Lerps and Other Stuff, 05-21-19

I had taken yesterday off to try to recover from Tuesday’s tumble, and I felt like I could do a long walk this morning. Uh…apparently not.  I went to the William B. Pond Park on the American River, mostly hoping to see some insects and water plants.  I was able to walk, but not very quickly. My back and left ankle were hurting.  It was mostly dull muscle pain, but enough to slow me down and wear me out.

It was about 61° when I got to the river, and headed up past 77° by the time I left.  It’s gonna be hot today.

American River

The water in the river was quite low, exposing a lot of the rocks. It was so shallow in some places that I saw people crossing the full width of the river with the water never reach their knees.

Although I didn’t see as many insects as I expected to find with the weather warming up, I did find some interesting ones, including a group of Red-Humped Caterpillars, a Privet Leafhopper and some Red Gum Lerp Psyllids.  I also saw a few butterflies and damselflies, nut not too many.  No dragonflies yet… and no obvious exuvia anywhere which was a little disappointing.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

When looking for Anise Swallowtail butterfly eggs on the fennel plants, I came across a spider’s web-den with a small jumping spider inside of it. The den was doubtless her egg sac.  She’ll stay with eggs until they hatch.  I also found a small White Crab Spider and saw several Long-Jawed Orb-Weaver spiders on other parts of the trail. No big orb weavers yet; they usually show up more in the mid- to late summer months.

I also found a female Snakefly, a couple of different kinds of aphids, and a tiny baby Praying Mantis.

Among the Himalayan blackberry vines along the trail, I found some patches where the plants were covered with rust fungus.  There was also a kind of rust on one of the willow trees I saw.

Blackberry Rust, Rubus Rust Fungus, Phragmidium violaceum

 According to Cornell: “… Willow-infecting Melampsora species have complex life histories during which they alternate between willow and an unrelated host to complete their life cycles…  Yellow to orange pustules (uredinia) appear on the underside of willow leaves beginning in late spring and continue throughout the summer. These pustules eventually rupture the epidermis to release large numbers of golden-yellow spores (urediniospores)… In mid-autumn, uredinia change to orange-brown or dark brown telia that overwinter on fallen willow leaves and release fragile basidiospores the following spring. Basidiospores are wind-disseminated and infect the foliage of the alternate host (e.g., balsam fir). Spermagonia appear shortly after infection in the late spring and are followed by aecia containing yellow to orange aeciospores, which are dispersed by wind and infect the current growth of willow. Within two-weeks, uredinia and urediniospores are produced on the lower surface of willow leaves; thereby, renewing the fungus life cycle. There is good evidence to suggest that special forms of Melampsora spp. can overwinter as mycelium or uredinia within dormant willow buds and stems. If so, this eliminates the need of an alternate host and shortens the annual disease cycle…” 

 So  much complexity in such a tiny thing!  

I came across some plants I wasn’t really expecting to see along the particular trail I took, including Rough Horsetail, Sneezeweed and White Sweetclover, and I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the live oak trees along that side of the river are Coast Live Oaks and not Interior Live Oaks.  I’m hoping they’ll show me some different kinds of galls in the summer.

I also found some specimens of plants that were new-to-me finds, like Manyflower Marshpennywort and flowering Lanceleaf Arrowhead. They were around an area where there was an ephemeral pool.  Truthfully, I’d probably seen the plants elsewhere, but never really noticed them because they weren’t in bloom.

I didn’t see a whole lot of birds, but I did see a mother Mallard with her ducklings in the water.  I also caught glimpses of male California Quails, and got photos of a male Nuttall’s Woodpecker gather ants and other insects off a dead tree. 

A male Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii

When I passed a Tree Swallow’s nesting cavity, I saw the parent fly out with a fecal sac. It carried it over the river and dropped it into the water. Litterer!

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. American Wild Carrot, Daucus pusillus
  3. Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [nymph; stripe across the back of the head]
  4. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  5. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  6. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  7. Black Willow, Salix nigra
  8. Blackberry Rust, Rubus Rust Fungus, Phragmidium violaceum
  9. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  10. Broad-leaved Dock, Rumex obtusifolius
  11. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  12. California Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa californica
  13. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  14. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  15. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  16. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  17. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  18. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  19. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea
  20. Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  21. Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
  22. Cottonwood Petiole Gall, Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
  23. Cudweed, Jersey Cudweed, Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum
  24. Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
  25. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  26. European Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  27. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  28. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  29. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. Peploides
  30. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  31. Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  32. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  33. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  34. Hairy Jumping Spider, Habronattus hirsutus
  35. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  36. Himalayan Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  37. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  38. Lanceleaf Arrowhead, Sagittaria lancifolia
  39. Large Sowthisle Aphid, Uroleucon sonchi [reddish brown]
  40. Leaf-Cutter Bee, Megachile sp. 
  41. Live Oak Erineum Mite gall, Aceria mackiei
  42. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  43. Manyflower Marshpennywort, Hydrocotyle umbellata [round leaves like nasturtium]
  44. Minnow, Phoxinus phoxinus
  45. Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria
  46. Nectarine, Prunus persica var. nucipersica
  47. Northern Catalpa, Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa
  48. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  49. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  50. Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui
  51. Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
  52. Privet Leafhopper, Fieberiella florii
  53. Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
  54. Red Gum Eucalyptus, River Redgum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis
  55. Red Gum Lerp Psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombei
  56. Red Sesbania, Scarlet Sesban, Sesbania punicea
  57. Red-humped Caterpillar Moth, Schizura concinna
  58. Ribwort Plantain, Plantago lanceolata
  59. Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  60. Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale
  61. Snakefly, Agulla adnixa
  62. Sneezeweed, Rosilla, Helenium puberulum
  63. Tall Flatsedge,  Cyperus eragrostis
  64. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  65. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  66. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  67. Vivid Dancer Damselfly, Argia vivida  [bands and arrowheads]
  68. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  69. Western Tailed-Blue Butterfly, Cupido amyntula
  70. White Clover, Trifolium repens
  71. White Crab Spider, Thomisus spectabilis
  72. White Sweetclover, Melilotus albus
  73. Willow Rust, Melampsora epitea
  74. Yellow Water Iris, Yellow Flag, Iris pseudacorus [invasive]
  75. Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli