I got up around 5:00 AM to get the dogs fed and pottied, and then got myself ready to go to Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin with my friend and fellow naturalist, Roxanne, by 6:00 AM. It was mostly cloudy and very humid all day thanks to once-was-a-hurricane Frank. The humidity really got to me, especially as the morning warmed up. Nevertheless, we still managed to stay out for about 4 hours.
The park has a nice mix of heritage blue oaks, valley oaks, and live oaks, along with a few different species of willows and other plants along Antelope Creek. We were focused pretty much on just the galls we could find in the front park of the park, along the same route as the disk-golf range. We didn’t go into the back of the park on this trip where there are more valley oaks than anything else; maybe next time.
Among the many, many galls we found were some Round Honeydew galls which I hadn’t found anywhere else yet. They were even oozing honeydew!
There were quite a few Gray Midrib galls which were still in their green phase and hadn’t gone gray yet. That told me we were a little early checking out all of the gall there. Some, like the Coral Galls hadn’t erupted yet. We also didn’t find the Disc, Convoluted and Peach galls I was hoping to see.
On the other hand, as in other places this year, the Crystalline galls here were in profusion. I don’t remember ever seeing this many in a single season before. We also found quite a few Hair Stalk galls.(Usually we’ll maybe fine ONE per outing; today we found about a dozen!)
We also found the Blue Oak Erineum mite galls I was hoping to find. I’ve never found them anywhere except on one specific tree in this park. According to Russo: “…The concave depressions [on the back of the leaves] are covered with whitish hairs, among which the mites feed…” I took a few photos of the hairs, but even with the macro lens, they were hair to capture.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
A couple of fun finds for me: there were a number of the old spring generation galls of the Striped Volcano gall wasp. Like the tiny volcano galls we see in the summer, the spring generation galls are on the margins of the leaf on blue oak, but rather than being volcano-shaped, the spring galls are round and kind of papery with a blue-black interior. And, as is the case with two generation galls wasps, this one has a bisexual generation (spring, males and females) and an asexual generation (summer, females only). So cool!
We also found just one specimen of the Flange Gall Wasp gall. It looks like a fat little button with a ring of protruding triangular flanges coming out of the bottom of it. Fellow naturalist Karlyn Lewis had found some of these on her excursions in Rockville. [See her website.]
We came across a pale orange-pink caterpillar on one of the trees. I think it’s the caterpillar of a Dagger Moth. I was able to get a few close ups of it, including its little fat face, mouth parts and eyes.
“…Most Caterpillars have six very simple eyes on each side of the head (making 12 in all), although some species have five or seven each side. These light sensitive structures are called ocelli or stemmata. These probably only sense light and dark, and do not distinguish shapes or color…”
“…A caterpillar’s maxillae (small mouth parts that are under the mandibles) have taste cells; these chemical detectors tell the caterpillar to eat when the food is appropriate, and not to eat when the food is not appropriate. The tiny antennae, which are near the mouth parts, sense smells…”
I took over 380 photos with just my cellphone! Good thing I brought my charger pack with me. When we were “galled out” we looked for other critters like birds and squirrels and came across a male Nuttall’s Woodpecker who let us take some photos and video of him.
We also watched the antics of the ground squirrels who have a whole colony-thing going in the middle lawn of the park.
And we pulled some of the discolored and deformed acorns from the oaks so I could take a look at what was happening inside of them when I got home. [I really need Xacto blades for work like that. The house-knives are too big and just mess up a lot of what’s inside the acorn or gall or whatever.]
Like I said, we were out for about 4 hours and by then it was too hot and humid to do any more walking. This was hike #46 of my #52HikeChallenge for the year.
We then drove over to the Granite Rock Grille for brunch. I had a large plate of biscuits and gravy (the biscuits were sooooo light and fluffy), a fruit bowl on the side, and a spicy Bacon Bloody Mary to drink. They use jalapeño salt around the rim of the glass, which adds an extra kick to the drink. (I only like spicy Bloody Mary’s; the plain ones are just… yuck.)
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blue Oak Erineum Mite, Aceria trichophila
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- Catalpa, Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa
- Cattail, Narrowleaf Cattail, Typha angustifolia
- Club Gall Wasp, Atrusca clavuloides
- Clustered Gall Wasp, Andricus brunneus
- Coral Gall Wasp, Burnettweldia corallina
- Corn, Zea mays
- Crystalline Gall Wasp, Andricus crystallinus
- Cucumber, Cucumis sativus
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
- Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto [heard]
- Fimbriate Gall Wasp, Andricus opertus
- Fuzzy-Gall Wasp, Cynips conspicuus [round mealy bumpy; on Valley oak]
- Gouty Stem Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercussuttoni
- Grasses, Dallis Grass, Paspalum dilatatum
- Gray Midrib Gall Wasp, Cynips multipunctata
- Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
- Hair Stalk Gall Wasp, Andricus pedicellatus [thread gall on blue oak]
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Marbled Oak Dagger Moth, Acronicta marmorata [pinkish-orange caterpillar, sparse fine hairs]
- Mayfly, Speckled Dun, Callibaetis pictus [small, tan or brownish]
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Powdery Mildew, Erysiphe alphitoides
- Oak, Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
- Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
- Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Plate Gall Wasp, Andricus pattersonae
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Rosette Gall Wasp, Andricus wiltzae [on Valley Oak]
- Round Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis canescens
- Round-Gall Wasp, Fuzzy Gall, Burnettweldia washingtonensis [round, fuzzy, on twigs]
- Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
- Spined Turban Gall Wasp, Cynips douglasii [summer, asexual generation, pink, spiky top]
- Striped Volcano Gall Wasp, Andricus atrimentus, asexual, summer generation [looks like a tiny volcano]
- Striped Volcano Gall Wasp, Andricus atrimentus, bisexual spring generation [looks like a papery ball with a black interior]
- Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
- Tarweed, Common Tarweed, Spikeweed, Centromadia pungens [prickly]
- Tarweed, Fitch’s Tarweed, Centromadia fitchii
- Urchin Gall Wasp, Cynips quercusechinus
- Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
- Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
- Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
- Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli
- Zinnia, Elegant Zinnia, Zinnia elegans