I got up around 5:30 am and headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve around 6:00 am. It was cool, 57°, and overcast again this morning. There was a slight breeze blowing, and the temperature never got over 61° all the while I was out there. So, it was a really nice walk weather-wise.
I’m starting up my Trail Steward walks again, even though right now, I’m kind of off-schedule, walking on the days when the weather is the most auspicious. Today, I was more “official”, wearing the vest my naturalist students had given to me, along with my name tag. I thought the vest might be “too hot” for me, but with today’s nice morning weather it was comfortable.
I took a route down the Meadow Trail to the River Trail and then back up to the Main Trail. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the coyote family that’s supposed to be out there now, but no such luck. Did find a lot of scat, though.
I also saw several deer today, though. Mostly, young bucks who were full grown but not old enough to have their first antlers yet. One of them walked right down to the edge of the trail in front of me, maybe 5 feet away… I also saw one doe with an older fawn. No other babies, though, which is a little surprising. They should be out and about by now. I wonder if there just weren’t too many born this year.
Besides looking for the baby coyotes, I was also looking for Kernel Flower Galls on the live oak trees. This is the season for them, but I hadn’t seen any yet. Because the galls form on the underside of the oak leaves, you have to turn over a lot of leaves to find one…or two or three. I think I checked out about 6 trees before I found any, but find them I did. Yay! I also found some really nice-looking Crystalline galls.
On the “Frankenstein tree” (half Blue oak, half Valley Oak), which hasn’t sported any galls at all in the past few years (because, I suspect, Round-Up or some other herbicide was sprayed around it) there were some Saucer galls now. Something is better than nothing, in my mind. And lots of the live oaks are now sporting the spiky Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation galls. I don’t know why that makes me so happy, but it does.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
I caught sight of a couple of Nuttall’s Woodpeckers today, and one of them looked incredibly “ratty”, like it just got out of bed and hadn’t combed its feathers yet. I’m assuming it was either a juvenile just getting its adult feather in, or was an adult going through a major molt.
Because the black walnuts are starting to ripen, the squirrels can be heard munching on them in the trees. The scritch-scritch-scritch of their teeth against the nuts as they try to scrape the husk off is a dead giveaway of their location and what they’re doing.
A lot of the squirrels’ muzzles are darkened by the juglone in the walnut hulls, so they look “dirty”, like little kids who’ve just eaten mud pies. So funny looking.
According to the Iowa State University: “…We now know that juglone is produced in the fruit, leaves and branches, and can be excreted from the root system into the soil. The actual concentration in each tree part varies with the season. In spring, juglone is concentrated in the actively growing leaves. The amount of juglone in the roots remains relatively high throughout the summer, and the concentration of juglone in the hulls of the fruit increases as the crop matures. All species of the walnut family (Juglandaceae) produce juglone. This would include many native trees such as black walnut, butternut, the hickories and pecan. However, black walnuts have the highest concentration of juglone…”
You can make a natural dye out of the walnut husks, but be careful. The stuff can dye your skin as well.
It was nice to see that the bees are still inhabiting the “bee tree” along the trail. I always worry that someone will try to evict them. Today, I watched one of the Fox Squirrels run right up to the tree, and then did a careful zig-zag motion to get away from the bee-laden mouth of the hive. Do squirrels like honey? They’ll eat just about anything…
Along the trail, too, I found a cast-off stick from one of the nearby trees that had about six or seven different species of lichen on it! Because the air was cooler overnight, there was a little bit of condensation on the ground, so the lichen got just wet enough to wake up a little bit and look colorful. So much life crammed into one little space. It always amazes me.
As I was walking toward the end of the Bluff Trail, I met another volunteer named Margaret. She said she had been a volunteer at EY since 2004, but was just starting the trail walking gig. When I introduced myself, her eyes lit up. “Mary Hanson? Oh, I just LOVE your beautiful photos and posts!” Awww. A fan! Kind of made my day. Hah!
I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed home.
As an Aside: Dispose of Used Masks Properly!
Discarded masks are potential carriers of disease and pose a real danger to animals and the volunteers tasked with cleaning up the trails. Used masks and gloves, which cannot be recycled, pose a problem for the environment. READ MORE HERE.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
- Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
- Branching Phacelia, Phacelia ramosissima
- Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
- Buckwheat, Naked Buckwheat, Eriogonum nudum
- Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [hoary with black or brown apothecia]
- California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
- Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
- Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
- Dallis Grass, Dallisgrass, Paspalum dilatatum
- Doveweed, Turkey Mullein, Croton setiger
- Drippy Nut, Brenneria quercina, Lonsdalea quercina [a bacterium that infects wounds in oak tissue/acorns]
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
- Goldenrod, Velvety Goldenrod, Solidago velutina
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
- Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
- Kernel Flower Gall Wasp, Callirhytis serricornis
- Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
- Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Big Leaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak Aphid Leaf-Curl Gall, Tuberculatus annulatus [on Coast Live Oak]
- Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Pin-cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa
- Plate Gall Wasp, Andricus pattersonae
- Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
- Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
- Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
- Silver Wormwood, Artemisia ludoviciana
- Soft Rush, Juncus effusus
- Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, Antron douglasii
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Urchin Gall Wasp, Antron quercusechinus
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
- Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
- Western Ragweed, Ambrosia psilostachya
- Western Shield Lichen, Parmelia hygrophila [blue-gray, foliose, dull isidia on leaves]
- Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi