Around 8:30 I headed over to the American River Bend Park for a fungus walk. With all of the rain we’ve been having, I thought there would be a good sampling out there – and I wasn’t disappointed. I walked for about 2 ½ hours and covered about 2 miles. S-L-O-W walker. A fungus walk requires me to move really slowly and bend over a lot to get closer photos of whatever it is I’m seeing, so my core got a little bit of a workout today. Bend over, straighten up, bend over, straighten up. We’ll see, tomorrow, if my Wilson site was okay with all that movement.
I saw a variety of mushrooms including Woodland Blewits, Honey Mushrooms, Yellow Field Caps, Deer Shield Mushrooms, Ink Cap mushrooms, Sweetbread Mushrooms, Splitgill fungus, Red Threads, etc. I also saw three kinds of jelly fungus, Rust Fungus, some cup fungus, puffball fungi, Polypore fungi, birds nest fungus, Barometer Earthstars, and even some Insect Egg Slime Mold. I didn’t find any coral fungus, which was one I was hoping to see, but I felt I saw a good selection in such a small area.
I headed out to the American River Bend Parkfor a walk this morning. It was overcast and foggy, and about 38º there. Brrr!
I wasn’t looking for anything in particular so I just ambled around the park, taking this trail and then that one. I came across quite a few different mushrooms and other fungi including some Blewits, Mycena, Russula, Black Jelly Roll and Witch’s Butter, and Elfin Saddles.
What really stood out for me, though, were the little Western Bluebirds who were flying around, courting and looking for early places to set up their nests. They’re such pretty little birds.
While I was following them around, I saw a big nest in a nearby tree and took some photos of it. I realized there was something in the nest, so I used my zoom lens to see if I could tell what it was. A Great Horned Owl! Wow! I approached the tree to try to get a better view of the bird, and it didn’t like that. The owl flew off, wings totally silent, across the forest and into another tree too far away for me to get any good pictures of her there. But how cool to be able to see it. If it keeps that nest through the breeding season, it should make for really great photos throughout the next several months.
At another point, I was walking through a field and caught sight of a coyote loping through the grass. I got him into my camera’s eyesight… just as some kid came by on the trail and screamed, “Coyote! Hi, Coyote!” and the coyote ran off. Guh!
I walked for about 3 hours and then went back home
I went out to the American River Bend Park hoping to find some fungi coming out for the season. I didn’t get to see a lot of anything, though. There weren’t many different kinds of mushrooms out yet, and the fog was keeping all of the birds and critters in bed. I didn’t hear or see many birds at all; I was really surprised. I did get to see quite a few spider webs along the way, and there were a few nice-looking barometer earthstars sitting out where I could see them. Because of the fog and chill in the air, and the fact that my shoes and the cuffs of my pants got wet from walking through the wet grass I only walked for around 3 hours today (rather than my normal 3 ½ or 4 hours).
Around 7:00 am I headed over to the American River Bend Parkfor a walk. I’d gone there looking for fungi – even though I know it’s very early in the season. I found a few nice specimens – mostly different kinds of honey fungus and chanterelles, and a really nice-looking Barometer Earthstar, among others.
I also came across a 2-pointer Mule Deer buck, and followed it for a while until it came across a larger 3-pointer buck. They browsed together for a little while and then sparred a bit. The bigger buck was a sure-bet winner, so the younger one wasn’t too serious about confronting it, and they didn’t hurt one another at all.
At other points along the trail I also got some photos of an Acorn Woodpecker, and a small Spotted Sandpiper standing on a rock on the riverside. It was about 36º at the river, so I had to wear my heavier jacket. I walked for about 3 ½ hours and then headed home.
I got out of bed around 7:30 am and headed over to the American River Bend Park for a walk, I’d gone mainly to see if there were any signs of fungi out yet – and there were a few – but mostly I got photos of Turkey vultures who all decided to sit up in the trees over the trail and “vulch” at people. Hah! The coyote brush is still in bloom all along the river trail, and I also found several snowberry plants with their fat white berries just waiting for the birds to eat them.
Among the fungi I found Deer Shield, Inky Cap, Haymaker and Veined Parasol mushrooms, and both yellow and brown jelly fungus, among others. It needs to get a lot wetter before we really see a profusion of ‘shrooms here.
Along the way, I saw some Golden-Crowned Sparrows trying to eat the see clusters off of the old start thistle, but the stems were water-logged and wouldn’t support the birds’ weight. So the birds would fly up the side of the plant, and the plant would bend over to the ground, and they’d eat the seeds off the ground. Smart little things.
I also saw a Great Blue Heron steal something that looked like a salmon skeleton from a Turkey Vulture on the bank across the river from where I was standing. I tried to get some video, but I can’t control the iris on this camera when it’s recording – it picks a setting by itself – so the heron was “washed out”… but the Vulture turned out fine. Weird. And frustrating.
On the river I saw several Common Mergansers (all females), a female Goldeneye, some Mallards, and a few pairs of Bufflehead ducks. They’re very shy, though, and wouldn’t let me get too close. I also saw a Double-Crested Cormorant sharing his rock with a couple of Ring-Billed Gulls.
I walked for about 3 ½ hours and then headed home, stopping at BelAir along the way to get some chili for lunch. It just sounded good…
I got up around 7:00 am. A big storm was expected to move in later this afternoon so I figured I’d better get outside while it was still relatively dry outside. Almost made it. It did start raining, but nothing too heavy… I went over to the American River Bend Parkand walked around for about 3 hours. There was lots of Dog Vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) out today, and I could tell by looking at the patches of it that Friday had been a BIG day for the stuff. It goes to spore quickly, and I could see huge areas where it was already crusted over and going dark. Yesterday those areas would have all been covered with bright yellow froth… Missed it. Dang it. Still, I got to see some smaller patches of the stuff, and also came across some White Finger slime mold (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa) in another spot (but it was already going dark, too.)
In the high grass I saw a lot of Giraffe’s Head, Blue Dicks and Woodland Stars; and the Valley Sedge is starting to show off. I also came across some Stinging Nettles (Urtica urens). They were right next to a large mushroom. I always forget what those guys look like until I get stung by one. The plants have microscopic hairs on them called trichomes that inject histamine and other crap into your skin when you brush up against them. It burns like heck for 10 to 20 minutes, but doesn’t do any damage (at least not to my skin). Still, it’s really annoying and painful. I should knew better, but the dang plants get me at least once every spring…
The oak trees are starting to sport their catkins – to which a lot of people are allergic – and the Redbud trees were all in bloom. There’s one very large Redbud in the park that shows off every year, and it was standing in all its pink glory when I was there today. So pretty. I also got to see some fungi including mushrooms, jellies and puff balls. Didn’t see any deer today, but I did get some photos of a Red-Shouldered Hawk, some Canada Geese, and a Great Egret.
I also encountered two of my pet peeves on the trail: a bicyclist on the “no bicycles” nature trail. He was going fast right down the middle of the narrow trail; I had to step off the trail into the wet grass so he wouldn’t run me over. And then there was a jerk walking his dog off-leash (which is illegal) but holding a leash in his hand – like that helps. His dog walks right up to me and puts its giant nose in my groin. Uh. Idiot Human, get control of your animal! I hate those kinds of people: the ones who go through life thinking the rules apply to everyone else on the planet except them. Must be nice to have no have no scruples…
Anyway, when I was done with my walk, I headed home, stopping at Togo’s to pick up some sandwiches. Then I relaxed with the dogs for the rest of the day. We had some hard rain in the late afternoon, but the major storm didn’t hit until the evening.