I got up around 5 o’clock this morning, and was out the door around 5:30 am to head toward the North Davis Ponds, Northstar Pond Park, where I met with Greg Ira, statewide director of the UC’s Certified California Naturalist program, for a walk. We were hoping to see a lot of dragonflies and maybe some galls, too.
Greg said he’d never been to that park before, so he checked it out late yesterday afternoon when he was driving through town. He said there were a lot of dragonflies around the pond and manicured lawn area. He’s been trying to get “super-slow-motion” video of the dragonflies as they take off from their landing perches, and he tried several time while we were out there to get some footage.
When we first got there it was around 61° F, so a bit too cool for the dragon flies to be up and flying. We didn’t see any at all at first, so we walked down the shaded walkway toward Covell Park. We went about 3 or four bocks before turning around and heading back toward the ponds.
Both Greg and I were wearing face masks, and I was happy to see about half of the people we encountered wearing them, too.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
Along the way, we stopped to take some photos of whatever we encountered. I got a few shots of the aphid galls on the leaves of a cottonwood tree, but also found a couple of first-of-the-season galls on Valley Oaks like the Convoluted Gall and the Red Cone Gall.
I was surprised to see a very “fresh-looking” specimen of Common Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria parietina, on a ginkgo tree in Davis yesterday. This time of year, most of the lichen are dried out and colorless.
We also found some Leaf-Footed Bugs at various instars (from nymphs to adults) on a pomegranate tree. The tree was near a fence that looked into a private back yard and a gentleman came out of the house to ask what we were looking at. I told him, “Leaf-Footed Bugs!” and said we were photographing some adults and babies. “Are they unusual?” he asked, and I told him, no, they’re fairly common. He wasn’t impressed, but told us to enjoy our day.
When we got back to the pond, the dragonflies were finally up and about and we saw some Pondhawks, Widow Skimmers, Flame Skimmers, and Blue Dasher Dragonflies.
I saw one of the Flame Skimmers turn around and snatch a tiny bee out of the air, then land on a cattail leaf to eat it. While I took some photos and video of it, Greg tried to get some super-slow-mo footage of it… but it wasn’t very cooperative with that. It was too interested in its meal to pay him any attention.
I also found some stink bug eggs (and a few nymphs) and Greg caught a couple of tiny Sierran Tree Frog froglets. They looked mostly brown when they were boinging through the grass, but in close-up photos, you could see how beautifully and subtly colored they really are.
We saw quite a few birds in the area, but I wasn’t able to get photos of most of them because they were too far away or were in flight: a White-Tailed Kite, American Robins, Black Phoebes, Scrub Jays, and doves, among others.
We walked for about 3 hours, and by then it was 75° outside and I was starting to heat up (and sweat), so we called it a day.
I’d taken the walker with me on this trip and it did great on the paved paths throughout the park. I was probably actually walking faster than I normally might had I been by myself, because by the time I left I was exhausted. When I got home, I had to crash for a few hours.
- American Robin, Turdus migratorius
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis [eggs]
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blue Dasher Dragonfly, Pachydiplax longipennis
- Blue Lily, Lily of the Nile, Agapanthus praecox
- Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
- Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys [eggs and nymphs]
- California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis
- Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea [eggs]
- Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
- Convoluted Gall Wasp, Andricus confertus
- Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
- Cottonwood Petiole Gall, Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
- Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
- Flame Skimmer Dragonfly, Libellula saturata
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Ginkgo Tree, Ginkgo biloba
- Golden Haired Inkcap, Parasol Inkcap, Parasola auricoma
- Goldenrain Tree, Koelreuteria paniculata
- Mealy Rim Lichen, Lecanora strobilina
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
- Pomegranate Tree, Punica granatum
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
- Sierran Tree Frog, Pseudacris sierra
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti
- Western Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus zonatus
- Western Pondhawk Dragonfly, Erythemis collocata
- White Sweetclover, Melilotus albus
- White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
- Widow Skimmer Dragonfly, Libellula luctuosa
- Yellow Water Iris, Yellow Flag, Iris pseudacorus [invasive]