I got up around 5:30 this morning, and headed out to the Gristmill River Access again for a walk. I picked the “long trail” and walked the entire length of it. I was feeling pretty strong and my bad hip behaved itself for the whole hike.
When I first drove in I got a splash of nature: a Red-Shouldered Hawk in a tree, some Black-Tailed Jackrabbits scurrying through the dried grass, and a couple of pregnant deer. An auspicious start!
Along with the ubiquitous Oak Apples, I was able to find several different springtime galls. On the oaks: I found several Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid galls, Live Oak Erineum Mite Galls, and Live Oak Petiole Gall Wasp galls. On the willows I found very fat Willow Apple Gall Sawfly galls, Willow Bead Gall Mite galls, Willow Fold Gall Sawfly galls, and some old Willow Rosette Gall Midge galls on the stem of a tree. The midges that initiate these stem galls are a different species from the ones that area associated with the terminal buds (which are the ones I normally see).
On other trees/shrubs I found Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite galls, Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge galls, and Elm Leaf Pouch Gall Aphid galls. The elm tree galls were fresh and felty, but it looked like most of the occupants were gone. I also found evidence of the damage caused by the Grape Leaf Miner Moth. When I posted that image to iNaturalist, it was picked up by one of the curators.
The galls I didn’t see that I was expecting to were the long panicles created by the Cottonwood Catkin Gall Mites. I’d seen them on trees at Gristmill in previous years… but none there today.
The Tree-of-Heaven trees were in bloom, as were a lot of the elderberry trees and most of the blackberry vines around there. Speaking of the blackberries: I saw both the non-native Armenian Blackberry vines, and the native California Blackberry, also called Trailing Blackberry. The non-native stuff, of course, was all over the place, growing in thick impermeable clumps as tall or taller than my waist.
I was surprised that there seemed to be a second generation of California Manroot plants coming up, just as the first generation plants are going to seed.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
I got lucky spotting a few dragonflies and damselflies near the end of the trail where it’s closest to the river. I saw a couple of American Rubyspot damselflies, but only one sat still long enough to get its picture. The Rubyspots are a bit larger than most of the other damselflies, and they fly very fast and land “hard”, so they really grab you’re attention when they’re around. I also found my first ever Sinuous Snaketail dragonfly. When I first spotted it, it was pretty far away from me, and based on nothing but its color I thought it might be a regular everyday Variegated Meadowhawk. It wasn’t until I got closer to it that I saw the cobra-hood-like expansion at the end of the tail. So cool.
I saw a few birds including both juvenile Bewick’s and House Wrens and some Nuttall’s woodpeckers.
I was exploring for about 4 hours before heading back home. This was hike #28 or my #52HikeChallenge for the year.
- Acalyptrate Fly, Zoosubsection: Acalyptratae
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Ant, Fusca-Group Field Ants, Formica fusca
- Aphid, Smoky Poplar Aphid, Chaitophorus populicola [adults are black]
- Ash, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
- Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
- Black Locust Tree, Robinia pseudoacacia
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
- Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
- Blackberry, California Blackberry, Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus [pale green canes]]
- Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
- Bumblebee, Black-Tailed Bumble Bee, Bombus melanopygus
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Catalpa, Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa
- Click Beetle, Family: Elateridae
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Costa’s Hummingbird, Calypte costae
- Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Cricket-Parasite Nocturnal Fly, Ormia sp. [gold body, red eyes]
- Damselfly, American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
- Desert Stink Beetle, Eleodes scabrosus [pitted pronotum and elytra, like a Darkling]
- Dragonfly, Sinuous Snaketail, Ophiogomphus occidentis
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
- Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata [red line on leaves]
- Elm Tree, Field Elm Tree, Ulmus minor
- Elm Leaf Pouch Gall Aphid, Tetraneura nigriabdominalis
- Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
- Fiddleneck, Bristly Fiddleneck, Amsinckia tessellata
- Grape Leaf Miner Moth, Phyllocnistis vitigenella
- Horsetail, Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale
- Jalisco Petrophila Moth, Petrophila jaliscalis [tiny, black dots long edge of hindwings]
- Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
- Katydid, Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Live Oak Erineum Mite Gall, Aceria mackiei
- Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
- Live Oak Petiole Gall Wasp, Melikaiella flora
- Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
- Meshweaver, Cribellate Araneomorph Spider, Dictyna sp.
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Prickly Lettuce, Lactuca serriola
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Tree-of-Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
- Velvety Tree Ant, Liometopum occidentale
- Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
- Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
- White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
- White Miller Caddisfly, Nectopsyche sp.
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
- Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
- Willow Fold Gall Sawfly, Euura sp. [Phyllocolpa sp.]
- Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [old, on stem]
- Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
- Willow, Coyote Willow, Salix exigua
- Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
- Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
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