Not Too Many Flowers at Kenny Ranch, 04-02-20

Got up around 6:30 this morning. It’s chilly, bright and crisp outside. It was about 39°F when mt friend Roxanne arrived to take us to Kenny Ranch in search of wildflowers. The drive was nice; traffic is nearly nonexistent because of COVID-19.  Mostly just big trucks on the road.  We saw several people wearing face masks even while they were driving. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me – unless maybe they were LYFT drivers or something and were anticipating being around other people in their cars.

We were surprised that we didn’t see any wild flowers all on the way to Grass Valley or much of anything at Kenny Ranch.  They seem to be about 2 weeks behind what we’re seeing in Sacramento County. 

Most of the Black Oak trees didn’t have their leaves yet, so we couldn’t look for any new galls on them… The French Broom, however, was blooming everywhere, and we saw a lot of Butter ‘n’ Eggs and Buckbrush.  We found some Fringepod that look like a different species than what we saw at Mather, and we also came across a few Goldfields.

French Broom, Genista monspessulana, already going to seed.

There seemed to be a lot of grasshoppers with yellow wings all over the trail.  I managed to catch one of them, so we got a few close-up photos of that one.  I tried to get photos of them in flight so I could document their bright wings, but they were so small and moved so fast that the camera couldn’t focus on them.  We also saw a couple of Checkered Skippers, and caught sight of a Painted Lady and Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on the wing. 

We were hoping to maybe see some newts along the slough, but the current was really running too fast for that. 

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

It was kind of a disappointing outing because we didn’t see the flowers we were hoping to see, but the fresh air and exercise was good.  When we were done at the ranch, Roxanne drove us further down the Rough and Ready Highway just to see what was there, and we were able to make a loop over surface streets back to Highway 49.  Lots of ranch properties out there. Everything is green right now and I can see why people like living up there.  Atone point we stopped along the road that looked out over the hills to the snow-capped mountains beyond.  So pretty!

We also stopped at someone’s house where a Red-Shouldered Hawk was sitting on the telephone lines. He gave us a dirty look over his shoulder before flying off.

Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus

            We were out for about 6 hours, and got back home without incident.

Species List:

  1. American Plantain, Plantago rugelii
  2. Beaked Twig Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis plumbella
  3. Bittercress, Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta
  4. Broad-leaved Sweet Pea, Lathyrus latifolius
  5. Buckbrush, Ceanothus cuneatus
  6. Bulbous Meadow-Grass, Poa bulbosa
  7. California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  8. California Incense-Cedar, Calocedrus decurrens
  9. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  10. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  11. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  12. Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  13. Common Checkered-Skipper, Burnsius communis
  14. Common Greenbottle Fly, Lucilia sericata
  15. Common Stork’s-Bill, Red Stemmed Filaree, Erodium cicutarium
  16. Cumberland Rock-Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia
  17. Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
  18. French Broom Gall Mite, Aceria genistae
  19. French Broom, Genista monspessulana
  20. Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata
  21. Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
  22. Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana
  23. Hillside Woodland Star, Lithophragma heterophyllum
  24. Hoverfly, Long-tailed Aphideater, Eupeodes fumipennis
  25. Johnnytuck, Butter ‘n’ Eggs, Triphysaria eriantha
  26. Mountain Fringepod, Thysanocarpus laciniatus
  27. Mountain Misery, Chamaebatia foliolosa
  28. Oregon Grape, Berberis aquifolium
  29. Plum, Prunus cerasifera
  30. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  31. Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa
  32. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  33. Rock Tripe, Emery Rock Tripe, Umbilicaria phaea
  34. Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  35. Salad Burnet, Sanguisorba minor  [not sure of this ID]
  36. Shining Peppergrass, Lepidium nitidum
  37. Smokey-eyed Boulder Lichen, Porpidia albocaerulescens
  38. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  39. Stork’s Bill, Big Heron Bill, Broadleaf Filaree, Erodium botrys
  40. Streambank Springbeauty, Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia parviflora
  41. Tomcat Clover, Trifolium willdenovii
  42. Western American Alder Tongue Gall Taphrina occidentalis
  43. Western Meadow-Rue, Thalictrum occidentale
  44. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  45. White Clover, Trifolium repens
  46. White Leaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida
  47. Willow, Salix sp.
  48. Yellow Cobblestone Lichen, Acarospora socialis
  49. Yellow-Winged Grasshopper, California Sulphur Winged Grasshopper, Arphia behrensi
  50. ?? Unidentified  Asteraceae