I kind of eased into my morning. After getting my dog Esteban fed and pottied, I did a little journaling before getting myself ready to go out to the Cosumnes River Preserve for a walk with my friend Roxanne, First, we stopped to get some coffee and then we were on our way.
Since the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge was on the way, down I-5, we stopped there to look for galls. Now, normally the refuge isn’t the greatest place to look for galls, but they do have a raft of California Wild Rose bushes, which sometimes get interesting galls on them. I was looking for the Leafy Bract Galls, but only found older ones from last year that had already turned silvery-black. I was surprised, though, to see lots of the galls of the Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp. I think the bract galls may come in another month or so.
We also found some galls on the coyote brush, ash trees, and some of the Valley Oaks. So, it was a better result than I thought we might get.
As we were heading out of Stone Lakes, we saw a young Desert Cottontail rabbit. Apparently, the rabbits’ warren was connected to two large drainage pipes in the ground, so the bunny was able to dash in and out of sight again within seconds.
We then headed over to the Cosumnes Preserve, but stopped along the edge of the freeway onramp to get photos of hundreds, literally hundreds, of Blow Wives that had gone to seed. We usually see Blow Wives in a onesie-twosie configuration interspersed with lots of other plants and trees. I’ve never see “acres” of them before. That was amazing to me.
We got back onto the freeway but couldn’t get to the preserve using Franklin Blvd. because a chunk of the road was closed while work is being done on a bridge there. Construction is supposed to end sometime in June, I think. The bridge across the Lost Slough has been there since the 1930’s and is suffering from pavement damage and structural issues.
It’s located in an environmentally sensitive area and provides the ideal roosting space for a large colony of migratory bats. There are about 60,00 bats that utilize the bridge — one of the largest colonies in all of Northern California. I couldn’t find anything on how or if the bats had been relocated during the construction phase.
Because we couldn’t get to the preserve via Twin Cities and Franklin Blvd., we drove around Bruceville and Desmond Roads. Most of the agricultural fields were completely devoid of water and some of them had already been plowed up (or were in the process of being plowed.)
Some surprises along the way including seeing lots of White Brodiaea. I’d never seen that along that road before. There was also patches of Flatface downingia, Bull Clover, and different species of Woolly Marbles. There were also a few dark purple-blue Ithuriel’s Spears.
Looking over some of the Valley Oak trees along Desmond Road, we found galls similar to those we’d found at Stone Lakes, but we also found a “Round Gall”, a small felty gall found on the stems of the Valley Oaks.
While we were searching for the galls, I was distracted by a bird that came into my peripheral vision. It was a Bullock’s Oriole! In the tree, above our heads, we also found a couple of nests. I couldn’t help but wonder if the bird was keeping an eye on its nest from a distance.
According to Cornnell: “…Nest sites are selected by the female …Nests are commonly placed in isolated trees, at edges of woodlands, along wooded watercourses (sometimes hanging over water), in shelterbelts, and in urban parks… Several active nests may be placed in close proximity… Generally only female weaves nest, but male may assist, with one working on inside and other on outside, bringing nesting material. Nest may take up to 15 days to build…Nests are neatly woven, often containing hair (especially horsehair), grasses, and wool, shreds of leaves, or bark, and lined with cottonwood or willow cotton, wool, or feathers; often contain man-made materials such as twine, string, even fishing line… In California and Oregon, uses variety of trees, commonly cottonwood, oak, or eucalyptus…”
We noticed the man-made materials in the nests we saw, and Roxanne also noticed that on the outside of the nests there were what appeared to be spider egg sacs.
We were able to find and identify (to some degree) a variety of insects, some of them common, some of them new to me, like the Soldier Fly and the Cordilura dung fly. Among the beetles was a fat Hoplia Monkey Beetle that was lying on his back on some elderberry flowers. We thought he was dead, but when Rox touched him he started moving his legs and attempted to roll over.
Among the pathogens we found were two types of plant rust: Multiflora Rose Rust, caused by Phragmidium fungus, and Blackberry Orange Rust, caused by the fungus Gymnoconia peckiana.
Of course there were all of the usual suspects including various species of oak, Boxelder trees, Sycamore trees, willows and Blue Elderberry. We also found a variety of water plants still standing around where water had gathered and stayed deep underground: rushes, tules, water plantain. And there were all kinds of grasses. I only went after an ID of the most obviously different grasses like the super soft Rabbitfoot Grass and the Creeping Foxtail grass which turns “grayish” as it goes to seed.
We were out for about 7 hours and then headed back to Sacramento, but we stopped in Elk Grove and went over to the Olive Garden for lunch. I had two bowls of soup and two servings of salad, and drank 3 glasses of tea. I was a lot more hungry and thirsty than I realized!
This was hike #26 toward my #52hikechallenge. Halfway through! So much to look at. Tick Count: 8
- Alkali Heliotrope, Heliotropium curassavicum
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- Aphid, Potato Aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae
- Aphid, Rose Aphid, Macrosiphum rosae
- Aphids, Family: Aphididae
- Ash Leafcurl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii
- Ash Tree, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
- Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
- Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
- Baccharis Leaf Blister Mite, Aceria baccharipha
- Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- Bindweed, Hillside False Bindweed, Calystegia subacaulis
- Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blackberry Orange Rust, Gymnoconia peckiana
- Blackberry, Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus [white stems; CA native]
- Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
- Blow Wives, Achyrachaena mollis
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
- Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia
- Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Broadleaved Pepperweed, Lepidium latifolium
- Bullock’s Oriole, Icterus bullockii
- Buttercup, California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Cattle, Black Angus, Bos taurus var. Black Angus [domesticated]
- Cheeseweed Mallow, Malva parviflora
- Clover, Bull Clover, Trifolium fucatum [looks like large cowbag]
- Common Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris
- Common Mallow, Malva sylvestris
- Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
- Coyote Brush Leaf Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia sp.
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Coyote Thistle, Eryngium vaseyi var. vallicola
- Curvepod Yellowcress, Rorippa curvisiliqua
- Damselfly, Pacific Forktail, Ischnura cervula
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Dock, Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
- Dock, Fiddle Dock, Rumex pulcher
- Downingia, Flatface Calicoflower, Downingia pulchella
- Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
- Flies, Black Horse Fly, Tabanus atratus [large black fly with black wings]
- Flies, Chrysotus Fly, Chrysotus sp.
- Flies, Dung Fly, Cordilura sp. [long neck]
- Flies, Soldier Fly, Odontomyia cincta
- Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
- Geranium, Cut-Leaved Crane’s-Bill, Geranium dissectum
- Goldfields, California Goldfields, Lasthenia californica
- Gopher Snake, Pituophis catenifer [road kill]
- Grasses, Bulbous Bluegrass, Poa bulbosa
- Grasses, Creeping Foxtail, Alopecurus arundinaceus
- Grasses, Greater Quaking Grass, Rattlesnake Grass, Briza maxima
- Grasses, Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
- Grasses, Wild Oat, Avena fatua
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Gumweed, Great Valley Gumweed, Grindelia camporum
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus [heard]
- Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
- Ithuriel’s Spears, Triteleia laxa
- Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [flyover]
- Lady Beetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
- Ladybeetle, Broad-Striped Lady Beetle, Paranaemia vittigera
- Lance-Leaved Water-Plantain, Alisma lanceolatum
- Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidea [on Valley Oak]
- Leafy Bract Gall Wasp, Diplolepis californica
- Lupine, Lupinus sp. [seed pods]
- Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Monkey Beetle, Hoplia sp.
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Rose Rust, Phragmidium fungus
- Mustard, Field Mustard, Brassica rapa
- Non-Biting Midges, Cricotopus sp.
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Gall Wasps, Tribe: Cynipini [swollen stem gall on Valley oak]
- Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Pillbug, Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
- Pineappleweed, Chamomilla suaveolens
- Plantain, Ribwort, Plantago lanceolata
- Popcorn Flower, Scouler’s Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys scouleri
- Poppy, California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
- Potato Mirid, Closterotomus norwegicus [green]
- Prickly Sowthistle, Sonchus asper
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
- Rose, Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora [white flowers]
- Round Gall Wasp, Burnettweldia washingtonensis [fuzzy, on the stem, valley oak]
- Rushes, Baltic Rush, Juncus balticus [small]
- Rushes, Pale Spikerush, Eleocharis macrostachya [small, thin, short]
- Santa Barbara Sedge, Carex barbarae
- Scarlet Pimpernel, Lysimachia arvensis
- Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp, Diplolepis polita [on rose bushes]
- Stonecrop, Aquatic Pygmyweed, Crassula aquatica
- Stork’s Bill, Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill, Erodium botrys
- Swainson’s Hawk, Buteo swainsoni
- Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
- Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- Tick, American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
- Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
- Western Marsh Cudweed, Gnaphalium palustre [soft, lamb]
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- White Brodiaea, Triteleia hyacinthina [like white Ithuriel’s Spears, green stripe on back of each floret]
- Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
- Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
- Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua
- Woolly Marbles, Low Woolly Marbles, Psilocarphus brevissimus
- Woolly Marbles, Slender Woolly-Marbles, Psilocarphus tenellus
- Wren, Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
- ?? Coyote Brush petiole gall
- ?? Dead squirrel, roadkill, Sciurus sp.
- ?? Leaf fold gall on Valley Oak
- ?? Roadkill frog, presumably an American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus
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