It’s Still Smoky at the EYNC, 08-26-20

I got up around 6:00 am and was out the door by 6:30 am to head over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center/Preserve for a walk with my friend Roxanne.  All volunteer activity at the preserve has been cancelled until the 28th because of the smoky conditions, so this wasn’t an “official” trail steward walk today. 

It was about 69° when we got to the preserve, but it felt “humid” and warmed up quickly. It was around 75° when we left. Although the air seemed less smoky this morning than it did yesterday, there was definitely something “irritating” in the air; I was coughing through the whole walk.  I was also really dragging today, so we didn’t get very far and didn’t stay out as long as I would have wanted to.

We saw no deer at all today, but did see several bachelor groups of Wild Turkeys. Some of the turkeys were trying to pull grapes down from the wild grapevines, jumping up to grab at the fruit from the ground. When they got hold of bunches of the grapes, they’d run around with the bunches by the stem trying to keep them all to themselves. It’s so funny to watch them do that.

Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia

Some of the Showy Milkweed plants had seed pods that were bursting open, showing off all of their fluffy seeds. They’re so pretty. I wonder if the nature center gathers the seeds for redistribution throughout the nature study area.

We got a few photos of a Red-Tailed Hawk that was perching and flying back and forth across the main trail.  It’s amazing how these large birds can literally “disappear” into the foliage when they want to; their camouflage is so good.

Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus

There were a few Acorn Woodpeckers who were pulling the acorns off the trees and stuffing them into their community granary tree. I tried to get photos of them with the acorns in their mouths, but between the time I got the camera focused on the birds, they’d already stashed the acorns. I watched them do several passes, each time landing in the same spot, and I still couldn’t get a decent shot! Nature photography is HARD sometimes. Hah!

CLICK HERE for a full album of photos.

We had better luck getting photos of our “spirit bird”: the Black Phoebe.

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans

Our other focus today was on galls.  We found quite a few on the go-to Blue Oak there, and also found quite a few tongue galls on the alder tree near the little pond by the nature center.

2. Alder Tongue, Western American Alder Tongue Gall Fungus, Taphrina occidentalis

On the way out, we met the volunteer coordinator, Rachael Cowen, coming in ready to start her work day. She mentioned that she liked the photos of the Vinegarweed I’d posted a few day ago.  Roxanne and I noted that we hadn’t seen any of the Vinegarweed or the tarweeds on the Effie side of the river, and Rachael joked that maybe we could secret some seeds into the preserve and discretely scatter them along the trails.  Hah!

We walked for about 2½ hours and then headed home.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Alder Tongue, Western American Alder Tongue Gall Fungus, Taphrina occidentalis
  3. American Bull Frog, Lithobates catesbeianus [tadpole]
  4. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  5. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  10. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  11. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  12. Clustered Gall Wasp, Andricus brunneus
  13. Common Duckweed, Lemna minor
  14. Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
  15. Deodar Cedar, Cedrus deodara
  16. European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  17. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  18. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
  19. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  20. Hollyleaf Cherry, Prunus ilicifolia
  21. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  22. Kernel Flower Gall Wasp, Callirhytis serricornis
  23. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
  24. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
  25. Minnow, Phoxinus phoxinus
  26. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  27. Narrowleaf Cattail, Cattail, Typha angustifolia
  28. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  29. Orange, Sweet Orange, Cultivated Orange, Citrus X sinensis
  30. Plate Gall Wasp, Andricus pattersonae
  31. Plum, Prunus cerasifera
  32. Pokeweed, American Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana
  33. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
  34. Purpletop Vervain, Verbena bonariensis
  35. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
  36. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  37. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  38. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens
  39. Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
  40. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  41. Small Milkweed Bug, Western Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii ssp. kalmii
  42. Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, asexual, fall generation, Antron douglasii
  43. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  44. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  45. Urchin Gall Wasp, Antron quercusechinus
  46. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  47. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  48. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia