Rose Galls at Stone Lake, 05-05-22

I got up around 6:00 AM, got the dogs fed and pottied, and then headed over to the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. This is a 18,000 acre site of protected land in the southern portion of the county near Elk Grove, one of the few urban refuges in the nation. Grasslands, vernal pools and diverse wildlife and plant life can be found here, but most of it can only be seen through guided tours that go past the paved Blue Heron loop trails.

Pond which is circled by the paved Blue Heron Loop trail

I seldom see any wildlife there to speak of when I’m there, and more recently I found the place to be a horrible mess: very neglected and unkempt. Today, I was happy to see that they cleaned the place up a lot since the last time I was out there. I went there because I knew they had a great collection of the native California Wild Rose plants there, and this is rose gall season. I saw two species: the galls of the Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp, Diplolepis polita, and galls of the Leafy Bract Gall Wasp, Diplolepis californica. So cool!

The only birds I saw there were the usual suspects: a few Red-Winged Blackbirds, House Finches, some tree Swallows and Mourning Doves, and a Song Sparrow. I could hear Killdeer, but didn’t see them.

The only other creature I saw there was a very pregnant Western Fence Lizard. Her coloration was so bold and bright, you couldn’t miss her. I’ve never seen one colored like that.

I found a few different kinds of lichen on the wood and metal spurs of one of the bridges on the property, including one I’d never seen before.

I walked there for about 2 hours. This was hike #24 in my #52hikeChallenge for the year.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Because it was so close, I drove over toward the Cosumnes River Preserve. I didn’t go into the preserve itself, but drove around Franklin, Desmond and Bruceville Roads to see if I came across anything interesting.

There were cattle in some of the ag fields. And across from them were quite a few Purple Salsify. Chicory, and Bristly Oxtongue plants. Along Franklin Road, across from the entrance to the preserve there was a row of fennel plants.

I always check out fennel plants when I find them during this time of the year because they are a host plant for the caterpillars of the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio zelicaon. They go through 5 instars (molts) changing in color and size as they mature. They start out looking like bird poop, and end up banded in glorious colors. I found specimens in the first, third, fourth and fifth instars. So cool.

A little bit further on the road was a pond filled with Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets. I assumed they were eating crayfish, which a common inhabitants of the pond.            

I was out for about 4 hours and headed back home.

Species List:

  1. Anise Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio zelicaon
  2. Baccharis Stem Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia baccharis [creates twisting stems on coyote brush]
  3. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  4. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  5. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  6. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  7. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  8. Bristle Fly, Family: Tachinidae
  9. Bristly Oxtongue, Helminthotheca echioides
  10. California Blackberry, Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus
  11. California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  12. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  13. Candleflame Lichen, Candelaria concolor [bright yellow-orange]  
  14. Cattle, Black Angus, Bos Taurus var, Black Angus
  15. Cattle, Charolais Cattle, Bos taurus var. Charolais
  16. Cattle, Guernsey Cattle, Bos taurus var. Guernsey
  17. Chicory, Cichorium intybus
  18. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  19. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  20. Crustose Pin Lichen, Pseudothelomma occidentale [on fence post, looks like a nipple lichen]
  21. Desert Cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii
  22. Earwig, European Earwig, Forficula auricularia
  23. European Blowfly, Calliphora vicina
  24. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  25. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  26. Grasse, Lesser Canary Grass, Phalaris minor
  27. Grass Fly, Thaumatomyia sp. [small, yellow-orange]
  28. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  29. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  30. Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
  31. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  32. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  33. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
  34. Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
  35. Leaf Curl Fungus, Taphrina sp. [on sycamore]
  36. Leafy Bract Gall Wasp, Diplolepis californica [hard rosette gall on rose bush]
  37. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  38. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  39. Pin-Cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa [bright orange, apothecia, close, piled]
  40. Purple Salsify, Tragopogon porrifolius
  41. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  42. Rim Lichen, Lecanora sp. [on metal fence post]
  43. Rose Rust Fungus, Phragmidium tuberculatum
  44. Rose Stem Miner Moth, Marmara spp.
  45. Round Gall Wasp, Burnettweldia washingtonensis [on valley oak]
  46. Sheetweb Spider, Microlinyphia mandibulata [tiny, black with white mottling on abdomen]
  47. Six-Spotted Orbweaver Spider, Araniella displicata [nest]
  48. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  49. Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  50. Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp, Diplolepis polita [on rose leaves]
  51. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  52. Torrent Sedge, Carex nudata
  53. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  54. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  55. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  56. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  57. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis

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