Some Songbirds

Pine Siskin
Orangevale, CA; DEC 2020

I am sharing a few songbirds that we see here in the Sacramento area. I’m especially excited about the Pine Siskin. This winter is the first we’ve had them visit our feeder, or at least the first time I’ve recognized one.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Savannah Sparrow
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; DEC 2020
Dark-eyed Junco – Oregon Subspecies
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JAN 2020
Hermit Thrush
Mississippi Bar
American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; DEC 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Wandering Around Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Crepuscular Rays at Sunrise
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020

I am a volunteer at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center (sacnaturecenter.net) in the Carmichael section of Sacramento, CA.  The center is a nature study area along the American River Parkway that provides nature classes for children and adults alike. It was named for Effie Yeaw, a teacher, conservationist and environmental educator who led natural and cultural history walks in an area known as Deterding Woods, located along the American River in Carmichael. It spans 100 acres replete with trails through a riparian woodland and along the American River. Black-tailed Mule Deer, Wild Turkeys, Acorn Woodpeckers, Fox Squirrels and California Ground Squirrels are often an attraction when wandering through the center. But watching closely, you’ll see many species of birds and sometimes a coyote.

I am a Trail Steward. My job is to walk the trails, report any issues, pick up litter and answer questions from visitors. But, most of all, I get to hike and to photograph what I see, while providing this labor of love. I even get to write a blog and share my photography. It is a dream job.

This blog is based on one I wrote for the Nature center. I am sharing it so all my friends and followers can see one of my favorite places. This will be the first. I will share more over the next few months. Meanwhile, you can see many more photos of Effie Yeaw Nature Center at https://larryklink.smugmug.com/EYNC/. Better yet, if you live in the Sacramento Region, make a visit, bring the kids and grandkids.

Female Acorn Woodpecker Building It’s Larder
Chipping away, the Acorn Woodpecker prepares another hole in which it will store an acorn. Note the flying wood chips.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020

This is an Acorn Woodpecker. The Acorn Woodpecker uses its beak to drill holes where it stores acorns. Once the hole is ready, it will pound in an acorn for later use.  In this picture, the woodpecker was drilling a hole. If you look closely, you can see wood chips in the air. Also note that some of the existing holes are empty and others have acorns.

Oak with Moss at Sunrise
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
The Contenders – Wild Turkeys
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; DEC 2020
Sunrise along Meadow Trail
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
The Pointer – California Ground Squirrel
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
The Pond
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Not Just A Duck

Four images of various specise of ducks.
Female Mallard Duck
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019

In a blog I follow and enjoy, Peace of Life Today, the author shared the post “Just A Duck” which contained some beautiful photos of a female Mallard. Until a few years ago, that is what they were to me. I could identify a white domestic duck and a male Mallard. I have heard people talk about a variety of ducks, but they were just some abstract concept. Then I met some new friends who were wildlife photographers. They taught me that we live in the Pacific Flyway, a migration route and wintering ground for many species of waterfowl. They, along with other birding friends, taught me about Mergansers, Golden Eye’s, Teals, and many more. The diversity and beauty of these creatures is astounding. For me, there is no such thing as just a duck anymore and I am better for it.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Wood Duck Inspecting Possible Nest
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2019
Common Merganser
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUL 2020 #Photography
Female and 2 Male Barrows Goldeneyes
Lake Natomas, American River Parkway, Gold River, CA; NOV 2019

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Errata: In my original post, I misidentified the Goldeneyes. They are Barrows Goldeneyes, not Common Goldeneyes.

Summer Vignettes Along the American River Parkway

Landscape with Canada Geese
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

I am sharing a few early morning scenes from the banks of the American River. I walk the trails along the river several times each week for several hours at a time. I am grateful that the people of the Sacramento area cared enough to build a buffer area against flooding and to turn that almost 40 miles of buffer into urban green space available to all.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Summer Scene on the American River Parkway
Willow Creek State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; JUL 2020
Summer Morning Scene on the American River
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; JUL 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

California Scrub Jay

California Scrub Jay Eating Dragonfly
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019

I was fortunate enough to observe a California Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica) in the process of eating a dragonfly. It used its beak and talons to position the insect, then picked it up with its beak and swallowed it.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

California Scrub Jay Eating Dragonfly
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Breakfast Time

Downy Woodpecker on Oak Gall
Willow Creek State Recreation Area, American River Parkway, Folsom, CA; AUG 2020

I am sharing images of birds and of an otter that are enjoying breakfast time. I watched as they worked hard to get their meal.

This year, I have had many opportunities to see animals hunt and eat. I am truly grateful to have had those opportunities and thankful that I only had to pull mine from a cupboard.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Acorn Woodpecker
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; AUG 2020
Female Belted Kingfisher
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
House Finch on Blue Elderberry
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
Juvenile American Robins
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUL 2020
Great Blue Heron with Prey
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
River Otter with Prey
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; AUG 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some Local Wildlife

Desert Cottontail Rabbit (Sylvilagus audubonii)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

Today, I am sharing some wildlife local to the Sacramento, CA area.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Coyote (Canas latrans)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2020
Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Photographic images of some wildlife found in the Sacramento, CA area.
Coyote Pup (Canas latrans)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
Black-tailed Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Velvet
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Coyote Pup (Canas latrans)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

A Year in the Life of Deer

Black-Tailed Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) Buck;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; DEC 2015

The Black-tailed Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are found on the western Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, Southwestern United States and the West Coast of North America.

Deer are ungulates, meaning they are hooved. They are also ruminants which means they eat and send their food to the rumen; one of its stomachs. Later, it regurgitates the cud (food) from its rumen, chews it and sends it to its other stomach to digest. Male deer, like moose and elk, have antlers. Antlers are made of bone which are shed and regrown each year. (Animals like sheep, goats, cattle, and antelope have horns. Horns are made of bone covered with keratin which are permanent; not shed and regrown.) The prongs on an antler are referred to as points; a 6 point buck has 3 prongs on each antler.

Male deer are called bucks, female deer are called doe and the babies are called fawns. During most of the year, deer segregate themselves by sex; bucks in groups and doe, along with their young, in separate groups.

Each year, deer go through a reproductive cycle that begins with the “rut”[i]. The rut is the time when male deer fight for the right to breed with a harem of females and concludes with impregnated doe. As the rut commences and bucks have regrown their antlers, the bucks attempt to form a harem. One buck may challenge another for the right to breed with a harem. Bucks will lock antlers and push and fight until one is pushed backwards and loses the challenge. It is a dangerous time for bucks; they can become permanently injured. The ultimate winner breeds with the females as they enter estrus. Gestation is about 200 days.

In mid-to-late winter, the bucks drop their antlers. When the antlers regrow, they are covered with a furry skin commonly called velvet. When the antlers have completed their growth, the velvet dries and causes irritation for the bucks. The bucks rub their antlers against a tree to remove the velvet.

About the time autumn begins, when the fawns have grown and the bucks’ antlers have regrown, the rut begins again.

Note: Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.

Black-Tailed Mule Deer Doe;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; FEB 2019
Pregnant Black-tailed Mule Deer;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Fawn;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUL 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Nursing Her Fawn;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Buck After Losing Antlers;
Buck was limping. Other bucks still had antlers. It is possible antlers were lost in combat.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2019


Black-tailed Mule Deer Buck with Antlers in Velvet;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Buck; Antlers with Velvet Partially Rubbed-off;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019
Bucks With Antlers Grown and Polished; the Year Begins Anew ;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; OCT 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

[1] Information obtained from: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/6/Deer/Natural-History

An Early Morning at Folsom Lake

Early Morning at Folsom Lake; Doton’s Point,
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; MAR 2019

This past week, we had a morning where the rain clouds were breaking up in the early morning. I chose that day to explore Doton’s Point trail at Folsom Lake Recreation Area; a trail that was new to me. The grasses and other plants were displaying their spring green. The early morning sun helped saturate the colors. Spring was at its finest. I went with the expectation that I might see some different birds. Instead, I discovered that it was time for some landscapes.

The beautiful rocks in this image are granite. The area around this portion of Folsom Lake is called Granite Bay because of the abundance of granite in the area. Like the Sierra Nevada mountains, this area sets on a pluton, a large blob of magma that cooled slowly underground to form granite then was uplifted and exposed.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Early Morning at Folsom Lake – P2;
Doton’s Point, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; MAR 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website, www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Standoff at Sacramento NWR

Peregine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon; The falcon clings to the dead female mallard while plucking its feathers.

No, not government agents vs. protestors. On Jan 7th, Donna and I visited the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge near Willows, CA.  The highlight of the trip was a standoff between a peregrine falcon, a gull, and a Turkey Vulture. The falcon was standing guard over a female mallard. It was not clear if he brought it down himself or found it. Regardless, he was guarding his prize. The first interloper was the turkey vulture. He made some strafing runs at the falcon and was able to drive him off for a short period of time, but the falcon eventually prevailed. The second interloper was a gull, possibly a herring gull. It was a lot more reticent. It mostly stood watch while the falcon ate. But, he did try one attack. The falcon would have nothing of it and expressed his displeasure. In the end, the falcon consumed his meal while the vulture and gull looked on. We left before any battle over the leftovers ensued. There wasn’t much leftover to fight about.

Regards,

Larry

Note: Click on caption to see image in larger size.

Peregine Falcon, Turkey Vulture
Peregrine Falcon, Turkey Vulture; The falcon protects his prey from the turkey vulture.

Peregine Falcon, Turkey Vulture
Peregrine Falcon, Turkey Vulture;Vulture attacks, falcon abandons prey amidst flying feathers.

Peregine Falcon, Herring Gull
Peregrine Falcon, Herring Gull;  The gull arrives and begins apprising the situation. The falcon gives a threatening stare.

Peregine Falcon, Herring Gull
Peregrine Falcon, Herring Gull;  The gull gives off a war cry and begins a futile try that fails.

Peregine Falcon, Herring Gull
Peregrine Falcon, Herring Gull; Stay away; this is mine.

Peregrine Falcon, Herring Gull, Turkey, Vulture
Peregrine Falcon, Herring Gull, Turkey Vulture; The standoff ended with the falcon consuming his meal while the others waited, hoping for scraps.

Note: These and other images are available for purchase at www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.