And the Galls are Showing Up at the EYNC, 07-29-20

Up at 5:30 this morning and out the door by 6:00 am to go with my friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. I’m starting my Trail Walker duties there again after several months off.  I still need a neon orange reflective vest to wear (it was due today) to look more “official”, and I’ll wear that next time.  I can also wear the khaki vest my naturalist students bought for me, but it’s heavier material and I think it’ll be too warm to wear in the summer months.  So, today, I was just in shirt-sleeves – no vest. 

It was about 61° when we got there, and warmed up quickly. The high today was around 100°.

Rox and I were most focused on finding galls, and checked out some of the Valley oaks, Blue oaks and Live Oak trees scattered around the preserve. It’s still a little bit early in the season, but we saw quite a few different species.  On the Blue oaks, we found some small specimens of Crystalline galls, Plate galls, Saucer galls, and Urchin galls.  On the Valley Oaks we found Red Cones, Fimbriate galls, a Yellow Wig, and Spiny Turbans. 

And I was really happy to find lots of the spiny first-generation galls of the wasp Callirhytis quercuspomiformis.  I hadn’t seen them there yet (since the trees were trimmed), and was so happy that they had re-established themselves.  When they’re new and bright green, they feel spongy, but as the galls age, they firm up and turn tannish-brown.

Exteriors of the gall of a Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
Interior of the gall of the Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis, showing the larva.

We saw a few deer, including a pair of bucks in their velvet: a four-pointer and a three-pointer. (The eye guards don’t count.)  When their antlers are growing, they’re very sensitive to touch, so there was no head-butting… just a deep long stare from the older buck telling the younger one to back off.            

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus. Two bucks in their velvet.

Here’s an article I wrote about the deer and their antlers in July of last year.

We also saw a couple of females, one near the nature center and one out by the river. They were by themselves and we speculated that they were either young does that didn’t have fawns this year.  July is the fawning season at the preserve, but we didn’t see any babies during this trip.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, doe

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

When we were heading out of the preserve after about 3 hours, we came across Rachael,the volunteer coordinator, who was helping to woman the docent table outside of the nature center building with some of the other volunteers.  She told us that earlier that morning, some of the docents had seen “tiny baby” coyote pups along the River Trail at the preserve!  Oooooo, how cool! I’d love to be able to see those little guys. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them the next time I’m out there.

She also said that later this summer, the river front near the preserve will be re-groomed to provide more spawning space for salmon.  Last year similar work was done along the Sailor Bar portion of the river, and this year will be the Effie Yeaw area’s turn.  The refit and reconstruction of salmon-friendly habitat will include dredging and reforming some of the river bed, and laying down tons of gravel that’s of the right size and consistency for the salmons’ “redds” (nests).  If the gravel is too big or too little, the salmon won’t lay their eggs on it.  The work at Sailor Bar was first done in 2009 and during that year about 1000 redds were spotted in the area.  Last year, there were ZERO because the majority of the finer gravel had washed away.

It’ll be interesting to watch the work progress in the river near the Effie Yeaw Nature Center/Preserve, and fun to see if lots of salmon can be spotted from the shore in the fall and winter months.

A parting view. As we left, we saw several Rio Grande Wild Turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia, stopping to take a drink from the pond.

[[I got the vest in via UPS in the late afternoon today.]]

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
  4. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [flying, chattering]
  5. Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite Aceria brachytarsa
  6. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  7. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  10. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  11. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  12. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  13. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  14. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  15. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  16. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  17. Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
  18. Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
  19. Cudweed, California Cudweed, Pseudognaphalium californicum
  20. Fimbriate Gall Wasp, Andricus opertus [on Valley Oak leaf]
  21. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
  22. Fluffy Dust Lichen, Pacific Fluffy Dust Lichen, Lepraria pacifica [blue-green dust lichen]
  23. Great Mullein, Verbascum Thapsus
  24. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus  bifrons [white flowers]
  25. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  26. Irregular Spindle Gall Wasp, Andricus chrysolepidicola [on white oaks, Blue, Valley, etc.]
  27. Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
  28. Large-flowered Evening-Primrose, Oenothera glazioviana
  29. Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]
  30. Live Oak Erineum Mite gall, Aceria mackiei [kind of looks like rust on the backside of the leaf]
  31. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
  32. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  33. Meadow Spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius
  34. Mule Fat, Baccharis salicifolia
  35. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  36. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  37. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  38. Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
  39. Plate Gall Wasp, Andricus pattersonae
  40. Plum, Prunus cerasifera
  41. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
  42. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  43. Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
  44. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  45. Soft Rush, Juncus effusus
  46. Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, Antron douglasii
  47. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  48. Swift Crab Spider, Mecaphesa celer
  49. Trashline Orb Weaver Spider, Conical Trashline Spider,  Cyclosa conica
  50. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  51. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  52. Urchin Gall Wasp, Antron quercusechinus
  53. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  54. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  55. Woolly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla brevirostris (lots of white fluff & honeydew)
  56. Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis
  57. Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi
  58. ?? open wound on plum, oozing sap