Tag Archives: Brown Creeper

Very Much a “Bird” Day, 01-13-19

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been away from the blog for about a month because I was diagnosed with two types of cancer and had major surgery in December to remove a softball-sized tumor (Which I dubbed “Wilson”) from my abdomen. I also had a full hysterectomy and have been spending the past several weeks in recovery.

I got up this morning around 7:30 am with the dog. It was clear and cool outside, so I decided to try to go for a walk.  Even driving can be painful, but I’m going stir crazy staying bed all day. So, after breakfast, I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve, and I did better than I thought I would.

I was able to walk almost 2 miles. I had to go slower and couldn’t cover as much ground as I normally do, but I was glad I did it.  It’s the first real walk I’ve done since evicting Wilson, and it was really good for my spirit to get outside and immerse myself in nature again. I may regret the walk tomorrow, but right now, I’m feeling good.

It was mostly a “bird day”, and the Wild Turkeys stole the show. This time of year, the males are all strutting and fighting for dominance, and I was able to witness a real knock-down-drag-out match between two jakes.  Surrounded by other males that were sort of jeering them on, a pair of males went after one another. First they were jumping and kicking at one another with their spurs, then one grabbed the other by the face and they wrestled one another to the ground. They were so focused on each other, and the other males were so focused on the fighting pair, that none of them noticed that the females who were originally in the group had actually walked off, totally ignoring them. Hah! I got photos and video snippets of the fight.

CLICK HERE for the full album.

I also got photos of a male Nuttall’s Woodpecker drilling for bugs on the side of a tree (and got video of him routing one out of the bark), some European Starlings, a Golden-Crowned Sparrow, an Oak Titmouse, a male Lesser Goldfinch and a tiny Brown Creeper. I saw and heard Scrub Jays, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Acorn Woodpeckers, and a Red-Shouldered Hawk, but couldn’t get decent photos of them.

I saw a few deer, mostly bucks resting in the grass, and the melanistic squirrel (an all-black Eastern Fox Squirrel) but not many other critters.  There were a few fungi around including some jelly fungus, northern Bluets, a Barometer Earthstar, ink-cap mushrooms, and some other specimens. I walked for about 2 ½ hours and then head back to the house.

Butterflies, Wrens and Some Leucistic Wild Turkeys, 03-18-18

I went to the American River Park, and I was having some trepidation about that, since the last time I went there my window got smashed.  But I wanted to check on the Great Horned Owl I’d seen there, and I wanted to see if the manroot vines and pipevines were out in force yet.  It was a cold 36º outside I had to wait for the frost on my car to melt before I could head out. It was bright all day but with that kind of high overcast that makes everything look “glary”.

The very first thing I saw when I got into the park was the mama Great Horned Owl sitting on her nest – and white-fluff owlet sitting up against her belly! The nest is pretty high up, and there are only a few places where you can get any kind of an unobstructed view of it, so my photos aren’t very good (in fact, some are crappy).  The baby kept lying down and moving around; and because he’s so short, it’s hard to see him over the rim of the nest.  There might have been 2 babies in the nest, which is typical for this species of owl, but I can’t be certain.  One, for sure, though.  I got a (crappy) video snippet of the mom ripping stuff off some dead thing in the nest and feeding it to the baby, and some still shots of the mom with a bit of fluff sitting next to her. In a few of the photos you can just make out the owlet’s eye…

As the sun came up further in the sky, you could see steam rising from the cold forest floor… kind of spooky-looking.  As it got brighter, all the birds starting singing from everywhere: wrens, woodpeckers, hawks, mourning doves… everyone adding their sound to the jazz ensemble…  It was the day for House Wrens, that’s for sure. They were all over the place, singing and buzzing away.  Those tiny birds sure make a lot of LOUD noise. There were also a lot of Tree Swallows around, too. I think they were vying for who got what tree, and it seemed like a lot of aerial fights were taking place.

The Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies are finally waking up along the river.  Some were flitting around, some were sitting in the grass waiting to warm up, and a few of them looked like they’d just emerged from their chrysalises.  Their wings weren’t fully straightened out yet… At one point, I was mobbed by three of them. Two landed on the front of my coat and one, I was informed by a passerby, landed on the back of my coat. I think they liked that it was both green and warm.  I got the two in front to climb down onto my hand so I could get photos of them. I don’t know what happened to the guy riding in the back. Hah!

Among the Wild Turkeys I saw today, with all the males strutting around, I saw two leucistic ones.  Not true albinos, they still lack most of their pigment, and come out black and white.   I also saw Western Bluebirds, Scrub Jays, Gold Finches, some Audubon’s Warblers, a Dark-Eyed Junco, a Nutthall’s Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Northern Flickers. Oh, and I got a photo of a Brown Creeper today. I think it’s the first decent photo I ever got of one, so that was a plus.

CLICK HERE for an album of photos.

At another point along the trail, I came across an Anna’s Hummingbird. She was flying among a stand of dead star thistle, pulling the fluff off of the old flowering heads. She then flew waaaaay up into a tree to my left, and pushed the fluff into a tiny nest she was building. It was so far up, I couldn’t get a photos of it. But for the next few minutes I watched her return two more times to the thistle to grab fluff. Then she flew into the branches of a tree over my head, and starting plucking off bits of spider webs and lichen. With one mouthful of spider web, she also got a tiny spider and didn’t seem to quite know what to do with it. She couldn’t eat it because then she’d have to eat the web from which it was trailing. Eventually, she just flew off with the spider in tow. Hah!

Along the river I spotted some Snowy Egrets, a pair of Belted Kingfishers, a Spotted Sandpiper (who didn’t have his spots yet), several Goldeneye ducks, Common Mergansers, Mallards, and some Double-Crested Cormorants (one had crests, the other didn’t).

I also saw a few mule deer, two sitting in the grass and one standing up. Seems like all of the deer are across the river at the Effie Yeaw preserve these days. I hardly see any of them at the River Bend Park anymore.

The manroot vines were in full blossom, and the pipevine vines are starting to branch out. The redbud trees are also starting to open their blossoms; in another week or so they should be spectacular.

I walked for about 4 ½ hours, which is really too long for me. By the time I left the park it was 58º.