It’s the City Nature Challenge Day #3 and my friend Roxanne and I went over to the American River Bend Park with my dog Esteban to look for more species to add to our totals. Esteban walked the whole trail along with us and never complained or asked to be picked up and held. I was very proud of him. The weather was lovely: cool and breezy. It was so nice.
There were so-so many California Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars everywhere. We even found one that was just starting to go into it’s metamorphosis. CLICK HERE for an excellent video (not mine) about the butterfly’s life cycle.
At one spot, we noticed that a White-Breasted Nuthatch was whizzing back and forth with food for its babies, and followed it back to its nest: a hole at the end of a downed log in the grass. It’s usually really difficult to get clear photos of this species of bird because it’s small, moves a lot, and usually has its back to you. But at this particular nesting site, we were able to get quite a few face and full body photos of the birds.
There were a lot of tiny House Wrens singing from various trees all around us, but it took a while before we were able to find one that was within photographing range.
Roxanne had really wanted to see some of the Rough-Winged Swallows I saw the last time I was at the park, but they were being shy today. We finally did see a few in flight, and one landed on a tree nearby, so at least she was able to get pictures of that one.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
In the river, we saw a pair (male and female) of Common Mergansers. In this species, the males don’t look anything like the females (sexual dimorphism). According to Cornell: “…Adult sexes strongly dimorphic in size and plumage most of year. Male has iridescent, greenish-black head with rounded crest, brilliant white neck, underparts, and secondaries contrasting with black upperwings, gray back and tail, and long narrow scarlet-orange bill. Female plumage has rusty-brown head with long crest and distinct white chin patch, slaty-gray breast, back, wings and tail, white flanks and belly, and scarlet-orange bill; brown of head and upper neck sharply demarcated from white lower neck..” I’m looking forward to them having lots of red-headed ducklings.
A big surprise, for me, was seeing my first Townsend’s Warbler: a little yellow guy with thick black eyeliner. So cute. This species is migrating through right now, and flies between because Alaska and Central America each year. The species hasn’t been studied very much, so most of the information on it is anecdotal.
Throughout the park, we found several different kinds of lichen, and also were able to find an identify a few species of grasses.
On our way out, we spotted a mama Wild Turkey with about four or five little poults. As soon as she realized we were trying to get photos of the babies, she hurried them into the long grass where they were all but invisible – except for the grass-tops moving over them.
We were out for about 3½ hours and then headed home. This was hike #23 in my #52Hike Challenge for the year.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Alder, White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
- Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
- Bee, Leafcutter Bee, Megachile sp.
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Bur Parsley, Anthriscus caucalis
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
- California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
- California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common European Greenbottle Fly, Lucilia sericata
- Common Greenshield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Common Hover Fly Parasitoid Wasp, Diplazon laetatorius [colorful, yellow legs]
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Confusing Petrophila Moth, Petrophila confusalis [tiny, pale, striped]
- Cranefly, European Crane Fly, Tipula paludosa
- Creeping Woodsorrel, Oxalis corniculata
- Crust Fungus, Split Porecrust, Xylodon paradoxus
- Deerweed, Acmispon glaber
- Dove’s-Foot Crane’s-Bill, Geranium molle
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
- Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata [red line on leaves]
- Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Farinose Cartilage Lichen, Ramalina farinacea [like oakmoss but with very fine strands]
- Frosted Lichen, Physconia sp.
- Genista Broom Moth, Uresiphita reversalis
- Grasses, Bristly Dogtail Grass, Cynosurus echinatus
- Grasses, Common Barley, Hordeum vulgare
- Grasses, Flowering Oloptum, Oloptum sp.
- Grasses, Silver Hairgrass, Aira caryophyllea
- Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
- Hairypink, Pink Grass, Windmill Pink, Petrorhagia dubia
- Harvestman, Superfamily: Phalangioidea
- Humped Trashline Orbweaver Spider, Cyclosa turbinate
- Iris, Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus
- Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
- Jalisco Petrophila Moth, Petrophila jaliscalis [tiny, black dots long edge of hindwings]
- Ladybeetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
- Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
- Lauxaniid Fly, Family: Lauxaniidae [small, reddish, brown or black]
- Live Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Spring generation, Amphibolips quercuspomiformis [upside down volcano on the edge of the leaf, green or brown]
- Live Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Summer Generation, Amphibolips quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
- Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
- Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
- Lustrous Camouflage Lichen, Melanohalea exasperatula [brown, shiny]
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mantis, Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [large ootheca]
- Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
- Monkeyflower, Orange Bush Monkeyflower, Diplacus aurantiacus
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Non-Biting Midge, Cricotopus sp.
- Northern California Black Walnut, Juglans hindsii
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
- Popcorn Flower, Rusty Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys nothofulvus
- Poplar Sunburst Lichen, Xanthomendoza hasseana [sunburst on Cottonwood]
- Poppy, California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
- Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
- Rim Lichen, Lecanora carpinea
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens [on live oaks]
- Scarab-Hunter Wasp, Toltec Scoliid Wasp, Dielis tolteca
- Stork’s Bill, Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill, Erodium botrys
- Swallow, Northern Rough-Winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis
- Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Townsend’s Warbler, Setophaga townsendi
- Two-Horned Gall Wasp, unisexual gall, summer generation, Dryocosmus dubiosus [small, green or mottled, on back of leaf along the midvein]
- Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
- Wax-Leaf Ligustrum, Ligustrum japonicum
- Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis [pregnant female]
- Western Hoptree, Ptelea crenulata
- Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
- Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
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