Lots of Bract Galls and a Glimpse of Some American Goldfinches, 06-30-22

I got up around 5:20 this morning and headed out to Stone Lakes and Bruceville / Desmond Roads near the Cosumnes Preserve. First though, I had to fill up the gas tank in my car. Cost me $94! Guh! [Thank you for helping to pay for gasoline, Matt.]

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular; I just needed to get outside while it was still cool, before the heat showed up. It was about 58º when I got to Stone Lakes, cool and breezy.

The bract galls on the rose bushes were the standout there. There seemed to be more of them visible than the last time I was out there. I also found some Spiny leaf galls and Rose Blister galls on the plants…and what I think is a new-to-me gall: the galls of the Rose Stem Galler wasp.

The cottonwood trees were showing off lots of petiole galls, but only a very few leaf galls. There were no galls on the oak trees except for some large oak apples. I wonder if the dearth of smaller galls wasps has made more room for the larger ones.

There still aren’t as many insects around as I would like to see. I found a crab spider, and some Yellow-Faced Bumble Bees, a few Boxelder Bugs, and a new-to-me Say’s Stink Bug (in a lovely bluish-green color). But not nearly as many bees, wasps, and other pollinators as there should be.

Among the birds I saw a few Killdeer, Song Sparrows, Tree Swallows, House Finches and Kingbirds there, but not much else. One of the Song Sparrows was deep in the midst of a molt and had no tail feathers. And I think the Red-Winged Blackbirds were all in the middle of caring for their babies, so I could hear them fussing among the tules, but only saw one or two of the actual birds. One of the female blackbirds stopped near me, griping through a closed beak that was full of insects.

I was happy to see the stands of narrowleaf milkweed now in bloom, but sad to see there were no insects on them – not even aphids. No evidence of Monarchs anywhere.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I then headed over to Bruceville and Desmond Roads and drove around there for a little while before heading home. A couple of surprises was seeing a Ring-Necked Pheasant in one of the fields, and a smattering of Lesser and American Goldfinches feeding among the tarweed and star-thistle.

When heading back toward the freeway, I saw a family of kestrels on the top of a telephone pole and line. It looked like the parents were teaching their fledglings how to fly. So cool.

So, not a great deal of diversity, but I did see a few things. And, oh my gosh, I attracted sooooo many ticks! I stopped counting at 25. At one point, I lifted up my shirt and there were six of them attached to my stomach! *Shudder*

I was out for about 6 hours, but about 2 hours of that was just driving back and forth from the destinations to the house… so 4 hours of naturalist work. This was hike #38 of my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. American Goldfinch, Spinus tristis
  2. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
  3. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  4. Bee, Leafcutter Bee, Megachile sp.
  5. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  6. Blackberry, California Blackberry, Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus [pale green canes]
  7. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  8. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  9. Bristly Oxtongue, Helminthotheca echioides
  10. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
  11. Bumblebee, Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee, Bombus vosnesenskii
  12. Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
  13. Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris rapae
  14. California Fuchsia, Epilobium canum
  15. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  16. Cattail, Broad-Leaved Cattail, Typha latifolia
  17. Chicory, Cichorium intybus
  18. Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
  19. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  20. Crab Spider, Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia
  21. Damselfly, Pacific Forktail, Ischnura cervula
  22. Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis
  23. Fly, Common Flesh Fly, Sarcophaga sp.
  24. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  25. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  26. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  27. Leafy Bract Gall Wasp, Diplolepis californica [hard rosette gall on rose bush]
  28. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  29. Milkweed, Narrowleaf Milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis
  30. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  31. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  32. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  33. Paper Wasp, Black Paper Wasp, European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula
  34. Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus obesinymphae [new American species, “slit mouth”]
  35. Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
  36. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  37. Ring-Necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
  38. Rose Blister Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosaefolii [hard midrib gall] 
  39. Rose Rust, Phragmidium tuberculatum
  40. Rose Stem Galler Wasp, Diplolepis inconspicuous [nodule on stem of rose bushes]
  41. Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
  42. Santa Barbara Sedge, Carex barbarae
  43. Say’s Stink Bug, Chlorochroa sayi [bluish green]
  44. Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  45. Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp, Diplolepis polita [on rose leaves]
  46. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  47. Tarweed,  Common Tarweed, Spikeweed, Centromadia pungens
  48. Tick, American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
  49. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  50. Vole, California Vole, Microtus californicus
  51. Weeping Willow, Salix babylonica
  52. Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
  53. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  54. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  55. Yellow Star-Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis

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A Crabby Baby Scrub Jay at Effie, 06-26-22

I got up around 5:00 AM and got myself ready to head out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk before it got too hot. [It got up to 101º by the afternoon.] I haven’t been to the preserve in quite a while, and I was hoping to see some deer and some galls on the oak trees. The oak trees are still completely devoid of galls (beyond the ubiquitous Oak Apples), but I did see a few deer: young bucks in their velvet at the beginning and end of my walk.

On the Showy Milkweed plants near the nature center, I found a large katydid, several ladybeetle nymphs, a Green Lacewing, and lots of Oleander Aphids. It looked like there was some kind of worm or larvae on the “neck” of the lacewing, but I couldn’t find anything on what might parasitize them. More research needed. 

Also on the Showy Milkweed, I found a bee that had died because it got it’s foot stuck in the flower.

“…If you’ve never seen this, this is how it works: milkweed produces pollinia, a sticky structure or packet of pollen grains originating from a single anther (male part). During the flower’s complex pollination process, the mass is transferred as a single unit and looks like a yellow wishbone dangling on a honey bee’s legs or other parts of her anatomy. It’s a devious way for the milkweed to force insects to help them reproduce–in exchange for the sweet nectar reward… But it’s a trap, a floral trap. Sometimes you’ll see frenzied bees struggling to free themselves from the sticky nectar trough. They are not always successful. Return to the scene of the grime and you’ll see insect parts or whole insects trapped in the sticky mass. Dead…”  [Kathy Keatley Garvey]

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I came across a very ant hill, of large black Harvester Ants. It looked to me as though the ants were carrying stuff OUT of the hill rather than carrying it in. I wondered if they were doing some late spring cleaning… or relocating the nest.  When I returned to the spot at the end of my walk, the ants were nowhere to be seen. So interesting.

I was intrigued and amused by a young fledgling Scrub Jay who, although he was certainly big enough to get his own food, he demanded that his parent feed him. I saw a couple of instances when the parent brought a tidbit and laid it down on the ground in front of the fledgling, and the fledgling picked it up, then put it back down again – and started crying to be fed. Hah!

Closer to the edge of the river, there was a Red-Winged Blackbird who was attacking people, including me. He’d swoop down out of an alder tree and go for your head. I don’t know if he was trying to establish a territory or protect a nest… but I thought that was such place for him to be. I’ve never seem the blackbirds down by that part of the river before.

I also saw both California and Spotted Towhees along the trail, including this Spotted Towhee who sang for me:

The river was actually a little higher than it had been during salmon season, and I saw quite a few plants partially submerged – like gold wire and centaury. 

Also along the edge of the river I was happy to find one of my favorite insects: the Big-Eyed Toad Bug. They hop around like tiny toads and can swim through the water as well as move quickly on land.

“…Toad bugs may walk rather rapidly, or they may hop, toadlike, along muddy, sandy, or rocky shorelines of streams or ponds…The family name, Gelastocoridae, means “laughing bug” or “ridiculous” or “funny bug” (gelasto means “laughing” in Greek). Somewhere, sometime, an entomologist was certainly amused by these minute, weird-looking, bouncy insects. When you see them, you may decide that they’re cute, as well…” [Missouri Dept. of Conservation]

“…Gelastocoridae are riparian insects, generally found at the margins of streams and ponds, where they are predators of small insects. Gelastocoridae catch their prey by leaping on top of them and grasping them with their modified front legs. Adults lay their eggs in sand. Nymphs of many species cover themselves with a layer of sand grains. Apart from the no doubt considerable physical protection that the armor affords them, the layer of sand renders them effectively invisible on the ground unless they move at the wrong moment. Many Gelastocoridae species can change their coloration to match their habitat…” [Wikipedia]

There were a lot of the tiny “blue” butterflies flitting around the rocks by the river, and further inland I saw quite a few California Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies feeding among the trees and some of the thistles in the fields. Most of the pipevine is gone by this time of year, so I’m hoping they’ll be able to find somewhere to lay their eggs…

I found Crown Whitefly eggs and nymphs on the underside of live oak leaves.

“…Typical whitefly life cycle of eggs laid over the surface of the leaf hatching to the mobile first instar nymph. As this moves to the second instar the legs are lost and the insect becomes sessile, feeding in one place through the next nymph stages and the pupa. Identified most easily by the pupa, which has a black oval body surrounded by wide lateral sheets of white wax, wide white wax sheets protruding from the front and rear, and a vertical dorsal ‘crown’ of white wax arising from the top of the body…” [PestWeb.com]

I walked for about 3½ hours before heading home. This was hike #37 of my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Alder, White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  4. Ant, Andre’s Harvester Ant, Veromessor andrei [black]
  5. Bee Fly, Villa lateralis [looks like a bee but with fly eyes]
  6. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  7. Big-Eyed Toad Bug, Gelastocoris oculatus
  8. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  9. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  10. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  11. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  12. Caddisfly, Net-Spinning Caddisfly, Hydropsyche sp.
  13. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  14. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  15. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  16. California Sweetshrub, Spice Bush, Calycanthus occidentalis
  17. California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  18. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  19. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  20. Cattail, Broad-Leaved Cattail, Typha latifolia
  21. Centuary, Slender Centaury, Centaurium tenuiflorum [pink flowers]
  22. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  23. Common Madia, Madia elegans elegans
  24. Coyote Mint, Monardella villosa
  25. Coyote, Canis latrans [scat]
  26. Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
  27. Flax-Leaved Horseweed, Erigeron bonariensis
  28. Fragrant Everlasting. Pseudognaphalium beneolens [soft, pale, felty leaves]
  29. Grape Erineum Mite, Colomerus vitis
  30. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  31. Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
  32. Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
  33. Ladybeetle, Spotless Lady Beetle, Cycloneda sanguinea
  34. Leafhopper, Euscelis sp.
  35. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  36. Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid, Stegophylla essigi
  37. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  38. Max Chrysanthemum, Leucanthemum maximum
    Katydid, Bush Katydid, Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata 
  39. Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  40. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  41. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  42. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  43. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  44. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  45. Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii [yellow-orange with black legs]
  46. Redbud Seed Weevil, Gibbobruchus mimus
  47. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  48. Robber Fly, Efferia albibarbis
  49. Rose Blister Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosaefolii
  50. Rosilla, Sneezeweed, Helenium puberulum
  51. Stink Bugs, Family: Pentatomidae
  52. Tarweeds, Madia sp.
  53. Towhee, California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  54. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  55. Trefoil, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus
  56. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  57. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  58. Western Spotted Orbweaver, Neoscona oaxacensis
  59. Western Tailed-Blue Butterfly, Cupido amyntula
  60. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  61. Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  62. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  63. Yarrow, Common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
  64. Yellow Star-Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis

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A Day in Yolo County, 06-22-22

I got up around 5:00 AM this morning and got the dogs fed and pottied before getting myself ready to go out on outing with my friend Roxanne. We ended up going up to Woodland with stops at County Road 22 and the Ibis Rookery, and then circling around to Davis afterward. So it was a Yolo County day.

It was another hot day (got up to 100º), so we knew that wherever we went, we’d have to cut our outing a little short to beat the heat. When we got to Woodland, we went down Road 22 which parallels the freeway. There’s a slough there that usually has some water in it, and I knew there were rose bushes, buttonbush, tules, willows and other shrubs long there that I hoped would present us with some insects, galls and spiders.

What originally caught my attention, though, were spiny clusters of sort of prickly burs on plants all along part of the road. I at first thought the clusters were a kind of gall I’d never seen before and I was super-excited about that. Then Rox calmed me down and we studied the plant more closely; no thorns, burs were like cocklebur but in bunches, compound leaves,  the leaves and stalks were slightly sticky (glandular)… I took some photos and posted them to iNaturalist. The plants were Wild Licorice! I’d never seen that plant before, so even though it wasn’t a new kind gall, it was a new plant I could add to my species list for the year.

We saw cities of Spotted Orb-Weaver Spiders, but none of the spiders were very big yet. Give them a few weeks; they’ll bulk up. I also found one crab spider. But overall the showing wasn’t as impressive as I thought it might be.

We did see galls on some of the willows (which I think were Interior Sandbar Willows because that’s the species most often associated with ag land in that area): a few pinecone galls and some stem galls.

On the rose bushes we found a few Spiny Leaf Galls and some fat Leafy Bract Galls. I also found a few midvein galls on the leaves of some of the bushes. I don’t know if they were “aborted” spiny galls or something else. I found them on several different bushes, but they were all the same: brown, hard, on the midvein, and about the same size.

There was one other rose bush that looked all but dead, but with a few leaves at the very top of the otherwise gray leafless canes, and some green canes sticking out of the bottom of it. At the base of that were tufts of “witch’s broom”: tough but pliable filaments in clusters attached to the stem. This is evidence of Rose Rosette Virus (RRV). Very cool. I was hoping to find some Mossy Rose Galls on the bushes, but I didn’t see any.  Definitely worth going back in a week or so to see how things have developed.

“…Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is a devastating disease of roses. It makes the rose unsightly because of abnormal growth of the rose plant tissue. Symptoms such as witches’ brooms, excessive thorniness, enlarged canes, malformed leaves and flowers are associated with this disease. This disease has been reported since the early 1940s but only in 2011 did research demonstrate that it is caused by a virus, aptly named the Rose Rosette Virus (RRV). Diagnosis of RRD prior to 2011 was primarily done based on observed symptoms and the presence of the eriophyid mite that is believed to be the vector of RRV…” (https://roserosette.org/

There was a small stand of Showy Milkweed plants in another spot on the roadway, but we didn’t see any Monarch eggs or caterpillars. In fact, the plants were pretty much devoid of all insects – which freaks me out.[READ THIS article about the collapse of insect populations in California.]

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa

There were two dead animals on either side of the road at one spot: a raccoon and a deer. The raccoon carcass was pretty well gone-over, but there was a lot left for the vultures and other critters on the deer carcass. I know some folks think its gruesome that I take photos of the dead things, but death is all part of the cycle…and it’s interesting to me to see how the carcasses are broken down by the scavenging cleanup crews.

We then drove over to the former Ibis Rookery to see what might be there. There were may three or four Ibises sitting on nests in the main settling pond, but they were so far away, there was no way I could get photos of them. That is sooooo disappointing.

There were a few Barn Swallows flitting around the fence lines, and a flock of American White Pelicans fishing together very near the edge of the pond. I think they were actually scooping up frogs along with little fish. In the video snippets I took, I thought I could see frogs jumping away from them.

Along another side of the pond there were some Black-Necked Stilts, some of them wading, some of them swimming, and some of them screaming loudly and doing this odd repetitive wing-flapping thing.  I also saw one fly up onto the road and sit down, like it was sitting on a nest, then got up and flew off in another directions.

I looked up these behaviors in Cornell, and found the following: “…During Wing-flagging Display, calls resemble a warble… Distraction displays include Wing-flagging Display (while both sitting and standing), [and] False Incubation Display… In Wing-flagging Display, wings are partly extended and raised up and down; often only one wing at a time is extended, and the individual may sit, stand, or alternate between sitting and standing while performing the display. In False Incubating Display, individuals crouch on the ground as if incubating eggs, then rise and move to another spot and sit again…”

There were several different species of dragonflies buzzing around, but no one stopped long enough for me to get a photo of them. Dangit! I did get to capture some photos of a pair of damselflies “in wheel”, though, and that’s always cool.

We saw quite a few cottontail rabbits and one young jackrabbit while we were heading out. 

A drive past the smaller settling ponds yielded little because all of the birds were outside the range of my camera. (Sooooo frustrating!) I did manage to spot and get some VERY blurry images of a Redhead Duck, some Rudy Ducks, and a pair of grebes. The only fairly good photo I got from that side of the road was of some Black-Crowned Night Herons standing on the rocks along the edge of the pond.

After that, we drove into Davis for some brunch at the Crepeville restaurant. On the way, we passed fields of safflower and stopped at a sunflower field to get some photos. Oddly, only every third row or so of the sunflowers were in bloom. We wondered if those were a different species than the others.

By the time we got back to the house, it was100º F outside – and completely overcast. So weird. I think we were getting the edge of a passing monsoon. We were out for about 6 hours.

Species List:

  1. Alkali Heliotrope, Heliotropium curassavicum
  2. Alkali Mallow, Malvella leprosa
  3. American Avocet, Recurvirostra americana
  4. American Coot, Fulica americana
  5. American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  6. Ant, Immigrant Pavement Ant, Tetramorium immigrans
  7. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  8. Bisnaga, Visnaga daucoides
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  10. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  11. Black-Crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  12. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  13. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  14. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  15. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  16. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
  17. Case-Bearing Leaf Beetle, Cryptocephalus castaneus
  18. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus [road kill]
  19. Crab Spider, Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia
  20. Damselfly, Familiar Bluet, Enallagma civile
  21. Desert Cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii
  22. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  23. Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  24. Grebe, Western Grebe, Aechmophorus occidentalis [black below the eye]
  25. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  26. Hoverfly, Margined Calligrapher, Toxomerus marginatus
  27. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  28. Leafhopper, Tribe: Empoascini
  29. Leaf-Mining Trumpet Moth, Tischeria sp.
  30. Leafy Bract Gall Wasp, Diplolepis californica [hard rosette gall on rose bush]
  31. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  32. Mantis, Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [large ootheca]
  33. Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  34. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  35. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  36. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
  37. Raccoon, Common Raccoon, Procyon lotor [road kill]
  38. Redhead Duck, Aythya americana
  39. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  40. Rose Rosette Disease, Rose rosette emaravirus [carried by mites]
  41. Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
  42. Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
  43. Safflower, Carthamus tinctorius
  44. Slough Sedge, Carex obnupta
  45. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  46. Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp, Diplolepis polita [on rose leaves]
  47. Sunflower, Common Sunflower, Helianthus annuus [agricultural]
  48. Swallow, Barn Swallow, American Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster
  49. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  50. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  51. Western Spotted Orbweaver, Neoscona oaxacensis
  52. White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
  53. Wild Licorice, Glycyrrhiza lepidota
  54. Willow Beaked-Gall Midge, Rabdophaga rigidae
  55. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  56. Willow Stem Sawfly, Euura exiguae
  57. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  58. ?? Hard gall on the midvein of rose leaves

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The Usual Suspects at Gristmill, 06-19-22

I got up around 5:30 this morning so I could get outside for a walk before the heat of the day came on. Walking in the summer is harder for me because I have to get up earlier to catch the few hours of comfortable temperatures… and going out early means I miss a lot of the insects that don’t come out until it gets warmer. Grrrr.

I went over to the Gristmill Recreation Area and didn’t see much of anything that I haven’t seen already.

The galls on the willows are getting more impressive and easier to see as the larvae inside of them grow. I did find one that didn’t look like others I’d previously seen. I don’t know yet if it’s a “new” gall or just an early iteration of a gall I’ve already seen. I’m not seeing any new galls on the oak trees yet.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I saw a few Black-tailed Jackrabbits around, and a couple of them let me take their pictures. No such luck with the California Ground Squirrels, though.

I watched a male Downy Woodpecker hanging around the hole to what I assumed was a nesting cavity. But I don’t think it was HIS nesting cavity. I saw a beak poke out toward him that looked “heavier” than a Downy beak would be… so I’m not sure what kind of bird was in there. I later saw the woodpecker going through the leaves of nearby trees collecting insects.

There were a lot of White-Breasted Nuthatches climbing the trees all around the trail looking for food. And I saw a Spotted Towhee stuffing its face with elderberries before flying away.

Elsewhere on the trail I found a Bewick’s Wren fledgling that was looking pretty rough, but that didn’t stop it from singing.

I walked for about three hours and then headed home. This was hike #36 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Ant, California Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus [red]
  2. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  3. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  4. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  5. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  6. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  7. California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  10. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  11. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  12. Darkling Beetle, Blapstinus sp.
  13. Downy Woodpecker, Dryobates pubescens
  14. Elm Tree, Field Elm Tree, Ulmus minor
  15. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  16. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  17. Funnel Weaver Spider, Subfamily: Ageleninae
  18. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  19. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  20. Meshweaver Spider, Mallos sp. [small, pale tan with dark dot on the abdomen]
  21. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  22. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  23. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  24. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  25. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  26. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  27. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  28. Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
  29. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  30. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  31. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  32. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  33. Willow Beaked-Gall Midge, Rabdophaga rigidae
  34. Willow Fold Gall Sawfly, Euura sp. [Phyllocolpa sp.]
  35. Willow Petiole Gall Sawfly, Subfamily: Nematinae
  36. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [on stem]
  37. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  38. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
  39. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  40. Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  41. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon

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