The Pelican was a Surprise, 07-05-22

I got up around 5:30 this morning. After feeding the dogs and getting the coffee pot ready for my sister to use, I went out for a walk at Mather Lake. It was in the high 60’s when I got to the lake, and somewhat overcast, which meant it was humid, too. By the time I left, several hours later it was 77º.  The clouds made for some pretty reflection photos on the glassy surface of the like.

I was hoping to see some dragonflies, and maybe an otter or muskrat.  Well, I one dragonfly, so I guess I can’t complained too much. 

There were still quite a few galls on the willow and cottonwood trees. So, so many. On the cottonwood trees, some of the aphids were emerging from their petiole galls. I was able to get some photos and a little video snippet of them waddling around their mother, the fundatrix .

“…Wingless females, called stem mothers, reproduce without fertilization (i.e., by parthenogenesis) throughout the summer. These stem mothers are unique in that they produce living young (viviparity) as opposed to eggs, as occurs in most other insects…”

I saw quite a few different bird species in the trees and on the telephone lines as I walked from the parking lot to the trail: a Black Phoebe, Red-Winged Blackbirds, a female Great-Tail Grackle, a Barn Swallow, a few Western Kingbirds, a Robin, some Eurasian Collared Doves, and some California Quails.

There was also a pair of White-Tailed Kites in their nesting tree, but I couldn’t get any decent photos of them. And there was a Common Gallinule, but she ducked into the tules before I could get my camera raised.

I could hear some Northern Flickers, Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, the Pied-Billed Grebes cooing to one another.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The Mute Swans were out on the water (but, again, without any cygnets). Oddly enough there was a single juvenile American White Pelican swimming and fishing in the lake. The swans didn’t seem to mind it and, in fact, generally gave it a wide berth. Later, a small flock of the pelicans flew by and the young one took off with them.

I was also surprised to see a pair of Caspian Terns fishing in the lake. I watched them fly in broad circles and then tap down onto the water to get their breakfast. They were on the opposite side of the lake and moving quickly, so all I got were horribly fuzzy photos of them.

There were quite a few little dark voles running all over the place. They move so fast, it’s hard to keep an eye on them much less get any photos. I got lucky, though, and was able to follow one to one of its hidey holes under a swath of blackberry vines.  I was able to get a video snippet of it eating some grass.

I walked for a little over 3 hours again. This was hike #40 of my #52HikeChallenge for the year; and for the Summer Series, this was 3 more hours of a required 20 hours for the challenge [so, 6 hours toward that total so far].

After my walk I stopped to get some coffee, and along the drive-thru path there was a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly feeding at some of the flowers in the flower beds. Nice to see.

Species List:

  1. Algae, Green Hair Algae, Chlorodesmis fastigiata
  2. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  3. American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  4. Ant, Argentine Ant, Linepithema humile
  5. Ant, Western Carpenter Ant, Camponotus modoc [winged]
  6. Aphid, Family: Aphididae
  7. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens [heard, glimpsed]
  8. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [den on the lake]
  9. Black Bass, Micropterus sp.
  10. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  11. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  12. Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare
  13. Bumblebee, Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee, Bombus vosnesenskii
  14. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  15. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  16. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  17. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  18. Cassin’s Kingbird, Tyrannus vociferans
  19. Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
  20. Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
  21. Damselfly, Pacific Forktail, Ischnura cervula
  22. Desert Cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii
  23. Downy Woodpecker, Dryobates pubescens
  24. Dragonfly, Blue Dasher Dragonfly, Pachydiplax longipennis
  25. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
  26. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  27. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. peploides
  28. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  29. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  30. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
  31. Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  32. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  33. Lily of the Nile, Agapanthus africanus
  34. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  35. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  36. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  37. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  38. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  39. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
  40. Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium
  41. Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus obesinymphae [new American species, “slit mouth”]
  42. Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
  43. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  44. Shot Hole Borer, Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer Beetle, Euwallacea fornicatus sp.
  45. Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia [heard]
  46. Stretch Spider, Long-Jawed Orbweaver, Tetragnatha sp.
  47. Swallow, Barn Swallow, American Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster
  48. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  49. Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
  50. Tern, Caspian Tern, Hydroprogne caspia [black cap, orange bill]
  51. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  52. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  53. Vole, Field Vole, Microtus agrestis
  54. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  55. Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
  56. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  57. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  58. Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
  59. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  60. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [on stem]
  61. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  62. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
  63. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  64. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  65. Yellow Star-Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis

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