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