Tag Archives: polypore fungus

A Few Birds on a Brief Visit, 01-24-19

Around 9:00 am I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve to meet with their volunteer coordinator, Rachel. They needed someone to help out at the preserve. I’d gotten my Certified California Naturalist certificate through Effie Yeaw, so I thought that by volunteering there, I’d have the opportunity to give them back a little something.

I got to the preserve a little bit before my appointment time, so I walked around for a while and took some photos.

CLICK HERE to see them.

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.

Found New Kind of Slime Mold

Mule Deer Fawn. © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.
Mule Deer Fawn. © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.

I’m still feeling a bit crappy — fighting a cough and cold bug — but I was also getting a little stir crazy just laying around the house, so I got up around 7:00 am and headed over to the American River Bend Park for a walk and some fresh air.

I was looking for helvellas and coral fungi, and found the helvellas (commonly called Elfin Saddles) but no coral fungus yet.   It’s a little bit rare out there, but I always keep an eye out for it.  Lots of other mushrooms and different kinds of jellies were out today, though.  There was one tree that was so loaded with the orange Witch’s Butter jelly fungus that it was practically “glowing”.  I could see it from yards away…  Along the river’s edge I saw a couple of seagulls and as I approached, I noticed there was a Great Blue Heron standing near the shore, eyeballing the gulls.  I’m not too overly fond of taking seagull photos (because they’re so… “ubiquitous”) but I really liked the fact that the heron was so close.  I got quite a few photos of him, and a little video too when it tried to approach one of the gulls and steal its snack from it.

In the woods, I came across two does sheltering a young fawn.  One of the does looked pregnant to me.  And elsewhere, as I was driving out of the park, I came across a troop of bucks (about 5 of them) of varying ages.  I came up on them so suddenly, and they were moving at a pretty good pace, so I had to shoot video through the car windows of them before they disappeared into the thicket.  They’re always such a treat to see.  And two of them were jousting a little bit.  I also got to see a Red-Breasted Sap Sucker and a Nutthall’s Woodpecker…

When I drive into and out of the park, I always go extra slowly, so I don’t run over or into and critters, and so I can watch for cool stuff among the trees from the road.  Today, I saw something large and bright pink on the side of a fallen limb.  Because of its color, I assumed it was some kind of slime mold, but I’d never seen a pink mass that large before, so I had to go check it out.  I pulled the car off the road in the nearest turnout and walked back to the limb…  And sure enough, it was a kind of slime mold I’d never seen before: Red Raspberry Slime Mold, Enteridium splendens.  It looked like big lumps of whipped up raspberry yogurt, but felt firm and rubbery to the touch.

So the trip was fun, but I think I over-did it.  By the time I got home, I was coughing more and aching all over.  So much for trying to get better, huh?

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