I got up around 6:45 this morning to let Esteban out to go potty, gave him his breakfast and then headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. It was about 54°F and totally overcast outside when I got there, and only got up to about 61° by the time I left.
I haven’t been out there for quite a while because I felt there were way too many people on the trails. I wanted to check in on the Red-Shouldered Hawks’ nest, though, to see if they had any babies yet.
I found that the nest was pretty much obscured by leaves now, so I couldn’t see much of anything. But… I pretty much had the whole place to myself for most of my walk. I think I saw about 10 people in total, but they all stayed well away. There was one group of three people; two of the folks had masks on, but the third one, a very loud and gabby woman, did not. Sigh
At one point along the trail I saw a pair of Tree Swallows checking out a nesting cavity in a tree… The problem was, a pair of House Wrens had already settled into another cavity in the same tree. The wrens were trying to bring food in for their babies, but the swallows didn’t like them coming so close to the cavity they wanted, so there was an on-going war there. The wrens got smart and waited until the swallows were distracted by something else, then rushed in, fed the kids and rushed out again. It sucks to have crummy neighbors.
There were quite few deer throughout the preserve, including several bucks in their velvet. I watched two different males eating the black walnut leaves off the trees. Must’ve been a favorite. I also saw a doe and her yearling browsing in a field munching on grass and blue miniature lupine.
At another spot, I saw a female turkey walking through what for her was chest-high grass…and she had EIGHT males following after her, posturing and strutting for her. She totally ignored all of them. Hah!
I stopped at a bench to sit and rest for a moment and realized there was some tiny “something” on the side of my bag. I got out the macro lens connection for my cell phone and took some photos of it. To my surprise, it was the nymph of a of a kind of Buffalo Treehopper, Ceresa sp. Cool! I’ve found the treehoppers’ exuvia (shed skin) a lot in the past (and found another specimen of that today), but I had never seen a live one before, so that exciting to me.
Other neat sightings included see a pair of Wood Ducks (a male and female) flying into a tree near me, checking it out as a potential nesting site; a male quail who popped up on a wood pile on top of a Ground Squirrel’s nest that I was watching; and a Spotted Towhee who stopped in an open space in the overgrowth so I could get pictures of him.
I also saw some Digger Bee turrets along the trail; and noted that the Windmill Pinks were up and starting to bloom.
I walked for about 3½ hours and was totally beat by the time I was done. That’s what I get for not doing any walking for three days straight. Hah!
When I posted my photos of the nymph mentioned above to iNaturalist, Stuart McKamey, the world authority on Treehoppers, saw them and messaged me with: “…I am describing nymphs of New World treehoppers, but do not recognize this. Were there any treehopper adults around? May I use your photographs in my scientific publication?”
I let him know that I hadn’t found any adults in the same area, but did find exuvia, and told him where I found it. I also gave him permission to use my photos (if he gave me photo credit).
You never know who’s looking at your stuff or what scientist may benefit from your observations. This is what “citizen science” is all about!
“Our field-records will be perhaps the most valuable of all our results. …any and all (as many as you have time to record) items are liable to be just what will provide the information wanted. You can’t tell in advance which observations will prove valuable.Joseph Grinnell, 1908
Do record them all!”
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis
- Barren Brome, Bromus sterilis
- Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
- Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum
- Blue Penstemon, Penstemon azureus
- Buffalo Treehopper, Stictocephala alta
- Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
- California Bumblebee, Bombus californicus
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- California Quail, Callipepla californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Cleveland Sage, Salvia clevelandii
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
- Common Soft Brome, Bromus hordeaceus
- Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Cranefly, Mosquito Hawk, Tipula dietziana
- Digger Bee, Anthophora bomboides stanfordiana [turrets]
- Douglas Iris, Iris douglasiana
- Grape Phylloxera, Daktulosphaira vitifoliae
- Green Leafhopper, Nephotettix virescens
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Indian Strawberry, Potentilla indica
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
- Leaf Blotch Miner Moth, Acrocercops affinis
- Lincoln’s Sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
- Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Leafroller Moth, Archips semiferana
- Periwinkle, Vinca major
- Pink Grass, Windmill Pink, Petrorhagia dubia
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Seven-Spot Ladybeetle, Coccinella septempunctata
- Snowberry Sawfly, Blennogeneris spissipes [caterpillar]
- Soap Plant, Wavy Leafed Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
- Spice Bush, California Sweetshrub, Calycanthus occidentalis
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Stork’s Bill, Big Heron Bill, Broadleaf Filaree, Erodium botrys
- Trashline Orb Weaver Spider, Cyclosa conica
- Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Valley Tassels, Castilleja attenuata
- White Checkered-Skipper, Burnsius albescens
- White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa