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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