A few Surprises at William Pond Park, 06-17-21

Although it went up to a ghastly 109° today, I went out for a walk at William Pond Park. I got there around 6:30 am, but had to leave by 8:30 because, in just two hours, it went from a comfortable 61° at the river to a too-warm-to-walk-in 75°.

Sounds and sights of the river alongside the park

I wasn’t expecting to see much — just needed to get outside and move around a bit — but nature was nice and I was given a few surprises, including the following:

I could hear quail peeping to each other in the blackberry vines and underbrush but couldn’t see them. Then all of a sudden, one of the males jumped up onto the branch of a nearby shrubby tree and posed for me.

A male California Quail, Callipepla californica

Then a female Rubyspot damselfly landed right near my feet. I’ve only seen ONE of these before, so it was a treat to see it. These damselflies hold their wings up over their backs, and it seems to me that that they are much stronger and faster fliers than other damselfly species.

A female American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana

Further along the trail I saw and heard what I think was a Song Sparrow sitting on a log in the river, singing away.

Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia

And overhead, in the same area, I heard a Nuttall’s Woodpecker scolding at me. I could see it, a male, and could tell it had a beak full of ants and other insects, so I figured its nest was nearby.

A female Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii, wth a beak full of ants and other insects

I stepped away from where the bird was and got into the shade of another tree… and the woodpecker took his ants to a nesting cavity in an adjacent tree and fed his babies. After the male flew off, the female woodpecker showed up to feed the kids, and then the male showed up again. So, the parents were tag-teaming, and were obviously very successful in finding goodies for the babies. Because of angle and where I was standing, I didn’t get any clear photos of the nestlings, but I did get a lot of photos of mom and dad, and a video snippet of the dad.

In the lawn near the parking lot, the sprinklers had just gone off, so some of the birds were hopping and walking around drinking water off the grass and from little puddles. One Mockingbird also caught a big cockroach that had been flushed from its underground next by the water. Lots of protein in those guys.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Found more lerps on the eucalyptus trees near the water.

Lerp psyllid nymph walking near some eggs and some of the lerps.

I saw a couple of Red-Shouldered Hawks. One looked like it was blind in one eye, but that didn’t seem to interfere with its ability to fly. The other one I saw was being harassed by a Mockingbird. It always surprises me that the smaller birds are so fearless when encountering the larger raptors… and that the raptors take the abuse.

A female Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus, with one bad eye.

And I got to see a few other things before the rising heat made me quit for the day. It was a fun 2 hours.

This was hike #54 of my hike challenge.

Species List:

  1. American Cockroach, Common Cockroach, Periplaneta americana
  2. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  3. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  4. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  5. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  6. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  7. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  8. Damselfly, American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
  9. Eucalyptus Gall Wasp, Ophelimus maskelli [speckled; flat galls all over the leaf surface]
  10. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  11. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  12. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  13. Glossy Privet, Ligustrum lucidum
  14. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa 
  15. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons [white flowers]
  16. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  17. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  18. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  19. Long-Jawed Orb Weaver Spider, Tetragnatha sp.
  20. Mimosa, Persian Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin
  21. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  22. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  23. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  24. Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  25. Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium
  26. Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
  27. Red Gum Eucalyptus, River Redgum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis
  28. Red Gum Lerp Psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombei
  29. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  30. Sneezeweed, Rosilla, Helenium puberulum
  31. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  32. Telegraphweed, Heterotheca grandiflora [soft felted leaves, yellow flowers]
  33. Tumbling Flower Beetle, Mordella sp.
  34. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  35. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  36. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  37. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  38. Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis
  39. Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli