The Phoebes were the Stars of the Day, 04-26-22

I got up around 6:00 this morning with the dogs, fed them their breakfast, and then got myself ready to head out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. There were some specific trees I wanted to check for galls, but otherwise I was open to whatever nature wanted to show me.

I watched the Black Phoebes, which have a nest there every year, catch insects and feed their babies. A couple of times, I saw the adult do a kind of fast flip in mid-air and catch winged insects as they flew by. This year’s nest had FIVE babies in it, and they were all nearly fledged, so cramming them all into that little mud cup wasn’t easy. I could have watched them all day, but really needed to get moving.

I also got a glimpse of a Bewick’s Wren nesting cavity. There were three babies, again nearly fledged, sitting on the outside rim of the nest – which was well-hidden inside of a bush. Of course, as always, the camera decided to focus on the leaves in front of the nestlings, instead of on the birds themselves

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

There was a European Starling that was doing her wing-twirls, and another one that was poking its head out of its nesting cavity.

And I saw a few beautiful Ash-Throated Flycatchers.

I saw my first Tussock Moth caterpillar of the season, and my first Black-Tailed Bumble Bee on this walk along with several other insects. I’m trying to work my naturalist’s eye in anticipation of the upcoming City Nature Challenge.

I found a few Small-Flowered Catchfly flowers. They’re glandular-hairy especially on veins, and feel sticky to the touch.

It was fun seeing a mama California Ground Squirrel back at the burrow at the end of the trail on the bluff side of the preserve. She avoided me at first, but then seemed to realize I wasn’t a threat, and she came out and posed for me for a while. Ground squirrels are one of my favorite animals, so it’s always great to see them.

I walked for a whopping 4 hours before heading home. That’s the best I’ve done since my surgery in January.  This was hike #22 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Acmon Blue Butterfly, Icaricia acmon
  2. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  3. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  4. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  5. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  6. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  7. Bee, Leafcutter Bee, Megachile sp.
  8. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  9. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  10. Broad-Leaved Sweet Pea, Lathyrus latifolius
  11. Bumblebee, Black-Tailed Bumble Bee, Bombus melanopygus
  12. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  13. Caddisfly, Black Dancer Caddisfly, Mystacides sepulchralis
  14. California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
  15. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  16. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  17. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  18. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  19. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  20. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  21. California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  22. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis    
  23. Cat’s Ear, Smooth Cat’s Ear, Hypochaeris glabra
  24. Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum
  25. Clover, Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  26. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  27. Cranefly, European Crane Fly, Tipula paludosa
  28. Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
  29. Dictyna Spider, Dictyna sp.
  30. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  31. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  32. Grasses, Mediterranean Hair-Grass, Rostraria cristata
  33. Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
  34. Harvestman, Protolophus singularis
  35. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  36. Hoverfly, Black-Margined Flower Fly, Syrphus opinator
  37. Iris, Douglas Iris, Iris douglasiana
  38. Iris, Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus
  39. Katydid, Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata [nymph]
  40. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
  41. Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
  42. Live Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Spring generation, Amphibolips quercuspomiformis [upside down volcano on the edge of the leaf, green or brown]
  43. Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
  44. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  45. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  46. March Fly, Bibio vestitus [tiny, black, elongated body]
  47. Metallic Wood-Boring Beetle, Subgenus: Melanthaxia
  48. Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  49. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  50. Mule Fat, Baccharis salicifolia
  51. Non-Biting Midge, Cricotopus sp.
  52. Northern California Black Walnut, Juglans hindsii
  53. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  54. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  55. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  56. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  57. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  58. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  59. Penstemon, Mountain Blue Penstemon, Penstemon laetus
  60. Pineappleweed, Chamomilla suaveolens
  61. Plum, Prunus domestica
  62. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  63. Popcorn Flower, Plagiobothrys sp.
  64. Purpletop Vervain, Verbena incompta
  65. Pyracantha, Firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea
  66. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  67. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  68. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens [on live oaks]
  69. Scarlet Pimpernel, Lysimachia arvensis
  70. Small-Flowered Catchfly, Silene gallica
  71. Snakefly, Common Snakefly, Agulla sp.
  72. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  73. Towhee, California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  74. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
  75. Treehopper, Buffalo Treehopper, Stictocephala bisonia [exuvia]
  76. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  77. Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
  78. Western Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis
  79. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  80. Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta
  81. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  82. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  83. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  84. Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  85. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon [heard]
  86. Yarrow, Common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium

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