I got up at 6:00 am, and headed over to the Mississippi Bar area along the American River. I stopped first at the American River Bend Park to check on the owlets.
According to the folks who have been watching the nest every day, the owlet we were able to see today, who was sitting high in its tree, was the youngest of the three siblings and so the last to fledge. It seemed to me that it was too soon for the other babies to be fully fledged, so I took what was said with a grain of salt.
I didn’t see mama owl anywhere; we guessed she was out trying to find the last baby something to eat. I found a dead lizard under the tree, which I’m presuming was a tidbit mama brought for her baby — that was either rejected, or fell out of the nest.
I also found the Black Phoebe’s new nest; it was on the opposite side of the ranger kiosk from last year’s nest. Hah! I saw one of the parents fly in, feed the kids and fly out again. Woosh!
Then I was off to the Mississippi Bar. The bar is a part of the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, covers about 11,500 acres, and provides access to the American River, part of Lake Natoma, several trails, open plains and oak woodlands.
In the past, the area was dredged for gravel, gold and silver, so the landscape is pretty scarred and wild in most places. I pulled off to park in the Snowberry Creek Assembly Area adjacent to the Shadow Glen Family Stables. I had never been there before, so I just basically flipped a coin in my brain as to which direction to go and what trail to start with. I chose the Shady/Middleridge Trail, and will go back and do the Snowberry Creek Trail at another time.
The Shady/Middleridge Trail cuts across a broad flat plain with some small plateaus in it, and abuts a riparian strip along one side. I was investigating a lot as I went along, so I didn’t get along as far as I might have. I didn’t get as far as the water, for example; maybe next time.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
I perused the riparian strip for the most part. Although I heard a lot of birds, I only caught glimpses of most of them: Acorn Woodpeckers, mockingbirds, wrens, Tree Swallows, Turkey Vultures, and a Phainopepla.
Among the trees I saw cottonwoods, live oaks, valley oaks, what looked like blue oak/valley oak cross, some maple trees, black walnut trees, sycamores, hawthorns, coyote brush bushes, elderberry tree/bushes, and willows among others.
The plants included pipevine, mistletoe, stinging nettle, Shepard’s Purse, poison oak, pineapple weed, vetch, poppies, lupines, clovers, thistles… nothing new, really. And sooooo many grasses. I suck at ID-ing grasses.
On the pipevine plants, I found some of Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars in their early instars. I also found a Tussock Moth caterpillar, a Sulphur Tubic Moth, and the brown inchworm caterpillar of a kind of Geometrid Moth. Those little guys try to make themselves look like twigs when disturbed, so this one straightened out stiff when I touched its leaf.
There were also quite a few spring galls on the trees including the big “oak apples”, stem galls, bud galls, some old Flat-Top Honeydew galls, and a few others.
The weather was lovely, breezy and around 51°. I walked for about three hours before heading home. This was hike #36 of my #52HikeChallenge.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [pink flower]
- Bishop Pine, Pinus muricata [fascicles of TWO needles
- Black Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis
- Black Locust Tree, Robinia pseudoacacia
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black Walnut, Northern California Black Walnut, Juglans hindsii
- Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
- Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
- Bur Parsley, Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
- California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
- California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis [heard]
- Common Cat’s-Ear, Hypochaeris radicata
- Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
- Common Hawthorn Tree, Crataegus monogyna
- Common Soft Brome, Bromus hordeaceus (grass)
- Coyote Brush Bud Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia californica
- Coyote Brush Stem Gall Moth, Gnorimoschema baccharisella
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Coyote, Canis latrans
- Cranefly, European Crane Fly, Tipula paludosa
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Geometer Moth, Family: Geometridae [brown inchworm, twig-like]
- Giant Western Crane Fly, Holorusia hespera
- Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
- Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla rufilabris
- Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
- Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
- Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]
- Liquid Ambar, American Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
- Lupine, Sky Lupine, Lupinus nanus
- Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
- Mullein, Wand Mullein, Verbascum virgatum
- Musk Stork’s-Bill, Erodium moschatum
- Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua
- Northern Alligator Lizard, Elgaria coerulea
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Leaf Blister (pathogen), Taphrina caerulescens
- Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens
- Pineapple-Weed, Matricaria discoidea
- Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
- Round Leaf Gall Wasp, Andricus flavens
- Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
- Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica
- Sulphur Tubic Moth, Esperia sulphurella [tiny black and yellow]
- Tapered Stem Gall Wasp, Protobalandricus spectabilis [live oak]
- Trailside Grasshopper, Lactista gibbosus [gray, blends with gravel]
- Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Wall Barley, Hordeum murinum
- Western Sycamore, Platanus racemosa
- Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta [caterpillar]
- White Mulberry, Morus alba
- Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum
- ?? Blue Oak x Valley Oak hybrid
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