Roundabout to the Cosumnes Preserve, 05-08-23

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

Species List:

  1. Alkali Heliotrope, Heliotropium curassavicum
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. Aphid, Potato Aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae
  4. Aphid, Rose Aphid, Macrosiphum rosae
  5. Aphids, Family: Aphididae
  6. Ash Leafcurl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii
  7. Ash Tree, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  8. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  9. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  10. Baccharis Leaf Blister Mite, Aceria baccharipha
  11. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  12. Bindweed, Hillside False Bindweed, Calystegia subacaulis
  13. Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus
  14. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  15. Blackberry Orange Rust, Gymnoconia peckiana
  16. Blackberry, Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus [white stems; CA native]
  17. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  18. Blow Wives, Achyrachaena mollis
  19. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  20. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  21. Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia
  22. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  23. Broadleaved Pepperweed, Lepidium latifolium
  24. Bullock’s Oriole, Icterus bullockii
  25. Buttercup, California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus
  26. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  27. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  28. Cattle, Black Angus, Bos taurus var. Black Angus [domesticated]
  29. Cheeseweed Mallow, Malva parviflora
  30. Clover, Bull Clover, Trifolium fucatum [looks like large cowbag]
  31. Common Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris
  32. Common Mallow, Malva sylvestris
  33. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  34. Coyote Brush Leaf Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia sp.
  35. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  36. Coyote Thistle, Eryngium vaseyi var. vallicola
  37. Curvepod Yellowcress, Rorippa curvisiliqua
  38. Damselfly, Pacific Forktail, Ischnura cervula
  39. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
  40. Dock, Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
  41. Dock, Fiddle Dock, Rumex pulcher
  42. Downingia, Flatface Calicoflower, Downingia pulchella
  43. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  44. Flies, Black Horse Fly, Tabanus atratus [large black fly with black wings]
  45. Flies, Chrysotus Fly, Chrysotus sp.
  46. Flies, Dung Fly, Cordilura sp. [long neck]
  47. Flies, Soldier Fly, Odontomyia cincta
  48. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  49. Geranium, Cut-Leaved Crane’s-Bill, Geranium dissectum
  50. Goldfields, California Goldfields, Lasthenia californica
  51. Gopher Snake, Pituophis catenifer [road kill]
  52. Grasses, Bulbous Bluegrass, Poa bulbosa
  53. Grasses, Creeping Foxtail, Alopecurus arundinaceus
  54. Grasses, Greater Quaking Grass, Rattlesnake Grass, Briza maxima
  55. Grasses, Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
  56. Grasses, Wild Oat, Avena fatua
  57. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  58. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  59. Gumweed, Great Valley Gumweed, Grindelia camporum
  60. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus [heard]
  61. Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
  62. Ithuriel’s Spears, Triteleia laxa
  63. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  64. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [flyover]
  65. Lady Beetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  66. Ladybeetle, Broad-Striped Lady Beetle, Paranaemia vittigera
  67. Lance-Leaved Water-Plantain, Alisma lanceolatum
  68. Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidea [on Valley Oak]
  69. Leafy Bract Gall Wasp, Diplolepis californica 
  70. Lupine, Lupinus sp. [seed pods]
  71. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  72. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  73. Monkey Beetle, Hoplia sp.
  74. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  75. Rose Rust, Phragmidium fungus
  76. Mustard, Field Mustard, Brassica rapa
  77. Non-Biting Midges, Cricotopus sp.
  78. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  79. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  80. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  81. Oak Gall Wasps, Tribe: Cynipini [swollen stem gall on Valley oak]
  82. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  83. Pillbug, Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
  84. Pineappleweed, Chamomilla suaveolens
  85. Plantain, Ribwort, Plantago lanceolata
  86. Popcorn Flower, Scouler’s Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys scouleri
  87. Poppy, California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  88. Potato Mirid, Closterotomus norwegicus [green]
  89. Prickly Sowthistle, Sonchus asper
  90. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  91. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  92. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  93. Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
  94. Rose, Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora [white flowers]
  95. Round Gall Wasp, Burnettweldia washingtonensis [fuzzy, on the stem, valley oak]
  96. Rushes, Baltic Rush, Juncus balticus [small]
  97. Rushes, Pale Spikerush, Eleocharis macrostachya [small, thin, short]
  98. Santa Barbara Sedge, Carex barbarae
  99. Scarlet Pimpernel, Lysimachia arvensis
  100. Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  101. Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp, Diplolepis polita [on rose bushes]
  102. Stonecrop, Aquatic Pygmyweed, Crassula aquatica
  103. Stork’s Bill, Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill, Erodium botrys
  104. Swainson’s Hawk, Buteo swainsoni
  105. Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
  106. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  107. Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  108. Tick, American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
  109. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  110. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  111. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  112. Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
  113. Western Marsh Cudweed, Gnaphalium palustre [soft, lamb]
  114. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  115. White Brodiaea, Triteleia hyacinthina [like white Ithuriel’s Spears, green stripe on back of each floret]
  116. Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
  117. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  118. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  119. Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua
  120. Woolly Marbles, Low Woolly Marbles, Psilocarphus brevissimus
  121. Woolly Marbles, Slender Woolly-Marbles, Psilocarphus tenellus
  122. Wren, Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
  123. ?? Coyote Brush petiole gall
  124. ?? Dead squirrel, roadkill, Sciurus sp.
  125. ?? Leaf fold gall on Valley Oak
  126. ?? Roadkill frog, presumably an American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus

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