them for sure, and then thought we’d spotted a SEVENTH in the water… but it was hard to keep track of everyone because they were all moving about.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I tried getting single shots of each one of them, which again wasn’t easy, in the hopes that I could maybe identify individuals later from their photos but… sorry to say, they all look pretty much the same to me. Trying to get group shots was hilarious. It was like trying to find a family photo for a Christmas card when not all of the subjects are cooperating. Some would look this way, while others looked that way, or fell out of the frame, or decided to shake their head just as the picture was snapped… Hah!

Still, what a wonderful treat! Those little guys made my day.  At that was the largest group of otters I’ve ever seen. Karlyn and Rachael were equally impressed.  Of course, I reminded all of them to log their sighting at the River Otter Ecology Project’s “Otter Spotter” site.

The other unexpected sighting was seeing some Black Crowned Night Herons day-roosting in one of the fields. There’s supposed to be a large colony of them there, but we couldn’t find them on our drive or our walk. I saw a pair of otters in the water in a field as we were going along, but they disappeared into the tules.

Black-Crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax

We never did see any of the Yellow-Headed Blackbirds, but figured that they might be foraging in another field or something. We DID get to see a Black Phoebe near a little viewing platform gathering nesting materials. They build mud nests then line the nest with fine twigs and feathers and other soft stuff.  Rox and I kind of consider the phoebes “our” birds because we see them almost everywhere we go. This one’s nest was UNDERNEATH the platform we were standing on. As long as the water level of the pond doesn’t rise too much, it should be fine there.

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans

At that same spot, we got a glimpse of two more otters. They were fussing along the edges of the stands of tules, and then disappeared. We wondered if they had a holt in there somewhere.

As we were driving out, we flushed an American Bittern which took off flying tour left across the marsh. We had been keeping an eye out for bitterns, but didn’t see any until this one surprised us. Of course, it all happened so fast, we didn’t get any photos of it.

Between the driving and the walking out at the bypass, we were out for almost five hours!  The weather was gorgeous, the company was fun, and the animal sightings were enjoyable… A good morning all around.

Species List:

  1. American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. American Pipit, Anthus rubescens
  4. American Wigeon, Anas americana
  5. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  6. Black Mustard, Common Wild Mustard, Brassica nigra
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Black-Crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  9. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  10. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  11. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  12. Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
  13. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
  14. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  15. Bur Clover, Medicago polymorpha
  16. Canvasback Duck, Aythya valisineria
  17. Carrot, American Wild Carrot, Daucus pusillus
  18. Cheeseweed Mallow, Malva parviflora
  19. Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera
  20. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
  21. Cut-leaved Crane’s-Bill, Geranium dissectum
  22. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  23. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  24. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  25. Goodding’s Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  26. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  27. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  28. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  29. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  30. Greenbottle Fly, Marsh Greenbottle Fly, Lucilia silvarum
  31. Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
  32. Gumweed, Hairy Gumweed, Grindelia hirsutula
  33. Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris
  34. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  35. Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  36. Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
  37. Khella, Bisnaga Weed, Toothpick Plant, Bishop’s Weed, Ammi visnaga [ a kind of carrot, invasive species]
  38. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  39. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  40. Long-Billed Curlew, Numenius americanus
  41. Long-Billed Dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
  42. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  43. Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
  44. Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill, Erodium botrys
  45. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  46. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
  47. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  48. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  49. Paper Wasp, Black Paper Wasp, European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula
  50. Paper Wasp, Red Paper wasp, Apache Paper Wasp, Polistes apachus
  51. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  52. Prickly Sowthistle, Pigweed, Sonchus asper
  53. Raven, Common Raven, Corvus corax
  54. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  55. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  56. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  57. Ring-Necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
  58. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia [saw in the field on the drive]
  59. River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
  60. Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
  61. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
  62. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  63. Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
  64. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  65. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  66. Sunflower, Common Sunflower, Helianthus annuus
  67. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  68. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  69. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  70. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  71. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  72. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  73. White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
  74. Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata

A Pretty Morning at Mather, 03-13-21

 Got up around 6:00 am and headed over to the Mather Lake Regional Park for a walk. On the way there, I saw a White-Tailed Kite “kiting” in the air; and later, when I left, I saw a Say’s Phoebe “kiting” in the air.  Like bookends.

It was about 39°F when I got to the park, and remained relatively cool (under 60°) all day. A lot of the willows are now starting to get their leaves, the wild plum trees were in blossom, and some of the other trees were just starting to bud new leaves and catkins.  Here and there, the Jointed Charlock plants were blossoming. They’re basically “weeds” but I think the flowers are pretty, especially in their variety of colors.

Clouds over the lake.

Among the sparrows, I also saw a couple of chubby Robins. One of them, seemingly, had lost an eye, but it was still able to get around all right. Robins hunt by sound, listening for worms under the surface of the ground…so losing an eye wouldn’t be too much of a disadvantage as far as finding food goes.

American Robin, Turdus migratorius. This one was missing an eye.

There were both Mourning Doves and Eurasian Collared Doves cooing from the trees and telephone lines.  The Great-Tailed Grackles and House Wrens were out singing, too. So much birdsong!

The real standouts of the day, though, were the Tree Swallows. They were everywhere, foraging for bugs, chasing one another, singing their gurgly songs, looking for nesting cavities. One of the folks in the Birding California Facebook group suggested I read “White Feathers: The Nesting Lives of Tree Swallows” by Bernd Heinrich… so that’s on my wish list right now. Heinrich noted that the Tree Swallows line their nests with only white feathers.

 There were lots of Coots and some Pied-Billed Grebes swimming and foraging around the edges of the lake. One of the grebes caught a little fish, and swallowed it down whole. I got a video snippet, but the bird turned its back to me for most of it. Hah!

I also got some really bad, really fuzzy video of a muskrat as it swam its way across the lake. It was headed toward shore, but I can’t move very fast with my cane. When I got to the place where I thought it might have landed, it was already gone. Sigh.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

One of the last bits of video I got was of a pair of Canada Geese. I’ve seen this species of geese all over the place, in forested areas, along the river, lakes and ponds, and in urban areas. But I’d never seen them mating before. The geese form pair bonds that last throughout their lives, but they won’t form a bond or start mating until they’re about three years old.

A lot of the display I watched, before I started filming, was the typical “Triumph Display” where the pair approach one another honking loudly. The honking is followed by a sort of “snorting” or “snoring” sound and the threat of a bite.  Once in the water, the pair I was watching did the “head-dipping” routine — like they were bathing, dipping their heads into the water and then lifting the head so the water flowed over their neck and body.  Then the male mounted the female. She was bouncing like a bobber, and he had trouble staying on top, so I don’t know if he actually accomplished anything. Poor dude. 

As I mentioned before, on my way out of the park, I saw a brown bird “kiting” in the air over a field. I didn’t recognize what it was at first, so I took some video of it.

Luckily, the bird flew in closer to the edge of the road and landed briefly on the fencepost, so I was able to get a few clear shots of it. I was surprised to realize it was a Say’s Phoebe.

Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya

According to Cornell, these phoebes kite when they’re foraging and when the male is displaying around a nesting site to show the female where it is. Say’s Phoebes, unlike the Black Phoebes, don’t make mud nests to they don’t need to nest near a water site. They can sometimes use old nests of Black Phoebes, but otherwise build their nest of a variety of materials, like weeds, wood and other plant fibers, rocks, cocoons and spiderwebs, hair, paper, basically whatever is readily available and can be easily manipulated.

Like the Black Phoebes, the Say’s nest in or around ledges, where the nest can be partially or wholly covered to protect it from the weather, like on rafters, shelves, ledges, drainpipes, eaves, etc. I’ve never found one, but now, at least, I know what I’m looking for.

I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed back home. This was hike #27 in my #52HikeChallenge.

Species List:

  1. Almond Tree, Prunus dulcis
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. American Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
  4. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  5. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  6. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  7. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  8. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [sign on tree]
  9. Bishop Pine, Pinus muricata [fascicles of TWO needles]
  10. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  11. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  12. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  13. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  14. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  15. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  16. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  17. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  18. Candleflame Lichen, Candelaria concolor [bright yellow-orange]
  19. Common Stork’s-Bill, Erodium cicutarium
  20. Cork Oak, Quercus suber
  21. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  22. Coyote Brush Rust Fungus, Puccinia evadens
  23. Coyote Brush Stem Gall Moth, Gnorimoschema baccharisella
  24. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  25. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  26. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  27. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  28. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
  29. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  30. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  31. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  32. Goodding’s Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  33. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  34. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
  35. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  36. Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  37. Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
  38. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  39. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  40. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  41. Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus
  42. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  43. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  44. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  45. Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus
  46. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  47. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  48. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  49. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  50. Rusty Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys nothofulvus [tiny]
  51. Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
  52. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  53. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  54. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  55. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  56. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  57. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  58. Willow Pinecone Gall midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides

Coyote Morning, 03-11-21

It was still cold (around 34°F) this morning, and there were still hail stones in piles on the ground in the shadier places; nonetheless, around 6:30 am I headed out to the American River Bend Park for a walk. When I arrived there, I could hear a pack of coyotes yip-yowling at one another. I tried recording their calls but there was too much other outdoor noise — wind, cars, etc. — to really hear the ‘yotes.

Inside the park, I stopped off to take a look at mama Great Horned Owl first. She was sitting toward the back of her nest, and was dozing. [I wondered what she did when it was hailing yesterday.] I looked for papa in the surrounding trees, but never caught sight of him. He might have been out hunting.

While I was looking for him, I could hear a Wild Turkey giving an alarm call to my left, so I looked over there. The turkey came up over a rise, running, and behind it was a coyote! As soon as the coyote saw me, it stopped, and then loped off down the drive and into the woods. An owl and a coyote in the first five minutes of arriving! That was an auspicious start to my walk.

Coyote, Canis latrans

At one point, I thought I’d spotted papa Great Horned Owl in a tree, but on close inspection realized it was just Fox Squirrel that was curled up and grooming itself in the tree top. The way the sunlight was hitting it made it almost “glow”.

I stopped to take some photos of a beautiful outcropping of flowering manroot vines before moving on to another part of the park. I didn’t have anything specific in mind to look for, so I just enjoyed the walk and had fun viewing whatever Nature wanted to show me. The water in the river was higher than I’ve seen it recently, and was flowing very quickly. Lots of logs floating in the water faked me out — thought they were beavers.

In and around the water, I saw Common Mergansers, Snowy Egrets and Canada Geese. I also came across a Double-Crested Cormorant who was sporting his crests (that look like bushy eyebrows). The crests of this guy were white, which indicates he probably migrated from Alaska.

Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus

I also saw a Spotted Sandpiper (that didn’t have her spots yet), and a male/female pair of Wood Ducks.

I saw some Lesser Goldfinches, Bewick’s Wrens, Oak Titmice, and California Towhees in the wooded areas. One kind of humorous sighting was seeing a troupe of Turkey Vultures sitting in the top of a tree over a fancy house doing their “heraldic” pose.  Looked very “ominous” and “foreboding”.

Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura, in the “heraldic” pose which allows them to soak up more heat from the sun more efficiently.

Lots of pipevine plants are now coming up, just in time for spring, but the plants here are kind of “behind” the same plants in other areas. They’re just sporting their flowers.  Lots of Mugwort and Bedstraw everywhere; and the clarkia are just starting to emerge. No flowers on them yet.

CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos.

I watched a hummingbird flitting around the outdoor arena along the trail, and it flew up in front of my face a couple of times. I think it was attracted to the colors in my scarf. It then flew down into the fire pit and was eating (or at least licking) something inside the rim of that. It wasn’t gathering spider webs, because it was flicking its tongue in and out. After it left, I looked down into the pit, but I couldn’t see anything it might have wanted to feast on.  Weird. 

The rains and hail of yesterday helped to fluff up all of the mosses and lichen, so I took a few photos of the most impressive ones of those I found.

In one of the puddles there was a Hairworm. When I first saw it, it wasn’t moving, so I thought it was dead. I went to the puddle again on my way back to the car, and it was moving then, albeit very slowly. Based on the “ends” of the worm, I assumed this one was a male. It was about 14 inches long.

On my way out of the park, I saw a pair of ground squirrels, and then went back to get a parting look at mama Great Horned Owl. Altogether, I walked for about 3½ hours.  This was hike #26 of my #52HikeChallenge. When I got back to the house, I rested with the dogs for a while.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
  4. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  5. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Boreal Button Lichen, Buellia disciformis [pale gray to bluish with black apothecia on wood]
  8. Brown Jelly Fungus, Leafy Brain, Phaeotremella foliacea
  9. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  10. California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  11. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  12. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  13. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  14. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  15. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  16. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  17. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  18. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  19. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
  20. Coyote Brush Rust, Puccinia evadens
  21. Coyote Brush Stem Gall Moth, Gnorimoschema baccharisella
  22. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  23. Coyote, Canis latrans
  24. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  25. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  26. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata [red line on leaves]
  27. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum hirsutum [thin, flattish, brown underside]
  28. Giraffe’s Head, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  29. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  30. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  31. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
  32. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  33. Hedwig’s Fringeleaf Moss, Hedwigia ciliata
  34. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  35. Horsehair Worm, Hairworm, Phylum: Nematomorpha
  36. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  37. Jelly Spot Fungus, Dacrymyces stillatus
  38. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  39. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  40. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  41. Mealy Pixie Cup, Cladonia chlorophaea
  42. Mealy Rim Lichen, Lecanora strobilina [greenish apothecia]
  43. Miner’s Lettuce, Streambank Springbeauty, Claytonia parviflora [very small]
  44. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
  45. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  46. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  47. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  48. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
  49. Pacific Pea, Lathyrus vestitus
  50. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  51. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  52. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  53. Shield Lichen, Parmelia sulcata [greyish,veined]
  54. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  55. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  56. Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius
  57. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  58. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  59. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  60. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  61. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  62. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  63. Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata

Post-Vaccination Walk, 03-05-21

I got up at 6:00 this morning and headed off with my friend Roxanne to Phoenix Park in Fair Oaks. We’d never been there before, but went to look got the Lawrence’s Goldfinches.

The park has a paved wheel-chair accessible trail that goes around one side of it, 1½ miles long, encompassing six different baseball diamonds of varying sizes (from t-ball to the majors), a picnic area, access to a small community garden, and a dog park. On the other side of the park are dirt footpaths that meander around a series of vernal pools and features some very large trees (which we think were Blue Oaks based on their silver-white bark; it’s are to tell when they don’t have their leaves.)

Vernal pools at the park

We opted for the dirt path, and were happy to see that there was a little water standing in a few of the vernal pools. They, like all of the vernal pools in the area, need more rain, and the flowers around and inside of them aren’t awake yet but we figured in a couple of weeks, they should be more interesting to look at.

I’m not certain that we ever clapped eyes on a Lawrence’s Goldfinch, but we did see Lesser Goldfinches and American Goldfinches, along with other birds like Oak Titmice, Western Meadowlarks, Canada Geese, Killdeer, and Western Bluebirds.

There was a small flock of Starlings who I think were trying to nest in cavities in what was clearly an Acorn Woodpecker granary tree. The woodpeckers were not happy with the interlopers, but the Starlings were insistent and held their ground.

European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, emerging from a nesting cavity in the Acorn Woodpeckers’ granary tree.

We also watched some Yellow-Billed Magpies fly back and forth to their nest. It looked like they were bringing materials for the floor of the nest, but they’d already built the dome over the top of it, so we couldn’t see inside.

We’d only walked for about 90 minutes or so, though, before I was so exhausted I could hardly take another step. The trail was an easy one, and the weather was beautiful, so I couldn’t understand why I was so-so-so tired. Later it occurred to me that the fatigue was most likely an after-effect of the COVID vaccination working its way through my body.  Tiredness is an expected symptom and can show up 1-3 days after injection and last for about three days… so I may have more of this feeling for a little while.

We decided to leave the park, but because it was still relatively early in the morning, we went over to the American River Bend Park to look in on mother Great Horned Owl and her nest there. She was sitting up on her nest, but had her back to us to start with.

Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus

We got distracted by Dark-Eyed Juncos, some White-Breasted Nuthatches, and the Stinging Nettle which is growing quite profusely on the lawn. There were also flowering Giraffe’s Head henbit plants and lots of little blue Speedwell flowers in the grass.

Rox wanted photos of the “hypodermic needles” on the leaves of the Stinging Nettles, and found out very quickly why they’re called that. It takes very little to get the plant to sting you, and the burning sensation can last quite a while. I got stung in the ankles walking through a patch.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

There were several Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies flittering about. We chased down a male while he fed on the nectar of the Giraffe’s Head. You can tell the males from the females by the intense blue iridescence on their hind wings.

A male California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta. This subspecies is endemic to the Central Valley of California; found here and nowhere else on earth.

By the time we got back to the car, mama owl had turned around in her nest and was giving us the stink eye. Hah! I saw something “bright” in a nearby tree, and thought maybe it was another owl. But through the viewfinder of my camera, it just looked like a reflection of sunlight on bark and leaves. When I got the camera home, though, and took a closer look at my photos, I realized it WAS a second owl. The bright light was reflecting off his belly feathers. Wow! Now I’ll need to go back and look for him again.

Can you see papa Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus? He’s very well camouflaged.

We left there and headed over to the Gristmill access area to see how the Red-Shouldered Hawk was doing, and to check on the little Western Screech Owl there. We found the female hawk sitting beside the nest, squawking for her mate. I don’t know if she has eggs yet, or if she was just taking a short break from sitting on them. Eventually, the male showed up. He hadn’t brought her any food, but he did mate with her very briefly.

We found more Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies at the site — even though we couldn’t find any obvious pipevine anywhere. One of the butterflies had just come out of her chrysalis, we supposed, because her hind wings hadn’t fully extended yet; they were still a little wrinkled. She let me pick her up from the grass so we could get some closer photos of her.

A female California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly,Battus philenor hirsuta

There wasn’t a lot going on in the river today — we saw a few Coots and Goldeneye ducks — but in and around the bird boxes along the trail we got to see the Western Screech Owl again, several Tree Swallows, and a pair of Western Bluebirds. We also saw several Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, including a female who hung around for quite a while, so we were able to get quite a few photos of her. (I used my laser pointer to show Rox where the bird was in the tree.) In the water, we saw a pair of male Common Goldeneyes, Bucephala clangula, fighting one another.

Cornell doesn’t provide a lot of information on the behavior: “…Brief fights occur among males. Males submerge toward an intruder and surface near or under the rival. Short chases ensue, with individuals occasionally diving to escape pursuit. Fights end when the intruder(s) leave the territory, often pursued in the air by the territorial male…”

What we were seeing seemed “much ado about nothing”. The males would square off against one another on the surface, then swim around each other, flapping their wings, splashing a lot, sometimes diving underneath one another, chasing each other in circles… but I didn’t see any biting or stabbing. No one lost feathers or drew blood. A civilized form of warfare.

We also saw a Snowy Egret pacing some Common Mergansers along the shore of the river, trying to steal the fish they caught.  I saw similar behavior at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, with gulls attacking Goldeneyes to steal their food. It’s a rough old world out there!

In another spot, we came across one area where there were five turtles sunning themselves in the morning sunlight. They were all Red-Eared Slider Turtles, and most of them looked like they were shedding their old scutes. The scutes are those scales or plates you see on the turtle’s shell; larger ones across the back and smaller ones around the margins. They’re made of keratin (like horn). In order for the shell to enlarge, scutes have to be regularly shed and grown.

Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans

Red-Eared Sliders are considered an invasive species in California because they displace native Pond Turtles. The sliders were brought into the state for the pet trade, but ended up in the waterways throughout California when the pet owners got bored with them and dumped them… “a situation which has continued for several decades since the 1930s, reaching a peak during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle television cartoon craze of the late 1980s-early 1990s.” 

These turtles can live for up to 30 or 40 years, and females (which are generally larger than males) can get up to 18 inches long. Males are distinguished from the females not only by their smaller size, but also by the fact that they have very long fingernails on their front feet.

The most fun thing we spotted there was a very large Jackrabbit run-hopping back and forth across the landscape in front of us. He was so animated!

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus

Altogether, even with my fatigue, I managed to walk for about 3 hours before we headed home. This is hike #25 in my #52HikeChallenge.

When I got home, I was so tired I went to rest on my bed… and fell asleep sitting up. My snoring woke me up, but not until almost 4:00 pm. Sheesh!

Species List:

  1. Almond Tree, Prunus dulcis
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. American Goldfinch, Spinus tristis
  4. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  5. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  6. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  7. Bird’s-eye Speedwell, Veronica persica [tiny blue flowers]
  8. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  9. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  10. Blue Dicks, Vernal Pool Blue Dicks, Dipterostemon capitatus lacuna-vernalis
  11. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  12. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  13. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  14. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  15. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  16. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  17. Chickweed, Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
  18. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  19. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  20. Common Water-Crowfoot, Ranunculus aquatilis [tops floating on the surface of vernal pools]
  21. Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
  22. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  23. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  24. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  25. Giraffe’s Head, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  26. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  27. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
  28. Green Trichoderma Mold, Trichoderma viride
  29. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  30. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  31. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  32. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  33. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  34. Lomatium, Barestem Biscuitroot, Lomatium nudicaule
  35. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  36. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  37. Medusa Head Grass, Taeniatherum caput-medusae
  38. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
  39. Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Big Leaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
  40. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  41. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  42. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  43. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  44. Peach, Prunus persica [dark pink flowers]
  45. Pennywort, Centella sp.
  46. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  47. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  48. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  49. Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
  50. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  51. Spined Turban Gall Wasp, Antron douglasii [spring gall, round on the stems, blue oaks]
  52. Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica
  53. Tangle Web Spider, Theridion sp.
  54. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  55. Trembling Crust Fungus, Merulius tremellosus
  56. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  57. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  58. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  59. Western Screech Owl, Megascops kennicottii
  60. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  61. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  62. Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli

The Usual Suspects at Effie Today, 03-02-21

I got up around 6:00 am again and headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. It was about 40° when I arrived, and it got up to about 70° by the late afternoon.

It was a lot of the usual suspects today: birds, deer, squirrels. No super-interesting standouts, but I did get to see quite a few Red-Shouldered Hawks including one that landed briefly on the ground near me to eat something small near the exhibition pond before taking off again. I’m not sure where they have their nests this year.

The Black Phoebes who, each year, build a nest in the overhang of the nature center, were working on it again. The female sat briefly on the nest, which looked almost finished to my eye, but I don’t think she has eggs yet. Any day now…

It seemed like all of the resident birds were out singing this morning, and I saw a lot of Spotted and California Towhees, wrens, Oak Titmice, and nuthatches around.  The Acorn Woodpeckers were out en masse stuffing and re-stuffing acorns into their granary trees. So much chatter in the air.

The fruitless almond and plum trees in the preserve are in bloom, but not too many of the other spring plants are awake yet, and most of the other trees are still without their leaves.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I found one solitary Giraffe’s Head henbit plant and a small patch of blooming bittercress, but not much else. Even the manroot vines there are slow-going for now.

Among the deer, there are still several boys sporting their antlers, including one 4-pointer buck. His antlers were interesting in that one of them has a prong that is turned backward, in toward his head and shoulder. I wonder if he’ll retain that into the next shed-and-growth period.

A four-pointer Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, buck with wonky antler.

I caught a very brief glimpse of a beaver in the river(!), but it moved faster than I can walk so I wasn’t able to get into a position to see it better. I got only a blurred photo of it as it passed by. Nice to see it, though.

A really blurry photo of a Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis, swimming in the river.

I walked for almost 3½ hours before heading home. This was hike #24 of my #52HikeChallenge.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Almond Tree, Prunus dulcis
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  6. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis
  7. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  8. Bittercress, Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  10. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  11. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  12. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  13. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  14. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  15. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  16. Cherry-Plum Tree, Prunus cerasifera
  17. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  18. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  19. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  20. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
  21. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  22. European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  23. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  24. Giraffe’s Head, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  25. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  26. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  27. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia
  28. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  29. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  30. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  31. Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill, Erodium botrys
  32. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
  33. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  34. Periwinkle, Greater Periwinkle, Vinca major
  35. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  36. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  37. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  38. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  39. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  40. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  41. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  42. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  43. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  44. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis

First Trip to Reinhardt, 02-26-21

Up at 6:00 am again and out the door at 6:30 with my friend Roxanne for a long trip to the Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.  “[The] Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is a part of the East Bay Regional Parks District in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is located in the hills east of Oakland. The park contains the largest remaining natural stand of coast redwood found in the East Bay.”  It was the hope of seeing something different in the redwoods that prompted us to make the journey.

Me trying to hug one of the Coast Redwoods. I feel such an affinity with them. [Photo by Roxanne Moger.]

We took the “scenic route” which was about 2-hours one way. Roxanne did all of the driving, for which I was immensely grateful. From Interstate 5 South, we took Highway 160 South to Highway 4 West, then from Highway 24 West to Highway 13 South, and then into the park (which is huge). 

We were following the directions of “The Google Lady”, but when we were on Highway 160 she didn’t tell us to make a left-hand turn over a drawbridge so we went straight ahead. Then The Google Lady took us in a wide circle around old levee roads back to where the bridge was. 

I was peeved that we’d been led in a circle, but if we hadn’t made that unexpected side-trip we would have missed some great sights like a Great Egret rookery, a Great Blue Heron sitting on its nest, and a huge Black-Crowned Night Heron day roost (with maybe 100 birds in it). So, I couldn’t complain too much. Hah!

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, on its nest

When we got to the park we found the Redwood Gate and went in through there. Normally, you have to pay a day-use fee of $5 per vehicle, but today the fees were waived. That was nice to see.

Our first priority was finding a working restroom or porta-potty. (Had to get rid of our breakfast coffee. Hah!) We found one restroom facility, but it was boarded up without-of-order signs on it, and another sign directing us to another restroom at the end of the drive. We thought it was odd, in this time of COVID, for whomever oversees the park to have EVERYONE collect at that one restroom… Wouldn’t that increase the chances of contamination? Well, at least there were flush toilets and a sink to wash your hands.  I was also pleased to see EVERYONE wearing face protection, gators or masks, everywhere we went in the park. Social distancing was also maintained, even on the trails.

We found a shaded place to park right near where a couple of trail meet, so we picked a direction and just started walking, no looking for anything in particular, just taking everything in. (Well, I HAD hoped to see a banana slug, or some newts, or a Giant Salamander… but it just wasn’t wet enough there. The creek wasn’t “creeking” much.  And the air was still a little chilly in the shadier parts. I was comfortable in my long-sleeved shirt for the most part. I was sunny but a little breezy.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Lots of lichen to look at, but only a few fungi. There was Elegant Fringe Lichen, Heterodermia leucomelos, which I had never seen before. It looked like a plain tube lichen… but had fine black hairs sprouting out all over the thallus. Very cool! The bark on some of the trees were “fluffy” with different kinds of beard lichen, and on the ends of the boards of part of a low fence along the trail we saw Powderhorn lichen. Lots to look at.

One of the most curious lichen we found (to me) was a kind of pelt lichen growing on top of moss on a boulder. The underside of each “leaf” of the pelt was covered in “teeth” that grabbed into the moss.  I’d never seen that before.

Dog Pelt Lichen, Peltigera canina [thick “skin” with lots of “teeth” on the back of the pelt]

Among the fungi we saw different kinds of Stereum and crust fungus, some Sulphur Tuft mushrooms, and some purple-black Cramp Balls. I was expecting more, but again it wasn’t wet enough there…and we only worked one area. The park is huge, so there might have been more to see elsewhere.

As we first drove in, I saw a Bewick’s Wren and a Robin greeting us.  And then as we walked the trails, we could hear little peeping birds everywhere, but catching sight of one and then being able to photograph it was quite a feat. There were tiny chickadees in the upper branches of the trees, and little spotted Brown Creepers working on the bark. Both kinds of birds are very small and hard to see even in good light. In the shade of the trees, photographing them was even more difficult because the camera’s auto-focus fought me against the dark shadows.

