I got up around 6:00 this morning and headed over to the Cosumnes River Preserve. It was sunny and a lovely 49° when I got there. The wind picked up around 11:00 am and it was about 66° there when I left.
I was glad I’d put on some insect repellent because the midges and mosquitoes were everywhere. But on the other hand, the butterflies were out, too. I saw Cabbage Whites, some Western Tiger Swallowtails and some Anise Swallowtails.
I took the route around Bruceville and Desmond Roads, and in one spot, I found a large flock of California Quails, several males and females together. I also saw two Northern Harriers on the ground. One flew off, but the other remained, finishing off a carcass. When it stepped back and walked around for a little bit, I could see that its crop was VERY full. Still, it went back to the carcass to eat some more. It’s feast or famine in the raptor world.
The wild radish (Charlock) plants were in bloom everywhere: pink, white, yellow and pastel orange, and there was mustard blooming in the fields along with tules and rushes. Fiddleneck and buttercups were growing in small patches, and the valley oak and ash trees were starting to get their new leaves.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
On the valley oaks, the Oak Apple galls were starting to appear for the season, and I also found some I’d never seen before. They were little “blister-like” galls near the base of some of the new leaves on the trees. I’m looking forward to receiving Russo’s newest book on galls and hope these are included in it. [The book is supposed to be available on April 20th.]
I also found some little red-and-black striped beetles that I’d not seen before. They’re a kind of Calligraphy Beetle, and were quite near a Seven-Spotted Ladybeetle.
There were sparrows, Meadowlarks and Red-Winged Blackbirds singing from the trees and rushes. On the water, there were occasional Coots, Northern Shovelers, Green-Winged Teals and other ducks, Black-Necked Stilts and Greater Yellowlegs. The usual suspects. There were Tree Swallows everywhere, vying for nesting spots. Some were eyeing a nesting box right near the entrance gate to the preserve’s boardwalk area, but it was already being occupied by a pair of Western Bluebirds. Mama bluebird was making short trips to bring bits of soft grass to line the nest inside.
At the end of the boardwalk, a pair of Phoebes were building a nest underneath the wooden planks. And there were two others building nests under the eaves of the restroom facility there.
There were also quite a few cottontail rabbits out and about. In one spot, I saw three of them together.
I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed back home. This was hike 31 of my #52HikeChallenge.
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- American Robin, Turdus migratorius
- American Wigeon, Anas americana
- Anise Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio zelicaon
- Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
- Black Mustard, Common Wild Mustard, Brassica nigra
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
- California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus
- California Calligraphy Leaf Beetle, Calligrapha californica [black and orange striped]
- California Quail, Callipepla californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
- Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
- Common Pea, Pisum sativum [rounded leaves, flower is light pink and dark pink]
- Common Spike-Rush, Eleocharis palustris
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- European Water-Plantain, Alisma plantago-aquatica [large leaves, tall flowering heads]
- Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
- Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla rufilabris
- Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
- Heart-Podded Hoary Cress, Lepidium draba [looks like a short Broad Leafed Pepperweed to me]
- Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
- Long-Billed Dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
- Marsh Fly, Euthycera sp.
- Marsh Foxtail Grass, Alopecurus geniculatus
- Musk Stork’s-Bill, Erodium moschatum
- Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
- Paper Wasp, Black Paper Wasp, European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula [nest]
- Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
- Prickly Sowthistle, Pigweed, Sonchus asper
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Ribwort Plantain, Plantago lanceolata
- Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
- Slender Path Rush, Juncus tenuis [“flowers” mid stem]
- Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Water Lettuce, Pistia stratiotes
- Water Purslane, Ludwigia palustris [dense, leafy, red stems]
- Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
- Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
- Yellow-Legged Mud-Dauber Wasp, Sceliphron caementarium
- ?? Galls like “blisters” on new leaves of Valley Oak tree
- ?? Stink Bug