Walking a Different Trail at the River Bend Park, 03-05-22

I got up around 7:00 AM and fed Esteban his breakfast before I headed over to the American River Bend Park for a walk. It was chilly, in the 40’s, overcast and threatening rain. But the rain didn’t hit the park and eventually the sun was peeking through the clouds.

I took a trail that I don’t travel on very often. I was looking for flowering redbud trees inside the park, but didn’t see any of them. There are redbud budding OUTSIDE the park in the residential area, many of them hand-planted and well-watered, but not INSIDE the park where all of the redbuds are wild.

One of the Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis, blooming ouside of the park

Even the vetch in the park isn’t awake yet. It was nice, though, to see so many pipevine plants flowering and winding their way through branches, twigs and grasses.

I was also looking for lichen, but just found the usual suspects: Green Shield, Hoary, Sunburst… and I kind of got carried away photographing the Boreal Button Lichen.

They’re lovely, but I’m getting anxious to go somewhere where I can see something new and different. The cost of gasoline is a big barrier for me. It’s currently $5.49 at the Shell station down the road from us. It costs about $75 to $80 to fill my tank. And with my limited income, I can’t afford to fill up very often… so that limits where I can go and when. Sigh.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I saw a lot of Mourning Doves today. I think they’re just starting to look for nesting spots.  The male Wild Turkeys are out, strutting around, showing off their fanned tails and red caruncles. And, of course, I saw quite a few Black Phoebes. They’re like my “spirit birds”; I see them everywhere.

There were also small flocks of Audubon’s Warblers flitting allover the place, playing tag in the grass. So cute. But also so fast! Getting photos is often difficult.

I heard a choir of Red-Shouldered Hawks in the forest; about four or five birds all calling to one another from different directions. I finally caught sight of one of them, a young female, that did a dive-bombing thing from the branch of a tree into the high grass on the ground. I lost sight of it for a few seconds, and then it flew up again, talons and beak empty. She didn’t catch whatever she had been after.

Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans

I’ve been looking for springtime galls on the trees and plants but haven’t really found a lot yet. The weather has been so weird and sporadic, I’m sure that plays havoc with the gall wasps and midges and their seasonal activity. I am finding a lot of new Two-Horned galls, though, and some leaves with twins and triplets on them. I also found one with what looked like tiny clear eggs along the leaf’s midrib. Is that what the wasp eggs look like? Or am I seeing something different?

On my way out of the park, I came across a small herd of about a half dozen deer. I think it was a bachelor group of young males, most of which had just lost their antlers. You could see the exposed pedicles on the top of their heads.

You can READ MORE about the pedicles in an article I wrote a few years ago.

I walked for about 3 hours and sat in the car for another 30 minutes watching the deer. This was hike #9 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  4. Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
  5. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  6. Bittercress, Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  9. Boreal Button Lichen, Buellia disciformis [pale gray to bluish with black apothecia on wood]
  10. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  11. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  12. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  13. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  14. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta [old chrysalis]
  15. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  16. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  17. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  18. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange, on wood/trees]
  19. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos [heard one “clacking”]
  20. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  21. Giraffe Spots Crust Fungus, Peniophora albobadia
  22. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  23. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  24. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  25. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  26. Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  27. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  28. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  29. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  30. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  31. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  32. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  33. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  34. Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
  35. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  36. Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
  37. Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica
  38. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  39. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  40. Trashline Spider, Humped Trashline Orbweaver Spider, Cyclosa turbinata
  41. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor [flyover]
  42. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  43. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  44. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, unisexual gall, summer generation,  Dryocosmus dubiosus [small, green or mottled, on back of leaf along the midvein]
  45. Velvet Ash, Fraxinus velutina
  46. Velvety Tree Ant, Liometopum occidentale
  47. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  48. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  49. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis [heard]

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