Friday the 13th! I got up around 6:00 this morning, and decided to go out to Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. There was still a bit of smoke in the air, but there were also high clouds so it made things a little humid, too. It was 62° when I got to the river, and it was around 73° when I left.
Before I even got into the parking lot I saw a young female coyote loping through the grass. She took a winding route through the field and toward the car, then saw me, and did around-about through the trees, and finished off on the road. Because she was moving so quickly, it was hard to keep up with her with my camera, so I got some blurry shots of her as she went by.
Later, when I was walking the trail, I could hear a pack of coyotes yip-yowling from across the river. Cool.
When I walked around the nature center to head out for the trails, I came across two live oak trees that were oozing alcoholic flux. Both of the trees had been drilled up by sap suckers, and the sap wells allowed the bacteria to get in under the bark.
Alcoholic Flux bacteria [also known as Foamy Canker, Slime Flux], Phytophthora sp. x other bacteria “…is a stress-related disease that affects sweet gum, oak, elm and willow trees. The disease is caused by a microorganism that ferments the sap that seeps or bleeds from cracks and wounds in the bark. The result is a white, frothy ooze that has a fermenting odor similar to beer.”
The beer smell was obvious around these trees. Usually, you’ll also see insects around the flux, drinking in the ooze, but I only saw a few ants starting to move in. Sometimes, the insects (and other critters like squirrels] that feast on the flux exudate get drunk on it, and stumble around afterwards.
“…The] foamy, flux shouldn’t be something that causes you too much concern. It’s often thought of as benign, as it doesn’t damage the heartwood of your tree, and can often dry up when fall weather becomes cool and dry. And in any case, chemical treatments are typically ineffective…”
I was hoping to see some fawns out and about, but didn’t see any. There were a lot of bucks out, though, all of them still in their velvet.
As I was leaving the preserve, I saw three of the deer walking by me and through a small crowd of visitors, heading for the gardens in front of the building. They stopped to eat soft leaves off the redbud trees and some of the flowering plants like the yarrow, goldenrod and coyote mint. Smart babies.
I was also on the lookout for galls. On the live oak trees, I haven’t seen any of the spikey summer generation galls of the Live Oak Gall Wasp yet, and I didn’t see any today either. I did find the first Kernel Galls of the season, though, so that was nice.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
I was happy to see galls forming on the “Frankenstein Tree” (half blue oak, half valley oak) for the first time in years. I’m not certain, but I suspect that Round-Up had been used around the base of the tree to control weeds… and thus poisoned the ground and the tree, making the tree unpalatable to the gall-forming wasps.
On this trip, I found Plate galls, Striped Volcano galls, Clustered galls, and Saucer galls on the tree. So great to see. The tree persevered! On the other go-to Blue Oak, there were Crystalline galls and Hair Stalk galls among others.
The Valley Oaks were just starting to show off large caches of Red Cone galls.
There aren’t a whole lot of bird species out this time of year, but I did see (and hear) a few. There were Red-Tailed Hawks screeling at one another. I figured they were up in a pine tree, but I couldn’t see them. Noisy critters, though. I also saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk fly up from the high dried grass on the ground, cross the trail, and into a tree. I don’t know what it had on the ground, but it wasn’t in the bird’s talons when it flew up.
Acorn Woodpeckers were in one of their granary trees buzz-bombing a California Ground Squirrel that had gone high enough into the tree to steal some of their acorns.
I also saw a scruffy-looking Scrub Jay bopping around with a large Green Darner dragonfly in its beak. It didn’t eat the dragonfly, though; instead, it buried it in a shallow hole under some leaves for later.
And in another area, I was watching some Rio Grande Wild Turkeys walking through the tall, dry grass, and saw the dark forms of quail scurrying out from under the big birds’ feet. I could hear the quail calling and pipping to one another, too, but I couldn’t get a clear photo of them.
I walked for a little over 3 hours, and then headed home. This was hike #69 on my annual hike challenge.
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- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Alcoholic Flux bacteria, Foamy Canker, Slime Flux, Phytophthora sp. x other bacteria
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
- Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
- Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
- California Fuschia, Epilobium canum
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Quail, Callipepla californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
- Clustered Gall Wasp, Andricus brunneus
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Coyote Mint, Monardella villosa
- Coyote, Canis latrans
- Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
- Deer Grass, Muhlenbergia rigens
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Gall Inducing Wooly Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
- Goldenrod, California Goldenrod, Solidago californica
- Green Darner Dragonfly, Anax junius
- Hair Stalk Gall Wasp, Andricus pedicellatus [thread gall on blue oak]
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Kernel Flower Gall Wasp, Callirhytis serricornis
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Plate Gall Wasp, Andricus pattersonae
- Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermed
- Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas [cup shaped, sometimes rough edges]
- Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
- Striped Volcano Gall Wasp, Andricus atrimentus, Summer generation [looks like a tiny volcano]
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Kermes, Rattan’s Kermes, Allokermes rattani [found on blue oak]
- Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
- Western Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii kalmii
- White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
- Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis