I got up around 5:30 this morning, and gave Esteban his breakfast before we both headed out to the Cosumnes River Preserve before the day’s heat rolled in. It got up to 104º today. And the super-high temperatures are supposed to last through this week and into next week.
I just needed to get out somewhere; I was going a bit stir-crazy in the house, not having been out in nature since Saturday because of pain in my leg and the heat. Oh, the heat. My left leg was aching a little bit, but not bad. When I take Esteban with me to places like this, there are a lot of areas where pets aren’t allowed, so I have to restrict my explorations to places where he can go. He did really good on the whole trip.
There is virtually no water at the preserve. I saw one pond filled, but everything else was bone dry. The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge posted information about the fact that they were only allowed to operate with 40% of their normal water allowance this year, and I’m assuming the Cosumnes Preserve was likewise constrained. Some of the rice fields, also owned by the preserve, however, were full of water. That’s “farm” money, not preserve money.
No one really knows how the migrating birds coming through these areas for the next several months are going to react to the extreme lack of water. They may fly off to somewhere else, and they may all collect in the few filled ponds and fields available to them. That would mean the birders and photographers might get to see a lot of different birds in a very small area… but it might also mean that the birds, confined to smaller areas, all pooping and peeing in the same water, might be subject to a lot more disease – like bird flu or cholera. Not good.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
I looked at the Valley Oaks along Desmond Road to look for galls and also checked out the trees by the now-empty pond near the boardwalk area. Found clusters of Red Cones, Yellow Wigs, and Club galls but nothing out of the ordinary. What seemed to be conspicuously missing were the honeydew galls. They provide extra sugar to ants and wasps in the summer months when most of the flowers have died out. I only found one of those galls.
I did find a new-to-me spider, a Humped-Back Orbweaver (Eustala sp.), and that’s always fun.
I didn’t see a whole lot of birds, even in the few flooded areas, but I did get to see both a Red-Shouldered Hawk and a Red-Tailed Hawk on the telephone poles along the road. On my way to the preserve, I actually saw five other hawks, so it was a pretty fair raptor-sighting day.
It was also fun to see Cattle Egrets in among the cattle in the fields. When the herd of cattle ran off to the back of the field, one mama stayed still because her calf needed to nurse. So cute!
I was out for about 2½ hours, and was feeling pretty good for quite a while after my walk.
- Aphid, Woolly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla brevirostris [lots of white fluff, honeydew]
- Ash Flower Gall Mite, Aceria fraxiniflora
- Ash Leaf Curl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii
- Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
- Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Cattle Egret, Western Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis ibis
- Cattle, Black Angus, Bos Taurus var, Black Angus
- Club Gall Wasp, Atrusca clavuloides
- Downy Woodpecker, Dryobates pubescens
- Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
- Flax-Leaved Horseweed, Erigeron bonariensis
- Fly, Stable Fly, Stomoxys calcitrans
- Grasses, Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Humpbacked Orbweaver Spider, Eustala sp.
- Humped Trashline Orbweaver Spider, Cyclosa turbinata
- Jumping Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
- Lady’s Thumb Smartweed, Persicaria maculosa
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Milkweed, Narrowleaf Milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Ribbed Casemaker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Rosette Gall Wasp, Andricus wiltzae [on Valley Oak]
- Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumariumswal
- Round-Gall Wasp, Burnettweldia washingtonensis [round, fuzzy, on twig]
- Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii
- Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Spined Turban Gall Wasp, Cynips douglasii [summer, asexual generation, pink, spiky top]
- Swallow, Barn Swallow, American Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster
- Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
- Woolly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla brevirostris (lots of white fluff & honeydew)
- Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Druon fullawayi
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