In one area we watched some Spotted Towhees flying amid the underbrush, and then participating in what looked like knock-down drag-out fights with one another. In other areas, we could hear the towhees calling to one another in their raspy voices, but couldn’t see them.

Later, we heard something that sounded sort of like a jay, but not exactly like the Scrub Jays we see regularly in the Valley. Looking around, we realized the sound was coming from Steller’s Jays (large blue jays with a smokey black head and crest). At yet another stop, we had a pair of ravens cawing to each other in a tree over our head.

The plants and trees, though, gave us a LOT to look at and photograph. (I took 1000 photos on this trip.) The bay trees were in blossom everywhere, and there were alders, oaks and willows, acacias, hazelnut trees, madrones and buckeye, and redwoods, of course. The understory was crammed full of a variety of plants, vines, mosses and ferns. [I figure it will take me DAYS to sort through everything and get it identified.] There were quite a few new-to-me things almost everywhere we looked so it made for a very interesting and curiosity provoking hike. 

Dotted throughout the landscape where we were, there were trees with white flowers on them that we assumed were either some kind of almond or some kind of plum. (They all look the same to me.) We also found some Flowering Currant plants that were starting to flower. The pink flowers were all on dangling racemes; some of the flowers were just starting to open.  

Red Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

I also saw my first trillium plant. I’d seen photos of them, of course, but had never seen one “live” before. It’s bud was sitting in the middle of its large spotted leaves, but it hadn’t opened yet. Still, very interesting.

Giant White Wakerobin, Trillium albidum

Rox pointed out stands of small liverwort plants, and showed me the little pockets in which the “gemmae” were sitting.  The gemmae are tiny cellular bodies that can separate from the mother plant and form new plants. Usually, the mechanism that separates these gemmae from the liverwort plants is simple rainfall. This type of asexual reproduction is referred to as “fragmentation”.

While we were walking along, a young man came up — I think he said he was visiting from Slovenia — and asked if we knew where he could get something to eat nearby. I was so intent on trying get a photo of a Dark-Eyed Junco at the time that I didn’t say anything, and let Rox explain to him that we weren’t from the area ourselves, so we didn’t know where anything was — and there was no cellphone service there — so we weren’t able to be of much help. It wasn’t until after he left us and the Junco was gone that it occurred to me that I could have given him my lunch if he was really hungry. D’oh!

Elsewhere, we saw old willow stem galls, as well as some fresh bud galls on Coyote Brush. A new gall for me was the one on honeysuckle. It’s a kind of “rosette” gall that looks like a little bouquet of green flowers. It’s caused by the Honeysuckle Gall Midge, Lonicerae lonicera.

Gall of the Honeysuckle Gall Midge, Lonicerae lonicera [rosette gall]

A surprise for me for the day was spotting a Mourning Cloak butterfly. They’re a dark butterfly with light trim on their wings. These are interesting butterflies in that they don’t generally feed on nectar or pollen; they prefer to feed on tree sap and rotting fruit.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa

They’re also a butterfly that overwinters as adults and estivate in the summer. So, they fly and mate in the late winter and spring, sleep in the treetops during the hot summer months, and then fly again in the late fall and early winter months looking for food to help them overwinter. Females lay eggs on willows, elms or hackberry trees, wrapping the eggs around twigs in circling groups. When the caterpillars hatch they feed inside a communal web before they pupate and emerge as butterflies in June or July.

One thing that really ticked us off was seeing dog-poo bags left all over the trails. I don’t understand why people pick up their dog’s poop to keep the feces from contaminating the landscape — but then leave it in a bag that will contaminate the landscape. Idiocy. On the second half of our walk, Rox brought a larger bag with her and picked up the bags of crap so she could dispose of them properly.

Another hiker saw what she was doing and thanked Rox for her efforts. The woman said she usually scolds those she sees dumping the bags and reminds them that the people who take care of the park aren’t their maids and don’t get paid to clean up after other people’s dogs. And she’s right. It’s a conundrum: do you clean up after the pigs who leave their dog’s poop bags on the trail (thereby facilitating their misbehavior), or do you leave the bags and let the environment be tainted by them?

Fellow Certified California Naturalist, Roxanne Moger, on a pretty part of the trail.

Our walk took us along a piece of the West Ridge Trail. We went out as far as I could before the trail started to incline too much for me, and then we turned around and went back the way we came. That took us back to where the car was parked, so we stopped there for lunch. Then we headed out in direction opposite from the West Ridge Trail, and took the Bridle Trail past the intersections of the Fern Trail and the Mill Trail. By then I wasn’t able to go much further, so we turned around and went back the way we’d come, ending back at the car once more. This counted as #23 of my #52HikeChallenge. Woot!

Full moon rising by the freeway

Traffic going home was horrendous. We’re not used to that around Sacramento since COVID; it took us hours to get home… with a full moon rising. We got back to the house a little before 7:00 pm. So, that was a long day for us, but I really enjoyed it. Thanks to Roxanne for doing all the driving.

Species List:

  1. American Bugleweed, Lycopus americanus [like horehound]
  2. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
  3. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  4. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  5. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [along a slough by the road]
  6. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  7. Black-Crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  8. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  9. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  10. Bristly Beard Lichen, Usnea hirta [thin bristly fronds]
  11. Brown Creeper, Certhia americana
  12. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
  13. California Bay, Umbellularia californica
  14. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  15. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  16. California Oak Moth, Phryganidia californica
  17. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  18. California Scrub Oak, Quercus berberidifolia
  19. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  20. Cherry-Plum Tree, Prunus cerasifera
  21. Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, Poecile rufescens
  22. Chickweed, Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
  23. Coast Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens
  24. Coastal Manroot, Marah oregana
  25. Coastal Woodfern, Dryopteris arguta
  26. Common Cowparsnip, Heracleum maximum
  27. Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
  28. Common Hazel Tree, Corylus avellana [long catkins, no pseudo cones]
  29. Common Pincushion Moss, Dicranoweisia cirrata
  30. Common Powderhorn, Cladonia coniocraea
  31. Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
  32. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  33. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  34. Cramp Ball Fungus, Annulohypoxylon thouarsianum
  35. Crescent-Cup Liverwort, Lunularia cruciate [look for the gemmae in the cups]
  36. Crevice Alumroot, Heuchera micrantha
  37. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  38. Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
  39. Dendroalsia Moss, Dendroalsia abietina [long, curling tendrils on trees]
  40. Dog Pelt Lichen, Peltigera canina [thick “skin” with lots of “teeth” on the back of the pelt]
  41. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus [along a slough by the road]
  42. Elegant Fringe Lichen, Heterodermia leucomelos
  43. European Gooseberry, Ribes uva-crispa [thorny]
  44. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum ostrea
  45. Farinose Cartilage Lichen,  Ramalina farinacea [like Oakmoss but very thin branches]
  46. Fishbone Beard Lichen, Usnea filipendula
  47. Fluffy Dust Lichen, Lepraria finkii
  48. French Broom, Genista monspessulana
  49. Fringe Cups, Tellima grandiflora [leaves similar to Crevice Alumroot]
  50. Frosted Rim-Lichen, Lecanora caesiorubella 
  51. Giant Vetch, Vicia gigantea
  52. Giant White Wakerobin, Trillium albidum
  53. Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
  54. Gouty Stem Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercussuttoni
  55. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  56. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  57. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons [in fields along the road]
  58. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  59. Grey House Spider, Badumna longinqua [sheet web with funnel]
  60. Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus
  61. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons [white flowers]
  62. Honeysuckle Gall Midge, Lonicerae lonicera [rosette gall]
  63. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  64. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  65. Madrone, Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii
  66. Mealy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora strobilina [greenish apothecia]
  67. Mourning Cloak Butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa
  68. Mustard Yellow Polypore, Fuscoporia gilva [like a bracket fungus]
  69. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  70. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
  71. Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  72. Onion, Allium sp.
  73. Pacific Ninebark, Physocarpus capitatus
  74. Pacific Pea, Lathyrus vestitus
  75. Periwinkle, Greater Periwinkle, Vinca major
  76. Pink Honeysuckle, California Honeysuckle, Lonicera hispidula
  77. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  78. Raven, Common Raven, Corvus corax
  79. Red Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum
  80. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  81. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  82. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  83. Ring-Necked Duck, Aythya collaris
  84. Rose, Rosa sp.
  85. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis [in fields along the road]
  86. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae
  87. Shield Lichen, Parmelia sulcata [greyish,veined]
  88. Shiny Copper Mushroom, Nolanea sp.
  89. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  90. Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata
  91. Sitka Willow, Salix sitchensis
  92. Smokey-Eyed Boulder Lichen, Porpidia albocaerulescens
  93. Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens [in fields along the road]
  94. Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
  95. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  96. Steller’s Jay, Cyanocitta stelleri
  97. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  98. Sulphur Tuft Mushroom, Hypholoma fasciculare
  99. Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
  100. Toothed Crust Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  101. Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  102. Trailing Blackberry, California Blackberry, Rubus ursinus
  103. Tree-skirt Moss, Pseudanomodon attenuates
  104. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  105. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  106. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  107. Western Sword Fern, Polystichum munitum
  108. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  109. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  110. Whitewash Lichen, Phlyctis argena
  111. Willow Stem Sawfly Gall, Euura exiguae
  112. Wood Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis sylvatica
  113. Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum
  114. ?? Tube Lichen
  115. ?? White-flowered fruit trees

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist