Tag Archives: slime mold

Turkeys in Trees and Lots of Deer Everywhere, 11-26-18

Around 7:15 am I went over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve again for a walk. When I first walked in, I saw a small group of deer collected behind the classroom facility across from the nature center. There was one of the 3-pointer bucks back there, rubbing his head against some of the scrub brush (to transfer his scent) and showing off to the couple of does that were near him. I would have missed him completely if he hadn’t made such a fuss over the bushes, rattling and shaking them with his rubbing.  I climbed up onto the stone bench next to the building to look over the plants around there and see him.  He lifted his head up high a couple of times to check me out but otherwise ignored me. He was more focused on trying to impress the gals.

One of the does had a springtime fawn with her, so she wasn’t interested in the buck, and kept moving around to keep him away from her baby. The other doe didn’t seem overly impressed with him either. She walked through a garden to nature center, lifted some of the tomato cages they have around young plants there (to protect them from the deer), and ate the no-longer-protected plants. Hah!  What a brat!

Further along the trail, I came across another buck that was sitting on the side of the trail. He looked pretty good but had a rosy spot on the tip of his nose that he might’ve gotten from jousting.  He just sat there in the grass and let me get pretty close to him to take photos. He stayed where he was until a pair of does came down the trail and caught his eye.  He got to his feet as soon as they sauntered by, and just when he was approaching them, the big 4-pointer buck came across the field and ran the other buck off.  So, the younger buck’s wait was for naught.

On a different part of the trail, I found the buck with the damaged antler. He was standing amid some fallen logs and scrabbly brush… and it took me a while before I realized there was a doe sitting in the grass on the other side of the log. When I went to get some photos of her, the buck poked his head under the log to keep his eye on me.  On the other side of the trail, I also noticed a young spike buck who was sitting in the tall weeds where the larger buck couldn’t see him. When the doe decided to get up and walk away, the older buck followed her… and the spike buck followed him. Stalker.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The Wild Turkeys were out in force again. The males are all in strut, showing off to one another and the ladies. Although most of the time they were just posturing at or bluffing one another, I saw a couple of short fights break out among them. They chase one another around, jump up and use the heavy spurs on the sides of their legs to whack one another. You can hear the “crack!” when they make contact all over the preserve; it’s actually louder than the sound made by the deer when they joust.

I was surprised, though, to see about a half dozen of the turkeys way up in the trees over the trail. They were complaining to one another, so I assumed there was something on the ground (a cat or coyote) that was distressing them. After about 15 minutes, I saw them all fly down, crossing over the tops of other trees and landing in a shallow field. They’re big birds and tend to glide rather than flap-and-fly, so they don’t make a whole lot of noise until they get close to the ground, set their feet down and run to a stop.

About halfway through my walk, I was irritated by the fact that the continuous-mode setting on my camera (that takes photos in a burst of 5 shots) decided to stop working. It would take a burst of photos and then stall – the whole camera would freeze up and I couldn’t get it to release unless I took the battery out of it to make it stop.  After quite a while of this nonsense, I set the camera to single-shot, but I hate taking photos like that because there’s a second or two between each photo that you have to wait until the camera resets itself and is ready for the next shot. It’s apparently a problem for my type of camera when I take a lot of photos. The scan disk card isn’t “fast” enough to handle all of the data and the buffer fills up and makes the camera crash. So, I need to get a faster card.

I was in single-shot mode when I came across an Acorn Woodpecker that I wanted to get photos of. As I finished with those shots, I saw that on another branch on the same tree there was a Red-Shouldered Hawk. The bird was polite enough to sit for me and I was able to get quite a few good shots of him.  When nature sits still, single-shot mode works pretty well. Hah!

I walked for about 3½ hours.

Coyote Dash, Turkey Trot and Others, 01-13-18

Wow, the dog and I slept in nicely this morning. Sergeant Margie didn’t wake up until it was almost 7:00 am. I gave him his breakfast and let him outside to go potty, then I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. I’m feeling better today than I have in a week. Fingers crossed that I’m done with this stupid flu.

It was totally overcast and foggy all day. Never got over 53º at the house.

At the refuge, this was a day for horribly noisy people – which makes birding and nature-watching really difficult because the inconsiderate LOUD PEOPLE scare off all of the wildlife. Gad, I got as far away from them as I could…

Once again, I saw most of the usual suspects, but I did get a short video snippet of a big, very healthy-looking, coyote as it dashed across a small field – right in front of a deer.

And I also got to see a large band of wild turkeys strutting and showing off to one another on the trail. It looked like there were maybe two different subspecies in the group. Most of them were Rio Grande Wild turkeys (with tan tail tips and coppery-green reflections in their iridescent feathers). But I think there was one or two Merriam’s Wild Turkeys in there, too (with purple/bronze reflections in their feather and light, almost white, tail tips). I’m not positive though.

I walked for almost 4 hours – which was waaay too long — and then went straight home.

CLICK HERE to see the full album of pix and video snippets.

Lots of ‘Shrooms and Other Fungi

Insect Egg Slime Mold. © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.
Insect Egg Slime Mold. © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.

Slept in a tiny bit today and got up around 7:30 am.  I was tentatively planning on heading up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge because the weather was supposed to be lovely today (crisp and clear with hardly any wind) which is good for birding… but I was just too tired to make that long drive.  So, I went over to the American River Bend Park and walked around for about 3 hours.

I was hoping to see some coral fungus (it’s wet enough for them to start making their appearance), but nope.  I did get to see lots of mushrooms of different colors and sizes, including some large Jack-o-Lantern mushrooms: they’re bright orange and considered to be “mildly” toxic (although I don’t know how poison can really ever be considered “mild”).  There was a lot of cup fungus out, too.  Mostly the palomino-colored stuff, but I also found some that were deep purple.  I think those were Ascocoryne cylichnium, known as Purple Jelly Disks. Among the leaf litter I was also pleased to find a couple of different kinds of slime mold: yellow-orange and white.

Along the river, I got to see a Great Blue Heron posing in the early-morning light, along with a pair of Common Mergansers. And I got some shots of a tiny Hermit Thrush.  They’re so cute… then I came across what seemed to be a small bachelor group of mule deer: one with no antlers yet, a young 1½ prong buck (the prongs were really too small to count as 2) and a mature 4-prong buck.  In that same area, I also found some bones: an almost fulling intact small animal skull (maybe a skunk or a small dog – like a Chihuahua  — based solely on its canine teeth); and the top portion of a larger skull that was broken into pieces.  There were no teeth around associated with the larger skull so I’m not sure what it was.  Maybe a coyote, based on its size. The smaller skull still had some sinews around the jaw and a tiny bit of skin and fur, so it must’ve been a more recent kill than whatever the large-skulled animal was.  I thought it odd that both skulls were in the same general location – as though that was a place that a larger animal regularly went to when it wanted a little privacy to eat.

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As I said, I walked around for about 3 hours and then headed back home.  When I got there, I was happy to see camellias starting to bloom on one of the bushes by the front door.  There’s a pair of House Wrens that frequent that bush a lot; I wonder if they’re thinking of building a nest there.

I took a little while to settle in at the house, then changed into my pajamas – which I wore for the rest of the day.  As an extended birthday treat for myself, I cooked up a small duck and had that with salad, ripe green olives, and champagne. I think I’ve now milked just about everything I can out of my birthday.  Hah!

In the Backyard

Around lunchtime I went out into the backyard with the dogs.  I always take my camera with me, and today got some photos of some neat fungus and slime mold on the woodpile behind the shed.  Keep in mind that the tiny mushrooms and slime mold “heads” in the photos are about the size of candy sprinkles (jimmies), and the stems are thinner than a strand of hair.  The “lentinellus” fungus is like a mushroom without a stipe (stem) and is soft like velvet.