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