Lots of Nature on a Short Walk, 08-24-19

Around 6:00 am, I headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for my volunteer trail-walking thing. I had decided before leaving the house that I would keep this walk relatively short in order to try to beat the heat.  It was 65º when I got to the preserve, and 75º when I left about 2-1/2 hours later.

Even though I didn’t do the longer route I normally do, I was still able to see quite a lot.  When I first drove in, there was a small herd of deer along the side of the road, including a 2-point buck still in his velvet.  Later, I saw individual deer here and there, and as I was leaving the preserve, I came across a mama are her TWO fawns. That was the first set of twins I’d seen at Effie Yeaw. (The first for this season was at the Cosumnes River Preserve). So, that was great to see.

One of a pair of twin fawns, Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus

I was also happy to see that the feral beehive was swarming with bees again today.  The last time I saw it, there were less than a dozen bees near the entrance.  Today, there were hundreds.  So, the queen is apparently still ensconced there. I don’t know what was going on the day the hive was nearly naked.

CLICK HERE for the full album pf photos.

Another happy find was the galls of the Plate Gall Wasp on a blue oak tree.  I’d been looking for those all summer and this was the first time I’d been able to see them close enough to get some decent photos of them.  They form on the back of the blue oak leaves and are small and flat and look like a pale blotch from a distance, so they can be hard to find. I was able to use the 20x macro enhancement lens on my cellphone to get some good close-ups.  You can see the waxy-looking surface of the gall, the tiny red pinpoint in the center, and the white spots on each one. They kind of look like flattened out jellyfish.  Very cool.

The gall of a Plate Gall Wasp, Liodora pattersonae

I got glimpses of Black-Tailed Jackrabbits, a couple of Desert Cottontail, and a very healthy-looking coyote.  I also watch Wild Turkeys jumping for grapes on the wild grapevines and chasing down a whole cluster of grapes after one was able to pull it down.  So funny.

As I was walking, I said to myself that I’d really like to get some good shots of a California Ground Squirrel before I went home, and on my way toward the nature center to log my volunteer hours, I found quite a few of the squirrels.  There was a pair of them near the front of their burrow on one side of the trail, and a super-chubby one eating seeds out of the dried grass on the other.  Made my morning.

Species List:

1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
2. American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus
3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
4. Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus (green)
5. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans (heard)
7. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
8. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
9. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
10. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
11. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
12. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
13. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
14. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
15. Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
16. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii (heard)
17. Coyote, Canis latrans
18. Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
19. Curly Cup Gumweed, Grindelia squarrosa
20. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
21. Disc Gall Wasp, Andricus parmula
22. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
23. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
24. Feral Honeybees, Apis mellifera
25. Geometrid moth, Family: Geometridae
26. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
27. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous (heard)
28. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
29. Mule Fat, Baccharis salicifolia
30. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii (heard)
31. Oak Treehopper, Platycotis vittata (exuvia)
32. Plate Gall Wasp, Liodora pattersonae
33. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
34. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
35. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
36. Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
37. Say’s Cicada, Okanagana rimosa rimosa (recorded sound and exuvia)
38. Soap Plant, Wavy Leafed Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
39. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
40. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
41. Urchin Gall Wasp, Antron quercusechinus
42. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
43. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana