Category Archives: City Nature Challenge

Drum Powerhouse Road, 07-12-23

I got up around 5:00 AM, and got myself ready to go with my friend Roxanne to Drum Powerhouse Road. We’d been up there earlier in the year, during the City Nature Challenge, and wanted to see if there was anything different or new-to-us to see. After stopping for coffee, we were on our way.

As we turned onto Ice House Road, the first thing we encountered were some construction workers and their heavy machinery working on a massive wooden retaining wall. Rox pulled off to the side of the road opposite the construction, not to avoid the workmen, but to get some photos of a female Northern Flicker and young fledgling we believe she was helping to feed.

“… Unlike most other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker feeds mostly on the ground where it laps up insects, primarily ants, with its long, barbed tongue. It also consumes fruits and seeds, especially during winter months… The Northern Flicker was a very efficient predator of larval tiger beetles in their subterranean burrows . Flickers have a remarkable protrusile tongue, derived by great elongation of the basihyal and part of the hyoid horns, that is characteristic of woodpeckers. Its sticky tongue darts out as much as 4 cm beyond the bill tip as it laps up adult and larval ants…” Birds of the World

As we went further along the road, we were seeing flowers we had never seen there before among the more common-to-us species, such as Sierra Milkwort, Rose Campion, Cardinal Catchfly, Scarlet Monkey Flower, California Fuchsia, and Wavyleaf Paintbrush.

Wavyleaf Paintbrush, Castilleja applegatei, and Bluehead Gilia, Gilia capitata

The Bleeding Hearts that had been so prolific in the spring, were now down to a few scraggly specimens. And the jewelflower plants that were just sprouting leaves in the spring, were now gone to see and burned dry by the summer heat. We missed their flowering period altogether. That was disappointing.

What made up for that, though, was the fact that we found several stands of the bright orange Humbolt Lilies (like Tiger Lilies). I’d caught a glimpse of some of them along the freeway before we got to Drum Powerhouse Road, so I was really hoping we’d see some more up close before the day was out. We also found some new-to-me Angelica, California Skullcaps, Deptford Pinks, and Wiry Snapdragons. All along the road, too, we saw lots of pale purple “feathery”-looking flowers that we discovered were California Hairbells.

Humboldt Lily, Lilium humboldtii humboldtii

More of the ferns seemed to be awake and established between the rocks and along the seeps. Specimens we saw included Hairy Brackenfern, Giant Chain Fern, Coastal Woodfern, Narrowleaf Swordfern, Lace Lip Fern, Brittle Bladderfern and Serpentine Fern, among others. A very nice showing.

There was also a great deal of Coyote Mint in bloom all along the road, and some spreads acted as beds for sleepy bees, as well as feeding posts for bees, butterflies, skippers and moths. We actually saw a variety of insects today including Yellow-Faced and Van Dyke’s Bumblebees, California Bumblebees, Western Tiger Butterflies, California Sister Butterflies, Woodland Skippers, and the small Callippe Fritillary Butterflies, which were new to me.

At first, it was as though the butterflies were deliberately avoiding having their picture taken, and I started taking it kind of personally. Eventually, though, I was able to get some shots including some of a new-to-me butterfly: the Clodius Parnassian, one of the Apollo swallowtail butterflies. They seemed to be everywhere, pale white and dusty grey with pale pink spots on the hind wings. Shapiro says, “…Larvae are crepuscular-nocturnal except on cloudy, cool days and mimic poisonous millipedes…” Yikes!

“…Males patrol habitat to find females; after mating they attach a pouch to female to prevent multiple matings. Females lay single eggs scattered on the host plant. Caterpillars feed at night at the base of host plant and pupate in a loose silk cocoon above ground. Overwintering is by the egg stage… Subspecies strohbeeni from California’s Santa Cruz Mountains is extinct…” Butterflies and Moths of North America

Other insects of note on our trip included a young grasshopper, some water striders and Water Scavenger Beetles, some wasps, and several handsome Ornate Checkered Beetles feeding in the Naked Buckwheat.

We were out for about 8 hours, and I really enjoyed it (in spite of being dissed by the butterflies for a while).

Because we were in the car for the majority of this trip, I’m not counting it toward my #52hikechallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Alumroot, Crevice Alumroot, Heuchera micrantha
  2. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  3. Apollo Butterfly, Clodius Parnassian Butterfly, Parnassius clodius [lifer]
  4. Bay Laurel, California Bay, Umbellularia californica
  5. Bedstraw, Graceful Bedstraw, Galium porrigens [very smal]
  6. Bees, California Bumble Bee, Bombus californicus
  7. Bees, Van Dyke’s Bumble Bee, Bombus vandykei [lifer]
  8. Bitter Lettuce, Lactuca virosa
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans [heard]
  10. Blackberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons [red canes, pink flowers]
  11. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  12. Bluehead Gilia, Gilia capitata
  13. Broom, Spanish Broom, Spartium junceum [on freeway]
  14. Brown Fritillary, Fritillaria micrantha [seed pods]
  15. Buckbrush, Ceanothus cuneatus
  16. California Fuchsia, Epilobium canum
  17. California Harebell, Smithiastrum prenanthoides [thin, feathery purple flowers] [lifer]
  18. California Incense Cedar, Calocedrus decurrens
  19. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  20. California Sister Butterfly, Adelpha californica
  21. California Skullcap, Scutellaria californica [lifer]
  22. California Tiger Lily, Leopard Lily, Lilium pardalinum [lifer]
  23. Callippe Fritillary Butterfly, Argynnis callippe [small, tortoiseshell] [lifer] The species is declining in the US portion of the range (and subspecies callippe is federally listed as Endangered in the United States) 
  24. Canadian Horseweed, Erigeron canadensis
  25. Catchfly, Cardinal Catchfly, Silene laciniata
  26. Chicory, Cichorium intybus
  27. Chinese Houses, Sticky Chinese Houses, Collinsia tinctoria [white]
  28. Coastal Brookfoam, Boykinia occidentalis [tiny white flowers]
  29. Columbine, Western Columbine, Aquilegia formosa
  30. Common Saint John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum
  31. Common Selfheal, Prunella vulgaris
  32. Common Water Strider, Aquarius remigis
  33. Creeping Snowberry, Symphoricarpos mollis
  34. Crescent Map Lichen, Rhizocarpon lecanorinum
  35. Deerbrush Ceanothus, Ceanothus integerrimus
  36. Dendroalsia Moss, Dendroalsia abietina
  37. Deptford Pink, Dianthus armeria [lifer]
  38. Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii
  39. Dudleya, Canyon Liveforever, Dudleya cymosa
  40. Emery Rocktripe Lichen, Umbilicaria phaea
  41. Fern, Brittle Bladderfern, Cystopteris fragilis
  42. Fern, Cliff Sword Fern, Polystichum imbricans imbricans
  43. Fern, Coastal Woodfern, Dryopteris arguta
  44. Fern, Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata
  45. Fern, Hairy Brackenfern, Pteridium aquilinum pubescens [lifer]
  46. Fern, Lace Lip Fern, Myriopteris gracillima
  47. Fern, Serpentine Fern, Aspidotis densa
  48. Flies, Picture-Winged Fly, Pseudotephritis vau [lifer]
  49. Grasses, Bristly Dogtail Grass, Cynosurus echinatus
  50. Humboldt Lily, Lilium humboldtii humboldtii [lifer]
  51. Irregular Spindle Gall Wasp, Andricus chrysolepidicola [on Canyon Live Oak]
  52. Manzanita, Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida
  53. Monkeyflower, Scarlet Monkeyflower, Erythranthe cardinalis [red lips] [lifer]
  54. Monkeyflower, Seep Monkeyflower, Erythranthe guttata [yellow]
  55. Naked Buckwheat, Eriogonum nudum
  56. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  57. Oak, California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  58. Oak, Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis
  59. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  60. Ornate Checkered Beetle, Trichodes ornatus
  61. Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa
  62. Paintbrush, Wavyleaf Paintbrush, Castilleja applegatei
  63. Pea, Broad-Leaved Sweet Pea, Lathyrus latifolius [large]
  64. Phacelia, Mountain Phacelia, Phacelia imbricata [white]
  65. Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa
  66. Pine, Sugar Pine, Pinus lambertiana
  67. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  68. Predaceous Diving Beetles, Family: Dytiscidae
  69. Purple Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea
  70. Rose Campion, Silene coronaria
  71. Rose-of-Sharon, Hypericum calycinum
  72. Rubber Rabbitbrush, Ericameria nauseosa nauseosa [lifer]
  73. Sierra Milkwort, Rhinotropis cornuta [lifer]
  74. Spearleaf Agoseris, Agoseris retrorsa [puffhead like dandelion]
  75. Steller’s Jay, Cyanocitta stelleri [heard several]
  76. Stonecrop, Broad-Leaved Stonecrop, Sedum spathulifolium
  77. Sunflower, Common Woolly Sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatum
  78. Tapered Stem Gall Wasp, Protobalandricus spectabilis
  79. Thistle, Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare
  80. Thistle, Spotted Knapweed, Centaurea stoebe
  81. Two-Striped Grasshopper, Melanoplus bivittatus
  82. Water Scavenger Beetle, Family: Hydrophilidae
  83. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  84. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  85. Western Morning Glory, Calystegia occidentalis [like bindweed, yellow tinge]
  86. Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
  87. Western Wallflower, Erysimum capitatum
  88. Western Yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica
  89. White Sweetclover, Melilotus albus
  90. Wiry Snapdragon, Sairocarpus vexillocalyculatus [little, pink and white] [lifer]
  91. Woodland Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanoides
  92. Woolly Angelica, Angelica tomentosa [like white ranger buttons] [lifer]
  93. Yellow Salsify, Tragopogon dubius
  94. Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum

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CNC Icehouse Road, 05-01-23

I started this month with the final day of the City Nature Challenge. My friend Roxanne and I went up into El Dorado County and drove up Ice House Road looking for more species to add to our lists. We were VERY surprised to find that the majority of the wildflowers we were hoping to see were still under several feet of snow!

The snowmelt, however made the south fork of the American River look like it was roaring by, and the little Bridal Veil waterfall on Highway 50 looked much more robust than we’ve ever seen it.

At the falls, we found that there had been rockslides and landslides there which changed the shape and texture of the cliffs surrounding the falls. We did get to see the Dog Pelt lichen, stonecrop, and Powerhorn/Pixie Cup lichen on the rocks that we often see there. And we also saw some Chaparral Currant just starting to flower. All in all, though, the area looked oddly much “drier” than we’d seen it in the past. [For the identification information, click on an image.]

At the very beginning of our trip, we saw quite a few wildflowers, including the lovely North Californian Indian Pink and the new-to-me Shy Monkeyflower. We thought those bode well for the rest of our day. Unfortunately, no. The snow covered everything along the roadsides at the higher elevations. [For the identification information, click on an image.]

To find more flowers, we had to go back down to the lower elevations at the end of our trip. Once again we were able to see quite a few, including some Baby Blue Eyes at the exit from the Sly Park parking lot on Jenkinson Lake. [For the identification information, click on an image.]

Most, if not all, of the mountains we saw in the distance are part of the Sierra Nevada range.

“…The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies primarily in Nevada…” Wikipedia

You can see in the photos below, that the higher we went up on Ice House Road, the more dense the roadside snow became — even though the road was clear and mostly dry.

All along the road, as far as the trees went, we were seeing the usual suspects seen in other mixed pine forest regions. Lots of Incense Cedar, Douglas Firs, Ponderosa Pines, Sugar Pines and aspens. There were also Bigleaf Maple Trees, Canyon Live Oaks, and Dogwood trees, and several different species of manzanita. At the lower elevations, the Pacific Madrone trees were in bloom. [For the identification information, click on an image.]

On the manzanita trees, we saw evidence of galls of the Manzanita Leafgall Aphid, Tamalia coweni. The galls on the flowers are made in reaction to wingless female aphids, and the galls on the leaves are made by multiple stem mothers.  Stem mothers produce female nymphs without mating (parthenogenetic reproduction).

“…As a specialist, Tamalia species are closely associated with rare and endangered manzanita host plants across California landscapes including isolated mountains in the Mojave desert, along coastal chaparral and woodlands, and inland mountains and valleys… As an herbivorous habitat engineer found across California’s ecoregions, this species contributes broadly to diversity and allows insight into variation in response to climatic gradients. Its dependence on rare and endangered host species will show how local adaptation occurs and how herbivores can serve as indicators of habitat quality, providing insight into the vulnerability of higher trophic levels to disturbance…” California Conservation Genomic Project.

Another interesting gall-former is a plant: various kinds of dwarf mistletoe. The mistletoe is a parasite that robs the tree of water and nutrition. Some of the specimens we found were larger than I had ever seen.

We could hear birds in the trees around us, including some Steller’s Jays, but they were mostly hidden by the forest so I couldn’t get photos of them. I watched as a Black-Capped Chickadee landed on a branch right behind Roxanne. I told her, “Don’t move. Don’t move,” as I tried in vain to get a photograph of it… but it bounced up and up into the higher branches until it was out of sight. *Sigh*

The only bird I got halfway decent photos of was a large Raven. We saw it going through trash on the side of the road, but then it jumped up onto a branch and posed for a little while. They’re such handsome birds.

I was very happy to see small groups of Columbian Black-Tailed deer on the edges of the forest in several places. And we seemed to see Western Fence Lizards darting allover the place.

We also found some new-to-me insects when we were studying the manzanita trees: a very tiny Predatory Thrip and a Cherry Plum Mining Bee.

But, even though it was lovely outside and some of the views were wow-inspiring, the snow still kept us from seeing all we wanted to see, and our species count for the day was lower than I had hoped. It might be June before we can see more wildflowers up here.

This was outing #24 of my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Right now, here’s where Roxanne and I are in the City Nature Challenge ratings. Our positions may change as more people add their observations to the database.

On the “Most Observations” list, I’m #5 and Roxanne is #8. On the “Most Species” list, I’m #1 and Roxanne is #4. Woot!

Species List:

  1. Alder, White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  2. Alumroot, Alpine Alumroot, Heuchera glabra
  3. Alumroot, Crevice Alumroot, Heuchera micrantha
  4. Alumroot, Pink Alumroot, Heuchera rubescens
  5. Annual Honesty, Lunaria annua [purple-pink flowers on tall stalk]
  6. Ant, Californicus-Group Harvester Ants, Complex Pogonomyrmex californicus
  7. Aspen Tree, Trembling Aspen, Populus tremuloides
  8. Baby Blue Eyes, Menzies’ Baby Blue Eyes, Nemophila menziesii
  9. Bees, Cherry Plum Mining Bee, Andrena cerasifolii
  10. Bees, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  11. Black Capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus
  12. Blue Dicks, Dipterostemon capitatus ssp. capitatus
  13. Brittle Bladderfern, Cystopteris fragilis
  14. Broom, French Broom, Genista monspessulana
  15. Broom, Scotch Broom, Cytisus scoparius
  16. Buckbrush, Ceanothus cuneatus
  17. Buttercup, Western Buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalis
  18. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  19. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  20. California Incense Cedar, Calocedrus decurrens
  21. Chaparral Currant, Ribes malvaceum [pink flowers]
  22. Cherry Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus
  23. Chinquapin, Bush Chinquapin, Chrysolepis sempervirens
  24. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  25. Common Button Lichen, Buellia erubescens [black eyes on white or alone]
  26. Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
  27. Crane Fly, Giant Western Crane Fly, Holorusia hespera
  28. Creek Plum Trees, Prunus rivularis
  29. Cutleaf Burnweed, Senecio glomeratus
  30. Deerbrush Ceanothus, Ceanothus integerrimus
  31. Dog Pelt Lichen, Peltigera canina
  32. Dogwood, Pacific Dogwood, Cornus nuttallii
  33. Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii
  34. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata [red line on leaves when young]
  35. Erodium, Redstem Stork’s-Bill, Erodium cicutarium
  36. Fern, Bird’s Foot Cliffbrake, Pellaea mucronata
  37. Fern, Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
  38. Fringed Shield Lichen, Parmelina coleae
  39. Giraffe’s Head, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  40. Gooseberry, Sierra Gooseberry, Ribes roezlii
  41. Grasses, Early Hair Grass, Aira praecox
  42. Grasses, Pine Bluegrass, Poa secunda
  43. Ithuriel’s Spears, Triteleia laxa
  44. Lupine, Silvery Lupine, Lupinus argenteus
  45. Madrone, Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii
  46. Mahala Mat, Ceanothus prostratus
  47. Manzanita Leafgall Aphid, Tamalia coweni [multiple stem mothers, galls on leaves]
  48. Manzanita Leafgall Aphid, Tamalia coweni [wingless females, galls on flowers]
  49. Manzanita, Greenleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula
  50. Manzanita, Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida
  51. Maple, Bigleaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum
  52. Mealy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora strobilina [green tint]
  53. Mistletoe, Juniper Mistletoe, Phoradendron juniperinum [yellow-orange]
  54. Mistletoe, Western Dwarf-Mistletoe, Arceuthobium campylopodum
  55. Monkeyflower, Kellogg’s Monkeyflower, Diplacus kelloggii [pink]
  56. Monkeyflower, Shy Monkeyflower, Erythranthe nasuta
  57. Mosses, Lyell’s Bristle-Moss, Pulvigera lyellii
  58. Mountain Misery, Chamaebatia foliolosa
  59. Mountain Whitethorn, Ceanothus cordulatus
  60. Mule’s Ears, Gray Mule-Ears, Wyethia helenioides
  61. Netted Crust Fungus, Byssomerulius corium
  62. North Californian Indian Pink, Silene laciniata californica [look like red catchfly]
  63. Oak, Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  64. Oak, California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  65. Oak, Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis
  66. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  67. Paintbrush, Wavyleaf Paintbrush, Castilleja applegatei
  68. Palmer Ceanothus, Ceanothus palmeri
  69. Pebbled Pixie Cup Lichen, Cladonia pyxidata
  70. Periwinkle, Greater Periwinkle, Vinca major
  71. Phacelia, Mountain Phacelia, Phacelia imbricata [white]
  72. Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa
  73. Poppy, California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  74. Powder-Tipped Rosette Lichen, Physcia dubia
  75. Purple Sanicle, Sanicula bipinnatifida 
  76. Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus
  77. Shining Netvein Barberry, Berberis dictyota
  78. Small-Leaved Blinks, Montia parvifolia
  79. Steller’s Jay, Cyanocitta stelleri
  80. Stonecrop, Broad-Leaved Stonecrop, Sedum spathulifolium
  81. Sugar Pine, Pinus lambertiana
  82. Thistle, Cobwebby Thistle, Cirsium occidentale
  83. Thistle, Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
  84. Thrips, Predatory Thrip, Aeolothrips sp.
  85. Trumpet Lichen, Cladonia fimbriata
  86. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  87. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  88. Western Gall Rust, Cronartium harknessii [on pine trees]
  89. White Nemophila, Nemophila heterophylla
  90. Willow, Red Willow, Salix laevigata
  91. Willow, Sitka Willow, Salix sitchensis
  92. Wolf Lichen, Letharia vulpina

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CNC Gristmill, 04-30-23

This was the third day of the four-day City Nature Challenge and I’m wondering why the challenge is only four days long. Why not a week? People could get out more, go to different places, and collect more data. Four days doesn’t seem long enough for collection. They give you a week to post your data to iNaturalist, but not to the collection of data itself. Weird.

I went out to the Gristmill Recreations Area on the American River today. I was looking for galls, and found quite a few insects and a few birds along the way. The favorite insect sighting was that of a female Snakefly. I don’t get to see them very often, so it’s always a treat when they cross my path.

“…Several [snakefly] species live in the west. They are one of only two groups of insects than can run backwards at full speed (the only other insects that can do this are Webspinners, Order Embioptera)…” University of California.

“…Larvae feed on wood-boring insects, small insects such as aphids and caterpillars, and various insect eggs. Snakefly adults feed on aphids or other small, weak prey. In pear orchards, they are important predators of pear psylla, especially in the early season…” Washington State University

I was also stoked to come across two butterflies: first sightings for me of the season, a Lorquin’s Admiral and a Tiger Swallowtail. I had to chase the Admiral in a circle before it finally settled onto a spot where I could get its photo.

The Lorquins are interesting in that they have several flights in California and often use willows as their host plants. They feed off a variety of flowers, but also get nutrients from dung and bird droppings.

“…Males perch in valley bottoms all day to watch for females. Eggs are laid on the upperside of host plant leaf tips. Caterpillars feed on leaves and partially-grown caterpillars overwinter in rolled leaf shelters…” Butterflies and Moths of North America.

As far as the Tigers go, the five instars of their caterpillars are astounding; they go from looking like bird poop to looking like large caterpillars with huge eyespots on the back.

“…The adult females lay up to a hundred eggs in total. The eggs are deep green, shiny, and spherical. They are laid singly, on the undersides of leaves… The chrysalis is green in summer and dark brown in winter, and looks like a piece of wood…” Wikipedia

I found a few galls, but not as many as I thought I would. The favorite of the gall sightings was of the pouch galls on the elm trees along the trail. The galls are generated by aphids interacting with the elm tree.

“…The fundatrix (founding or stem mother) lays eggs in a leaf of the primary host, which are trees in the genus Ulmus. This stimulates production of galls where offspring of the fundatrix develop by feeding on host sap. These mature into winged adult alates, which complete the life cycle on the secondary host…”Wikipedia

Among the plants and trees, there were the usual suspects: willows, Black Walnut, Elm, Black Locust (in bloom), Elderberry and Boxelder. The wild grapevines are getting grapes already. They usually wait until the Manroot is done for the year. I also found some horsetail, some charlock in bloom, and end-of-the-season Fiddleneck.

I saw a few birds including Canada Geese and a California Quail, but the one who posed for me was a tiny House Wren. These little birds have such bright, loud songs, they’re hard to miss when you hear them. Seeing them, on the other hand, can be tricky because they blend so well into their environment.

I walked for about three hours and then headed back to the car. On my way there, I missed the regular turn off for the trail, so I cut through the high grass to get to the main trail again. The grass kept wrapping around my shoes, threatening to make me fall. [Luckily, I didn’t.]

I came to an area where there was a lot of downed, dried tree bark and branches. As I worked to step over the mess, I could hear the hissing rattle of a rattlesnake. It rattled twice… and that was enough to make me use a different route even though I never saw the snake itself.

“…Rattlesnakes are typically described as poisonous, but they are actually venomous. A poisonous snake is one that is harmful to touch or eat. A venomous snake injects dangerous venom into its victim… Rattlesnakes do not always rattle a warning. Sometimes they rattle loudly to warn potential enemies of their presence, but other times they remain silent when they sense a threat, choosing to remain still to rely on their cryptic color and pattern to let them blend into their surroundings to hide from the threat…” — California Herps.

 This was hike #23 in my#52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. American Square-Headed Snakefly, Negha sp.
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Ash Petiole Gall Midge, Dasineura tumidosae
  4. Ash Tree, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  5. Bedstraw, Catchweed Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Galium aparine
  6. Bees, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  7. Bees, Leaf-Cutter Bees, Sharptail Bees, Coelioxys sp.
  8. Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia
  9. Black Walnut, Northern California Black Walnut, Juglans hindsii
  10. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  11. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  12. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa
  13. Bur Parsley, Anthriscus caucalis
  14. California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
  15. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  16. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  17. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  18. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  19. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  20. Clover, White Clover, Trifolium repens
  21. Common Stretch Spider, Tetragnatha extensa
  22. Copper Underwing Moth, Amphipyra pyramidoides [green caterpillar with white pinstripes]
  23. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  24. Crane Fly, Subgenus: Hesperotipula
  25. Creeping Snowberry, Symphoricarpos mollis
  26. Cricket, Arboreal Camel Cricket, Gammarotettix bilobatus
  27. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  28. Dragonfly, Eight-Spotted Skimmer, Libellula forensic
  29. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  30. Elm Leaf Pouch Gall Aphid, Rice Root Aphid, Tetraneura nigriabdominalis
  31. Elm Tree, Field Elm, Ulmus minor
  32. False Black Widow Spider, Steatoda grossa
  33. Fan Palms, Washingtonia sp.
  34. Fiddleneck, Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
  35. Flies, Cluster Flies, Pollenia sp.
  36. Flies, Muscoid Flies, Superfamily: Muscoidea
  37. Flies, Sawflies, Suborder: Symphyta
  38. Grasses, Common Soft Brome, Bromus hordeaceus
  39. Grasses, Ripgut Brome, Bromus diandrus
  40. Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
  41. Horsetail, Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale
  42. Italian Cypress, Mediterranean Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens
  43. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  44. Lady Beetle, Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  45. Large-Tailed Aphideater, Eupeodes volucris [hoverfly]
  46. Live Oak Erineum Mite Gall, Aceria mackiei
  47. Lorquin’s Admiral Butterfly, Limenitis lorquini
  48. Lupine, Sky Lupine, Lupinus nanus
  49. Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  50. Mirid Bug, Irbisia sp.
  51. Mistletoe Gall, Mistletoes, Tribe: Visceae
  52. Mistletoe, Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
  53. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  54. Non-Biting Midges, Cricotopus sp.
  55. Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus oreganus
  56. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
  57. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  58. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  59. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  60. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  61. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  62. Pin-Cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa [bright orange, apothecia, close, piled]
  63. Pineappleweed, Chamomilla suaveolens
  64. Stonecrop, Moss Pygmy Weed, Crassula connata [tiny, red]
  65. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  66. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  67. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  68. Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
  69. Western Lynx Spider, Oxyopes scalaris
  70. Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio rutulus
  71. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  72. White Mulberry, Morus alba
  73. White-Winged March Fly, Bibio albipennis
  74. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  75. Willow Leaf tiers, bundles:
  76. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides
  77. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  78. Willow Fold Gall Sawfly, Euura sp. [Phyllocolpa sp.]
  79. Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua
  80. Willow, Scouler’s Willow, Salix scouleriana
  81. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  82. Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli

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CNC In the Yard, 04-29-23

This was the second day of the four-day City Nature Challenge for this year, so, once again I’m letting you know that I’m going to be waaaaay behind in my posts and photo albums while I rest up from my excursions, get everything posted to iNaturalist, sort through my photos and write my blog posts.

When I first went out into the backyard, I saw two of the neighbor’s semi-feral cats sitting in a chair on our back porch. I couldn’t get photos of them; they ran off too quickly.

Today I focused on species in the yard at home, so I didn’t have to travel again. First, I focused on the flowering stuff. Click on the image to see what it is.

And then I focused on the different leaf types. Click on the image to see what it is.

The most interesting thing I found was evidence of a lot of Leaf Curl Fungus on our nectarine tree. It had had this disease previously, but last year and the year before (when the weather was hotter) it hadn’t shown much sign of it.

“…Peach leaf curl, also known as leaf curl, is a disease caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans. Peach leaf curl affects the blossoms, fruit, leaves, and shoots of peaches, ornamental flowering peaches, and nectarines, and is one of the most common disease problems for backyard gardeners growing these trees. The distorted, reddened foliage that it causes is easily seen in spring. When severe, the disease can reduce fruit production substantially… The fungus grows between leaf cells and stimulates them to divide and grow larger than normal, causing swelling and distortion of the leaf. Red plant pigments accumulate in the distorted cells. Cells of the fungus break through the cuticle of distorted leaves and produce elongated, sac-like structures called asci that produce sexual spores called ascospores, which give the leaf a grayish white, powdery or velvetlike appearance. The ascospores are released into the air, carried to new tissues, and bud (divide) to form bud-conidia….” University of California.

I didn’t go far today, but I still ended up with over 20 observations to add to my total for the City Nature Challenge.

Species List:

  1. Aloe Yucca, Yucca aloifolia
  2. Azalea, Tsutsusi Azalea, Rhododendron indicum
  3. Broom, French Broom, Genista monspessulana
  4. Cat, Felis catus
  5. Chinese Photinia, Photinia serratifolia
  6. Clover, White Clover, Trifolium repens
  7. Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
  8. Common Lilac, Syringa vulgaris
  9. Fig, Common Fig, Ficus carica
  10. Geranium, Cut-Leaved Crane’s-Bill, Geranium dissectum
  11. Iris, Western Blue Flag, Iris missouriensis
  12. Ivy, Common Ivy, Hedera helix
  13. Lemon Tree, Citrus limen
  14. Nectarine Tree, Prunus persica var. nucipersica [with leaf curl]
  15. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  16. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  17. Peach Leaf Curl Fungus, Taphrina deformans
  18. Persimmon, Japanese Persimmon, Fuyu, Diospyros kaki
  19. Podocarpus, Kusamaki, Podocarpus macrophyllus
  20. Privet, Glossy Privet, Ligustrum lucidum
  21. Red Mulberry, Morus rubra
  22. Roses, Rosa sp.
  23. Sago Palm, Sago Cycad, Cycas revoluta
  24. Spearmint, Mentha spicata
  25. White Mulberry, Morus alba

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