Gall Week Continues, 04-16-23

Gall Week Spring 2023 continues, so I got up around 6:30 AM and got myself ready to head out to Sailor Bar Community Park with my friend Roxanne to check the trees and other plants and shrubs there for galls. There are fewer galls in the spring than in the summer, so you really need to search for them. This is the first time a SPRING gall week had been scheduled through iNaturalist.

I was checking all of the oak trees with catkins for the bisexual galls of the Two-Horned galls wasps, but I didn’t see any of those. On the new leaves of the Interior Live Oak trees, however, we were able to find lots of examples of the galls of the Folded Leaf aphid and the bisexual galls of the Live Oak gall wasp. We also found Erineum Mite galls, and one of the Petiole Gall wasp galls. On the Blue Oaks, I found only one Hair Stalk gall. Those are really hard to see, so I was happy to have spotted one.

We also saw a couple of galls of the Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp. These already had exit holes on them, so we assumed they had been formed last year.

On the coyote brush bushes we found a few of the galls of the Bud Gall and Leaf Gall midges. The leaf galls were new to me. A few folks on iNaturalist said the swelling on the leaf looked “too big” to be made by mites, but they couldn’t offer any alternative identifications. [Besides, other photos online showed the swellings were of a variety of sizes.] We’ve also seen mite-galls on other trees, like willows, that were accumulatively VERY large. So, I’m not changing my ID for now. There were also a few specimens of the Rust Galls on some of the bushes.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

As we continued looking around, we were surprised to find a couple of specimens of the Oak-Loving Elfin Saddle mushroom, a Helvella. I think those are such interesting-looking things, but this is a little late in the season for them here. Climate Change has confused everything in Nature.

We were kind of surprised to find quite a few wildflowers in the area, some of them seemingly stunted by growth in degraded and infertile soil, like that in a spot where there were also short oak trees and chamise bushes. There, we found lots and lots of fluffy-headed Q-Tips, some Johnnytuck, Dot-Seed Plantain, Silver Hairgrass, yellow-headed look-alike Smooth Cat’s Ear, Cretanweed, and Hairy Hawkbit flowers. I also found one old dried-out gall of the Lily Stem Midge.

Among the other flowers we saw were: Valley Tassels, Ithuriel’s Spears, Barestem Biscuitroot, Sand Fringepod, Sky -, Silver Bush-, and what we think was Chick Lupine, and a cascade of purple Chinese Houses, among others.

In one spot ,where we pulled off the road to look at the chamise, there were about50 to 100 “sandflies” flying back and forth, and back and forth, low to the ground. I think they’re a kind of .

We heard more birds than we saw, but we did get glimpses of some wrens, Oak Titmice, Northern Mockingbirds, Crows, Red-Shouldered Hawks, and others. I got a photo of an obliging Western Kingbird, along with photos of some very docile Canada Geese, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and Mallards and Mallard hybrids like the white Pekin Ducks.

We walked for about 3 hours and then I needed to quit. This was hike #18 of my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Afterward, we stopped at a Chipotle’s for lunch. I had a steak bowl and a large berry Agua Fresca. The drink was so good, I had two. Roxanne and I used the time to go through the photos we had taken and worked up the day’s species list together.

When it was time to leave, I couldn’t get up from my chair. It was made of wood and iron, and ha a low seat that tipped back… and I couldn’t get out of it. Why do restaurants have furniture like that? Why can’t they make chairs that senior citizens can actually use? Grump, grump, grump. Lucky for me, Roxanne was there and she helped me up. I gave her a hug; she’s such a good, empathetic friend. [I was so tired and hungry, though, that I forgot to take our obligatory lunchtime photo.]

Species List:

  1. Ant, American Winter Ant, Prenolepis imparis
  2. Azola, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  3. Baccharis Leaf Blister Mite, Aceria baccharipha [on coyote brush]
  4. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [sign on tree]
  5. Bedstraw, Catchweed Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Galium aparine
  6. Bedstraw, Graceful Bedstraw, Galium porrigens [very smal]
  7. Bee, Panurginus Bee, Panurginus sp. [fly low over the ground like sandflies]
  8. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  9. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  10. Blue Dicks, Dipterostemon capitatus ssp. capitatus
  11. Butter-and-Eggs, Johnnytuck, Triphysaria eriantha
  12. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  14. Cattail, Broad-Leaved Cattail, Typha latifolia
  15. Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum
  16. Chinese Houses, Purple Chinese Houses, Collinsia heterophylla
  17. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  18. Coyote Brush Rust, Puccinia evadens
  19. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  20. Cretanweed, Hedypnois rhagadioloides [yellow]
  21. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  22. Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
  23. Cutworms and Dart Moths, Subfamily: Noctuinae
  24. Damselfly, Pacific Forktail, Ischnura cervula
  25. Erodium, Musk Stork’s-Bill, Erodium moschatum
  26. Fiddleneck, Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
  27. Fringepod, Sand Fringepod, Thysanocarpus curvipes
  28. Grasses, Silver Hairgrass, Aira caryophyllea
  29. Hair Stalk Gall Wasp, Andricus pedicellatus [thread gall on blue oak]
  30. Hairy Hawkbit, Leontodon saxatilis [yellow]
  31. Helvella, Oak-Loving Elfin Saddle, Helvella dryophila
  32. Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
  33. Ithuriel’s Spear, Triteleia laxa
  34. Johnnytuck, Butter-and-Eggs, Triphysaria eriantha
  35. Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  36. Lady Beetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  37. Lily Stem Gall Midge, Lasioptera sp. [on Itherial’s Spears in the spring]
  38. Live Oak Erineum Mite Gall, Aceria mackiei
  39. Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
  40. Live Oak Gall Wasp, Bisexual, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
  41. Live Oak Petiole Gall Wasp, Melikaiella flora [can also show up in the midvein
  42. Lomatium, Barestem Biscuitroot, Lomatium nudicaule
  43. Lupine, Bush Lupine, Silver Lupine, Lupinus albifrons var. albifrons
  44. Lupine, Chick Lupine, Lupinus microcarpus [yellow, white]
  45. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  46. Lupine, Sky Lupine, Lupinus nanus
  47. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  48. Mallard, Domestic Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
  49. Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  50. Non-Biting Midges, Cricotopus sp.
  51. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  52. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  53. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  54. Oak, Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  55. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  56. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  57. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  58. Omnivorous Leafroller Moth, Platynota stultana
  59. Pekin Duck, Domestic Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  60. Pineapple-Weed, Matricaria discoidea
  61. Plantain, Dot-Seed Plantain, Plantago erecta
  62. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  63. Poppy, California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  64. Q-Tips, Micropus californicus
  65. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  66. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  67. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  68. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens [on live oaks, black oaks]
  69. Shortpod Mustard, Hirschfeldia incana
  70. Smooth Cat’s Ear, Hypochaeris glabra [yellow]
  71. Snout Beetle, Smicronyx sp.
  72. Sulphur Tubic Moth, Esperia sulphurella [small, black with white band down each side] [Rox saw this one]
  73. True Babystars, Leptosiphon bicolor [Rox saw this one]
  74. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  75. Valley Tassels, Castilleja attenuata
  76. Vetch, Common Vetch, Vicia sativa
  77. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  78. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  79. White-Winged March Fly, Bibio albipennis
  80. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  81. Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua
  82. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  83. Yellow Water Iris, Iris pseudacorus

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