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