Bouverie Wildflower Preserve (3/18/2023)

Today we (Brian, Carol, and Dan) went on a nature walk at Bouverie. It was our second time there and Carol and Dan’s first. I so enjoyed our first visit to this not-open-to-the-public place last year, and I was super excited to return for another nature walk at a different time of year. Especially near the beginning of Wildflower Season.

I typically try to pick somewhat complementary photos for my primary two, but I couldn’t do it today. These two were my favorite and were both newtome, so they’ll have to do. Meadow Baby-Blue-Eyes and White Saddle!

Definitely saw new things this time, and I am just ASTONISHED at ALL THE FLIPPIN’ FUNGI THERE!

After I got home, I realized that I had put on Yvonne’s now Infamous Fungi Socks in the morning. Had totally forgotten. And honestly, I swear, did not think they’d bring me amazing fungi luck. Bouverie doesn’t have forests, or at least, doesn’t where I’d been in the past. Or ended up being in today. Yes, there are many lovely Valley Oaks, but they’re not dense where I have seen. So I did not have high expectations for fungi today.

Made me wonder if there is an incredible power that Valley Oaks have that enable so much fungi to thrive there. Need to look that up.

Before our guided hike began, we enjoyed hearing Acorn Woodpeckers and seeing a couple Northern Flickers in the distance. And an Oak Titmouse that was singing a wide variety of songs for us.

Ok, so the place looks like a night-and-day difference from our last visit, which was in May of last year. By that time, everything was dry and yellow on the landscape. Today, everything was a gorgeous green. And the meadows were littered with small wildflowers. Like Common Fiddleneck, newtome Rusty Popcornflower (not lying about that name), newtome Glue-Seed, aformentioned newtome Meadow Baby-Blue-Eyes (which look like someone painstakingly painted tiny lines onto each and every petal), and Sky Lupine. What a treat to look out at the meadows around us and see SO MANY small wildflowers that I don’t often see!

Less abundant but definitely present were Common Star Lily and Pacific Pea and Milkmaids. A couple Sun Cup and Purple Sanicle and California Buttercup. Two Checker Lily (that I could see) and a single Blue Dicks stem.

We didn’t see many birds, as was the case last time, too. A Red-tailed Hawk (that Dan spotted) and a handful of Turkey Vultures. Oh! This reminds me to look up what a “Buzzard” is, Dan! It’s chiefly British, “BUTEO.” But, Buteo is a genus of Hawks. Like the Red-tailed Hawk. Second definition is “any of various usually large birds of prey (such as the turkey vulture).” So, not a synonym for a Turkey Vulture but would be used to call one that. But includes other birds of prey. Are Red-tailed Hawks a “large bird of prey?” So many questions.

We did manage to see a White-breasted Nuthatch, though! Eating bugs high up in a Valley Oak.

But, the FUNGI. Ohhhhh, THE FUNGI. A flippin’ delightful SURPRISE. First spotted some Golden Ear (which I love that I now know, thanks to a Fungi Fairy on iNat, is IDable as such if there is Turkey-Tail nearby, so as not to confuse with Witch’s Butter), and more fungi continued to pop up along the trails, in the grasses nearby, and even in the middle of the trails.

Still awaiting assistance on iNat (Alan! Come back!!), but I think I saw Silky Pinkgill, Meadow Mushroom, more Golden Ear, Pale Brittlestem, Hairy Curtain Crust, Splitgill Mushroom, Fragrant Funnel, Tawny Funnel Cap, Coprinellus impatiens, Tall Psathyrella, and Common Fieldcap. Plus the aforementioned newtome White Saddle. Don’t know why, but I adore Helvella fungi!

And, another surprise. There was a small child along for the walk. Threeish, perhaps? And, I was QUITE NERVOUS at the start, as he was a talker. Oh, yes. But something amazing happened once we started seeing fungi on the trails. He pointed some out. He came over and crouched down with me when I saw one and started documenting them. He even made sure that I saw him point out a particular one he felt I should also document.

This kind of happened like EVERY TIME I SAW FUNGI. I guessed (wrong) that the initial interest would soon wane, but no. It didn’t. Apparently, he even commented to his parents that, “She likes mushrooms, too. But she likes mushrooms, too.” Something to that effect. He liked to repeat things. And he wanted to repeat that.

Turns out the parents take their kid (and now new baby) with them often into the outdoors. The dad said that they were at Armstrong Woods last week, where they saw A TON of fungi. Including delicious red Waxcaps, which he showed us photos of. It was all so nice to hear.

And oddly, so nice to have the unique experience of a very small child actually making an effort to be part of what I was seeing and even initiate talking to me. It happens THAT INFREQUENTLY that I was a bit taken aback by it. And ultimately, a bit taken with my new Fungi Fairy In Training, Everett.

Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of group walks. But having Brian and Carol and Dan with me was great. And the friendly family and other friendly folks, one of whom complimented me on my Totoro backpack (never fails). And I’ll admit it was pretty fun having someone almost as equally excitable about fungi-spotting as me along for the ride, too. Who knew it’d ever be a 3-year-old?

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