Here and There, 03-09-22

I got up at 6:00 AM, got the dog fed and pottied, and then got myself ready to go on an outing with my friend Roxanne to the Mather Field Vernal Pool area… and wherever else the day might take us.

We weren’t expecting a lot at the vernal pools mostly because we weren’t sure there was any water in them anymore, as since January we haven’t had much in the way of rain. We’ve also been confused (as confused as the wildflowers themselves) by the early emergence of a lot of wildflowers elsewhere.

When we got to the vernal pools field, we found that the two shallower pools were completely empty with no signs of any of the flowers we might normally find in or around the edges of the pools. We did find tiny popcorn flowers, the beginning of some Woolly Marbles, two different kinds of Johnnytuck, and lots of Frying Pan Poppies.

After walking around we realized we probably actually TOO EARLY for these ponds: the Miniature Lupine wasn’t in bloom yet and there was some kind of lilies trying to emerge.  So, maybe we can go back in a week or two and see if anything is popping then.  

On our way out of the area, we came a across a healthy-looking coyote walking up and back-and-forth across the road in front of us.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

It was still relatively early in the day, so we decided to go over to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. We hadn’t been there for a while. They’re still working on the new fish ladder, but seem to finally have gotten a good deal of the work done. There was still a huge crane standing alongside the work area, and we saw two people in the parking lot pointing to the top of it. We looked up there and — there was a gorgeous Osprey. The birds are large with a fish-hook like bill, Quite impressive, even at a distance. I think this one was a female, going by the ringlet of dark feathers around the neck.

There weren’t a lot of birds in the water — not even gulls — and that was a little unusual. We didn’t see much on the shoreline of the river either, no Great Egrets, no Great Blue Herons. We did see one Snowy Egret, some Canada Geese, and a handful of Common Mergansers and Goldeneyes but that was about it. There was one bird that we could only see at an extreme distance. I posted my crappy photos of it to iNaturalist hoping for some kind of ID. We’ll see. [iNatualist said it was just a female Common Goldeneye in weird light.]

While we were stopped trying to get photos of some finches and a ground squirrel around some willows, a gorgeous large Rainbow Trout jumped out of the water several times nearby. Of course, I wasn’t fast enough to get any photos of it before it vanished under the surface of the water. Sigh.

After our double-duty walk, which I’m counting as hike #11 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year, we went over to Brookfield’s for lunch before heading home.

Species List:

  1. American Pipit, Anthus rubescens
  2. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  3. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  4. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  5. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  6. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  7. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  8. Coffeeberry, California Buckthorn, Frangula californica
  9. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  10. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  11. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  12. Coyote Brush Rust Gall, Puccinia evadens
  13. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  14. Coyote, Canis latrans
  15. Crab Spider, Running Crab Spider, Family: Philodromidae
  16. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  17. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  18. Fiddleneck, Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
  19. Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
  20. Floating Primrose-Willow, Ludwigia peploides
  21. Fringepod, Ribbed Fringepod, Thysanocarpus radians
  22. Frying Pan Poppy, Eschscholzia lobbii
  23. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  24. House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
  25. Johnnytuck, Butter-and-Eggs, Triphysaria eriantha eriantha [red stems]
  26. Johnnytuck, Yellow Owl’s Clover, Triphysaria versicolor faucibarbata [green stems]
  27. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  28. Ladybeetle, Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis
  29. Ladybeetle, Large Spotted Lady Beetle, Harmonia conformis
  30. Ladybeetle, Spotless Lady Beetle, Cycloneda sanguinea [no spots; more red than orange]
  31. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  32. Lupine, Narrow-Leaved Lupine, Lupinus angustifolius
  33. Narrow-Fruited Water-Starwort, Callitriche palustris
  34. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  35. Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
  36. Pineapple-Weed, Matricaria discoidea
  37. Popcorn Flower, Plagiobothrys sp.
  38. Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss
  39. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  40. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  41. Stork’s Bill, Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill, Erodium botrys
  42. Stork’s Bill, Redstem Stork’s-Bill, Erodium cicutarium
  43. Valley Tassels, Castilleja attenuata
  44. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  45. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  46. Willows, Salix sp.
  47. Woolly Marbles, Low Woolly Marbles, Psilocarphus brevissimus
  48. ?? red stemmed plant

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