Even though I have today off, I got up around 6:00 and was out the door to the American River Bend Park by about 6:30 am.
The vetch and Tule Peas are starting to bloom at the park, along with Sticky Monkey Flowers and Miniature Lupine. The fennel is just starting to sprout, but already parts of the trail smell of licorice. And there’s Pipevine everywhere. I’m both pleases and surprised by how many of the vines are sporting butterfly eggs. Should be a banner year for the caterpillars here. I already found a few first and third instars (different sizes of the caterpillars as they go through several successive molts and start to mature). Right now, they’re still reddish-brown. They’ll turn black as they get older and bigger…
The birds are starting to pair off and get their nests in order. I found nesting spots of some Starlings, a White-Breasted Nuthatch, and a hummingbird so far! I also found a peacock (!) in the park chasing after the female turkeys. Hah! I wonder what they thought of him!
Also saw a lot of Tree Swallows and House Wrens, some Scrub Jays, and a Nutthall’s Woodpecker. The Red-Shouldered Hawks were taking turns at the nest they built over the trail, but they’re careful to keep themselves camouflaged well. I only got a shot of one of their backs today. Dang! Lots of bugs, of course… including loads of Crane Flies (Mosquito Hawks), and I came across some Spittle Bug spit. With the bugs come the first onset of galls on the plants, too. I found some on a Coyote Brush bush and on some Goldenrod.
Since I wasn’t looking for anything in particular and just walked until I finished a figure-8 of the part of the park I was in – almost four hours walking – it was very relaxing.