Owlets and Insects Today, 04-09-20

I got up around 6:30 this morning to overcast skies, and headed out to the American River Bend Park to check on the nest of Great Horned Owls there  — and get some fresh air and low-impact exercise.

This is the season for Craneflies (Mosquito Hawks); they’re everywhere… but are very uncooperative  And I also came across a few Snakeflies and different kinds of caterpillars including 3rd or 4th instar Tussock Moth, Dagger Moth and Oak Leafroller Moth  caterpillars.

Dagger Moth, Acronicta sp.[caterpillar]

I also found a few female Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies that were looking pretty beat up, their wings all ragged from the weather and razor-like grasses in the fields.  They’re laying their eggs on the pipevine plants right now, and I was able to find quite a few clusters of them on the stems, leaves and seedpods of the plants.

When I was looking over sticks for specimens of lichen, I caught sight of a Globular Spirngtail with the macro lens of my cellphone.  They’re super-tiny and hard to see even with magnification, but I was able to get a few shots of it. 

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Among the other insects, I found three different species of aphids including a Woolly Oak Aphid, Mugwort Aphid and Black Bean Aphid.  I used the macro lens on the Mugwort Aphid and was able to see its black appendages and red eyes.  Freaky!

I went to where the Great Horned Owl’s nest to see how they’re doing.  The two fluffy owlets were in the nest, but mom was in a tree opposite them, preening.  At one point, she lifted on of her feet and stretched her leg.  Man, her feet are BIG. 

Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus. Look at that foot!

While I was watching her, one of the homeless guys that “lives” at the park tried to approach me to talk about the owls.  I told him he needed to stay away from me, I was “social distancing”.  He said he had been taking videos of the owls while he’s sitting there, and said he could email them to me.  I told him I don’t give my email address to strangers; sorry.   He tried to come over to me to give me HIS email address, and again I told him no… social distancing. He then picked up a big piece of paper from his vehicle and wrote his email address on it and held it up so I could take a photo of it.  Hah!  Persistent and ingenious. So, I took a photo of it and thanked him. 

When I was walking along the trail nearest the river, I could hear California Quails chi-ca-going at each other.  I tried to follow the sound, and caught sight of one of the males down among the shrubs and rocks on the shoreline. He was pretty far away, so the photos aren’t the best, but I was satisfied with them anyway.

I also saw quite a few House Wrens, Scrub Jays and Acorn Woodpeckers along the way.

I saw several bucks who have lost last year’s antlers and are starting to grow their new ones. One had about 2 inches of growth already, but the others just had “nubbies”. There was also a doe further up the trail sort of hiding in the thicket, but she stepped out long enough for me to get some photos of her before she bounced off through the forest.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, buck just starting to get his new antlers.

I was walking for about 4 hours and then headed back home.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Ashy Mining Bee, Andrena cineraria [small, black and white]
  3. Black Bean Aphid, Aphis fabae
  4. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  5. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  6. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  7. Boreal Button Lichen, Buellia disciformis [pale gray to bluish with black apothecia on wood]
  8. Brown Grass Bug, Irbisia californica
  9. Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
  10. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  11. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  12. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  13. California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  14. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  15. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  16. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  17. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  18. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  19. Cranefly, Mosquito Hawk, Tipula dietziana
  20. Dagger Moth, Acronicta sp.[caterpillar]
  21. Dimpled Camouflage Lichen, Montanelia tominii [ink black on wood]
  22. European Earwig, Common Earwig, Forficula auricularia
  23. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  24. Farinose Cartilage Lichen,  Ramalina farinacea 
  25. Giraffe’s Head Henbit, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  26. Globular Springtail, Ptenothrix marmorata
  27. Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  28. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
  29. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  30. Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
  31. Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
  32. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  33. Indian Strawberry, Potentilla indica [a kind of cinquefoil]
  34. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  35. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  36. Mazegill Fungus, Daedalea quercina
  37. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliate
  38. Mugwort Aphid, Macrosiphoniella artemisiae [pale green, black legs, red eyes]
  39. Oak Leafroller Moth, Archips semiferana [caterpillar]
  40. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  41. Pin-cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa
  42. Pleated Ink Cap, Parasol Ink Cap, Parasola plicatilis
  43. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  44. Santa Barbara Sedge, Carex barbarae
  45. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae [web]
  46. Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
  47. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  48. Snakefly, Agulla adnexa
  49. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  50. Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica
  51. Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans
  52. Swift Crab Spider, Mecaphesa celer
  53. Toothed Crust Fungus, Basidioradulum sp.
  54. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  55. Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta
  56. White Clover, Trifolium repens
  57. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  58. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  59. Woolly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla querci [in folded leaves, live oak]
  60. Yellow Fieldcap, Bolbitius titubans