I got up around 5:30 this morning, and got myself ready to head out to Johnson-Springview Park with my friend and fellow naturalist, Roxanne. I didn’t see her drive up around 6 o’clock, partly because it was still dark outside and her car is practically silent when it’s in electric mode. So, I texted her asking if she was on the way, and should we reschedule. She texted me back, “I’m here.” D’oh! I grabbed my gear and was out the door within seconds.
It was about 59° at the park when we go there, and got up to around 75° by the time we left. Wildfire smoke was still obscuring the sunlight, so we were able to walk around longer this time than we were last time (when the sun just burned down on us). The leaves on the trees were all dusty with ash, and some of the trees looked quite stressed. It got up to around 82° today, which was a welcomed break from the 100+ degree we’ve been having.
We were going to the park in search of the galls of the Coral Gall Wasp, Disholcapsis corallina; they’re bright yellow and orange galls. We saw a lot of them last year at this location, but didn’t see any the last time we were there earlier this year.
Our search was for naught. We didn’t see a single coral gall, but we did see quite a few other galls, including a couple that were new to Roxanne, so we were pleased with that.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
The other thing we saw a lot of were large Green Darner dragonflies, all of them females. They were resting on the plants or in the tall grass waiting to warm up. Two of them hadn’t gotten the “power packs” on their backs warmed up enough yet to fly, so I was able to gather them up in my hands. We got quite a few close-up shots of them.
Both of the females I was able to capture bent their tails, as though threatening to sting. Although they have no stinger, many dragonflies will mimic the stinging behavior in order to trick predators into letting them go. They also use their mandibles to bite. Although their mouth parts are made to effectively crunch up their insect prey, their bite on human skin feels more like a sharp pinch (that doesn’t draw blood).
Among the galls we found were some induced by the Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp. On one small collection of those, we found a honeybee licking the honeydew off the surface of the galls.
We also found some Woollybear galls and a single specimen of a gall of the Hair Stalk Gall Wasp. Those seem very “rare” to me; I usually only find one each year.
Both Rox and I were struck by what we DIDN’T see: no coral galls, no Crystalline galls, no kernel or two-horned galls, very few Disc galls… hardly any insects, hardly any birds.
We DID see our “spirit bird”, the Black Phoebe, and about a dozen Mourning Doves browsing in a field.
We actually ended up walking for almost 4 hours (!) before we headed out, stopping for iced coffee drinks on our way home.
- Amaranth, Redroot Pigweed, Amaranthus retroflexus
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis [flying overhead]
- Chicory, Cichorium intybus
- Club Gall Wasp, Atrusca clavuloides
- Clustered Gall Wasp, Andricus brunneus
- Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea [eggs]
- Common Morning-Glory, Ipomoea purpurea
- Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
- Dallis Grass, Dallisgrass, Paspalum dilatatum
- Disc Gall Wasp, Andricus parmula [round flat, “spangle gall”]
- Doveweed, Turkey Mullein, Croton setiger
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis
- Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
- Frosted Rim Lichen, Lecanora caesiorrubella [light gray with light gray apothecia on wood]
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
- Goodding’s Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Gouty Stem Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercussuttoni
- Gray Mid-Rib Gall Wasp, Besbicus multipunctatus
- Green Darner Dragonfly, Anax junius
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Hair Stalk Gall Wasp, Dros pedicellatum
- Hoary Lichen, Hoary Rosette, Physcia aipolia
- Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
- Hoverfly, Margined Calligrapher Fly, Toxomerus marginatus [very tiny]
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Irregular Spindle Gall Wasp, Andricus chrysolepidicola [on white oaks, Blue, Valley, etc.]
- Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
- Magnolia, Cucumber Magnolia, Cucumber Tree, Magnolia acuminata
- Mexican Honeysuckle, Justicia spicigera
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Narrowleaf Cattail, Cattail, Typha angustifolia
- Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
- Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Peach Gall, Dried Peach Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis simulata
- Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium
- Pit-gland Tarweed, Holocarpha virgata
- Plate Gall Wasp, Andricus pattersonae
- Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Red Sesbania, Scarlet Sesban, Sesbania punicea
- Rosette Oak Gall Wasp, Andricus wiltzae
- Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
- Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
- Smartweed, Persicaria lapathifolia [white]
- Solitary Oak Leaf Miner Moth, Cameraria hamadryadella
- Spanish Clover, Acmispon americanus
- Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, asexual, fall generation, Antron douglasii
- Striped Volcano Gall Wasp, summer generation, Andricus atrimentus [looks like a tiny volcano]
- Tarweed, Fitch’s Tarweed, Centromadia fitchii
- Unidentified aphid, Subtribe: Panaphidina
- Urchin Gall Wasp, Antron quercusechinus
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Woollybear Gall Wasp, Atrusca trimaculosa
- Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi