Crayfish and Other Interesting Things on 09-09-19

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.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

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. 

Acorn of the Bur Oak, Burr Oak, Quercus macrocarpa

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!

A female Wilson’s Warbler, Cardellina pusilla

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.

Seed pods of a Liquidambar, American Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua. that’s a normal pod on the left and a “fasciated” pod on the right.

I walked for about 4 hours before heading back home.

Species List

  1. American Wisteria, Wisteria frutescens
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Beaver Tail Cactus, Prickly Pear, Opuntia basilaris
  4. Bird of Paradise, tree, Caesalpinia gilliesii
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Blue Angel’s Trumpet, Acnistus australis
  7. Bur Oak, Burr Oak, Quercus macrocarpa
  8. Butterfly Bush, Buddleja davidii
  9. California Buckeye Chestnut, Aesculus californica
  10. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  11. Chinese Pistache Tree, Pistacia chinensis
  12. Common Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
  13. Common Toadflax, Linaria vulgaris
  14. Creek Clematis, Western Clematis, Clematis ligusticifolia
  15. Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
  16. Crimson Bottlebrush, Melaleuca citrina
  17. Deodar Cedar, Cedrus deodara
  18. Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis
  19. Douglas Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii
  20. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  21. European Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  22. Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
  23. Fleabane, Seaside Daisy, Erigeron glaucus
  24. Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
  25. Great Mullein, Verbascum Thapsus
  26. Green Heron, Butorides virescens
  27. Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, Agraulis vanilla
  28. Italian Buckthorn, Mediterranean Buckthorn, Rhamnus alaternus
  29. Jewels of Opar, Talinum paniculatum [tiny red seeds]
  30. Leafcutter Bee, Megachile sp.
  31. Liquidambar, American Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua
  32. Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha sp.
  33. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  34. Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias
  35. Mojave Prickly Poppy, Argemone corymbose
  36. Mosquito fish, Gambusia affinis
  37. Northern Catalpa, Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa
  38. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  39. Pillbug, Roly-Poly, Armadillidium vulgare
  40. Pink Sedum, Orpine, Sedum telephium
  41. Purple Tube Flower, Iochroma cyaneum
  42. Queen Anne’s Lace, Wild Carrot, Daucus carota
  43. Red Amaranth, Amaranthus cruentus
  44. Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily, Kniphofia uvaria
  45. Red Swamp Crayfish, Crawfish, Crawdad, Procambarus clarkia
  46. Redwood, California Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens
  47. Rose, Rosa sp.
  48. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  49. Sage Leaf Rockrose, Cistus salviifolius
  50. Sea Squill, Drimia maritima
  51. Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
  52. Trailing Lantana, Lantana montevidensis
  53. Unidentified Buckwheat, Eriogonum sp.
  54. Unidentified Sage, Salvia sp.
  55. Western Goldenrod, Solidago lepida
  56. Wilson’s Warbler, Cardellina pusilla
  57. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa