Galls and a Fawn, 07-23-19

I headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve to do my volunteer work there on the Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project and my trail-walking gig.  It’s supposed to get up to 100° today, so I wanted to get out there as soon as the sun came up to beat the heat.  It was 63° when I got to the preserve around 6:00 am and was already up to 80° by 9:30 am when I left.  I think it would have been hotter except that there was some cloud cover along the river that held off the sunlight for an extra hours or so.

I’m still not seeing any evidence of Monarchs in my plot, but no one else is recording any either, so I’m figuring they’re just not around. My friend and fellow-naturalist Roxanne showed up around 6:30 and we finished up the Monarch work very quickly. We found quite a few different spiders, including a pair of Yellow Sac Spiders and a Western Spotted Orbweaver, along with a couple of katydid nymphs and lots of Oleander Aphids.

We then went for a short walk and came across quite a few different galls including some Erineum Mite Galls on the Black Walnut trees, Two-Horned and Kernel galls on the Live Oak trees, and Saucer and Crystalline galls on the Blue Oaks.  I’m bringing the naturalist class to the preserve next weekend, so we tried to remember which trees had the best galls on them so we could show them to the students.

The big moment of the walk, though, was coming across a doe and her fawn.  Mama was pulling down leaves from the trees for the fawn to eat, and at one point, he looked up, right at us, while he was chewing on a stem.  So cute! His mom was trying really hard to keep him safe and sheltered, so we didn’t get to see him for very long before she took him into deeper brush in the shade.  Still, I was able to get a few photos.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

Species List:

1. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
2. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
3. Black Walnut Erineum Mite Gall, Eriophyes erinea
4. Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
5. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
6. Bush Katydid (nymphs), Scudderia furcata
7. Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
9. California Oak Worm, Phryganidia californica
10. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
11. Consperse Stinkbug (nymph), Euschistus conspersus
12. Crowned Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
13. Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
14. Dog Vomit Slime Mold, Fuligo septica
15. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
16. Evening Primrose, Oenothera biennis
17. Great Mullein, Verbascum thapsus
18. Green Lacewing (eggs), Chrysoperla carnea
19. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
20. Jumping Oak Wasp Galls, Neuroterus saltatorius
21. Kernel Gall Wasp, Callirhytis serricornis
22. Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
23. Pacific Aster, California Aster, Symphyotrichum chilense
24. Pink Grass, Windmill Pink (seeds and bracts), Petrorhagia dubia
25. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
26. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
27. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
28. Saucer Wasp Galls, Andricus gigas
29. Saw-whet Owl, Sophia, Aegolius acadicus
30. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
31. Trashline Spider, Cyclosa conica
32. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus
33. Urchin Wasp Galls, Antron quercusechinus
34. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
35. Wavy Leaf Soap Plant, Soaproot (seeds), Chlorogalum pomeridianum
36. Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis
37. Western Spotted Orbweaver Spider, Neoscona oaxacensis
38. White Hibiscus, Rose Mallow, Hibiscus lasiocarpos
39. Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum

Summer 2019 CalNat Class #7, 07-19-19

We had a great naturalist class today.  Nate got us through half of the chapter on animals, our student Joan Sullivan talked briefly about the trip to Africa (!) from which she’d just returned, and Nate shared some new Black Bear photos from the Silver Spur Ranch.

Adult Black Bear, Ursus americanus, at the Silver Spur Ranch in Lake County.

And we tested the students’ deductive abilities with our “Coyote CSI” activity.  We do this for each class and the students seem to really enjoy it.  We present them with the skeleton of a young coyote and ask them to try to figure out how it died.  Lots of good guesses from this group including: it died of a rattlesnake bite; it died from being poisoned by bad water; it died of a neurological disorder… (It actually died of starvation, but the guesses were excellent.)  We also had samples of deer and elk antlers and showed them the differences between them and how they grow. 

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

A Good Day for Squirrel Photos, 07-18-19

I headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk around 6:00 am.  It was supposed to be cooler outside today, but it was actually warmer at the preserve today than it was on Tuesday.  About 65° when I got there… and it felt humid again.  So, I only walked for about 3 hours before calling it quits.

On my walk I saw a few deer, including the 3-pointer buck with the really tall antlers (which are still in their velvet). I passed by a male photographer who said he’d gotten pictures of a doe and a fawn earlier in the morning, but I didn’t see them.

I could hear the Red-Tailed Hawks talking to each other from different trees throughout the place, and got a glimpse of one of the juveniles, and some good shots of an adult who landed in a tree right next to the trail.

A male Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus

I watched a small flock of male Rio Grande Wild Turkeys jumping up and down under a wild plum tree.  One of them was able to get enough oomph to actually reach the low-hanging fruit and pull it off the tree.  Greedy-greedy. Hah!

And it was a good day for squirrel photos.  I came across several different California Ground Squirrels, including a mama Ground Squirrel who was giving out an alarm call.  She was half-standing on a log with her paws resting on some of the broken branches and twigs coming off of it.  It seemed like such a “human” pose… it made me smile.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Species List:

1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
3. Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
4. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
5. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus cerulea
6. Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
7. California Goldenrod, Solidago californica
8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
9. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
10. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
11. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
12. Cicada (exoskeleton), possibly Clidophleps distanti
13. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
14. Coyote (scat), Canis latrans
15. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
16. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
17. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
18. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
19. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
20. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
21. Red Swamp Crayfish, Crawfish, Crawdad, Procambarus clarkii
22. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
23. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
24. Rust gall on Live Oak, Unspecified
25. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
26. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
27. Sycamore Lace Bug, Corythucha ciliata
28. Trashline Orb-Weaver Spider, Cyclosa conica
29. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus
30. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
31. Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis
32. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus