Another Walk at the River Bend Park, 05-11-23

I woke up with a bit of a headache and a touch of high blood pressure, but I decided to go for a walk at the American River Bend Park anyway. The weather was very cooperative, around 56º F and clear. I took a trail that I don’t normally take there and did a little exploring.

I was looking for a specific kind of gall — the gall of the Round Leaf Gall Wasp, Heteroecus flavens — but I couldn’t remember if it was a springtime or summer gall. Here are some photos of that one taken in April of 2021:

I did find some clusters of the galls of the Live Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Bisexual, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis, and some twig galls [including one that was wearing a fallen catkin like a wig, among others.

I found some Saint John’s Wort Beetles — small beetles with a lightly pitted, coppery carapace — on what looked like a Goldwire plant, and also found a new-to-me plant: Narrowleaf Cottonrose. Apparently, that one’s pretty common along the American River Parkway, but I’d never found it before. Around this area I also came across a patch of Gilled Polypore fungus on the stump of an oak tree.

I saw pipevine plants climbing some of the trees, and there were some Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars crawling on some of them. I found several different instars and some of their frass. I was looking for the eggs but I only found one small cluster on a stalk of grass. The butterfly that laid them just missed hitting the pipevine next to the grass.

I came across several bird species along the trail including some Ash-Throated Flycatchers, but they all seemed insistent on staying in the shadows or avoid being photographed.

The best bird photos I got, such as they were, were in the equestrian parking area. I often go there when I’m in the park, and park beside the water trough in the shade to look for the birds who drink water from it. Today I saw a female Lesser Goldfinch, three male California Quails, and a pair of Wild Turkeys. There was also a European Starling hanging around, and after not getting the drink of water that she wanted, she ended up collecting dried grass and feathers for her nest.

As I was leaving the park, I saw a Wild Turkey “dust bathing” on the side of the road.

“… It might look like a messy business, but bathing in dust and dirt actually helps turkeys get cleaner. Dusting removes pests and parasites and keeps the birds’ skin healthy and feathers from getting matted, which could impede flight… To sufficiently coat themselves in dust, turkeys flap their wings, sometimes turning over on their back and wriggling in the dirt. By extending their wings, they make sure no feathers go undusted. After thoroughly covering themselves in dust, turkeys preen their feathers with their beaks, which helps clean the features and realign the interlocking feather barbules…” The Smithsonian

I saw a couple of deer and a few squirrels, but not very many– which kind of surprised me. I expected to see more.

I was out for about 3 hours. This was hike #27 of my #52hikechallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  3. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  4. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  5. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  6. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  7. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  8. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  9. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  10. Clover, Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  11. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  12. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  13. Effervescent Tarpaper Lichen, Collema furfuraceum [like brown camouflage lichen]
  14. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  15. Gilled Polypore, Trametes betulina [lookslike mazegill]
  16. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  17. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  18. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia
  19. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  20. Lady Beetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  21. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  22. Live Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Bisexual, Spring Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [looks like a soft funnel, green to brown]
  23. Live Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Summer, asexual generation, , Callirhytis quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
  24. Live Oak Erineum Mite Gall, Aceria mackiei
  25. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  26. Narrowleaf Cottonrose, Logfia gallica
  27. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  28. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  29. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  30. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  31. Purple Salsify, Tragopogon porrifolius
  32. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  33. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens [on live oaks, black oaks]
  34. Saint John’s Wort Beetle,Chrysolina hyperici
  35. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  36. Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
  37. Towhee, California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  38. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  39. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  40. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  41. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  42. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  43. Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum

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!