I got up around 6:30 this morning, let the dogs out for potty and fed them their breakfasts, then I headed over to the Gristmill Recreation Area for a walk. I had to get outside and moving, but I didn’t want to go very far or take too long because I (1) didn’t want to leave my nephews alone with the dogs for too long, (2) had to get home quickly to give Gibson his medications, and (3) wanted to be available in case my sister Melissa needed me for anything.
So, I got to Gristmill around 7:00 and walked for a little under 3 hours. The morning was cool but shirt-sleeve, sunny weather. The first thing I noticed was that the Black Locust trees were starting to bloom and the Black Walnut trees were stretching out their heavy catkins. I looked for “sausage galls” on them, but couldn’t see any.
There was a lot of small-leaved low-growing manroot vines on the ground; most of them in bloom. The Boxelder trees are already getting their seeds, and the Blue Elderberry trees are blooming. I also found some Field Elm trees that were leafing out.
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On a couple of the Coast Live Oak trees, and on lichen on another oak tree, I found a lot of orange, oval insect eggs. Trying to match eggs to a particular species of insect can be really difficult. I think these were from some kind of squash bug. Also on the oak trees, and some of the black walnut trees, were lots of Erineum Mite galls.
I found quite a few new-to-me insects like Marsh Crane Flies, an Oblique Streaktail hoverfly, White-Bowed Smoothwing hoverfly, a Johnson’s Jumping Spider, and a Narrow-Headed Marsh Fly among others. There were Boxelder bugs in various instars all over the place, including adults having sex wherever they could manage it.
I didn’t the Red-Shouldered Hawks at their nest, but I could hear them in different places in the forest. Apparently, the Mourning Doves I saw the last time I was there had abandoned their roadside nest. That didn’t surprise me. It was kind of a weird place for them to settle in the first place.
I saw a male Nuttall’s Woodpecker and a female Downy Woodpecker at different times along my walk. But I was most surprised to come across a very dark Audubon’s Warbler. I’m assuming he was a dark morph male in his breeding plumage; a super-handsome bird.
I got back home after 10:00 o’clock in time to give Gibson his medication. This was hike #17 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year
- Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
- Black Locust Tree, Robinia pseudoacacia
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
- Brown Grass Bug, Irbisia californica
- Bur Parsley, Anthriscus caucalis
- California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Common Soft Brome, Bromus hordeaceus
- Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
- Coyote Brush Stem Gall Moth, Gnorimoschema baccharisella
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Cranefly, Marsh Crane Fly, Tipula oleracea
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Downy Woodpecker, Dryobates pubescens
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
- Fiddleneck, Bristly Fiddleneck, Amsinckia tessellata
- Field Elm Tree, Ulmus minor
- Fire-Colored Beetle, Pedilus sp.
- Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Hoverfly, Oblique Streaktail, Allograpta obliqua
- Hoverfly, White-Bowed Smoothwing, Scaeva affinis
- Ichneumonid and Braconid Wasps, Superfamily: Ichneumonoidea
- Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
- Jumping Spider, Johnson’s Jumping Spider, Phidippus johnsoni
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
- Ladybeetle, Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis [lots of variation]
- Ladybeetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
- Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
- Live Oak Erineum Mite Gall, Aceria mackiei
- Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
- Mistletoe, Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Narrow-Headed Marsh Fly, Helophilus fasciatus [large, hoverfly]
- Northern California Black Walnut, Juglans hindsii
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Petty Spurge, Euphorbia peplus
- Popcorn Flower, Plagiobothrys sp.
- Poppy, California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
- Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
- Squash Bugs, Anasa sp. [eggs on live oak]
- Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
- Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
- Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
- Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
- White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
- Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli
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