Gall City at the American River, 08-07-16

I got up around 6 o’clock this morning and went over to the American River Bend Park for my walk.  I was looking for summer galls and found ‘em, so my trip was fruitful. I found Red and White Cone galls, Spiny Turbans, Yellow Wig galls, Spangle galls, ash tree galls, willow galls, Woolybear galls, Live Oak Round galls, Flat-Top Honeydew galls… and this is just the start of the season.  Sometimes there were several different galls on the same leaf or stem.

CLICK HERE to see the whole album.

The wasp larvae inside the Flat-Top Honeydew galls produce honeydew that exudes through the surface of the galls. The tree gets no benefit from it, but the honeydew attracts ants and wasps that in turn protect the larvae from parasites that might otherwise prey on them.  I also found some Yellow Jackets feasting on some dead thing, and a lovely Green Lacewing sitting on a leaf… As for other critters, I got to see a Great Blue Heron, some female Common Mergansers resting on stones in the water, and a young male coyote.  He kept moving from bright sunlight to shade among the trees, but I did get a little video of it.

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Mary K. Hanson is a breast cancer survivor who, at age 61, took coursework to become a Certified California Naturalist. The author of “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ blog, Ms. Hanson has also written nature-based feature articles published in regional newspapers, authored over ten books, including her "Cool Stuff Along the American" series of guide books, and has had her photographs featured in books, articles, calendars, on the American River Parkway Foundation’s Instagram stream, and even the White House blog. This year Ms. Hanson is helping to launch and teach a new Certified California Naturalist course through Tuleyome, in partnership with the University of California and the Woodland Library, so members of the public can themselves become certified as naturalists in the state. All of the photos seen on her website were taken by Ms. Hanson herself (unless noted otherwise) with moderate- to low-end photographic equipment more easily affordable to the everyday nature enthusiast. She also occasionally leads photo-walks through the American River Bend Park for the public and is sometimes available for public speaking.