Mostly Birds and Squirrels Today, 08-10-19

I headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk.  It was a gorgeous 62° when I got there around 6:30 am and was up to 77° by the time I left. 

I saw mostly birds and squirrels today. Not too many deer and only one fawn at a distance. But the weather was so lovely, I didn’t mind.  I’m seeing a lot of fledglings right now, and a lot of adult birds in the middle of massive molts, so everyone looks “messy” … sort of like humans in the summer. Everybody’s on vacation and scruffy looking. Hah! 

CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos

I saw Acorn Woodpeckers, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, Black Phoebes, several California Scrub Jays, a Purple Finch and others.  But the best photos I got were of some young Red-Shouldered Hawks.  One flew down into a tree right next to the nature center, and another flew into a tree by the frog pond.  Got LOTS of photos of them.

I also came across a lot of galls and more of those tiny ridged structured Roxanne and I have been seeing all over the place. Someone on iNaturalist said the structures were some kind of scale bug, but I dismissed that suggestion because it didn’t have any of the characteristics of any scale bugs I’ve ever seen. Anyway, I’ve been looking and looking for more clues over the past several months and… finally found them! They are the cocoons of the Ribbed Cocoon-Maker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella. The cocoons are white when they’re new and turn dirty as they age. They have very distinctive ridges and are surrounded by a “fence” of fine white hairs. I took a couple of samples and will look at them under a microscope (as soon as it’s delivered).

Cocoon of the Ribbed Cocoon-Maker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella

I also found and was able to identify damage done by the Leaf Blotch Miner Moth (possibly Acrocercops affinis) on the leaf of an Interior Live Oak.  The moth’s larvae “mine” tunnels through the surface layers of the leaves, and where a lot of the corridors come together, they form large “epidermal blotches” that look like papery caverns on the leaves. 

Damage done by the Leaf Blotch Miner Moth (possibly Acrocercops affinis) on the leaf of an Interior Live Oak

There were a lot of Praying Mantis nymphs among the Showy Milkweed by the nature center. Although they’re still young, they’ve all got those killer spines on their front legs. I got my finger caught by those spines on an adult mantis and I can tell you, it HURTS. They can exert enough pressure to puncture your skin and draw blood… But some cools facts about these critters:

Praying mantis nymph

o They can swivel that head 180 degrees.
o Along with those two big compound eyes, they have three simple eyes located in between the larger ones on the top of the head.
o This species has a single ear located on the belly… and they can detect ultrasonic sounds.

Nature is so cool!

Among the squirrels I saw today included the California Ground Squirrel, Western Gray Squirrel and Eastern Fox Squirrel. Most of them were chewing on black walnuts.

I walked for four hours today.

4 hours and 8 minutes; 3.19 km

Species List:

1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
2. American Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum
3. Ash Leaf Curl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii
4. Asian Lady Beetle, Harlequin Labybug, Harmonia axyridis
5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
6. Black Walnut Erineum Mite galls, Eriophyes erinea
7. Black Walnut Tree, Juglans nigra
8. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
9. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
10. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
11. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
12. California Praying Mantis, Stagmomantis californica
13. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
14. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
15. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
16. Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis
17. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
18. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea
19. Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
20. Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
22. Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
23. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
24. Doveweed, Turkey Mullein, Croton setigerus
25. Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
26. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
27. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
28. Feral Honeybees, Apis mellifera
29. Giant Mullein, Verbascum thapsus
30. Giant Sunflower, Helianthus giganteus
31. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
32. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
33. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
34. Kernel Flower Gall Wasp, Callirhytis serricornis
35. Leaf Blotch Miner Moth, Acrocercops affinis
36. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
37. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 2nd Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
38. Naked Lady Lily, Amaryllis Belladonna
39. Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Sophia, Aegolius acadicus
40. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
41. Oak Treehopper, Platycotis vittata (exuvia)
42. Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
43. Pacific Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
44. Pink Grass, Windmill Pink, Petrorhagia dubia
45. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
46. Purple Finch, Haemorhous purpureus
47. Raccoon, Procyon lotor (tracks)
48. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
49. Red Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
50. Red-Shouldered Stink Bug, Thyanta custator
51. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
52. Rusty Tussock Moth, Orgyia antiqua (cocoons)
53. Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
54. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
55. Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, Antron douglasii
56. Steel Blue Cricket Hunter Wasp, Chlorion aerarium
57. Trashline Orb Weaver Spider, Cyclosa conica
58. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
59. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus
60. Urchin Gall Wasp, Antron quercusechinus
61. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
62. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
63. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
64. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
65. Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis