This and That, 08-13-19

Around 6:00 am I went over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my regular volunteer trail-walking gig.  It was 57° at the preserve when I got there, but before I left it was already up to 77° and heading to a high of 100°.  Pleh!

I didn’t see a whole lot today, but I did get to see several different kinds of galls, a Turkey Vulture posing in a tree and a small herd of deer.  One of the fawns was out, but he was in the high grass laying down near his mom, so getting photos of him was tough.  I also saw a young Red-Shouldered Hawk getting harassed by Mockingbirds again, and I came across some insects which I think were a tiny species of Crane Flies.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

Along the way, I got to do my “naturalist” thing for a lady named “Karen” who comes to the preserve on Tuesdays, too.  I had stopped by a Live Oak tree when she came by and she asked what I was looking at.  I showed her a Two-Horned gall and explained what it was, then found a Pumpkin gall and a Kernel gall on the same tree.  She said, “Say all of that again so I can record you on my phone.”  So, I went through the whole spiel about the cynipid wasps, how they lay eggs on the leaves of the oak trees and how the tree forms the galls, and how each gall is species-specific.  She was very appreciative.  I hope the video turned out so she can share it with her friends. 

I stopped to look at the feral bee colony and was a little worried when I didn’t see a lot of activity around the tree where the hive was.  There were only a few bees around the entrance this time.  I usually see dozens.  I’ll have to check out the tree again next time I’m there. I hope nothing happened to their queen…

There were hardly any bees at the “bee tree” today…

As I was heading out of the preserve, I noticed that the gardeners were ripping up the showy milkweed that was infested with black mold… which is the majority of the plants. It’s been my observation that the Monarchs don’t care if the milkweed plants are moldy… and most of the plants that the gardeners were ripping out today were plants where I historically found Monarch caterpillars in the past.  I guess the gardeners know what they’re doing but I was kind of disappointed to see the plants being destroyed right before the late-summer Monarchs are due to arrive.

I walked for three hours and then headed home.

Screen shot from My Tracks app.


1. American Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum

2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
3. Asian Lady Beetle, Harlequin Labybug, Harmonia axyridis
4. Ball-tipped Gall Wasp, Xanthoteras teres
5. Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis
6. Black Walnut Tree, Juglans nigra
7. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
8. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
9. Boxelder Bug, Boisea trivittata (nymph)
10. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
11. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
12. Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis
13. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
14. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea (nymph, lion)
15. Convoluted Gall Wasp, Andricus confertus
16. Cranefly, Erioptera sp. (maybe Erioptera septemtrionis)
17. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
18. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
19. Feral Honeybees, Apis mellifera
20. Giant Sunflower, Helianthus giganteus
21. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
22. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
23. Kernel Flower Gall Wasp, Callirhytis serricornis
24. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
25. Leaf Gall Wasp, Unidentified
26. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
27. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
28. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
29. Peregrine Falcon, Wek-Wek, Falco peregrinus
30. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
31. Raccoon, Procyon lotor (tracks)
32. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
33. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
34. Ribbed Cocoon-Maker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella
35. Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
36. Tall Buckwheat, Eriogonum elatum var. elatum
37. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
38. Twice-Stabbed Ladybeetle, Chilocorus stigma
39. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus
40. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
41. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
42. Woodland Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanoides
43. Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi

Lots of Loti, 08-12-19

This morning, I headed over to the WPA Rock Garden at William Land Park.  It was 63° when I got there, and then got up to about 95° by the late afternoon. 

All the while I was at the garden, the giant sprinklers I the front portion of it were on, soaking everything, so I wasn’t able to get into parts of the garden at all, and had to deal with water running through all of the pathways. 

For the first hour or so I was out there, I was joined by Kristie Kraemer, one of my naturalist class graduates. She’s readying for retirement and is taking a nature journaling class on the side.  She’s gotten into watercolors as part of her journaling class and is focusing on “green” right now.  I totally get that. Focusing on one facet of anything can be very instructive – and relaxing.  It uses a different part of your brain…  ((I suck at watercolors, myself, so I’m always in awe of people who use them.))

At the park, I was hoping to find insects and their eggs, and maybe see the family of Great Horned Owls again, but I kind of struck out on those…  Although, I DID see several praying mantises, a pair of striped beetles, and some kind of tiny weevil.

Oh, and I got some photos of a garden snail pooping.  You wouldn’t think that was such a big deal, but… According to Robert Cameron, Evolutionary Biologist and Malacologist, “…The process is a bit bizarre by our standards, because the anus opens into the mantle cavity, which also houses the lung! So, the poop itself is shed through the breathing pore. It is usually a string of green or brown matter depending on what the snail has been eating. If you feed it nothing but carrot, the poop will be orange. They can poop while resting, because the breathing pore faces outwards in the mouth of the shell when they are withdrawn…” 

So, I guess they have to hold their breath while they poop. And this guy could poop upside down! Hah!

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I walked through the garden, around the middle pond, and then headed over to the large pond and walked around that, too.  So, the whole walk was about 3 hours’ worth.

A 3-hour walk… 2.83 kilometers

In the middle pond, there were the usual suspects: ducks, geese, crows… And there was also a Green Heron fishing in the middle of pond by standing on one of the broad leaves of the lotus plants that are over-growing in the pond.  I got a few nice shots of him.

At the larger pond, the Chinese Geese were out, and I saw a crayfish and a turtle, but they ducked out of sight before I could get any good photos of them.  Just as I was leaving, I saw a small flock of Western Bluebirds chasing each other around, and also hear a Nuttall’s Woodpecker.  I followed his noise and found him in a tree across the street from where my car was parked.  I was able to get some pictures – in between the cars going back and forth on the street.

After the walk, I went home, had some lunch and pretty much relaxed for the rest of the day.


1. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
2. Apple Mint, Mentha suaveolens
3. Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus (nymph)
4. Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii
5. Beaver Tail Cactus, Prickly Pear, Opuntia basilaris
6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
7. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
8. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
9. Butterfly Bush, Buddleja davidii
10. California Buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum
11. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
12. Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis
13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
14. Cardoon, Artichoke Thistle, Cynara cardunculus
15. Cayuga Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Cayuga
16. Chinese Goose, Anser cygnoides
17. Chinese Praying Mantis, Tenodera sinensis
18. Common Hibiscus, Hibiscus syriacus
19. Common Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
20. Crepe Myrtle, Arapaho Crepe Myrtle (dark pink), Lagerstroemia (indica × fauriei × limii)
21. Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
22. Dianella, Dianella ensifolia
23. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
24. Familiar Bluet Damselfly, Enallagma civile
25. Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
26. Gingko, Maidenhair Tree, Ginkgo biloba
27. Globe Thistle, Blue Globe Thistle, Echinops bannaticus
28. Green Heron, Butorides virescens
29. Italian Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens
30. Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis fruticose
31. Jimson Weed, Datura stramonium
32. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
33. Manzanita, Arctostaphylos sp.
34. Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria
35. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
36. Naked Lady Lily, Amaryllis Belladonna
37. Nightshade, Blue Witch Nightshade, Solanum umbelliferum
38. Northern Catalpa, Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa
39. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
40. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
41. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marmorata
42. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
43. Purpletop Vervain, Verbena bonariensis
44. Red Amaranth, Amaranthus cruentus
45. Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora
46. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
47. Smoke Tree, Smokebush, Cotinus coggygria
48. Striped Cucumber Beetle, Acalymma sp.
49. Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
50. Three-lined Potato Beetle, Lema daturaphila
51. Trashline Orb Weaver Spider, Cyclosa conica
52. Tule Bluet, Enallagma carunculatum (female)
53. Wand Mullein, Verbascum virgatum
54. Weeping Cypress, Cupressus cashmeriana
55. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
56. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
57. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
58. Wooly Mullein, Great Mullein, Verbascum thapsus


LEaf-Footed Bug Nymphs, 08-11-19

I went out to fill the bird feeder this morning and saw a small aggregate of what I thought at first were Harvestmen (those spiders that aren’t really spiders). As I got closer I realized it was actually an aggregate of the nymphs of a Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus phyllopus.  I also found the bug’s eggs on the side of the house… and on some of them, I could see the little “doors” on the front of them left open after the nymphs emerged.  They form aggregates to help one another keep warm and regulate their body temperature.

You can see the whole album here:…/mkhnatura…/albums/72157710241916126 which includes a video of the critters, photos of the eggs, and some of the stuff in the yard. The video isn’t that great because I did it with my cell phone, but you’ll get the gist of it.

Also saw this Spotted Orb Weaver Spider, Neoscona crucifera , on the lavender plant. I love the way she’s keeping one foot on that strand of silk to “feel” for visitors.