Walking at the Mathers, 04-08-22

I got up around 6:30 with the dogs. They’ve been very good while Melissa has been in the hospital: no growling or teeth-showing to one another. Everyone is behaving themselves. That’s helpful.

I needed to get out for a walk –for my own sanity – with my friend Roxanne, but my nephew Brian (who is visiting while his mom’s in the hospital) didn’t want me leaving Esteban home because he barks when I’m gone. So we had to settle on a place that allowed dogs – (Lots of nature preserves don’t allow them.) — where I could either take Esteban with me on a leash or leave him in the car for short periods of time.

We settled on the Mather Vernal Pools Area and Mather Lake Regional Park. They’re relatively close to home, and the park accepts dogs. The vernal pools don’t allow dogs on the property because it’s fragile habitat, so we left Esteban in the car while we checked out the pools (most of which are dry now). Didn’t see much of anything new, but there were a lot of little moths and butterflies flittering through the grass. And I got to see some Golden Dung Flies having sex. *Eye roll*

I also got a video snippet of a Greater Yellowlegs complaining along the edge of the large pool. She didn’t like my being there.

It got a lot hotter a lot more quickly outside than we had anticipated.  I was quickly drenched in sweat, so I cut my walk short and headed back to the car to make sure Esteban was okay. If I had been thinking properly, I would have asked Roxanne for her keys BEFORE we started walking the landscape (knowing that I usually tire out before she does), but I didn’t. So, I had to call her on her cellphone, and ask her to bring the keys to me… cutting her walk short, too. I felt really bad about that, but it was just getting too warm for Esteban inside the car.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We all got cooled off by the car’s A/C and then headed over to Mather Lake, sticking to the more manicured side of the lake where there’s a lot of shade and picnic tables to sit at if we needed too. Because it’s not very “natural” or “wild” on that side of the lake, there’s less to discover or examine.  We did see swans, some cormorants, and some geese (with goslings) in the water.

Along the edge of the lake, I spotted a Tree Swallow poking its head out of a nesting hole in the side of a foreshortened snag, and pointed it out to Roxanne. We couldn’t believe the bird had chosen a spot to close to the ground in which to nest. But the hole was shaded from direct sunlight and camouflaged by the wispy twigs and leave of a willow, so, it was relatively “safe” there, I guess.

There was a fisherman on the bank just a few yards from the snag, and when we were taking pictures of the bird and nesting hole, he though we were taking picture of him. He said, “I’m not a celebrity. Why are you taking my picture?” and we told him about the bird, and all had a chuckle about the circumstances.

I think I had gotten a little bit of sun stroke at the vernal pools — [There’s no shade there anywhere.] — and I couldn’t stand or venture out into the sunny spots along the bank for very long, so I walked back to the car with Esteban – after getting the car keys from Rox. On the way there, I spotted a Barn Swallow on the powerlines near the main picnic area, and a Black Phoebe on a pick-up-after-your-dog sign by the parking lot.

Rox was just a few minutes behind me. We got back home in time to give my sister’s dog, Gibson, his medication. This was hike #18 of my #52HikeChallenge this year.

Species List:

  1. Acmon Blue Butterfly, Icaricia acmon
  2. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  3. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  4. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  5. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  6. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  7. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  8. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  9. Cat’s Ear, Smooth Cat’s Ear, Hypochaeris glabra
  10. Common Daisy, Lawn Daisy, Bellis perennis
  11. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
  12. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  13. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  14. Dandelion, Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
  15. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  16. Dragonfly, Suborder: Anisoptera
  17. Fringepod, Ribbed Fringepod, Thysanocarpus radians
  18. Frying Pan Poppy, Eschscholzia lobbii
  19. Golden Dung Fly, Scathophaga stercoraria
  20. Goldfields, Lasthenia sp.
  21. Grasses, California Melic, Melica californica
  22. Grasses, Little Quaking Grass, Briza minor
  23. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  24. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
  25. Hairy Hawkbit, Leontodon saxatilis
  26. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  27. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  28. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  29. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  30. Ladybeetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  31. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria [drive by]
  32. Live Oak Gall Wasp, Summer Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
  33. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  34. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  35. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  36. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  37. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  38. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  39. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  40. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  41. Pineapple-Weed, Matricaria discoidea
  42. Popcorn Flower, Plagiobothrys sp.
  43. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  44. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  45. Small Heliothodes Moth, Heliothodes diminutive [pinkish tan with white mottling]
  46. Stork’s Bill, Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill, Erodium botrys
  47. Swallow, Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica
  48. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  49. Valley Tassels, Castilleja attenuata
  50. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  51. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  52. Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
  53. White Wall-Rocket, Diplotaxis erucoides
  54. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  55. Wild Mustard, Sinapis arvensis
  56. Willows, Salix sp.
  57. Yellow Owl’s Clover, Triphysaria versicolor

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