Category Archives: lichen

First Trip to Table Mountain, 03-27-21

I got up a little before 6:00 am so I could head out with my friend Roxanne to go to the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Oroville, about a 90-minute drive from Sacramento right up Highway 70. We had never been there before, but we’d seen photos from other people who had been up there, so we were excited to see what we could see.  Some words of warning if you go up there yourself: don’t go on a weekend, and try to get there as early as you can.

When we got there, one of the parking lots was already full, and by the time we left both parking lots were overflowing with cars, more cars were coming in, and other cars were parked on both sides of the road for about a MILE. Rox and I figured that by the time we left there were about 1000 people at the site. Now, Table Mountain is huge, but still… gad. 

After we walked for several hours, we went back to the car to sit and have some lunch. It was our original intention to go out and walk some more after lunch, but after realizing how many people were there and how the cars were stacking up, we decided to leave.

Weatherwise, it was a gorgeous day to be out walking: in the 60’s and 70’s,sunny, with a slight breeze. Just beautiful.

Sky Lupine, Pan Poppies, and Goldfields

Rox found an excellent parking space right near the front entrance to the parking lot. And right outside the doors of the car were Blue Dicks, Popcorn Flowers, Goldfields, Fiddleneck, and Sky Lupines! So pretty…and such a great start to our flower-search day.

The area is also home to free-range cattle. Signage tells you to stay at least 300 feet from the cows, but that wasn’t always possible because several of the cattle walked right up to within arm’s length of us. Sometimes they were so close, you could hear the crunch of their teeth as they browsed among the wildflowers.

Domestic Cattle, Bos Taurus

I was watching one Black Angus who was watching Rox as she checked out the various flowers on the ground below her. When she would bend down to get a picture, the cow would dip its head down like it was trying to see what she was interested in. Hah!

We avoided the heavily trafficked trails (too many people making too much noise), and just perused the top of the plateau and some of the seep areas. Everywhere you stepped there were flowers, including several I hadn’t seen before, like the glorious pink Bitterroots and white Table Mountain Meadowfoam (which are endemic to that region; found there and nowhere else on earth).

The broad landscapes were as interesting and beautiful as the close-up flowers themselves. Waves of blue lupines, yellow goldfields, orange poppies, white popcorn flowers.  Just breath taking.

Sky Lupine, Popcorn Flowers and Goldfields

We spent about 3½ combing the area, and were happy when we discovered a tiny Sierra Chorus Frog in one of the seep areas. I was able to catch him, so we could get some close up photos before releasing him back into the water.

Sierran Tree Frog, Pseudacris sierra

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

As we drove out, heading eventually back to Sacramento via Colusa, we stopped occasionally along the way to get photos of other flowering plants we saw along the way. We saw some Virgin Bower (“Old Man’s Beard”) in the treetops, but also found a whole bankside along the road covered with phacelia.

Phacelia, Caterpillar Scorpionweed, Phacelia cicutaria

We’re anxious to check out more wildflower spots in the region.  During one of those stops we also got to see a lovely Lark Sparrow sitting on a barbed wire fence line.

Lark Sparrow, Chondestes grammacus

After driving through the city of Colusa, we stopped briefly at the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge so I could show Rox where one of the Great Horned Owls were.

The mama owl wasn’t in her nest, but she was up in the trees near it.  The afternoon sun was really beating down on the tree where her nest was, and she was panting like she was overheated. 

The heat no doubt kept her eggs warm (if she had any; and I’m assuming she did, or she wouldn’t have stuck so close to that same nesting tree). We took a few distant photos of her and headed back to the car.

By then it was almost 80° outside and we were getting overheated ourselves. We headed home, stopping off to get a cold drink along the way.

We were out for a little over 10 hours. Phew! This counted as hike #30 in my #52HikeChallenge.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  4. Bitterroot, Lewisia rediviva [large, bright pink flowers]
  5. Black Angus Cattle, Bos taurus var. Black Angus
  6. Black Grain-Spored Lichen, Sarcogyne hypophaea [black, grainy, on rocks]
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  9. Black-Tailed Bumble Bee, Bombus melanopygus
  10. Blue Dicks, Table Mountain Blue Dicks, Dipterostemon capitatus capitatus
  11. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  12. Brown Cobblestone Lichen, Acarospora fuscata
  13. Butter-and-Eggs, Triphysaria eriantha eriantha [red stems]
  14. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
  15. California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus
  16. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  17. Cascade Onion, Allium cratericola
  18. Chickweed, Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
  19. Cinder Lichen, Aspicilia cinerea
  20. Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
  21. Common Goldspeck Lichen, Candelariella vitellina [bright yellow with rimmed apothecia on rocks]
  22. Common Vetch, Vicia sativa [pink flowers]
  23. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
  24. Cowbag Clover, Trifolium depauperatum
  25. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  26. Deceiver Mushroom, Laccaria laccata [reddish-tan, dimpled, goblet shaped]
  27. Dot-Seed Plantain, Plantago erecta
  28. Douglas’ Violet, Viola douglasii [yellow violet with rusty back]
  29. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto [heard]
  30. Frying Pan Poppy, Eschscholzia lobbii
  31. Glue-Seed, Blennosperma nanum [yellow with white dots around the center]
  32. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  33. Goldfields, California Goldfields, Lasthenia californica
  34. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  35. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  36. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
  37. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  38. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  39. Guernsey Cattle, Bos taurus var. Guernsey
  40. Holstein Friesian Cattle, Bos taurus var. Holstein
  41. Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
  42. Lark Sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
  43. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  44. Lupine, Sky Lupine, Lupinus nanus
  45. Miner’s Lettuce, Streambank Springbeauty, Claytonia parviflora [very small]
  46. Musk Stork’s-Bill, Erodium moschatum
  47. Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sanicula graveolens [very strong scent]
  48. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  49. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  50. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  51. Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
  52. Peridot Sweat Bee, Augochlorella pomoniella [bright metallic green]
  53. Pennsylvania Bittercress, Cardamine pensylvanica
  54. Phacelia, Caterpillar Scorpionweed, Phacelia cicutaria
  55. Pipestem Clematis, Old Man’s Beards, Clematis lasiantha
  56. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  57. Popcorn Flower, Pacific Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys tenellus [bright yellow center]
  58. Popcorn Flower, Stalked Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys stipitatus
  59. Prettyface, Dark-stained Prettyface, Triteleia ixioides unifolia
  60. Raven, Common Raven, Corvus corax
  61. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  62. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  63. Ring-Necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
  64. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  65. Rock Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia conspersa
  66. Rock Tripe, Emery Rocktripe Lichen, Umbilicaria phaea
  67. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  68. Seep Monkeyflower, Erythranthe guttata
  69. Shining Pepperweed, Lepidium nitidum
  70. Sierra Mock Stonecrop, Sedella pumila
  71. Sierran Tree Frog, Pseudacris sierra [dark stripe across the eye]
  72. Smokey-Eyed Boulder Lichen, Porpidia albocaerulescens
  73. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  74. Sticky Mouse-Ear Chickweed, Cerastium glomeratum
  75. Stonecrop, Sedum sp.
  76. Table Mountain Meadowfoam, Limnanthes douglasii nivea
  77. Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  78. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  79. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  80. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  81. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  82. Western Buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalis
  83. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  84. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  85. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  86. White-tipped Clover, Trifolium variegatum
  87. Yellow Cobblestone Lichen, Acarospora socialis
  88. Yellow-Legged Mud-dauber Wasp, Sceliphron caementarium
  89. Yellow Map Lichen, Rhizocarpon geographicum [bright yellow-green with dark spots]
  90. Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata

Coyote Morning, 03-11-21

It was still cold (around 34°F) this morning, and there were still hail stones in piles on the ground in the shadier places; nonetheless, around 6:30 am I headed out to the American River Bend Park for a walk. When I arrived there, I could hear a pack of coyotes yip-yowling at one another. I tried recording their calls but there was too much other outdoor noise — wind, cars, etc. — to really hear the ‘yotes.

Inside the park, I stopped off to take a look at mama Great Horned Owl first. She was sitting toward the back of her nest, and was dozing. [I wondered what she did when it was hailing yesterday.] I looked for papa in the surrounding trees, but never caught sight of him. He might have been out hunting.

While I was looking for him, I could hear a Wild Turkey giving an alarm call to my left, so I looked over there. The turkey came up over a rise, running, and behind it was a coyote! As soon as the coyote saw me, it stopped, and then loped off down the drive and into the woods. An owl and a coyote in the first five minutes of arriving! That was an auspicious start to my walk.

Coyote, Canis latrans

At one point, I thought I’d spotted papa Great Horned Owl in a tree, but on close inspection realized it was just Fox Squirrel that was curled up and grooming itself in the tree top. The way the sunlight was hitting it made it almost “glow”.

I stopped to take some photos of a beautiful outcropping of flowering manroot vines before moving on to another part of the park. I didn’t have anything specific in mind to look for, so I just enjoyed the walk and had fun viewing whatever Nature wanted to show me. The water in the river was higher than I’ve seen it recently, and was flowing very quickly. Lots of logs floating in the water faked me out — thought they were beavers.

In and around the water, I saw Common Mergansers, Snowy Egrets and Canada Geese. I also came across a Double-Crested Cormorant who was sporting his crests (that look like bushy eyebrows). The crests of this guy were white, which indicates he probably migrated from Alaska.

Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus

I also saw a Spotted Sandpiper (that didn’t have her spots yet), and a male/female pair of Wood Ducks.

I saw some Lesser Goldfinches, Bewick’s Wrens, Oak Titmice, and California Towhees in the wooded areas. One kind of humorous sighting was seeing a troupe of Turkey Vultures sitting in the top of a tree over a fancy house doing their “heraldic” pose.  Looked very “ominous” and “foreboding”.

Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura, in the “heraldic” pose which allows them to soak up more heat from the sun more efficiently.

Lots of pipevine plants are now coming up, just in time for spring, but the plants here are kind of “behind” the same plants in other areas. They’re just sporting their flowers.  Lots of Mugwort and Bedstraw everywhere; and the clarkia are just starting to emerge. No flowers on them yet.

CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos.

I watched a hummingbird flitting around the outdoor arena along the trail, and it flew up in front of my face a couple of times. I think it was attracted to the colors in my scarf. It then flew down into the fire pit and was eating (or at least licking) something inside the rim of that. It wasn’t gathering spider webs, because it was flicking its tongue in and out. After it left, I looked down into the pit, but I couldn’t see anything it might have wanted to feast on.  Weird. 

The rains and hail of yesterday helped to fluff up all of the mosses and lichen, so I took a few photos of the most impressive ones of those I found.

In one of the puddles there was a Hairworm. When I first saw it, it wasn’t moving, so I thought it was dead. I went to the puddle again on my way back to the car, and it was moving then, albeit very slowly. Based on the “ends” of the worm, I assumed this one was a male. It was about 14 inches long.

On my way out of the park, I saw a pair of ground squirrels, and then went back to get a parting look at mama Great Horned Owl. Altogether, I walked for about 3½ hours.  This was hike #26 of my #52HikeChallenge. When I got back to the house, I rested with the dogs for a while.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
  4. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  5. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Boreal Button Lichen, Buellia disciformis [pale gray to bluish with black apothecia on wood]
  8. Brown Jelly Fungus, Leafy Brain, Phaeotremella foliacea
  9. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  10. California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii
  11. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  12. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  13. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  14. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  15. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  16. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  17. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  18. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  19. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
  20. Coyote Brush Rust, Puccinia evadens
  21. Coyote Brush Stem Gall Moth, Gnorimoschema baccharisella
  22. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  23. Coyote, Canis latrans
  24. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  25. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  26. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata [red line on leaves]
  27. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum hirsutum [thin, flattish, brown underside]
  28. Giraffe’s Head, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  29. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  30. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  31. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
  32. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  33. Hedwig’s Fringeleaf Moss, Hedwigia ciliata
  34. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  35. Horsehair Worm, Hairworm, Phylum: Nematomorpha
  36. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  37. Jelly Spot Fungus, Dacrymyces stillatus
  38. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  39. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  40. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  41. Mealy Pixie Cup, Cladonia chlorophaea
  42. Mealy Rim Lichen, Lecanora strobilina [greenish apothecia]
  43. Miner’s Lettuce, Streambank Springbeauty, Claytonia parviflora [very small]
  44. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
  45. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  46. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  47. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  48. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
  49. Pacific Pea, Lathyrus vestitus
  50. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  51. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  52. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  53. Shield Lichen, Parmelia sulcata [greyish,veined]
  54. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  55. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  56. Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius
  57. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  58. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  59. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  60. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  61. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  62. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  63. Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata

First Trip to Reinhardt, 02-26-21

Up at 6:00 am again and out the door at 6:30 with my friend Roxanne for a long trip to the Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.  “[The] Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is a part of the East Bay Regional Parks District in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is located in the hills east of Oakland. The park contains the largest remaining natural stand of coast redwood found in the East Bay.”  It was the hope of seeing something different in the redwoods that prompted us to make the journey.

Me trying to hug one of the Coast Redwoods. I feel such an affinity with them. [Photo by Roxanne Moger.]

We took the “scenic route” which was about 2-hours one way. Roxanne did all of the driving, for which I was immensely grateful. From Interstate 5 South, we took Highway 160 South to Highway 4 West, then from Highway 24 West to Highway 13 South, and then into the park (which is huge). 

We were following the directions of “The Google Lady”, but when we were on Highway 160 she didn’t tell us to make a left-hand turn over a drawbridge so we went straight ahead. Then The Google Lady took us in a wide circle around old levee roads back to where the bridge was. 

I was peeved that we’d been led in a circle, but if we hadn’t made that unexpected side-trip we would have missed some great sights like a Great Egret rookery, a Great Blue Heron sitting on its nest, and a huge Black-Crowned Night Heron day roost (with maybe 100 birds in it). So, I couldn’t complain too much. Hah!

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, on its nest

When we got to the park we found the Redwood Gate and went in through there. Normally, you have to pay a day-use fee of $5 per vehicle, but today the fees were waived. That was nice to see.

Our first priority was finding a working restroom or porta-potty. (Had to get rid of our breakfast coffee. Hah!) We found one restroom facility, but it was boarded up without-of-order signs on it, and another sign directing us to another restroom at the end of the drive. We thought it was odd, in this time of COVID, for whomever oversees the park to have EVERYONE collect at that one restroom… Wouldn’t that increase the chances of contamination? Well, at least there were flush toilets and a sink to wash your hands.  I was also pleased to see EVERYONE wearing face protection, gators or masks, everywhere we went in the park. Social distancing was also maintained, even on the trails.

We found a shaded place to park right near where a couple of trail meet, so we picked a direction and just started walking, no looking for anything in particular, just taking everything in. (Well, I HAD hoped to see a banana slug, or some newts, or a Giant Salamander… but it just wasn’t wet enough there. The creek wasn’t “creeking” much.  And the air was still a little chilly in the shadier parts. I was comfortable in my long-sleeved shirt for the most part. I was sunny but a little breezy.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Lots of lichen to look at, but only a few fungi. There was Elegant Fringe Lichen, Heterodermia leucomelos, which I had never seen before. It looked like a plain tube lichen… but had fine black hairs sprouting out all over the thallus. Very cool! The bark on some of the trees were “fluffy” with different kinds of beard lichen, and on the ends of the boards of part of a low fence along the trail we saw Powderhorn lichen. Lots to look at.

One of the most curious lichen we found (to me) was a kind of pelt lichen growing on top of moss on a boulder. The underside of each “leaf” of the pelt was covered in “teeth” that grabbed into the moss.  I’d never seen that before.

Dog Pelt Lichen, Peltigera canina [thick “skin” with lots of “teeth” on the back of the pelt]

Among the fungi we saw different kinds of Stereum and crust fungus, some Sulphur Tuft mushrooms, and some purple-black Cramp Balls. I was expecting more, but again it wasn’t wet enough there…and we only worked one area. The park is huge, so there might have been more to see elsewhere.

As we first drove in, I saw a Bewick’s Wren and a Robin greeting us.  And then as we walked the trails, we could hear little peeping birds everywhere, but catching sight of one and then being able to photograph it was quite a feat. There were tiny chickadees in the upper branches of the trees, and little spotted Brown Creepers working on the bark. Both kinds of birds are very small and hard to see even in good light. In the shade of the trees, photographing them was even more difficult because the camera’s auto-focus fought me against the dark shadows.

In one area we watched some Spotted Towhees flying amid the underbrush, and then participating in what looked like knock-down drag-out fights with one another. In other areas, we could hear the towhees calling to one another in their raspy voices, but couldn’t see them.

Later, we heard something that sounded sort of like a jay, but not exactly like the Scrub Jays we see regularly in the Valley. Looking around, we realized the sound was coming from Steller’s Jays (large blue jays with a smokey black head and crest). At yet another stop, we had a pair of ravens cawing to each other in a tree over our head.

The plants and trees, though, gave us a LOT to look at and photograph. (I took 1000 photos on this trip.) The bay trees were in blossom everywhere, and there were alders, oaks and willows, acacias, hazelnut trees, madrones and buckeye, and redwoods, of course. The understory was crammed full of a variety of plants, vines, mosses and ferns. [I figure it will take me DAYS to sort through everything and get it identified.] There were quite a few new-to-me things almost everywhere we looked so it made for a very interesting and curiosity provoking hike. 

Dotted throughout the landscape where we were, there were trees with white flowers on them that we assumed were either some kind of almond or some kind of plum. (They all look the same to me.) We also found some Flowering Currant plants that were starting to flower. The pink flowers were all on dangling racemes; some of the flowers were just starting to open.  

Red Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

I also saw my first trillium plant. I’d seen photos of them, of course, but had never seen one “live” before. It’s bud was sitting in the middle of its large spotted leaves, but it hadn’t opened yet. Still, very interesting.

Giant White Wakerobin, Trillium albidum

Rox pointed out stands of small liverwort plants, and showed me the little pockets in which the “gemmae” were sitting.  The gemmae are tiny cellular bodies that can separate from the mother plant and form new plants. Usually, the mechanism that separates these gemmae from the liverwort plants is simple rainfall. This type of asexual reproduction is referred to as “fragmentation”.

While we were walking along, a young man came up — I think he said he was visiting from Slovenia — and asked if we knew where he could get something to eat nearby. I was so intent on trying get a photo of a Dark-Eyed Junco at the time that I didn’t say anything, and let Rox explain to him that we weren’t from the area ourselves, so we didn’t know where anything was — and there was no cellphone service there — so we weren’t able to be of much help. It wasn’t until after he left us and the Junco was gone that it occurred to me that I could have given him my lunch if he was really hungry. D’oh!

Elsewhere, we saw old willow stem galls, as well as some fresh bud galls on Coyote Brush. A new gall for me was the one on honeysuckle. It’s a kind of “rosette” gall that looks like a little bouquet of green flowers. It’s caused by the Honeysuckle Gall Midge, Lonicerae lonicera.

Gall of the Honeysuckle Gall Midge, Lonicerae lonicera [rosette gall]

A surprise for me for the day was spotting a Mourning Cloak butterfly. They’re a dark butterfly with light trim on their wings. These are interesting butterflies in that they don’t generally feed on nectar or pollen; they prefer to feed on tree sap and rotting fruit.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa

They’re also a butterfly that overwinters as adults and estivate in the summer. So, they fly and mate in the late winter and spring, sleep in the treetops during the hot summer months, and then fly again in the late fall and early winter months looking for food to help them overwinter. Females lay eggs on willows, elms or hackberry trees, wrapping the eggs around twigs in circling groups. When the caterpillars hatch they feed inside a communal web before they pupate and emerge as butterflies in June or July.

One thing that really ticked us off was seeing dog-poo bags left all over the trails. I don’t understand why people pick up their dog’s poop to keep the feces from contaminating the landscape — but then leave it in a bag that will contaminate the landscape. Idiocy. On the second half of our walk, Rox brought a larger bag with her and picked up the bags of crap so she could dispose of them properly.

Another hiker saw what she was doing and thanked Rox for her efforts. The woman said she usually scolds those she sees dumping the bags and reminds them that the people who take care of the park aren’t their maids and don’t get paid to clean up after other people’s dogs. And she’s right. It’s a conundrum: do you clean up after the pigs who leave their dog’s poop bags on the trail (thereby facilitating their misbehavior), or do you leave the bags and let the environment be tainted by them?

Fellow Certified California Naturalist, Roxanne Moger, on a pretty part of the trail.

Our walk took us along a piece of the West Ridge Trail. We went out as far as I could before the trail started to incline too much for me, and then we turned around and went back the way we came. That took us back to where the car was parked, so we stopped there for lunch. Then we headed out in direction opposite from the West Ridge Trail, and took the Bridle Trail past the intersections of the Fern Trail and the Mill Trail. By then I wasn’t able to go much further, so we turned around and went back the way we’d come, ending back at the car once more. This counted as #23 of my #52HikeChallenge. Woot!

Full moon rising by the freeway

Traffic going home was horrendous. We’re not used to that around Sacramento since COVID; it took us hours to get home… with a full moon rising. We got back to the house a little before 7:00 pm. So, that was a long day for us, but I really enjoyed it. Thanks to Roxanne for doing all the driving.

Species List:

  1. American Bugleweed, Lycopus americanus [like horehound]
  2. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
  3. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  4. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  5. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [along a slough by the road]
  6. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  7. Black-Crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  8. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  9. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  10. Bristly Beard Lichen, Usnea hirta [thin bristly fronds]
  11. Brown Creeper, Certhia americana
  12. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
  13. California Bay, Umbellularia californica
  14. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  15. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  16. California Oak Moth, Phryganidia californica
  17. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  18. California Scrub Oak, Quercus berberidifolia
  19. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  20. Cherry-Plum Tree, Prunus cerasifera
  21. Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, Poecile rufescens
  22. Chickweed, Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
  23. Coast Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens
  24. Coastal Manroot, Marah oregana
  25. Coastal Woodfern, Dryopteris arguta
  26. Common Cowparsnip, Heracleum maximum
  27. Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
  28. Common Hazel Tree, Corylus avellana [long catkins, no pseudo cones]
  29. Common Pincushion Moss, Dicranoweisia cirrata
  30. Common Powderhorn, Cladonia coniocraea
  31. Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus
  32. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  33. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  34. Cramp Ball Fungus, Annulohypoxylon thouarsianum
  35. Crescent-Cup Liverwort, Lunularia cruciate [look for the gemmae in the cups]
  36. Crevice Alumroot, Heuchera micrantha
  37. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  38. Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
  39. Dendroalsia Moss, Dendroalsia abietina [long, curling tendrils on trees]
  40. Dog Pelt Lichen, Peltigera canina [thick “skin” with lots of “teeth” on the back of the pelt]
  41. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus [along a slough by the road]
  42. Elegant Fringe Lichen, Heterodermia leucomelos
  43. European Gooseberry, Ribes uva-crispa [thorny]
  44. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum ostrea
  45. Farinose Cartilage Lichen,  Ramalina farinacea [like Oakmoss but very thin branches]
  46. Fishbone Beard Lichen, Usnea filipendula
  47. Fluffy Dust Lichen, Lepraria finkii
  48. French Broom, Genista monspessulana
  49. Fringe Cups, Tellima grandiflora [leaves similar to Crevice Alumroot]
  50. Frosted Rim-Lichen, Lecanora caesiorubella 
  51. Giant Vetch, Vicia gigantea
  52. Giant White Wakerobin, Trillium albidum
  53. Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
  54. Gouty Stem Gall Wasp, Callirhytis quercussuttoni
  55. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  56. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  57. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons [in fields along the road]
  58. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  59. Grey House Spider, Badumna longinqua [sheet web with funnel]
  60. Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus
  61. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons [white flowers]
  62. Honeysuckle Gall Midge, Lonicerae lonicera [rosette gall]
  63. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  64. Lace Lichen, Ramalina menziesii
  65. Madrone, Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii
  66. Mealy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora strobilina [greenish apothecia]
  67. Mourning Cloak Butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa
  68. Mustard Yellow Polypore, Fuscoporia gilva [like a bracket fungus]
  69. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  70. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
  71. Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  72. Onion, Allium sp.
  73. Pacific Ninebark, Physocarpus capitatus
  74. Pacific Pea, Lathyrus vestitus
  75. Periwinkle, Greater Periwinkle, Vinca major
  76. Pink Honeysuckle, California Honeysuckle, Lonicera hispidula
  77. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  78. Raven, Common Raven, Corvus corax
  79. Red Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum
  80. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  81. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  82. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  83. Ring-Necked Duck, Aythya collaris
  84. Rose, Rosa sp.
  85. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis [in fields along the road]
  86. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae
  87. Shield Lichen, Parmelia sulcata [greyish,veined]
  88. Shiny Copper Mushroom, Nolanea sp.
  89. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  90. Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata
  91. Sitka Willow, Salix sitchensis
  92. Smokey-Eyed Boulder Lichen, Porpidia albocaerulescens
  93. Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens [in fields along the road]
  94. Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
  95. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  96. Steller’s Jay, Cyanocitta stelleri
  97. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  98. Sulphur Tuft Mushroom, Hypholoma fasciculare
  99. Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
  100. Toothed Crust Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  101. Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  102. Trailing Blackberry, California Blackberry, Rubus ursinus
  103. Tree-skirt Moss, Pseudanomodon attenuates
  104. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  105. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  106. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  107. Western Sword Fern, Polystichum munitum
  108. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  109. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  110. Whitewash Lichen, Phlyctis argena
  111. Willow Stem Sawfly Gall, Euura exiguae
  112. Wood Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis sylvatica
  113. Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum
  114. ?? Tube Lichen
  115. ?? White-flowered fruit trees

First Trip to Hinkle Creek, 02-23-21

I got up with the alarm at 6:30 am and was out the door with my friend and fellow naturalist, Roxanne, to go over to the Hinkle Creek Nature Area in Folsom. We got there a little before 8:00 am and met up with our new acquaintance, Colleen W.

None of us had ever been there before, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. The nature area is just outside the manicured Lew Howard Park. When we first drove in, we didn’t know which was to go to find the trailhead, and ended up in someone’s driveway. D’oh! The owner was outside working on her garden and walked up to the car to see what we wanted, but she hadn’t put her hearing aids in, so she couldn’t hear or understand a word we said. We apologized for trespassing, and drove back out again.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos from today.

We finally found the little gravel parking area right in front of the trailhead and were parked there for just a few minutes before Colleen showed up to join us. She’s an avid birder, so she was able to help us identify some of the bird by their song. In turn, we were able to help her with plant and lichen identification.

Kiosks at the trailhead

I think we figured we saw and/or heard about 20 different bird species including California and Spotted Towhees, finches, Western Bluebirds, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Audubon’s Warblers, and the like. Nothing really “new” to us.

Among the lichen we saw Gold Dust and Green Shield Lichen on the trees, and Emery Rock Tripe, Crater and Cinder Lichen on the rocks among others.

Cumberland Rock-Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia, and Crater Lichen, Diploschistes scruposus

The trail there is about a mile loop, part of it cut out and part of it more like a game trail with markers all along it. It follows the curves of the hills and can be rocky in some spots and muddy in others. There’s also a foot bridge over the creek. It’s all surrounded by a variety of native and non-native trees and plants. Many of the plants are just starting to come into flower like the miner’s lettuce, chickweed, and manroot. It was really quite lovely…and not too far a drive to go back later in the season when, hopefully, wildflowers will be blooming.

Giraffe’s Head, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule

When we were done with our walk there, we bid Colleen goodbye and headed back to Sacramento. We stopped briefly at the Watt Access to the American River before going home. Just as we started home, the winds picked up and blew for the rest of the day.

This was hike #21 of my #52HikeChallenge.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Barn Funnel Weaver Spider, Tegenaria domestica
  6. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  9. Bur Parsley, Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
  10. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  11. California Gull, Larus californicus [yellow legs; dark eye; red spot]
  12. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  13. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  14. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  15. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  16. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  17. Chickweed, Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
  18. Chinese Privet, Glossy Privet, Ligustrum lucidum
  19. Cinder Lichen, Aspicilia cinerea
  20. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  21. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  22. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  23. Crater Lichen, Diploschistes scruposus
  24. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  25. Crown Whitefly, Aleuroplatus coronata
  26. Cumberland Rock-Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia [gray on rocks, brown apotheca
  27. Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
  28. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus [fly over]
  29. Emery Rocktripe Lichen, Umbilicaria phaea
  30. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum hirsutum [thin, flattish, brown underside]
  31. False Turkey-Tail, Stereum ostrea
  32. Giraffe’s Head, Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule
  33. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  34. Goldback Fern, Pentagramma triangularis
  35. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  36. Golden-Haired Inkcap Mushroom, Parasola auricoma
  37. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  38. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  39. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  40. Hover Fly, Migrant Hover Fly, Eupeodes corollae
  41. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  42. Jack-o-Lantern, Western Jack-o-Lantern, Omphalotus olivascens
  43. Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
  44. Maidenhair, California Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum jordanii
  45. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  46. Milk-White Toothed Polypore, Irpex lacteus
  47. Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata
  48. Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Big Leaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
  49. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  50. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius [fly over]
  51. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  52. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  53. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  54. Pore Lichen, Pertusaria sp.
  55. Radish-Scented Mycena, Rosy Bonnet, Mycena rosea
  56. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus [heard, saw flyby]
  57. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  58. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  59. Soil Centipede, Order: Geophilomorpha
  60. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  61. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  62. Tall Psathyrella Mushroom, Psathyrella longipes [tan cap that often splits, dark tan gills]
  63. Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  64. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  65. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura [fly over]
  66. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  67. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  68. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  69. White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
  70. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis