I got up at 5:30 this morning, and went to Mather Lake Regional Park for a walk. The first thing I saw when I got there was a young cottontail rabbit feeding along the edge of the parking lot, and a couple of female Wild Turkeys walking along the trail. There were some quail and a few more cottontails in the adjacent field.
In the lake, I could see an otter swimming along, but he moved too fast and dove under the surface before I could get my camera on him.*Sigh* I did get a little video snippet of the muskrat swimming by, though.
The White-Tailed Kites are still hanging around their nesting tree, but I don’t know if they have babies yet or not. I got some photos of one of the adults sitting in an adjacent tree, presumably looking for breakfast. This time of year, there’s a lot for the raptors to choose from.
There were both Mourning Doves and Eurasian Collared Doves cooing their different songs from the trees. And I got some video and photos of a male Great-Tailed Grackle singing and posturing for the females.
I could hear the tiny House Wrens singing from almost every tree it seemed, but I could only get photos of one — and those were of its back. Nature. Gotta love it.
The Mute Swan cygnets are nearly as big as their parents now, but they still have “baby voices” and give out plaintive peeping sounds while they float and preen. Apparently, their emerging fledgling feathers are itchy.
A odd sight, to me, was seeing a male Nuttall’s Woodpecker fly out to a twiggy branch poking out of the water at the lakeside. He sat there for quite a while, apparently eyeing all of the midges and water bugs flying and skimming about on the water’s surface. For a moment, I thought he might try to dive in to get some, but he never did.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
All along the shore, the pennyroyal was filling the air with its spearmint scent, and the Goldwire was in bloom. In the water, I could see the noses of turtles poking through the surface as they came up to catch their breath. I only saw one turtle out basking, though; a Red-Eared Slider.
As I was walking back to the car, I was pleased to see a pair of young-ish California Ground Squirrels sitting on a fence post. They rushed down the post when they saw me, but ran up onto another one further down the walkway, so I was still able to get some photos of them. I just love those little guys; they always make me smile.
What I also saw on my way to the parking lot were some fluffy-looking outbursts of witches broom on the canes of a wild rose bush. The cane was mixed in with some blackberry vines so at first I didn’t know what I was looking at. When I stepped down closer, I could see all of the individual clumps of the witches broom. On one cane, there was a tuft of the broom, naked cane, a tuft of broom, naked cane, a tuft of broom… almost like someone had glued the fluffy heads onto the cane in a pattern. Very cool.
I’d seen witches broom in photos, and found some on a toyon bush along the Buttermilk Trail, but hadn’t seen it on a rose bush before, and certainly never in this kind of proliferation. I didn’t know much about the rose witches broom, so I had to do some research when I got home. Apparently, what I was seeing was RRD, Rose Rosette Disease.
“…It is a virus, so there is no cure. It is spread by mites feeding on an infected rose and then passing it on as they feed on another rose bush. Rose rosette can present itself with various symptoms, including red stems, excessive thorniness, distorted or mottled leaves, or bunchy new growth — often referred to as witches’ broom… The disease itself is a virus, but it requires a very tiny mite called an eriophyid mite to transfer the disease between plants. Eriophyid mites are so small that they can only be seen under strong magnification.. Leaves within the witches’ broom may be stunted, distorted, and pigmented red or yellow. Symptoms of witches’ broom, leaf discoloration, and/or distortion are often visible on one branch or more and may spread randomly across the entire plant…”
The Eriophyid mite is Phyllocoptes fructiphilus,and the virus is Emaravirus sp. Well, that was very new to me, so that was exciting.
What was also exciting was the fact that this was hike 52 in my #52HikeChallenge! Woot-woot! I can get my “finishers” badge now.
- American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
- American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
- Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [pink flower]
- Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
- Black Mustard, Common Wild Mustard, Brassica nigra
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Quail, Callipepla californica
- Common Spike-Rush, Eleocharis palustris
- Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Dallis Grass, Paspalum dilatatum
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
- Eriophyid Mite, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus
- Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. peploides
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
- Goodding’s Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
- Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus
- Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium
- Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
- Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- RRD, Rose Rosette Disease, Emaravirus sp. [virus]
- Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
- Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Water Strider, Trepobates sp.
- Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
- Western Kingbird, Tyrant Flycatcher, Tyrannus verticalis
- White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
- Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
- Willow Pinecone Gall midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides