The Longer Trail at Gristmill, 05-16-22

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.

A view of the American River from the trail

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.

Species List:

  1. Acalyptrate Fly, Zoosubsection: Acalyptratae
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Ant, Fusca-Group Field Ants, Formica fusca
  4. Aphid, Smoky Poplar Aphid, Chaitophorus populicola [adults are black]
  5. Ash, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  6. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  7. Black Locust Tree, Robinia pseudoacacia
  8. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  9. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  10. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  11. Blackberry, California Blackberry, Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus [pale green canes]]
  12. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  13. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  14. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  15. Bumblebee, Black-Tailed Bumble Bee, Bombus melanopygus
  16. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  17. California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
  18. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  19. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  20. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  21. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  22. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  23. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  24. Catalpa, Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa
  25. Click Beetle, Family: Elateridae
  26. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  27. Costa’s Hummingbird, Calypte costae
  28. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  29. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  30. Cricket-Parasite Nocturnal Fly, Ormia sp. [gold body, red eyes]
  31. Damselfly, American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
  32. Desert Stink Beetle, Eleodes scabrosus [pitted pronotum and elytra, like a Darkling]
  33. Dragonfly, Sinuous Snaketail, Ophiogomphus occidentis
  34. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  35. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata [red line on leaves]
  36. Elm Tree, Field Elm Tree, Ulmus minor
  37. Elm Leaf Pouch Gall Aphid, Tetraneura nigriabdominalis
  38. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  39. Fiddleneck, Bristly Fiddleneck, Amsinckia tessellata
  40. Grape Leaf Miner Moth, Phyllocnistis vitigenella
  41. Horsetail, Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale
  42. Jalisco Petrophila Moth, Petrophila jaliscalis [tiny, black dots long edge of hindwings]
  43. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  44. Katydid, Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata
  45. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
  46. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  47. Live Oak Erineum Mite Gall, Aceria mackiei
  48. Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
  49. Live Oak Petiole Gall Wasp, Melikaiella flora
  50. Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  51. Meshweaver, Cribellate Araneomorph Spider, Dictyna sp.
  52. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  53. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  54. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  55. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  56. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  57. Prickly Lettuce, Lactuca serriola
  58. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  59. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  60. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  61. Tree-of-Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
  62. Velvety Tree Ant, Liometopum occidentale
  63. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  64. Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
  65. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  66. White Miller Caddisfly, Nectopsyche sp.
  67. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  68. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  69. Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
  70. Willow Fold Gall Sawfly, Euura sp. [Phyllocolpa sp.]
  71. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [old, on stem]
  72. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  73. Willow, Coyote Willow, Salix exigua
  74. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
  75. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  76. Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  77. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon

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