This was the first day of the four-day City Nature Challenge for this year, so I’m going to be waaaaay behind in my posts and photo albums while I rest up from my excursions, get everything posted to iNaturalist, sort through my photos and write my blog posts.
Today’s trip was up to Drum Powerhouse Road with my friend and fellow naturalist, Roxanne. We also took my dog Esteban along for the ride — and I was seriously considering adding him to my species list, but I didn’t. Hah! The road runs up through the foothills between Alta and Dutch Flat in Placer County. It sometimes follows the route of the Bear River and allows views of forested areas, seeps, and serpentine rock areas. We thought it would make for a great place to start racking up species for the challenge.
We got up early and were on the way by 6:30 am, trying to beat today’s heat. We know the route pretty well, including a lot of the best turn-off points, but were a little surprised that we didn’t see a lot of what we were used to seeing early on. We saw a good number of species, just not in the concentrations we normally do. But the weather has been weird lately, and we think a lot of the stuff just wasn’t awake yet.
The snow-melt was still happening here, and all along the road were mini-waterfalls of snow-water.
A lot of clearing had been done in the forest and it looked like a lot of new construction was going on up there. In a spot where we usually see a lot of Giant Wake Robins, most of the plants were gone, except for some around the base of a couple of trees set off from the road on private property. And that was a bit of a disappointment — BUT, we did get to see a lot of different lichens, including one I had never seen before, and the ground was littered in places with dozens of small Bird’s Nest Fungus, one of my favorite fungi, so I couldn’t complain too much.
There were also lots of rock lichens. As we were in a moving vehicle for much of the trip, I didn’t get out to look closely at many of them, but I did capture a few.
I also spotted some Witches Broom outcroppings in the pine trees there. I’d never seen the pine version of that before. Most of the witches broom formations we’ve seen have been caused by types of Phytoplasmas, and the one in pine trees is generally Candidatus phytoplasma pini, although there are others. The deformations can be small or huge, and can vary greatly in color.
“…Phytoplasmas commonly cause distorted, dwarfed, and yellowish leaves and shoots. Other symptoms include abnormal flower and leaf development, shortened internodes, and shoot proliferation (witches’ broom). The flowers of infected plants sometimes develop green, leaflike structures, called phyllody…” — University of California.
We did see quite a few different species of wildflowers including different kinds of pea, Shelton’s Violets, Brown Fritillary, Pacific Hound’s Tongue, Bleeding Hearts, different kinds of barberry, Sierra Gooseberry, California Saxifrage, Brewer’s Rockcress, American Fairybells, and more. The Pacific Dogwoods and California Bay trees were also blooming, And we also saw lots of Jewelflower plants but none of them were in bloom yet.
I suck at identifying ferns, but we did see quite a few different species when we were out there including Lace Lips, Goldback ferns, Coastal Woodfern, and Giant Chain Fern, among others. There were also areas where there were lush mosses covering the rocks and surrounding a variety of other tiny plants and flowers. Just luscious!
We could hear birds around us, but couldn’t seem to catch any photos of any of them, with the exception of a handsome Band-Tailed Pigeon [a “life” bird for me, so, yay!] that posed on a birdbath in someone’s yard.
When we stopped to get some photos of a bitter cherry tree on the side of the road, we realized there was a moth either feeding among the flowers or maybe laying eggs, It didn’t come out fully for us to see it in its entirety, but we had enough “pieces” of it in our combined photos to be able to identify it as an Annaphila Owlet Moth, Annaphila diva. Here’s a photo, not taken by me, from the Butterflies and Moths of North America website.
At one point, we pulled off onto an outlet on the side of the road and had our lunch before traveling on. Around that area, we found some water-striders in a pool at the bottom of one of the mini waterfalls.
We reached the end of the road, where the gate to the power station was, and checked the Canyon Live Oak trees there for some springtime galls. We didn’t find any, but we did find some of last summer’s galls.
We then headed back to Sacramento, but stopped along the road in a few places to take more photos. Lots more wildflowers, and some interesting livestock greeted us along the way.
We ended up logging over 120 species for this outing so I was VERY pleased with that. This was hike #22 in my#52HikeChallenge for the year.
I’ll have a full album of photos for you eventually, but first I have to get through this year’s four-day City Nature Challenge and then start sorting photos. Stay tuned!
- American Fairybells, Prosartes sp.
- American Yellowrocket, Barbarea orthoceras
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Annaphila Owlet Moth, Annaphila diva
- Aphid, Potato Aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae [tiny, green]
- Apple Tree, Malus domestica
- Ash Tree, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
- Band-Tailed Pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata
- Bay Laurel, California Bay, Umbellularia californica
- Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- Bitter Cherry Tree, Prunus emarginata
- Blackberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons
- Bleeding Hearts, Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa
- Blue Dicks, Dipterostemon capitatus ssp. capitatus
- Bluehead Gilia, Gilia capitata
- Brewer’s Rockcress, Boechera breweri [purple flowers]
- Broom, Scotch Broom, Cytisus scoparius
- Brown Fritillary, Fritillaria micrantha
- Brown-Eyed Sunshine Lichen, Vulpicida canadensis
- Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
- Buttercup, Western Buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalis
- Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris rapae
- California Incense-Cedar, Calocedrus decurrens
- California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
- California Saxifrage, Micranthes californica
- California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
- Cattle, Highland Cattle, Bos taurus var. Highland
- Chaparral Honeysuckle, Lonicera interrupta
- Cherry, St Lucie Cherry, Prunus mahaleb
- Chiseled Sunken Disk Lichen, Circinaria contorta
- Cinder Lichen, Aspicilia cinerea
- Clover, Red Clover, Trifolium pratense
- Clover, Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
- Cobwebby Thistle, Cirsium occidentale
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Powderhorn Lichen, Cladonia coniocraea
- Common Water Strider, Aquarius remigis
- Creeping Mahonia, Berberis repens
- Creeping Snowberry, Symphoricarpos mollis
- Crescent Map Lichen, Rhizocarpon lecanorinum
- Cumberland Rock Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia [gray, brown apotheca]
- Dock, Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
- Dogwood, Pacific Dogwood, Cornus nuttallii
- Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii
- Dudleya, Canyon Liveforever, Dudleya cymosa
- Emery Rocktripe Lichen, Umbilicaria phaea
- Erodium, Redstem Stork’s-Bill, Erodium cicutarium
- Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- Fendler’s Meadow-Rue, Thalictrum fendleri
- Fern, Coastal Woodfern, Dryopteris arguta
- Fern, Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata
- Fern, Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
- Fern, Lace Lip Fern, Myriopteris gracillima
- Fern, Narrowleaf Sword Fern, Polystichum imbricans
- Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
- Fringed Shield Lichen, Parmelina coleae
- Giant White Wakerobin, Trillium albidum
- Globe Lily, White Globe Lily, Calochortus albus
- Goat, Domestic Goat, Capra aegagrus hircus
- Gooseberry, Sierra Gooseberry, Ribes roezlii
- Gouty Stem Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercussuttoni
- Grasses, Pink Grass, Windmill Pink, Hairypink, Petrorhagia dubia
- Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta
- Hairy Gall Wasp, Disholandricus lasius [on Canyon Live Oak]
- Imshaug’s Tube Lichen, Hypogymnia imshaugii
- Iris, Rainbow Iris, Iris hartwegii
- Irregular Spindle Gall Wasp, Andricus chrysolepidicola [on Canyon Live Oak]
- Ithuriel’s Spears, Triteleia laxa
- Kermes, Allokermes sp.
- Lilac, Common Lilac, Syringa vulgaris
- Live Oak Bud Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercusagrifoliae
- Live Oak Gall Wasp, Bisexual, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
- Lomatium, Foothill Desert-Parsley, Lomatium utriculatum
- Lupine, Broadleaf Lupine, Lupinus latifolius
- Lupine, Spider Lupine, Lupinus benthamii
- Mahala Mat, Ceanothus prostratus
- Manzanita, Smooth Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida
- Maple, Bigleaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum
- Miner’s Lettuce, Streambank Springbeauty, Claytonia parviflora
- Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
- Moss, Lyell’s Bristle-Moss, Pulvigera lyellii
- Mosses, Crisped Pincushion Moss, Ulota crispa
- Mosses, Long-Leaved Thread Moss, Ptychostomum pseudotriquetrum
- Mosses, Phylum: Bryophyta
- Mountain Jewelflower, Streptanthus tortuosus
- Mountain Misery, Chamaebatia foliolosa
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak, California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
- Oak, Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis
- Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
- Olive, Olea europaea
- Pacific Hound’s Tongue, Adelinia grande
- Paintbrush, Castilleja sp.
- Pea, Sulphur Pea, Lathyrus sulphureus
- Pea, Sierra Nevada Peavine, Lathyrus nevadensis
- Pepper-Spore Lichen, Rinodina sp.
- Periwinkle, Lesser Periwinkle, Vinca minor
- Phytoplasmas, Phytoplasma sp. [creates witch’s broom, on pine]
- Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa
- Prettyface, Foothill Triteleia, Triteleia ixioides scabra
- Purple Sanicle, Sanicula bipinnatifida
- Spider, Order: Araneae
- Sunflower, Common Woolly Sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatum
- Sycamore, American Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
- Tapered Stem Gall Wasp, Protobalandricus spectabilis
- Thistle, Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
- Tick, American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
- True Sedges, Carex sp.
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Variable Wrinkle-Lichen, Tuckermanopsis orbata
- Violet, Shelton’s Violet, Viola sheltonii
- Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
- Western Columbine, Aquilegia Formosa
- Western False Rue Anemone, Enemion occidentale [white flowers]
- Western Gall Rust, Cronartium harknessii
- Western Morning Glory, Calystegia occidentalis
- White Nemophila, Nemophila heterophylla
- Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua
- Willow, Scouler’s Willow, Salix scouleriana
- Wisteria, Japanese Wisteria, Wisteria floribunda
- Wolf Lichen, Letharia vulpina
- Woolly Bird’s Nest Fungus, Nidula niveotomentosa
- Yellow Map Lichen, Rhizocarpon geographicum
- ?? Folded live oakleaf with a tiny caterpillar in it
- ?? live oak leaf that had been mined all throughout the top, like a blister
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