I got up around 5:45 this morning, and got myself dressed, got the dog fed and pottied, and got myself out the door. I headed out to the Sailor Bar Community Park along the American River. The traffic was moving easily and I got a lot of green lights, so I was at the park by about 6:30 AM. It was already 67ºF outside and I knew it was going to warm up fast, so this was kind of an abbreviated excursion. I was only out for about 2 hours, and by then it was already 80ºF outside. Pleh!
I was hoping to see galls on the oak trees, but they weren’t really showing themselves yet. I saw only two single specimens of the Saucer Galls and one old specimen of a Hair Stalk Gall Wasp gall on a blue oak tree, but nothing on the Live Oaks or the Valley Oaks yet. It may be another month before we see anything else.
I did find quite few willow galls including the Willow Bead Galls, sawfly Apple Galls, Pinecone Galls, and some Rose Galls just starting to emerge. A sort of new-to-me gall was the gall of the Potato Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbatatus. I don’t see this one very often, and when I first saw one, years ago, I couldn’t find a good species match for it. The “potato” ID must be relatively new to iNaturalist.
Along with the mosquitoes, I encountered a lot of Low-Jawed Orb-Weaver Spiders, including one that ran up onto some apple galls I was photographing as though she was claiming them as hers. There were no butterflies, but I did see some dragonflies hovering around a still pond in the river, and some Robber Flies on the ground.
As for the larger, more warm-blooded critters, I saw a few Cottontail Rabbits, California Quails, House Finches (feeding on the turkey mullein), Scrub Jays, some Crows, and a Green Heron resting in a tree near the river.
The tarweeds are starting to assert themselves, and the blackberry vines and blue elderberry trees are dripping with fruit. The California Mugwort is blooming as are the Buttonbush bushes, and fig trees. There was madia still in flower everywhere, and I found a couple of nice stands of Sacred Datura.
I feel a sense of urgency to photograph the plants and trees now before the summer heats really sets in and everything gets burned by the sun. But when it’s hot outside, I can only be out walking around in the very early morning hours when it’s still relatively cool (in the 60s).
As I mentioned, I was out for about 2 hours today. This was hike #39 of my #52hikechallenge for the year.
- Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Bees, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
- Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes, white flowers]
- Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
- Brazilian Vervain, Purpletop Vervain, Verbena brasiliensis
- Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
- California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
- California Quail, Callipepla californica
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Common Madia, Madia elegans
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Dragonfly, Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly, Sympetrum corruptum
- Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
- Fitch’s Tarweed, Centromadia fitchii
- Flies, Robber Fly, Efferia albibarbis
- Green Heron, Butorides virescens
- Hair Stalk Gall Wasp, Andricus pedicellatus [thread gall on blue oak]
- Heleomyzid Fly, Trixoscelis sp.
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mosquito, Super Family: Culicoidea
- Mullein, Doveweed, Turkey Mullein, Croton setiger
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Oak, Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
- Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
- Potato Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbatatus [on petiole, arroyo willow]
- Sacred Datura, Jimsonweed, Datura wrightii
- Saucer Gall Wasp, Andricus gigas
- Silver Long-Jawed Orbweaver, Tetragnatha laboriosa
- Stink Bugs, Family: Pentatomidae [eggs]
- Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
- Tripartite Sweat Bee, Halictus tripartitus
- Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
- Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculus tetanothrix
- Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
- Willow Rose Gall Midge, Rabdophaga rosaria [on the terminal end]
- Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
- Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua