I was supposed to go my GP doctor’s office today, but since she cancelled the appointment and rescheduled it for next week, I decided to go out to the Cosumnes River Preserve for a walk. So, I got up around 6:00 am and was on the road by 6:30. It was windy and 55º outside; just lovely.
There is no water at the preserve itself, and the trees along the now-empty pond by the boardwalk parking lot weren’t giving me a lot to look at. In fact, I was shocked to see that the gate there was still locked, so I had to park on the street. I was primarily looking for galls, and the trees along the pond had lots of Red Cones and a few others, but not a lot of variety.
So, I drove around instead to the line of trees along Desmond Road and checked them out. I was surprised to see water in the ditches along the road (which prevented me from getting to some of the trees; I didn’t have my rain boots with me.) Most of the trees there are willows and Valley Oak with some Cottonwoods thrown in. I was focused on the oaks for galls.
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Because I was limited to Valley Oaks for oak trees in this location, I saw a lot of the same galls on different trees. Some had lots of galls, others, not so much. I saw a “healthy” number of Red Cone galls, which we hadn’t been seeing in other areas, and there were lots of Flat-Topped Honeydew galls attended by their cadres of ants.
Other galls found included Club galls, Convoluted galls, Disc galls, Jumping galls, the big Oak Apples, Spiny Turban galls, Yellow Wigs, Fuzzy Round galls, and even some Woollybears. Nothing new, but lots to see and most of the galls were mature and nice-looking.
Some of the leaves were covered with the white fluff associated with Woolly Oak Aphids. On one leaf, I found a small collection of the aphids in various instars.
As I was checking out the trees, I walked face-first into a couple of very large orb webs and disturbed the Western Spotted Orbweaver Spiders that constructed them. D’oh! I also came across two different kinds of praying mantises: a Mediterranean mantis with a white pin stripe down its back, and an Arizona Mantis with her beautiful blue lips.
In that same area, I saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting in one of the trees. Based on its dark, rich color I assumed it was a male, but it was molting and was kind of scruffy looking. I got some photos of it, and a video snippet of it calling to its family.
I was out for about 3 hours and then headed back home. This was hike #74 in my annual hike challenge.
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- American Kestrel, Falco sparverius [flyover]
- Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [blue lip]
- Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
- Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- California Quail, Callipepla californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis[flyover]
- Chicory, Cichorium intybus
- Club Gall Wasp, Atrusca clavuloides
- Common Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos[flyover]
- Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
- Convoluted Gall Wasp, Andricus confertus
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Disc Gall Wasp, Andricus parmula [round flat, “spangle gall”]
- Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Fuzzy Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis washingtonensi [round faintly fuzzy galls on stems]
- Great Egret, Ardea alba [4 in a field]
- Green Midge, Chironomus chironomus sp.
- Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
- Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
- Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]
- Mediterranean Praying Mantis, Iris Mantis, Iris oratoria [very narrow ootheca]
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
- Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Omnivorous Leafroller Moth, Platynota stultana
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
- Small Honey Ant, Prenolepis imparis
- Sorghum, Sorghum bicolor
- Spiny Cocklebur, Xanthium spinosum
- Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, asexual, fall generation, Antron douglasii
- Swamp Smartweed, Persicaria hydropiperoides [white, single stem]
- Tangleweb Spider, Theridion sp.
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura [5 kettling overhead]
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- Western Spotted Orbweaver Spider, Neoscona oaxacensis
- Woolly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla brevirostris (lots of white fluff & honeydew)
- Woollybear Gall Wasp, Atrusca trimaculosa
- Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi