Falling for Galls, 08-06-22

I got up at 5:00 AM, so I could be ready to go to the Cosumnes River Preserve with my friend Roxanne around 6:00 AM. We were looking for galls on the valley oaks trees that populate that area, and went first down Bruceville and Desmond Roads.

We stopped to look at some milkweed plants and wild rose bushes along Bruceville Road, and while we were moving around in the tall-ish grass, my right foot dropped into a hole covered by the grass and I toppled over. I tweaked out my already hurting left hip; and the fall also caused by left foot and ankle to bend backwards, the wrong way, so my toes were buzzing with nerve pain. Gad!  Once I fall, I can’t get back up – bad hip, no strength in my arms or legs to speak of – so I was VERY grateful that Roxanne was with me.

We tried various ways to lift me from the ground but none of them were working, so I suggested that Rox bring the car around and I’d try to pull myself up into that. She got the passenger side of the car as close to me as she could and opened the door. Laboring on my hands and knees, I got to the car, grabbed into the front seat and, with Roxanne’s help, finally, after two tries, was able to pull myself up enough to get my feet under me and stand up. Sheesh! If Roxanne hadn’t been with me, I would have had to call 911 for assistance. [Yes, I’m one of those “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up” people. But I can’t afford the Life Alert system.]

CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos.

It was physically and emotionally painful, and embarrassing and humiliating. This getting old stuff sucks. I took an extra pain pill before we continued on with the rest of our outing. There was one tree on Bruceville Road that, at first, we thought was a Valley Oak based on its leaves, but the acorns were all “wrong”: too large and too rounded to be Valley. Based on some research ,I thought maybe it was a Gambel’s Oak, but Rox and I settled on the probability that it was an Oregon Oak. We’ll see if we get any pushback from people on iNaturalist.

We stopped along Desmond Road to check out the trees there, and while we were there We saw a pair of fledgling Ash-Throated Flycatchers. They’re such pretty little birds. We didn’t see a lot of birds on this trip. Of course, we looking for them. We caught glimpses of Brewers Blackbirds, some sparrows, a couple of very dark morph Red-Tails, a Black Phoebe, some Greater Yellowlegs and Black Necked Stilts (at a distance), and three Great Egrets that were feeding in the pond by the boardwalk entrance.

Among the galls, I was especially looking for Disc Galls and Woollybears, and was very happy to have found them both. Yay!

On the oak trees we found Club Galls (some very tiny), Yellow Wigs, Spined Turbans, and Red Cones among others, like the Flat-Topped Honeydew galls that were dripping with honeydew.

We also found galls on the ash trees, and on the willows we found some Pinecone galls, stem galls, and beaked twig galls.

It was a fruitful excursion even though I had to stop at about 3-1/2 hours because my hip and leg were hurting. This was hike #47 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Aphid, Giant Willow Aphid, Tuberolachnus salignus
  2. Ash Flower Gall Mite, Aceria fraxiniflora
  3. Ash Leaf Curl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii
  4. Ash, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  5. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  6. Bee, Tripartite Sweat Bee, Halictus tripartitus
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  9. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  10. Bristly Oxtongue, Helminthotheca echioides
  11. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis [flyover]
  12. Checkered White Butterfly, Pontia protodice
  13. Chicory, Cichorium intybus
  14. Club Gall Wasp, Atrusca clavuloides
  15. Cobweb Spider, Phylloneta sp.
  16. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange, on wood/trees]
  17. Disc Gall Wasp, Andricus parmula [round flat, “spangle gall”]
  18. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
  19. Flax-Leaved Horseweed, Erigeron bonariensis
  20. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  21. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  22. Hover Fly larvae, Family: Syrphidae [white blobby thing eating aphids]
  23. Leaf Beetle, Family: Chrysomelidae
  24. Little Black Ant, Monomorium minimum
  25. Mantis, Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [large ootheca]
  26. Mayfly, Order: Ephemeroptera
  27. Meshweaver Spider, Mallos sp. [small, pale tan with dark dot on the abdomen]
  28. Milkweed, Narrowleaf Milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis
  29. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  30. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  31. Oregon White Oak, Quercus garryana garryana
  32. Pale Smartweed, Persicaria lapathifolia
  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 Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
  37. Redroot Amaranth, Amaranthus retroflexus
  38. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus [dark morph]
  39. Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
  40. Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumariumswal
  41. Round-Gall Wasp, Burnettweldia washingtonensis [round, fuzzy, on twigs]
  42. Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii
  43. Spined Turban Gall Wasp, Cynips douglasii [summer, asexual generation, pink, spiky top]
  44. Stink Bugs, Family: Pentatomidae [eggs]
  45. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  46. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  47. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  48. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  49. Willow Beaked-Gall Midge, Rabdophaga rigidae
  50. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  51. Willow Stem Sawfly, Euura exiguae
  52. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  53. Woollybear Gall Wasp, Atrusca trimaculosa
  54. Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Druon fullawayi

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