Galls on Desmond Road, 09-01-21

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.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

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.

Buy Me a Coffee!

Donate $5 to buy me a coffee so I have the fuel to keep going and produce more great content!


Species List:

  1. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius [flyover]
  2. Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [blue lip]
  3. Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  4. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  5. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  6. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis[flyover]
  7. Chicory, Cichorium intybus
  8. Club Gall Wasp, Atrusca clavuloides
  9. Common Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos[flyover]
  10. Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
  11. Convoluted Gall Wasp, Andricus confertus
  12. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
  13. Disc Gall Wasp, Andricus parmula [round flat, “spangle gall”]
  14. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
  15. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  16. Fuzzy Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis washingtonensi [round faintly fuzzy galls on stems]
  17. Great Egret, Ardea alba [4 in a field]
  18. Green Midge, Chironomus chironomus sp.
  19. Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
  20. Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
  21. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  22. Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]
  23. Mediterranean Praying Mantis, Iris Mantis, Iris oratoria [very narrow ootheca]
  24. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  25. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  26. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  27. Omnivorous Leafroller Moth, Platynota stultana
  28. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
  29. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  30. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  31. Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
  32. Small Honey Ant, Prenolepis imparis
  33. Sorghum, Sorghum bicolor
  34. Spiny Cocklebur, Xanthium spinosum
  35. Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, asexual, fall generation, Antron douglasii
  36. Swamp Smartweed, Persicaria hydropiperoides [white, single stem]
  37. Tangleweb Spider, Theridion sp.
  38. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura [5 kettling overhead]
  39. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  40. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  41. Western Spotted Orbweaver Spider, Neoscona oaxacensis
  42. Woolly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla brevirostris (lots of white fluff & honeydew)
  43. Woollybear Gall Wasp, Atrusca trimaculosa
  44. Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi