CNC Drum Powerhouse Road, 04-28-23

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.

Band-Tailed Pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata

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!

Species List:

  1. American Fairybells, Prosartes sp.
  2. American Yellowrocket, Barbarea orthoceras
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  4. Annaphila  Owlet Moth, Annaphila diva
  5. Aphid, Potato Aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae [tiny, green]
  6. Apple Tree, Malus domestica
  7. Ash Tree, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  8. Band-Tailed Pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata
  9. Bay Laurel, California Bay, Umbellularia californica
  10. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  11. Bitter Cherry Tree, Prunus emarginata
  12. Blackberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons
  13. Bleeding Hearts, Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa
  14. Blue Dicks, Dipterostemon capitatus ssp. capitatus
  15. Bluehead Gilia, Gilia capitata
  16. Brewer’s Rockcress, Boechera breweri [purple flowers]
  17. Broom, Scotch Broom, Cytisus scoparius
  18. Brown Fritillary, Fritillaria micrantha
  19. Brown-Eyed Sunshine Lichen, Vulpicida canadensis
  20. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
  21. Buttercup, Western Buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalis
  22. Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris rapae
  23. California Incense-Cedar, Calocedrus decurrens
  24. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  25. California Saxifrage, Micranthes californica
  26. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  27. Cattle, Highland Cattle,  Bos taurus var. Highland
  28. Chaparral Honeysuckle, Lonicera interrupta
  29. Cherry, St Lucie Cherry, Prunus mahaleb
  30. Chiseled Sunken Disk Lichen, Circinaria contorta
  31. Cinder Lichen, Aspicilia cinerea
  32. Clover, Red Clover, Trifolium pratense
  33. Clover, Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  34. Cobwebby Thistle, Cirsium occidentale
  35. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  36. Common Powderhorn Lichen, Cladonia coniocraea
  37. Common Water Strider, Aquarius remigis
  38. Creeping Mahonia, Berberis repens
  39. Creeping Snowberry, Symphoricarpos mollis
  40. Crescent Map Lichen, Rhizocarpon lecanorinum
  41. Cumberland Rock Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia [gray, brown apotheca]
  42. Dock, Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
  43. Dogwood, Pacific Dogwood, Cornus nuttallii
  44. Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii
  45. Dudleya, Canyon Liveforever, Dudleya cymosa
  46. Emery Rocktripe Lichen, Umbilicaria phaea
  47. Erodium, Redstem Stork’s-Bill, Erodium cicutarium
  48. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto
  49. Fendler’s Meadow-Rue, Thalictrum fendleri
  50. Fern, Coastal Woodfern, Dryopteris arguta
  51. Fern, Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata
  52. Fern, Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
  53. Fern, Lace Lip Fern, Myriopteris gracillima
  54. Fern, Narrowleaf Sword Fern, Polystichum imbricans
  55. Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
  56. Fringed Shield Lichen, Parmelina coleae
  57. Giant White Wakerobin, Trillium albidum
  58. Globe Lily, White Globe Lily, Calochortus albus
  59. Goat, Domestic Goat, Capra aegagrus hircus
  60. Gooseberry, Sierra Gooseberry, Ribes roezlii
  61. Gouty Stem Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercussuttoni
  62. Grasses, Pink Grass, Windmill Pink, Hairypink, Petrorhagia dubia
  63. Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta
  64. Hairy Gall Wasp, Disholandricus lasius [on Canyon Live Oak]
  65. Imshaug’s Tube Lichen, Hypogymnia imshaugii
  66. Iris, Rainbow Iris, Iris hartwegii
  67. Irregular Spindle Gall Wasp, Andricus chrysolepidicola [on Canyon Live Oak]
  68. Ithuriel’s Spears, Triteleia laxa
  69. Kermes, Allokermes sp.
  70. Lilac, Common Lilac, Syringa vulgaris
  71. Live Oak Bud Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercusagrifoliae
  72. Live Oak Gall Wasp, Bisexual, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
  73. Lomatium, Foothill Desert-Parsley, Lomatium utriculatum
  74. Lupine, Broadleaf Lupine, Lupinus latifolius
  75. Lupine, Spider Lupine, Lupinus benthamii
  76. Mahala Mat, Ceanothus prostratus
  77. Manzanita, Smooth Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida
  78. Maple, Bigleaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum
  79. Miner’s Lettuce, Streambank Springbeauty, Claytonia parviflora
  80. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
  81. Moss, Lyell’s Bristle-Moss, Pulvigera lyellii
  82. Mosses, Crisped Pincushion Moss, Ulota crispa
  83. Mosses, Long-Leaved Thread Moss, Ptychostomum pseudotriquetrum
  84. Mosses, Phylum: Bryophyta
  85. Mountain Jewelflower, Streptanthus tortuosus
  86. Mountain Misery, Chamaebatia foliolosa
  87. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  88. Oak, California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  89. Oak, Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis
  90. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  91. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
  92. Olive, Olea europaea
  93. Pacific Hound’s Tongue, Adelinia grande
  94. Paintbrush, Castilleja sp.
  95. Pea, Sulphur Pea, Lathyrus sulphureus
  96. Pea, Sierra Nevada Peavine, Lathyrus nevadensis
  97. Pepper-Spore Lichen, Rinodina sp.
  98. Periwinkle, Lesser Periwinkle, Vinca minor
  99. Phytoplasmas, Phytoplasma sp. [creates witch’s broom, on pine]
  100. Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa
  101. Prettyface, Foothill Triteleia, Triteleia ixioides scabra
  102. Purple Sanicle, Sanicula bipinnatifida 
  103. Spider, Order: Araneae
  104. Sunflower, Common Woolly Sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatum
  105. Sycamore, American Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
  106. Tapered Stem Gall Wasp, Protobalandricus spectabilis
  107. Thistle, Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
  108. Tick, American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
  109. True Sedges, Carex sp.
  110. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  111. Variable Wrinkle-Lichen, Tuckermanopsis orbata
  112. Violet, Shelton’s Violet, Viola sheltonii
  113. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  114. Western Columbine, Aquilegia Formosa
  115. Western False Rue Anemone, Enemion occidentale [white flowers]
  116. Western Gall Rust, Cronartium harknessii
  117. Western Morning Glory, Calystegia occidentalis
  118. White Nemophila, Nemophila heterophylla
  119. Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua
  120. Willow, Scouler’s Willow, Salix scouleriana
  121. Wisteria, Japanese Wisteria, Wisteria floribunda
  122. Wolf Lichen, Letharia vulpina
  123. Woolly Bird’s Nest Fungus, Nidula niveotomentosa
  124. Yellow Map Lichen, Rhizocarpon geographicum
  125. ?? Folded live oakleaf with a tiny caterpillar in it
  126. ?? live oak leaf that had been mined all throughout the top, like a blister

Buy Me a Coffee!

Donate $5 to buy me a coffee so I have the fuel I need to keep exploring and bring more of nature to you. Thanks!