I went to the WPA Rock Garden and William Land Park for a walk. I was going to go to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge with Roxanne today and take the dog with me, but I was worried about being 2 hours away from home if Sergeant Margie got sick – and I didn’t want to run the risk of him pooping in the car. So, Roxanne and I nixed the wildlife refuge trip and will, instead, go to the arboretum in Davis tomorrow. (It’s closer.) They’re supposed to have 80 different kinds of oak trees there. Only about 18 are native to California, so the other ones come from all over the world. Should be interesting.
At the park, I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, and was just open to whatever Nature wanted to show me today. And I needed the exercise.
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At the littlest pond, there were quite a few crayfish out around the edges of it, trying to get some early morning sun before the larger fish-eating birds realized they were there. I also found a couple of Bur Oak acorns on the ground. There are a couple of large Bur Oaks (Quercus macrocarpa) in that area, but they’ve been trimmed up to high, I can’t reach any of the branches. The Bur Oaks are one of the most massive oaks with a trunk diameter of up to 10 feet and they can live up to 400 years. They also have the largest acorn of all of the oak species in North America, so getting some of the windfall acorns is cool to me. They’re native to the US, but not to California.
I was watching some hummingbirds chase each other around, and then several of them stopped at a Smoketree and started rubbing their chests and bodies on the sprinkler-dampened leaves, like they were bathing with the drops of water on the plant. Then I caught sight of something bright-bright yellow in the same Smoketree. It was doing the same thing the hummers were doing: rubbing its breast and body on the wet leaves. I got a couple of snaps of it even though it was mostly covered by the leaves and moving pretty quickly. I think it was my first sighting of a Wilson’s Warbler!
I also found a “fasciated” seed pod of a Liquidambar tree. The normal seed pods are shaped like the round spiked ball on the end of a mace. The fasciated one was deformed into a lumpy ellipse with several knobby heads. So cool. Fasciation can occur in almost any plant part but usually takes on a flattened fan-like form that looks like a misshapen crest, fan or bundle. Nobody really knows what causes it, but:
“Most now agree that fasciation occurs as a mutation in a single cell in the central zone of the meristem… But, instead of the meristem being formatted to produce a round [structure] the mutation causes a disruption in between-cell communication and the flattened meristem results.” — Gerald Klingaman, Extension News – February 22, 2008.
I walked for about 4 hours before heading back home.
- American Wisteria, Wisteria frutescens
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Beaver Tail Cactus, Prickly Pear, Opuntia basilaris
- Bird of Paradise, tree, Caesalpinia gilliesii
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blue Angel’s Trumpet, Acnistus australis
- Bur Oak, Burr Oak, Quercus macrocarpa
- Butterfly Bush, Buddleja davidii
- California Buckeye Chestnut, Aesculus californica
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- Chinese Pistache Tree, Pistacia chinensis
- Common Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
- Common Toadflax, Linaria vulgaris
- Creek Clematis, Western Clematis, Clematis ligusticifolia
- Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
- Crimson Bottlebrush, Melaleuca citrina
- Deodar Cedar, Cedrus deodara
- Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis
- Douglas Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
- Fleabane, Seaside Daisy, Erigeron glaucus
- Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
- Great Mullein, Verbascum Thapsus
- Green Heron, Butorides virescens
- Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, Agraulis vanilla
- Italian Buckthorn, Mediterranean Buckthorn, Rhamnus alaternus
- Jewels of Opar, Talinum paniculatum [tiny red seeds]
- Leafcutter Bee, Megachile sp.
- Liquidambar, American Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua
- Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha sp.
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias
- Mojave Prickly Poppy, Argemone corymbose
- Mosquito fish, Gambusia affinis
- Northern Catalpa, Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa
- Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
- Pillbug, Roly-Poly, Armadillidium vulgare
- Pink Sedum, Orpine, Sedum telephium
- Purple Tube Flower, Iochroma cyaneum
- Queen Anne’s Lace, Wild Carrot, Daucus carota
- Red Amaranth, Amaranthus cruentus
- Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily, Kniphofia uvaria
- Red Swamp Crayfish, Crawfish, Crawdad, Procambarus clarkia
- Redwood, California Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens
- Rose, Rosa sp.
- Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
- Sage Leaf Rockrose, Cistus salviifolius
- Sea Squill, Drimia maritima
- Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
- Trailing Lantana, Lantana montevidensis
- Unidentified Buckwheat, Eriogonum sp.
- Unidentified Sage, Salvia sp.
- Western Goldenrod, Solidago lepida
- Wilson’s Warbler, Cardellina pusilla
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
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