I got up a little before 6 o’clock this morning and headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk by myself. I was trying to beat the rain – and was also on the lookout for slime molds. I did beat the rain (it didn’t show up until around 3:00 pm), but I zeroed out on the slime molds. I think they need one more sunny day between the rainstorms to wake up.
It was nice and quiet on my walk, although I did come across a few other people. I was able to identify some birds to a couple who I think was visiting the place for the first time, and also directed a photographer to some good spots for photo opportunities. Doing my trail-walker thing.
CLICK HERE for the album of photos.
I saw a lot of the usual suspects: deer, turkeys, Starlings, House Wrens. I saw several bucks in their velvet, including the one with wonky antlers (one long and one short) and a torn ear. He should be easy to recognize from here on out. And I also saw a doe with one ear that seemed really droopy. I don’t know what might have been bothering that ear; It didn’t look damaged or infected, at least as far I could tell.
A nice find was a male California Quail and one of his brides. I hear the quail at the preserve all the time, but they’re very fast and secretive, so I hardly ever get to actually see them. This pair were pretty far away from me, across a meadow, but I was still able to get some shots. At one point, the male jumped up on a pile of brush so I could see him. They crack me up; their chubby little bodies look like light bulbs.
I also got to see quite a few female Common Mergansers going up into the cottonwood tree the Wood Ducks were in the last time. There were maybe three or four of the Mergansers, each flying around the tree and landing on different parts of it, quacking in low voices all the while. I don’t know if they were scouting out a nesting spot or were attracted to something else. I got some interesting-angle shots of them.
I was greeted by a pair of Western Bluebirds on another part of the trail. First the female flew in and then the male. They’re such bright, cheery-looking little birds. I always like seeing them.
And there was a very chubby California Ground Squirrel who popped up from her burrow to look around. I think she was pregnant based on her body mass. Their gestation lasts about a month, and then its another 6 to8 weeks before the babies emerge from the burrows. So, we won’t see them until sometime in July, most likely.
By the pond at the end of the Pond Trail were was some very fresh otter scat, so I’m guessing the otter was around there earlier this morning. I’ve seen otters in that pond occasionally, but they usually wait until there are more crawdads around… The leeches in that pond might deter them, though.
I’m always curious when I find folded leaves or sealed leaf tents on plants, but I recognized what one was before I opened it when I found it on a mugwort plant. I handled it gingerly, and put it back where I found it afterwards. Inside was, as I suspected, a mama American Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum, and her egg sac.
I was careful about how I opened it and handled it, because theses spider can pack a very painful bite (and are believed to bite more people than any other spider). The bite is said to burn like a wasp’s sting (and for sensitive people it can make them sick). The mother spider seals herself inside her rolled leaf tent with her egg mass, which can have as many as 100 eggs in it (although less is typical). She stays with the mass until the spiderlings hatch. After her babies hatch, she’ll stay with them until they’ve all gone through one molt (usually around 2 weeks). As I mentioned, I set her and her tent back where I found them. She’ll spin new web to close her tent up again. ((Investigating leaf-rolls can be very interesting and rewarding for a naturalist, but just be careful. You never know what might be inside of them.))
The young coyote showed up again today, in between two deer who didn’t seem to be aware that it was there. It’s a very young coyote – gangly and thin, a teenager – but is hunting on its own, which I think is kind of unusual. It moves too quickly, so I can’t tell if it’s a male or a female, but I did manage to get a few better photos of it today and a video snippet.
I got so preoccupied with my photo-taking that I lost track of time, and didn’t get back to the car until 11:30 am… So, I’d been on my feet for five hours. My ankles were killing me during the drive back to the house.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus,
- American Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum,
- Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens,
- Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine,
- Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii,
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans,
- Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum,
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus cerulea,
- Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
- Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus,
- California Brodiaea, Brodiaea californica,
- California Buckeye Tree, Aesculus californica,
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi,
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana,
- California Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar, Battus philenor hirsuta,
- California Quail, Callipepla californica,
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica,
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis,
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica,
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus,
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser,
- Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens,
- Coyote Mint, Monardella villosa,
- Coyote, Canis latrans,
- Douglas Iris, Iris douglasiana,
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger,
- Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata,
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris,
- Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica,
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii,
- Fruit-tree Leafroller Moth, Archips argyrospila,
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris,
- Gouty Stem Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercussuttoni,
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata,
- Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus,
- Honey Dew Wasp Gall, Disholcaspis eldoradensis,
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon,
- Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus,
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous,
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos,
- Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor,
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura,
- Narrowleaf Vetch, Vicia sativa, (with black seed pods)
- Oak Apple Wasp Gall, Andricus quercuscalifornicus,
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus,
- Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri,
- Pink Grass, Windmill Pink, Petrorhagia dubia,
- Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum,
- Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum,
- Purple-Top Vervain, Verbena bonariensis,
- Red Mulberry, Morus rubra,
- Red-Flowered Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Acmispon rubriflorus,
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia,
- Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum,
- Rusty Tussock Moth caterpillar, Orgyia antiqua,
- Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciose,
- Sierra Wooly Sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatum var. croceum.
- Spicebush, Northern Spicebush, Lindera benzoin,
- Spider egg sac,
- Spotted Ladies Thumb, Redshank, Persicaria maculosa,
- Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans,
- Tall Cyperus, Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis,
- Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor,
- Two-Striped Grasshopper nymph, Melanoplus bivittatus
- Unspecified brome, Broma sp.,
- Valley Popcorn Flower, Plagiobothrys canescens,
- Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Soap Root, Chlorogalum pomeridianum,
- Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana,
- White Lupine, Lupinus albus,
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis,
- Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa,
- Yarrow, Achillea millefolium,
- Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum,