Category Archives: galls

A Day in Yolo County, 06-22-22

I got up around 5:00 AM this morning and got the dogs fed and pottied before getting myself ready to go out on outing with my friend Roxanne. We ended up going up to Woodland with stops at County Road 22 and the Ibis Rookery, and then circling around to Davis afterward. So it was a Yolo County day.

It was another hot day (got up to 100º), so we knew that wherever we went, we’d have to cut our outing a little short to beat the heat. When we got to Woodland, we went down Road 22 which parallels the freeway. There’s a slough there that usually has some water in it, and I knew there were rose bushes, buttonbush, tules, willows and other shrubs long there that I hoped would present us with some insects, galls and spiders.

What originally caught my attention, though, were spiny clusters of sort of prickly burs on plants all along part of the road. I at first thought the clusters were a kind of gall I’d never seen before and I was super-excited about that. Then Rox calmed me down and we studied the plant more closely; no thorns, burs were like cocklebur but in bunches, compound leaves,  the leaves and stalks were slightly sticky (glandular)… I took some photos and posted them to iNaturalist. The plants were Wild Licorice! I’d never seen that plant before, so even though it wasn’t a new kind gall, it was a new plant I could add to my species list for the year.

We saw cities of Spotted Orb-Weaver Spiders, but none of the spiders were very big yet. Give them a few weeks; they’ll bulk up. I also found one crab spider. But overall the showing wasn’t as impressive as I thought it might be.

We did see galls on some of the willows (which I think were Interior Sandbar Willows because that’s the species most often associated with ag land in that area): a few pinecone galls and some stem galls.

On the rose bushes we found a few Spiny Leaf Galls and some fat Leafy Bract Galls. I also found a few midvein galls on the leaves of some of the bushes. I don’t know if they were “aborted” spiny galls or something else. I found them on several different bushes, but they were all the same: brown, hard, on the midvein, and about the same size.

There was one other rose bush that looked all but dead, but with a few leaves at the very top of the otherwise gray leafless canes, and some green canes sticking out of the bottom of it. At the base of that were tufts of “witch’s broom”: tough but pliable filaments in clusters attached to the stem. This is evidence of Rose Rosette Virus (RRV). Very cool. I was hoping to find some Mossy Rose Galls on the bushes, but I didn’t see any.  Definitely worth going back in a week or so to see how things have developed.

“…Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is a devastating disease of roses. It makes the rose unsightly because of abnormal growth of the rose plant tissue. Symptoms such as witches’ brooms, excessive thorniness, enlarged canes, malformed leaves and flowers are associated with this disease. This disease has been reported since the early 1940s but only in 2011 did research demonstrate that it is caused by a virus, aptly named the Rose Rosette Virus (RRV). Diagnosis of RRD prior to 2011 was primarily done based on observed symptoms and the presence of the eriophyid mite that is believed to be the vector of RRV…” (https://roserosette.org/

There was a small stand of Showy Milkweed plants in another spot on the roadway, but we didn’t see any Monarch eggs or caterpillars. In fact, the plants were pretty much devoid of all insects – which freaks me out.[READ THIS article about the collapse of insect populations in California.]

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa

There were two dead animals on either side of the road at one spot: a raccoon and a deer. The raccoon carcass was pretty well gone-over, but there was a lot left for the vultures and other critters on the deer carcass. I know some folks think its gruesome that I take photos of the dead things, but death is all part of the cycle…and it’s interesting to me to see how the carcasses are broken down by the scavenging cleanup crews.

We then drove over to the former Ibis Rookery to see what might be there. There were may three or four Ibises sitting on nests in the main settling pond, but they were so far away, there was no way I could get photos of them. That is sooooo disappointing.

There were a few Barn Swallows flitting around the fence lines, and a flock of American White Pelicans fishing together very near the edge of the pond. I think they were actually scooping up frogs along with little fish. In the video snippets I took, I thought I could see frogs jumping away from them.

Along another side of the pond there were some Black-Necked Stilts, some of them wading, some of them swimming, and some of them screaming loudly and doing this odd repetitive wing-flapping thing.  I also saw one fly up onto the road and sit down, like it was sitting on a nest, then got up and flew off in another directions.

I looked up these behaviors in Cornell, and found the following: “…During Wing-flagging Display, calls resemble a warble… Distraction displays include Wing-flagging Display (while both sitting and standing), [and] False Incubation Display… In Wing-flagging Display, wings are partly extended and raised up and down; often only one wing at a time is extended, and the individual may sit, stand, or alternate between sitting and standing while performing the display. In False Incubating Display, individuals crouch on the ground as if incubating eggs, then rise and move to another spot and sit again…”

There were several different species of dragonflies buzzing around, but no one stopped long enough for me to get a photo of them. Dangit! I did get to capture some photos of a pair of damselflies “in wheel”, though, and that’s always cool.

We saw quite a few cottontail rabbits and one young jackrabbit while we were heading out. 

A drive past the smaller settling ponds yielded little because all of the birds were outside the range of my camera. (Sooooo frustrating!) I did manage to spot and get some VERY blurry images of a Redhead Duck, some Rudy Ducks, and a pair of grebes. The only fairly good photo I got from that side of the road was of some Black-Crowned Night Herons standing on the rocks along the edge of the pond.

After that, we drove into Davis for some brunch at the Crepeville restaurant. On the way, we passed fields of safflower and stopped at a sunflower field to get some photos. Oddly, only every third row or so of the sunflowers were in bloom. We wondered if those were a different species than the others.

By the time we got back to the house, it was100º F outside – and completely overcast. So weird. I think we were getting the edge of a passing monsoon. We were out for about 6 hours.

Species List:

  1. Alkali Heliotrope, Heliotropium curassavicum
  2. Alkali Mallow, Malvella leprosa
  3. American Avocet, Recurvirostra americana
  4. American Coot, Fulica americana
  5. American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  6. Ant, Immigrant Pavement Ant, Tetramorium immigrans
  7. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  8. Bisnaga, Visnaga daucoides
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  10. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  11. Black-Crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  12. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  13. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  14. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  15. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  16. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
  17. Case-Bearing Leaf Beetle, Cryptocephalus castaneus
  18. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus [road kill]
  19. Crab Spider, Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia
  20. Damselfly, Familiar Bluet, Enallagma civile
  21. Desert Cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii
  22. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  23. Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  24. Grebe, Western Grebe, Aechmophorus occidentalis [black below the eye]
  25. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  26. Hoverfly, Margined Calligrapher, Toxomerus marginatus
  27. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  28. Leafhopper, Tribe: Empoascini
  29. Leaf-Mining Trumpet Moth, Tischeria sp.
  30. Leafy Bract Gall Wasp, Diplolepis californica [hard rosette gall on rose bush]
  31. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  32. Mantis, Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [large ootheca]
  33. Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  34. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  35. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  36. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
  37. Raccoon, Common Raccoon, Procyon lotor [road kill]
  38. Redhead Duck, Aythya americana
  39. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  40. Rose Rosette Disease, Rose rosette emaravirus [carried by mites]
  41. Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
  42. Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
  43. Safflower, Carthamus tinctorius
  44. Slough Sedge, Carex obnupta
  45. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  46. Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp, Diplolepis polita [on rose leaves]
  47. Sunflower, Common Sunflower, Helianthus annuus [agricultural]
  48. Swallow, Barn Swallow, American Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster
  49. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  50. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  51. Western Spotted Orbweaver, Neoscona oaxacensis
  52. White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
  53. Wild Licorice, Glycyrrhiza lepidota
  54. Willow Beaked-Gall Midge, Rabdophaga rigidae
  55. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  56. Willow Stem Sawfly, Euura exiguae
  57. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  58. ?? Hard gall on the midvein of rose leaves

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The Usual Suspects at Gristmill, 06-19-22

I got up around 5:30 this morning so I could get outside for a walk before the heat of the day came on. Walking in the summer is harder for me because I have to get up earlier to catch the few hours of comfortable temperatures… and going out early means I miss a lot of the insects that don’t come out until it gets warmer. Grrrr.

I went over to the Gristmill Recreation Area and didn’t see much of anything that I haven’t seen already.

The galls on the willows are getting more impressive and easier to see as the larvae inside of them grow. I did find one that didn’t look like others I’d previously seen. I don’t know yet if it’s a “new” gall or just an early iteration of a gall I’ve already seen. I’m not seeing any new galls on the oak trees yet.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I saw a few Black-tailed Jackrabbits around, and a couple of them let me take their pictures. No such luck with the California Ground Squirrels, though.

I watched a male Downy Woodpecker hanging around the hole to what I assumed was a nesting cavity. But I don’t think it was HIS nesting cavity. I saw a beak poke out toward him that looked “heavier” than a Downy beak would be… so I’m not sure what kind of bird was in there. I later saw the woodpecker going through the leaves of nearby trees collecting insects.

There were a lot of White-Breasted Nuthatches climbing the trees all around the trail looking for food. And I saw a Spotted Towhee stuffing its face with elderberries before flying away.

Elsewhere on the trail I found a Bewick’s Wren fledgling that was looking pretty rough, but that didn’t stop it from singing.

I walked for about three hours and then headed home. This was hike #36 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Ant, California Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus [red]
  2. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  3. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  4. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  5. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  6. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  7. California Black Walnut Pouch Gall Mite, Aceria brachytarsa
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  10. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  11. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  12. Darkling Beetle, Blapstinus sp.
  13. Downy Woodpecker, Dryobates pubescens
  14. Elm Tree, Field Elm Tree, Ulmus minor
  15. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  16. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  17. Funnel Weaver Spider, Subfamily: Ageleninae
  18. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  19. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  20. Meshweaver Spider, Mallos sp. [small, pale tan with dark dot on the abdomen]
  21. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  22. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  23. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  24. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  25. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  26. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  27. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  28. Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata
  29. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  30. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  31. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  32. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  33. Willow Beaked-Gall Midge, Rabdophaga rigidae
  34. Willow Fold Gall Sawfly, Euura sp. [Phyllocolpa sp.]
  35. Willow Petiole Gall Sawfly, Subfamily: Nematinae
  36. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [on stem]
  37. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  38. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
  39. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  40. Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  41. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon

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So Many Galls at Mather Lake, 06-17-22

I got up around 5:30 am. This is one of the few days in the next week or so when the temperatures are going to be in the 70’s. Next week, we’ll be over 100º. I went over to Mather Lake Regional Park for a walk. It was overcast and chilly when I got to the lake, but the morning sun was eventually able to break through now and then to light up the landscape and the lake. Just beautiful. It’s definitely tick season, however. I came home with TWELVE of them on me! [My sister Melissa pulled two off of my back.] Ahhhhhhrgh!

Apropos of nothing… I saw several spots on the lake where the water was “boiling”. I couldn’t tell if it was from fish or something else under the surface.

It looked to me like the trails had been augmented since the last time I was there. The main trail was widened in places making it easier to travel on.

You can see where the trail has been enlarged by cutting into the side of it [on the left in this photo.].
The “dark dirt” is all new surface to walk on.

Again, I was hoping to see dragonflies/damselflies and maybe some new-to-me pollinators. I was hoping, too, to maybe seeing some cicadas. Pickings were slim in those areas. The only thing I found were a few cicada exoskeletons clinging to the coyote brush bushes. That told me that the critters were around there somewhere, but I couldn’t see or hear them; too chilly for them in the morning, I guess.

There were tons of aphid galls on the leaves of the cottonwood trees, and lots of midge galls on the coyote brush. I was most surprised, though, by the number of apple galls on the arroyo willow trees (some of them being surrounded by small herds of aphids and some aphid-tending ants). There were also huge groupings of pinecone galls on the narrow leaf willow. I felt the same kind of “panic” in the shear number of galls that I felt about the acorns on the live oak trees at Sailor Bar. Nature is gearing up and back filling, getting ready for a stand against…what? It seems very foreboding to me.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Among the aphids I could see the abandoned bodies of “mummified” adults. Tiny parasitoid wasps lay their eggs in the body of the aphids.  According to the University of Maryland, “…The adult female wasp lays her eggs in aphids. The larva hatches and develops inside the aphid, eventually killing it. The larva is a tiny, white grub. When the larva completes its development, it pupates and turns the aphid body into a “mummy”. The mummies are swollen, brown or blackish (Aphelinids leave blackish mummies behind, and Aphidius create tan or golden aphid mummies), and papery in appearance. The adult parasite may chew a hole in the rear of the mummy to escape. Some species of parasites will pupate beneath the aphid.” You can see the tan mummies with the circular hole in them in the photo I took below:

No dragonflies or damselflies, but I did come across a lot of Yellow-Faced Bumblebees dozing on the leaves of the cottonwood trees and blackberry vines. And a new-to-me insect, the Four-Eyed Sigil Lady Beetle appeared on the coyote bush bushes. These lady beetles are far smaller than the regular Asian Lady beetles we’re used to seeing; they’re about the size of the head of a pin.

There were lots of different rushes showing off along the edges of the lake, along with the tules and the cattails.

I saw quite  few California Ground Squirrels (my favorite squirrel) running all over the place and chewing up the plants and grasses around them. When I was taking photos of some birds, one of the ground squirrels ran up near me and sat up, like it was interested in what I was seeing and doing. So cute.

In the water, I saw a few turtles swimming, and also saw some sunning themselves on whatever substrate they could find.  One of the turtles had come up out of the water literally covered in duckweed. There were both native Western Pond Turtles and invasive Red-Eared Slider turtles.

I could hear birdsong all around me, but only got a few fairly good photos of a few of them.  At one point, I saw a White-Tailed Kite chasing a Red-Shouldered Hawk across the sky away from the lake. There was so much noise between the two birds that all of the fishermen around me stopped what they were doing to watch the birds.

The Mute Swans were floating all over the lake, but I was lamenting the fact that, at first, I didn’t see any cygnets. I was concerned that maybe the department that oversees the lake had killed or removed them to control the swan population. Later, however, I did see a few of the babies hanging out in the water-side nests of their parents across the lake. I look forward to their venturing out in the water where I can get better photos of them.

In the video snippet below, you can see some of the older cygnets standing by while their mom works on repairing the nest.

I walked for four hours before heading home. This was hike #35 in my #52hikechallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Ant, Argentine Ant, Linepithema humile
  2. Aphid, Giant Willow Aphid, Tuberolachnus salignus
  3. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  4. Baccharis Stem Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia baccharis [creates twisting stems on coyote brush]
  5. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [den]
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  8. Broad-Leaved Cattail, Typha latifolia
  9. Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare
  10. Bumblebee, Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee, Bombus vosnesenskii
  11. California Bulrush, Schoenoplectus californicus
  12. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  13. Cicada, Typical Cicada, Family: Cicadidae
  14. Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
  15. Common Hawkweed, Hieracium lachenalii
  16. Common Spikeweed, Centromadia pungens
  17. Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
  18. Coyote Brush Bud Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  19. Coyote Brush Stem Gall Moth, Gnorimoschema baccharisella
  20. Coyote Brush Rust Gall, Puccinia evadens
  21. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  22. Crab Spider, Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia
  23. Duckweed, Common Duckweed, Lemna minor
  24. Eurasian Water-Milfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum
  25. Floating Primrose-Willow, Ludwigia peploides
  26. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  27. Giant Willow Aphid, Tuberolachnus salignus
  28. Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  29. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  30. Ladybeetle, Four-Eyed Sigil Lady Beetle, Hyperaspis quadrioculata
  31. Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
  32. Ladybeetle, Sigil Lady Beetles, Hyperaspis sp.
  33. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  34. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  35. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  36. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  37. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  38. Oak, Cork Oak, Quercus suber
  39. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  40. Pacific Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  41. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
  42. Pale-Lined Angle Moth, Digrammia irrorata
  43. Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium
  44. Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus obesinymphae [new American species, “slit mouth”]
  45. Red Swamp Crayfish, Crawdad, Procambarus clarkii
  46. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  47. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  48. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  49. Robber Fly, Subfamily: Asilinae
  50. Soft-Winged Flower Beetle, Listrus sp.
  51. Squarestem Spikerush, Eleocharis quadrangulata
  52. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  53. Swamp Smartweed, Persicaria hydropiperoides
  54. Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
  55. Turkey Tangle Frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora
  56. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  57. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  58. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  59. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  60. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  61. Western Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis
  62. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  63. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Euura californica
  64. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  65. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [on stem]
  66. Willow Stem Sawfly, Euura exiguae
  67. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  68. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
  69. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  70. Wren, House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  71. Yellow Star-Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis

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A Walk at Sailor Bar, 06-14-22

I got up around 5:00 AM, got the dogs fed and pottied, and then headed out with my friend Roxanne to check out Sailor Bar. I hadn’t been there for quite a while and, in fact, forgot how rocky and uneven most of the trails are. Walking over the rocky, uneven ground really did a number on my hip joint.

The first thing we found when we got to the park (down by the boat ramp), were some pinecone galls on the willow trees. We also found what looked like Erineum mite activity on the Coyote Brush…It’s the same mite that affects Mule Fat plants.  I’d never seen the effect on Coyote Brush before.    Once again, we didn’t see any sign of galls on the oak trees.

The live oak trees were overflowing with new acorns; the kind of “panic” seed-making. One theory suggests the trees are frantically trying to reproduce before something bad happens, like an extended drought or other natural disaster. 

Another theory says: “…[T]hat there is an evolutionary advantage to producing an unreliable number of acorns each year. If it were too reliable, the theory goes, surrounding wildlife populations like that of squirrels, deer and birds would adjust and learn to eat the entire yearly crop. Mast years stop this from happening. In these years, oak trees flood the ecosystem and produce too many acorns for local wildlife to consume, meaning more will have the chance to grow into saplings come spring…”

Likewise, it looked like there was a bumper crop of berries on the blackberry vines. We also saw some parts of the vines where the edges of the leaves had curled inward. I don’t know if that was a reaction of heat stress, or some sort of fungus or insect infestation.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

There was hillocks covered with Common Madia flowers, some with a red flush in the center but most without. The plants, related to tarweeds, are covered in sticky glands that exude a lemony-resiny smell.  “…The ray flowers curl up during the daytime, opening in the late afternoon and staying open all night until mid-morning…” [Calscape] We saw a few with curling petals, but didn’t realize that was part of the flowers’ nature.  

There was also quite a bit of the mini-flowered Long-Stemmed Buckwheat plants. They grew along the edges of the trail. “…Flowers occur in knob-like clusters distantly spaced along the long, leafless stems. Flowers are radially symmetrical, bisexual and about 1/10 inch (3-4 mm) across, extending beyond the cluster on short pedicels and drooping downward with age…” (https://thenaturecollective.org).

The “lifer” of the day for me was finding a River Cooter Turtle among the other turtles sunning on branches in the water. Cooters are native to the eastern and central US. They don’t belong in California, but just a week or so ago a friend of mine in Rocklin found one that was very similar.

“…The species P. concinna is highly omnivorous and will eat anything, plant or animal, dead or alive. Diet seems to be determined by available food items. While some writers feel that this species of turtle will not eat meat, predatory behavior has been observed. Although it can’t swallow out of water, it will leave the water to retrieve a tasty bug or worm, returning to the water to swallow. It will also enthusiastically chase, kill and eat small fish. It has also been observed eating carrion found along the river’s edge. The river cooter has tooth-like cusps in the upper jaw, probably an adaptation to aid in eating leaves and fibrous vegetation. Its primary diet includes a wide variety of aquatic plants, and some terrestrial plants that grow near the water’s edge. It will happily take fallen fruits as well. In captivity, any kind of plant will be eaten, and some “meats”, too. Turtles will also take calcium in a separate form, such as a cuttlebone, so that the turtle can self-regulate calcium intake…” [Wikipedia]

According to iNaturalist: “…Introduced in American River Parkway, CA, US: arrived in the region via anthropogenic means…” That’s a polite way of saying humans dumped them in the river.

We walked for about 3 hours before heading home. This was hike #34 of my #52hikechallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Ash Leaf Curl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii
  2. Ash, Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  3. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  4. Black Locust Tree, Robinia pseudoacacia
  5. Black Walnut, Northern California Black Walnut, Juglans hindsii
  6. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  7. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
  8. Bumblebee, Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee, Bombus vosnesenskii
  9. Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
  10. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  11. California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  12. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  13. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  14. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  15. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  16. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  17. Coffeeberry, California Buckthorn, Frangula californica
  18. Common Madia, Madia elegans elegans
  19. Coyote Brush Blister Mite, Aceria baccharices
  20. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
    Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  21. Deerweed, Acmispon glaber
  22. Downy Thornapple, Jimsonweed, Datura innoxia
  23. Earwig, European Earwig, Forficula auricularia
  24. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  25. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata
  26. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  27. Gossamer-Winged Butterfly, Family: Lycaenidae
  28. Green Lacewing, Chrysopa coloradensis
  29. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  30. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  31. Long-Stemmed Buckwheat, Eriogonum elongatum
  32. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  33. Mountain Blue Penstemon, Penstemon laetus
  34. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  35. Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata
  36. Non-Biting Midges, Family: Chironomidae
  37. Oak, Blue Oak, Quercus douglasii
  38. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  39. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  40. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  41. Orange-Crowned Warbler, Leiothlypis celata
  42. Orb-Weaver Spider, Family: Araneidae
  43. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  44. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
  45. Purpletop Vervain, Verbena incompta
  46. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  47. River Cooter Turtle, Pseudemys concinna
  48. Soft-Winged Flower Beetle, Listrus sp.
  49. Solitary Oak Leafminer Moth, Cameraria hamadryadella [form whole-leaf blisters on oak]
  50. Spanish Clover, Acmispon americanus [looks like tiny lotus]
  51. Swallow, Northern Rough-Winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis
  52. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  53. Tree-of-Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
  54. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  55. Willow Beaked-Gall Midge, Rabdophaga rigidae
  56. Willow Pinecone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  57. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
  58. Willow, Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  59. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa [fly by over the water]
  60. Yellow Star-Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis
  61. ?? unidentified gall on thin leaves

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