Up at 7:00 am today, and I headed out to the American River Bend Park for a walk. It was a chilly 43º at the river in the morning and got up to 80º by the afternoon. I’m really liking this fall weather. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It was still smelling smoky outside, but not as bad as it was yesterday.
I took a different route than I normally do for my walk, hoping to maybe see something a little different, but the “between the seasons” lack of subject matter continued. I did get to see two different species of wrens: the Bewick’s Wren and House Wren. Those little, buzzy guys are staking out territories this time of year.
The standout for the day, though, was actually the galls of the Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens. They are “rupturing” this time of year. The tiny wasp lays its eggs inside the softer twigs of the Live Oak trees, and the tree forms a capsule around each one. Then as the wasp larvae grow and develop, the capsules get larger and twig swells. When the wasps are ready to hatch out, the capsules burst out through the skin of the twig and fall to the ground, where the wasps escape their capsules and fly off. I think it’s odd for an insect to wait until October to go through its breeding cycle, but I guess there’s an insect for every season…
I also found a few first-generation galls of the Live Oak Gall Wasp (round balls with spikes on them), including a grouping of the galls. I’ve seen them singly before lots of times, but had never seen a grouping before, so that was cool.
CLICK HERE for the album of photos.
I walked for about 2½ hours and then headed back home.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Alder Tongue Gall Fungus, Taphrina alni
- Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- California Brickellbush, Brickellia californica
- California Buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Chinese Tallow tree, Triadica sebifera
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Goldenrod Bunch Gall, Goldenrod Floret Gall Midge, Solidago canadensis
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus [red-shafted]
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
- Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta [chrysalis]
- Pipevine, California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly, Sympetrum corruptum
- Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
- Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
- White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia