Fasciated Telegraphweed, 09-27-21

I was so surprised that I woke up with the alarm this morning. I had actually slept through the night without having to get up to take any meds. And my hip and thigh were actually relatively quiet. Over the last several days, the Poltergeist pain had been so bad I could barely walk, but this morning I was feeling pretty good (!) so I decided to head out to William Pond Park for a walk. 

A FaceBook friend had snapped a photo of a Great Horned Owl on a snag near the viewing pond (where I seldom go because it’s too “manicured” for my taste there), so I walked that trail this morning. It was lovely and cool outside, in the 50’s.

On a cottonwood tree, I found a little Fiery Skipper. Because it was still chilly, the insect was a bit torpid, making it possible for me to snatch it from its leaf and take some close ups of it.

At this part of the park, there is a viewing platform that’s handicapped accessible, and spots for fishing. Usually, there’s a large full pond beyond the platform, but because they’re lowering the water so they can reform the gravel along the banks of the American River for the winter’s salmon run, this pond was nearly empty. I’ve never seen the water level here so low.

What the water level change looks like after almost 200 days of drought.

In a distant shallow-water area, I could see some Great Egrets and other wading birds: Mallards mostly, but also some Long-Billed Dowitchers, Pied-Billed Grebes, Snowy Egrets, Killdeer, American Coots, and a lonely Green Heron.

Great Egret, Ardea alba, on a snag across the river.

There was a Pekin duck that was chasing the Mallards over the mud…until it tripped and face-planted onto the ground. D’oh!

I found some Lace Bugs on a Telegraph Weed plant. I’d noticed them, in part, because they had just finished laying eggs on the leaves of the plant and covering them in black shellac.

While I was taking photos of the bugs and their eggs, I noticed an adjacent plant that was knuckled over in an off curl.  I thought at first it might have been broken but closer inspection showed me it was fasciated, and actually doubly fasciated:  curl on top of curl with lots of weirded out flowering heads.

Fasciation: also known as cresting, a relatively rare condition of abnormal growth in vascular plants in which the growing tip which normally is concentrated around a single point and produces approximately cylindrical tissue, instead becomes elongated perpendicularly to the direction of growth, thus producing flattened, ribbon-like, crested (or “cristate”), or elaborately contorted, tissue.

I think it’s sooooo interesting!

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I finally came across the spot where the snag was but there were no owls around that I could see. Nearby, there was a granary tree being filled and protected by a family of Acorn Woodpeckers.

I walked for about 90-minutes and then headed back. This was hike #82 in my annual hike challenge.

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Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [pink flower]
  4. Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  5. Arundo, Giant Reed, Arundo donax
  6. California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  7. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  8. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  9. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  10. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  11. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  12. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  13. Fiery Skipper, Hylephila phyleus
  14. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  15. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  16. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  17. Green Heron, Butorides virescens
  18. Holm Oak, Quercus ilex [soft leaves, lighter on back]
  19. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  20. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  21. Lace Bug, Corythucha sp. [on telegraphweed]
  22. Long-Billed Dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
  23. Lygus Bug, Lygus pratensis
  24. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  25. Mistletoe, Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
  26. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  27. Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  28. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  29. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  30. Plume Albizia, Cape Wattle, Paraserianthes lophantha
  31. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  32. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens [on live oaks]
  33. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  34. Tall Evening Primrose, Oenothera elata
  35. Telegraphweed, Heterotheca grandiflora
  36. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  37. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  38. Western Goldenrod, Euthamia occidentalis
  39. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys