Category Archives: photography

Lerps and Other Stuff, 05-21-19

I had taken yesterday off to try to recover from Tuesday’s tumble, and I felt like I could do a long walk this morning. Uh…apparently not.  I went to the William B. Pond Park on the American River, mostly hoping to see some insects and water plants.  I was able to walk, but not very quickly. My back and left ankle were hurting.  It was mostly dull muscle pain, but enough to slow me down and wear me out.

It was about 61° when I got to the river, and headed up past 77° by the time I left.  It’s gonna be hot today.

American River

The water in the river was quite low, exposing a lot of the rocks. It was so shallow in some places that I saw people crossing the full width of the river with the water never reach their knees.

Although I didn’t see as many insects as I expected to find with the weather warming up, I did find some interesting ones, including a group of Red-Humped Caterpillars, a Privet Leafhopper and some Red Gum Lerp Psyllids.  I also saw a few butterflies and damselflies, nut not too many.  No dragonflies yet… and no obvious exuvia anywhere which was a little disappointing.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

When looking for Anise Swallowtail butterfly eggs on the fennel plants, I came across a spider’s web-den with a small jumping spider inside of it. The den was doubtless her egg sac.  She’ll stay with eggs until they hatch.  I also found a small White Crab Spider and saw several Long-Jawed Orb-Weaver spiders on other parts of the trail. No big orb weavers yet; they usually show up more in the mid- to late summer months.

I also found a female Snakefly, a couple of different kinds of aphids, and a tiny baby Praying Mantis.

Among the Himalayan blackberry vines along the trail, I found some patches where the plants were covered with rust fungus.  There was also a kind of rust on one of the willow trees I saw.

Blackberry Rust, Rubus Rust Fungus, Phragmidium violaceum

 According to Cornell: “… Willow-infecting Melampsora species have complex life histories during which they alternate between willow and an unrelated host to complete their life cycles…  Yellow to orange pustules (uredinia) appear on the underside of willow leaves beginning in late spring and continue throughout the summer. These pustules eventually rupture the epidermis to release large numbers of golden-yellow spores (urediniospores)… In mid-autumn, uredinia change to orange-brown or dark brown telia that overwinter on fallen willow leaves and release fragile basidiospores the following spring. Basidiospores are wind-disseminated and infect the foliage of the alternate host (e.g., balsam fir). Spermagonia appear shortly after infection in the late spring and are followed by aecia containing yellow to orange aeciospores, which are dispersed by wind and infect the current growth of willow. Within two-weeks, uredinia and urediniospores are produced on the lower surface of willow leaves; thereby, renewing the fungus life cycle. There is good evidence to suggest that special forms of Melampsora spp. can overwinter as mycelium or uredinia within dormant willow buds and stems. If so, this eliminates the need of an alternate host and shortens the annual disease cycle…” 

 So  much complexity in such a tiny thing!  

I came across some plants I wasn’t really expecting to see along the particular trail I took, including Rough Horsetail, Sneezeweed and White Sweetclover, and I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the live oak trees along that side of the river are Coast Live Oaks and not Interior Live Oaks.  I’m hoping they’ll show me some different kinds of galls in the summer.

I also found some specimens of plants that were new-to-me finds, like Manyflower Marshpennywort and flowering Lanceleaf Arrowhead. They were around an area where there was an ephemeral pool.  Truthfully, I’d probably seen the plants elsewhere, but never really noticed them because they weren’t in bloom.

I didn’t see a whole lot of birds, but I did see a mother Mallard with her ducklings in the water.  I also caught glimpses of male California Quails, and got photos of a male Nuttall’s Woodpecker gather ants and other insects off a dead tree. 

A male Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii

When I passed a Tree Swallow’s nesting cavity, I saw the parent fly out with a fecal sac. It carried it over the river and dropped it into the water. Litterer!

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. American Wild Carrot, Daucus pusillus
  3. Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata [nymph; stripe across the back of the head]
  4. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  5. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  6. Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine
  7. Black Willow, Salix nigra
  8. Blackberry Rust, Rubus Rust Fungus, Phragmidium violaceum
  9. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  10. Broad-leaved Dock, Rumex obtusifolius
  11. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  12. California Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa californica
  13. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  14. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  15. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  16. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  17. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  18. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  19. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea
  20. Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  21. Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
  22. Cottonwood Petiole Gall, Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
  23. Cudweed, Jersey Cudweed, Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum
  24. Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
  25. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  26. European Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  27. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  28. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  29. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. Peploides
  30. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  31. Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina
  32. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  33. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  34. Hairy Jumping Spider, Habronattus hirsutus
  35. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  36. Himalayan Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  37. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  38. Lanceleaf Arrowhead, Sagittaria lancifolia
  39. Large Sowthisle Aphid, Uroleucon sonchi [reddish brown]
  40. Leaf-Cutter Bee, Megachile sp. 
  41. Live Oak Erineum Mite gall, Aceria mackiei
  42. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  43. Manyflower Marshpennywort, Hydrocotyle umbellata [round leaves like nasturtium]
  44. Minnow, Phoxinus phoxinus
  45. Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria
  46. Nectarine, Prunus persica var. nucipersica
  47. Northern Catalpa, Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa
  48. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  49. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  50. Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui
  51. Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
  52. Privet Leafhopper, Fieberiella florii
  53. Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
  54. Red Gum Eucalyptus, River Redgum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis
  55. Red Gum Lerp Psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombei
  56. Red Sesbania, Scarlet Sesban, Sesbania punicea
  57. Red-humped Caterpillar Moth, Schizura concinna
  58. Ribwort Plantain, Plantago lanceolata
  59. Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  60. Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale
  61. Snakefly, Agulla adnixa
  62. Sneezeweed, Rosilla, Helenium puberulum
  63. Tall Flatsedge,  Cyperus eragrostis
  64. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  65. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  66. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  67. Vivid Dancer Damselfly, Argia vivida  [bands and arrowheads]
  68. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  69. Western Tailed-Blue Butterfly, Cupido amyntula
  70. White Clover, Trifolium repens
  71. White Crab Spider, Thomisus spectabilis
  72. White Sweetclover, Melilotus albus
  73. Willow Rust, Melampsora epitea
  74. Yellow Water Iris, Yellow Flag, Iris pseudacorus [invasive]
  75. Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli

Interesting Insects, 05-19-20

By 7:30 am I was out the door to go to the American River Bend Park for a walk.  I wanted mostly to check on the Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars: to see how many there were out there and how far along in their processes they are. I was not disappointed.

There were so many caterpillars on the ground that I had to watch just about every step I took.  I haven’t seen this many out there since around 2015.  There were literally hundreds of them. Looking at them, I figured about a third of them were at or near their final instar: long and nicely plump.

Caterpillars of the California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta

I found a few that had climbed up into the trees as far as they could, anchored their back feet and spun their suspension silk in anticipation of forming their chrysalises. Let see if I can remember were those are next week when I go back to check again.

I also saw several of the butterflies. They get fed better than the ones that emerge earlier in the spring because there are more wildflowers out now for them to feed on.  The Bush Monkeyflowers and Elegant Clarkia were everywhere along the trails, and the Goldwire is blossoming along with the native Deerweed.

Deerweed, Acmispon glaber

I walked down by the bank for a short distance – I don’t do well on the uneven rocky surface so I had to go slow and couldn’t travel very far. There isn’t a lot of stuff blooming down there just yet but the trees are leafing out.  I did find several stands of Moth Mullein, both yellow and white, along there though. The vervain is waking up, and the Water Irises are starting to go to seed.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The Sweet Fennel isn’t really out as much as it normally is. I only found one plant along the trail (but there may be been more further down.) I checked it for butterfly eggs but didn’t find any.  The Anise Swallowtails like that stuff.

I also looked closely at the Italian Thistle growing all over the place to see if I could spot any Painted Lady caterpillars on them.  The caterpillars spin thin webs around themselves and the leaves and use the thistle’s thorn to protect themselves while they feed and pupate. I only found ONE, but it’s still early in the season for them… and I wasn’t checking for the butterfly’s eggs, so I may have missed a lot. The eggs are pale blue-green and kind of barrel-shaped with little ridges running down their sides.

Caterpillar of the Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui

I checked out the different species of willow along the bank, looking for galls, but didn’t see a whole lot yet. I did see some Willow Bead Gall Mite galls and a nice array of Willow Apple Sawfly galls, though. This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to use my cellphone’s macro lens on them, and I was able to get some interesting photos of their structures.  I didn’t open any of them, though, because there were so few of them.

Gall of the Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Pontania californica

I was surprised by the lack of damselflies and dragonflies. I thought they should be emerging around now, but I guess it’s been a little chilly for them over the last several days.

I found a pair of beetles that, at first blush, looked identical to me; they both had leathery wing cases, reddish bodies and legs, and dark antennae.  But then I realized that one had a dark head and one had a red head, one had spots along the thorax and the other didn’t, and their feet were different.  Insect identification is sooooo difficult for me in part because some of the differences aren’t evident at a casual glance, and sometimes you have to look at EVERYTHING, including how many segments are in the antennae and what color the thing that attaches the antennae to the head is. Anyway, I eventually figured out that I was seeing Cottonwood Twig Borers and Brown Leather Wing Beetles.  Cool.

I also found a lot of the tiny metallic Saint John’s Wort Beetles on the Goldwire and other plants along the trail. They look kind of like ladybugs in hammered metal armor; shiny metallic gold, blue or coppery red. Close up, they’re really quite beautiful.

Saint John’s Wort Beetle, Chrysolina hypericin

They do this “dead drop” thing, though, when you try to photograph them – tucking their legs up against their bodies and dropping suddenly, straight to the ground – before you can get really close to them.  And a lot more of them “dropped” than I was able to get pictures of, but I did get a few.

Among the other insects, I found a “new to me” weevil called a Nodding Thistle Receptacle Weevil who was living in the young leaves of a Yellow Starthistle plant.  It name was about 10 time bigger than the weevil itself.  And I also found several cocoons of the Oak Ribbed Casemaker moth on the leaves of some of the oak trees.

The recent rains woke up some of the lichen, and I was surprised to find a small stand of Mealy Pixie Cups along the base of a dead stump. That’s the only place I’ve ever found them at the park.

I didn’t see any deer anywhere along my walk, but I did catch glimpses of Black-tailed Jackrabbits here and there.  And I saw and heard quite a few different species in the trees including Bushtits, Lesser Goldfinches, House Wrens, hummingbirds, Tree Swallows, Oak Titmice, Western Bluebirds, and Acorn Woodpeckers among others.

I didn’t see too many birds in the water, though, mostly just the Canada Geese and some Common Mergansers, but at one spot I noticed a Turkey Vulture and a crow on the opposite bank.  The vulture had found a discarded fish carcass and the crow came over to “share”. 

Great Egret, Ardea alba, Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura, and a Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos

As they were eating, a Great Egret also showed up.  The vulture turned its back to the egret and walked off with the fish’s tail, and the crow backed off a bit.  The egret, though, didn’t seem too impressed with the dead-fall and eventually just flew off.  It was cool to see the three species together. I got some photos and video snippets of that interaction.

Somewhere along the trail, I took a tumble.  I was back-stepping off an embankment onto the trail where the trail was at a slight incline, and lost my footing.  D’oh! Fell onto my right side, but I was holding my camera up away from my body as I fell, so it never touched the ground, thank goodness!  [I always worry more about my camera than I do my own body. Hah!]

It took a minute for me to get my legs under me, because of my arthritic knees and psoas muscle issues, but I did manage to get upright again without any help. (Not that there was anyone around to help anyway.)  I could feel the fall in my back, psoas, hip and left calf.  Nothing was broken or seriously strained/ pulled/ damaged, though, so I ventured on. I’ll feel it more tomorrow, though, I’m sure!  I had brought my cane with me but had left it in the car. This is a lesson to me to take it EVERYWHERE, even if I think I know the trails really well.

All in all, I walked for about 3½ hours and then headed back home.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Black Dancer Caddisfly, Mystacides sepulchralis
  3. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  4. Brazilian Vervain, Verbena brasiliensis
  5. Brown Leather Wing Beetle, Pacificanthia consors
  6. Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
  7. Bush Monkeyflower, Diplacus aurantiacus
  8. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  9. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  10. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  11. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  12. California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  13. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  14. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  15. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  16. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  17. Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  18. Common Hoptree, Ptelea trifoliata
  19. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  20. Common St. John’s-Wort, Hypericum perforatum
  21. Cottonwood Twig Borer Beetle, Oberea quadricallosa
  22. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  23. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  24. Deerweed, Acmispon glaber
  25. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata
  26. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  27. Goldenrod Bunch Gall, Goldenrod Floret Gall Midge, Solidago canadensis
  28. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  29. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  30. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  31. Himalayan Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  32. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  33. Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  34. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  35. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
  36. Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha sp .
  37. Major Willow Gall Midge, Iteomyia major
  38. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  39. Mealy Pixie Cup, Cladonia chlorophaea
  40. Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria
  41. Nodding Thistle Receptacle Weevil, Rhinocyllus conicus [on thistle]
  42. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  43. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  44. Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui
  45. Rattlesnake Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Briza maxima
  46. Ribbed Cocoon-Maker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella
  47. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  48. Robust Bracket Fungus, Fomitiporia robusta
  49. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens
  50. Saint John’s Wort Beetle, Chrysolina hypericin [metallic gold, blue or copper]
  51. Shortpod Mustard, Hirschfeldia incana
  52. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  53. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  54. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  55. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  56. Western Sycamore, Platanus racemosa
  57. Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta
  58. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly, Pontania californica
  59. Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis
  60. Yellow Water Iris, Yellow Flag, Iris pseudacorus [invasive]
  61. Yellow-faced Bumblebee, Bombus vosnesenskii
  62. Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum

Baby Hawks and Bugs Today, 05-15-20

I headed out around 6:30 am to go to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk this morning.  I met my friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne there.  It was 51°F outside when we got there, but got up to 70° quickly.

Lots of people were on the trails this morning, but everyone was respectful of the 6-foot social distancing thing, which I appreciated.

The first thing we did when we got there was to check out the Valley Oak and Coyote Brush bushes around the parking lot, looking for galls and whatever else we could find.  We’re seeing a lot of Coyote Brush Bud Gall and fimbriate-like Leaf Galls, but not much else yet (except for the large Oak Apples.) I don’t remember a time when I’ve seen so many of the Leaf Galls on the Valley Oaks. 

Gall of the Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]

We DID find something’s pupal case on one of the leaves (and I think it might be that of some kind of moth. [It was pretty tiny.]

I found two new-to-me ladybeetles: the nymph of an Ashy Gray Lady Beetle, Olla v-nigrum, and a Six-spotted Zigzag Lady Beetle, Cheilomenes sexmaculata.  We found the Zigzag one wrapped in a leaf and thought she was dead at first. When we got her out, though, she rolled onto her back in my hand and then used her wings to upright herself again.

Ashy Gray Lady Beetle, Olla v-nigrum [nymph, lion]

See? Even “everyday” bugs can surprise you when you really look at them.  iNaturalist actually has a nice page where you can see the different species in crisp clear photos. (You have to be a little bit careful with your IDs, though, because the site includes the beetles from all over the world, not just California.)

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The Showy Milkweed around the nature center is starting to blossom. They’re such amazingly lovely plants. They’re notoriously difficult to grow because they take quite a while to get settled, and they get “ugly” when they’re ready to go back to sleep, but I’d love to have some around the yard.  At the nature center, I’m keeping an eye out for Monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars, but haven’t seen any yet. (It’s really early in the season, though.)

Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa

We found lots of Mugwort Weevils along the trail, including some that were mating (and one group stacked three-high, a Ménage à Trois insect style); and we found a male Snakefly which is always a cool sighting for me. You don’t get to see the snakeflies very often.

Near the end of our walk we also came across a large swarm of Little Black Ants scurrying around a dead log.  The swarm included some winged “alates” getting ready for their nuptial flight. Seemed like a lot of organized chaos to me…

Before we actually went onto the trails, though, Rox and I also made sure to check out the Red-Shouldered Hawks’ nest near the head of the main trail. The nest is almost completely hidden now as the tree has leafed out, but we were still able to catch glimpses of the mom and two fuzzy-headed babies in the nest.  The babies are fledging.  They have most of their wing feathers, but are still white-grey fuzz over the rest of their bodies.  Both babies were kind of sleepy, stretching and yawning before settling down again.  I got a few photos and a video snippet of them.

We could certainly HEAR a lot of other birds around us, but couldn’t catch sight of many of them, which was a little frustrating.  There were “birders” along the trails, using binoculars, but I don’t know if they had any better luck than we did with our long-lens cameras.

The most noise was when a group of European Starlings and Acorn Woodpeckers got upset about the Red-Shouldered Hawk when she landed in “their” tree.  They squawked, and dive-bombed and harassed the hawk until she moved on. And we could periodically hear rival gangs of male Rio Grande Wild Turkeys gobbling loudly at one another in order to impress nearby females.

We were treated at one point to the sight of a male Western Bluebird who alighted on the top of one the trail signs and then flew down onto the ground in front of us.  As I think I mentioned before, during this time of year when the birds are breeding, the males’ blue coloring is almost “neon” it’s so bright. They practically GLOW.

Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana

In the pond along the Pond Trail, we found a mama Wood duck with two little ducklings. Usually the Wood Ducks have a LOT more babies than that, but the little guys are also prey for all sorts of other animals like hawks, snakes, otters and raccoons… so she was probably actually lucky to have two tiny survivors with her.

We also saw a handful of deer along the trails, but not very many. Some of the females are starting to look pregnant, and the males – even the yearlings – are just starting to get their summer velvet as their antlers come in. One of them was a young buck I recognized from the previous two years: his nose was smashed in when he was a fawn, and he has a very foreshortened muzzle now with a distinctive underbite.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus. This is the young buck with a broken nose. It;s nice to see that he’s adapted well to his childhood injury. This is the third year I’ve seen him at the preserve.

And one fawn was obviously in the middle of shedding his winter coat for his summer coat – super floofy. Nature in flux.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, younger fawn shedding his baby winter coat.

There are a lot of Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars everywhere, and some of them are large enough now to go into the chrysalis stage.  We’ll have to keep an eye on them and see if can find some mid-metamorphosis.

California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, Battus philenor hirsuta

We walked for about three hours and headed back to our respective homes.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  3. Ashy Gray Lady Beetle, Olla v-nigrum [nymph, lion]
  4. Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis
  5. Black Locust Bug, Lopidea robiniae 
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  8. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  9. Brown Leafhopper, Family: Cicadellidae
  10. Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
  11. Bur Parsley, Caucalis platycarpos
  12. Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata [nymph]
  13. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  14. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  15. California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  16. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  17. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  18. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  19. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  20. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis [heard]
  21. Cleveland Sage, Salvia clevelandii
  22. Clouded Sulphur Butterfly, Colias philodice
  23. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  24. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  25. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  26. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata
  27. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  28. Feral European Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  29. Golden-eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium californicum
  30. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  31. Harvest Brodiaea, Brodiaea elegans
  32. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  33. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  34. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  35. Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]
  36. Little Black Ant, Monomorium minimum [including alates, winged individuals]
  37. Lupine, Chick Lupine, Lupinus microcarpus
  38. Meadow Plant Bug, Lopidea instabilis
  39. Mirid Bug, Thick Sensor Soft Bug, Heterotoma planicornis
  40. Mock Orange, Sweet Mock Orange, Philadelphus coronaries
  41. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  42. Mugwort Weevil, Scaphomorphus longinasus
  43. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  44. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  45. Red-Margin Lopidea Bug, Lopidea instabilis
  46. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  47. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  48. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  49. Six-spotted Zigzag Lady Beetle, Cheilomenes sexmaculata
  50. Snakefly, Agulla adnixa
  51. Soft Rush, Juncus effuses
  52. Spice Bush, California Sweetshrub, Calycanthus occidentalis
  53. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  54. Sudden Oak Death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum
  55. Tall Flatsedge,  Cyperus eragrostis
  56. Tobacco Budworm Moth, Chloridea virescens
  57. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  58. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  59. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura [flying overhead]
  60. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  61. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  62. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  63. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  64. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis [heard]
  65. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa

Lots of Encounters Today, 05-11-20

I slept pretty solidly last night and woke up just a little before 6:00 am. By 6:30 I was out the door heading for the Mather Lake Regional Park. It was a lovely day, cool and breezy in the morning and light rain in the afternoon.  I wanted to go back this time to do more detailed “naturalist” work.  Last time I was there, I was so focused on goslings and cygnets that I wasn’t paying much attention to anything else.

I found a parking spot in the shade right new the trail – score!—and headed out.  As I was cross the walkway that leads over the irrigation canal, my way was blocked by three Wild Turkeys, a female being followed by two males.  The female stopped before she got to close and stepped off into the adjacent field, and one the of the males followed after her. The final male though, who was in full strut, refused to step aside and kept approaching me. I think my wide brimmed hat looked too much like fanned tail feathers to him, and he was insistent on confronting me. If there hadn’t been a female turkey around, I don’t think he would have been so aggressive, but today he was on a mission. 

Rio Grande Wild Turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia. That’s the female in the front and the two males behind her. The one on the left in this photo is the one that attacked me.

He walked right up to me and stepped in close.  I took the hat off, and he stepped in closer still.  I stepped back several steps and tried to walk away, and he rushed after me.  Yikes! I know how powerful these birds are, and I didn’t want the turkey to peck at me, so I tried waving him off with the hat.  Wrong idea. He jumped up and hit my hand with his spurs, catching me across the knuckles. It hurt enough so I dropped the hat to the ground, but luckily the blow didn’t break the skin.  Once the hat was on the ground, the turkey walked away, s-l-o-w-l-y, still in full strut: head tucked in, snood down, tail fanned, chest puffed up and the primary feathers of his wings dragging on the ground.  

I don’t know if his attack on me impressed the female turkey, but it was an interesting way to start my walk.

There were quite a few fishermen out, but I didn’t see any of them catch anything.  And several of them kept following me, passing me by, following me, passing me by… unable to find a spot where they really wanted to concentrate on their fishing.  Some of them crossed in front of me as they passed, messing up some of my photos, another cast his line right into an area where a muskrat was swimming in the water. I thought that was rude and stupid.  (He could have injured the muskrat with his hook and line.)

Not all of the fishermen were jerks, however. At one point, a pair of Canada Geese were leading their creche of goslings along the shore, when one of the Mute Swans came rushing in from the water and attacked the adult geese.  I saw this and tried to get to the geese to defend them, but two young Russian men who were fishing nearby, dropped their poles in the water and ran ahead of me to get to the get more quickly than I could. They were successful in driving the swan away, and stayed between the geese and the water until everyone had calmed down. I thanked them for coming to geese’s aid.

Canada Geese, Branta canadensis. This was a creche of 27 goslings.
These two young men were taking video of the creche as it went past them. When the geese had moved to the boys’ left, a Mute Swan rushed onto the shore from the lake and attacked the geese. The boys, who were fishing, dropped their pole and ran to defend the geese.

The aggressive nature of the swans is part of the reason why they’re considered an “invasive species”. They move into an area and try to drive out anything they consider competition for food and breeding space. The swans are much larger than the adult geese, and who knows what damage this one could have done to them – and the goslings. 

Speaking of the goslings… there were lots and lots of them out this morning from the little yellow fuzzballs to the tall lanky fledglings. One pair of adults were escorting 27 babies!  There was another smaller group with one gosling who was limping, obviously in some distress.  I don’t know how seriously the injury was or how long the parents could keep giving it extra attention, but I was happy to see that one of the adults with that group stayed back with the injured one to make sure it wasn’t left alone.

This gosling had an injured leg and had trouble stepping up over the curb onto the lawn next to the lake. One of the adult geese stayed with it so it wouldn’t get left behind.

Taking some semi-close-up photos of the goslings, I got a view of the tongue of one of them.  Goose tongues are interesting because they have hairs and spikes on them that act like a sieve (along with the tooth-like “tomia” around the edges of the bill)  when the birds feed in water.

In the lake, I got to see a pair of Common Gallinules mating.  The male flapped his wings all the while he was mounted on the female, then she dumped him off to one side. Then he dropped his head to the ground and raised his winds and tail feather and walked across in front her before leaving her to preen and mock feed. 

I was surprised to read in Cornell that the mating behaviors of the North American common gallinule “have not been described”, so they had to use information from Europe. That seems like an unusual oversight to me. I guess I should have been paying more attention to the pair I saw. But I’m glad I got some photos and a video snippet of the action.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I also saw the muskrat swimming in a few different parts of the lake.  I’m assuming it’s the same one; I suppose there could be more than one in there.

Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus

According to livescience.com: “…Muskrats are very social and live in large, territorial families, according to the Animal Diversity Web. They communicate with others and mark their territory with a secretion from their glands called musk… They tend to prefer vegetation like cattails, waterlilies, roots and pondweed. They also eat snails, mussels, salamanders, crustaceans, fish and young birds… They usually don’t travel any farther than 150 feet away from their homes… Females have a gestation period of three to four weeks and give birth to three to eight young. They can have up to three litters each year. Baby muskrats are called kits…”

Another website, havahart.com, said, “…As monogamous breeders, muskrats live with their mates and their young. They are very territorial – especially during breeding season…  Newborn muskrats are weaned for about a year before they become independent… Muskrat kits are born hairless and blind.”

I’m hoping to see some babies in the near future.

I heard quite a few bullfrogs along the edges of the lake, but couldn’t see any of them. They have a deep croak that sounds like a cello. 

I watched a Pied-Billed Grebe eat something it had caught in the water but I couldn’t tell if it was a frog or a small fat fish. It had a pink to it.

While I was watching the grebe, several male Great-Tailed Grackles flew in, following after a female.  The males did some posturing for the female.  The “head-up” posture is done by males during the breeding season to impress the females and intimidate other males. They also “squint” their nictitating membranes (inner eyelids) when doing this to make themselves look tougher (ala Clint Eastwood). I saw an was able to get several photographs of this behavior. 

Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus

Elsewhere on the trail, I saw a male Mourning Dove bring twigs and other nesting materials to his mate.  By doing this, the male inadvertently tells everyone where the nesting site is. This one was in the flattened branches of a coyote brush bush. It was REALLY difficult to see the nest… and I didn’t want to get too close for fear of scaring the female off. But I did manage to get a few distant photos of the site… and the nesting female.

The male Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura

I saw several ground squirrels running around by they were too fast for me to photograph.  The photos I did get were of one young squirrel who seemingly had an exceedingly bad case of mange.  He was itchy all over, and in some places his skin was barren of fur and raw-looking.  Poor little thing.

A very mangy young California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi

I also got some photos of a Scrub Jay eating an insect.  I couldn’t see what it was eating on site, but when I got the photos and video snippet home, I was able to tell that it had caught a large emergent dragonfly.  The dragonfly hadn’t pumped its wings up yet and was still its teneral-green color.  Nice catch for the bird!

Altogether, I documented over 60 species today, so I was happy with that. I walked for about 3½ hours before heading back home.

Species List:

  1. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  2. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  3. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  4. Black Willow, Salix nigra
  5. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
  6. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  7. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  8. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  9. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  10. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  11. Cobwebby Thistle, Cirsium occidentale
  12. Common Duckweed, Lemna minor
  13. Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
  14. Common Spike-Rush, Eleocharis palustris [has a head somewhat like SB Sedge]
  15. Cork Oak, Quercus suber
  16. Cottonwood Leaf Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populivenae
  17. Cottonwood Petiole Gall, Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid, Pemphigus populitransversus
  18. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  19. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  20. Cudweed, Jersey Cudweed, Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum
  21. Curly Dock, Rumex crispus
  22. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  23. Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
  24. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto [heard]
  25. Field Mustard, Brassica rapa
  26. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. Peploides
  27. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  28. Geometer Moth, Family: Geometridae
  29. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  30. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
  31. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  32. Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
  33. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  34. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  35. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  36. Hoverfly, Common Flower Fly, Syrphus ribesii
  37. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  38. Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
  39. Lesser Golden Knapweed Fly, Chaetorellia jaceae [tiny pale yellow fly, green eyes, gold lines on wings]
  40. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  41. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  42. Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus
  43. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  44. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus [red shafted]
  45. Pacific Forktail Damselfly, Ischnura cervula [male]
  46. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  47. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  48. Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
  49. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  50. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  51. Ribwort Plantain, Plantago lanceolata
  52. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  53. Slender Path Rush, Juncus tenuis
  54. Soldier Fly, Microchrysa sp.
  55. Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
  56. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  57. Tufted Hair Grass, Deschampsia cespitosa
  58. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  59. Turkey Tangle Fogfruit, Phyla nodiflora
  60. Vivid Dancer Damselfly, Argia vivida [female]
  61. Western Kingbird, Tyrant Flycatcher, Tyrannus verticalis
  62. Willow Pinecone Gall midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides
  63. Yellow-faced Bumblebee, Bombus vosnesenskii

The Goldenrod Galls are Showing Up, 05-09-20

I woke up around 6:00 am after a fairly good night’s sleep, and got myself ready to head out to the American River Bend Park again for my walk. The Poltergeist was acting up a little bit, so I stuck to trails I knew weren’t too lumpy or full of obstacles.  It was already about 64°F outside when I got to the park, and it felt kind of humid, too.

The first thing I saw when I drive into the park was a squirrel that jumped up onto the top of a fence post to look in the window at me.

There were literally hundreds of Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars all over the ground. Some are big enough already to start working on their chrysalises.  Most of them had climbed up onto the stems of the tall grass to warm themselves in the sun before continuing to fill their bellies on pipevine.  There were also several butterflies still flitting around.

On the Italian Thistles there were quite a few Painted Lady butterfly caterpillars laying in their thin webs, gorging themselves on plant material.  They usually don’t show up until July, so I was surprised to see them. I’m afraid they’re going to get caught in the cold if it rains next week.

Caterpillar of a Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui on Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

There were tons of Mugwort plants everywhere, and along with them I also found quite a few Mugwort Weevils – including a mating pair.  They do the “dead-drop” when you try to touch them  – let go of whatever they’re holding onto and fall to the ground — so I had one dead-drop into the palm of my hand so I could get some closeup photos of it. They kind of look like tiny anteaters with crew cuts to me…That vaguely fuzzy body and long proboscis.

Mugwort Weevil, Scaphomorphus longinasus

I also saw lots of katydid nymphs, but not too many of them were cooperative enough for me to get photos of them. I did get pictures of a couple of different species of fly, though.  And I found a Western Tussock Moth caterpillar that was partially paralyzed and had several white eggs laid on its body.  I’m assuming it had parasitized by some kind of braconid wasp. Yikes!

There were loads of Elegant Clarkia flowers all along the trail in variations from pale pink, to deep rose to pure white.  So pretty.  And the quaking “rattlesnake grass” was thick in some places and thigh-high.  On some of the California Goldenrod plants, there were the rosette galls of the Goldenrod Bunch Gall Midge…and they seemed larger this year than I have ever seen them. 

Gall of the Goldenrod Floret Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia solidaginis

Amid the plants were a few damselflies, bumblebees, and a burnt yellow Clubtail dragonfly.  I couldn’t get a look at the side of the dragonfly’s thorax, so I wasn’t sure exactly what species it was. Later, I discovered that it was a Sinuous Snaketail Dragonfly, Ophiogomphus occidentis. Cool! A first for me!

Sinuous Snaketail Dragonfly, Ophiogomphus occidentis

On the road adjacent to the trail, I found the smashed bodies of two rattlesnakes.  They were close to one another, but one had obviously been dead for a longer period of time; it was more desiccated than the other.  I noted, however, that the rattles were gone from both snakes.

As for the birds today I saw a pair of Common Mergansers in the river, and was able to follow the male with video for a little bit while he swam under the surface.  The water in the river there is very shallow and super clear. 

I also saw several bonded pairs of Western Bluebirds in the picnic area, and watched a female House Wren carry nesting materials to her chosen nesting cavity while the male stood by, singing away. The female tried bringing long grasses to the nets, but couldn’t seem to figure out how to get them across the threshold, so she opted then for small bits of grass and twigs.

I later came across several male Wild Turkeys strutting for a single female. They all looked like pretty high-ranking boys, with pure white pancakes and long snoods, but one of them was missing several tail feathers.  The female was not at all interested in them. As I was heading out of the park, I saw a female turkey hurrying four little poults across the road in front of the car.  She moved too quickly for me to get more than a fuzzy photo of her and the kids.

I walked for about 3 hours, and then headed back home.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Arroyo Bluet Damselfly, Enallagma praevarum
  3. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [heard, saw in flight]
  4. Black Cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  7. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  8. Braconid wasp, Family: Braconidae [eggs]
  9. Bristly Dogtail Grass, Cynosurus echinatus
  10. Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
  11. Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcate
  12. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  13. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  14. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  15. California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  16. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  17. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  18. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  19. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  20. Cheatgrass, Bromus tectorum [reddish heads, split open when dry]
  21. Common Hoptree, Ptelea trifoliata
  22. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  23. Cranefly, Mosquito Hawk, Tipula dietziana
  24. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata
  25. Glossy Privet, Ligustrum lucidum
  26. Goldenrod Bunch Gall, Goldenrod Floret Gall Midge, Solidago canadensis
  27. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  28. Green Plant Bug, Ilnacora malina
  29. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  30. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa 
  31. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  32. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  33. Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus
  34. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
  35. Lauxaniid Fly, Homoneura occidentalis [yellow fly with reddish eyes, black hairs]
  36. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  37. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  38. Mugwort Weevil, Scaphomorphus longinasus
  39. Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus oreganus
  40. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  41. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  42. Oracle Oak, Quercus × moreha
  43. Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia
  44. Pacific Pea, Lathyrus vestitus
  45. Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui
  46. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  47. Rattlesnake Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Briza maxima
  48. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus [heard, saw in flight]
  49. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  50. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens
  51. Sinuous Snaketail Dragonfly, Ophiogomphus occidentis [club tail, yellow with gray eyes]
  52. Snakefly, Agulla adnixa
  53. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  54. Swift Crab Spider, Mecaphesa celer
  55. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  56. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  57. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  58. Vivid Dancer Damselfly, Argia vivida  [bands and arrowheads]
  59. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  60. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  61. Western Goldenrod, Solidago lepida [gets the bunch galls]
  62. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  63. Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus
  64. Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta
  65. Yellow Dung Fly, Scathophaga stercoraria
  66. Yellow Water Iris, Yellow Flag, Iris pseudacorus [invasive]

Lots of “Little Things”, 05-06-20

Up at about 6:30 this morning and then headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk. It was lovely, breezy and relatively cool all morning, and got up to a high of about 84°F by the afternoon.

I was anxious to see if the bees were still in the “bee tree”, so I walked along the Pond Trail to check that out first.  I was so happy to see that they were still there.  The queen must be well-settled now.

Feral European Honeybee, Apis mellifera

The Black Phoebes have fledglings in their nest now.  I saw the dad coming with food to assist mom.  The last time I saw them, I didn’t see the male around and worried that the mom was on her own.  It was good to see she has help.

Black Phoebes, Sayornis nigricans

The Showy Milkweed on the grounds is starting to come into bloom, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for any Monarch caterpillars as the months go on.  We saw nothing last year, but hope we’ll get a glimpse of some this year.  I’ll be loading my observations to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper site) when I see anything.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The Goldwire is starting to bloom, too, and it’s nice to see the joyful bright yellow starting to dot the landscape.

Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum

I saw mostly “little things” today: ladybeetles in various stages of development, tiny moths, plant galls, spider eggs sacs and caterpillars. 

All along the trail I kept seeing these little insects scurrying along. To the naked eye, they looked like dark bugs with a pale rim around their bodies and legs, and I couldn’t tell what they were.  So, I got out the macro attachment for my cellphone and took some close up photos of a few of them.  They looked like small crickets – like tiny brown versions of the Jerusalem crickets, with smooth shiny bodies and long antennae.  I haven’t ID-ed them yet.

Unidentified Camel Cricket, Superfamily: Rhaphidophoroidea

I saw quite a few birds, but most of them were back-lit or in stickery bushes, so I couldn’t get a lot of photos and that was a bit disappointing.  But it was still reassuring to see them… life goes on.

I walked for about 3 hours and headed back home. 

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis
  3. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  4. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  5. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  6. Buffalo Treehopper, Stictocephala alta [exuvia]
  7. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  10. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  11. California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor hirsuta
  12. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  13. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  14. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  15. California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  16. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  17. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  18. Camel Cricket, Superfamily: Rhaphidophoroidea [small, found on trail]
  19. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  20. Common Fringepod, Thysanocarpus curvipes
  21. Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  22. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  23. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  24. Cranefly, Mosquito Hawk, Tipula dietziana
  25. Darkling Beetle, Mountain Beetle, Coniontis sp.
  26. Downy Leather-Winged Beetle Podabrus pruinosus [kind of looks like a Soldier Beetle]
  27. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  28. European Earwig, Common Earwig, Forficula auricularia
  29. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  30. Feral European Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  31. Fimbriate Gall Wasp, Andricus opertus [on Valley Oak leaf]
  32. Fruit-Tree Leafroller Moth, Archips argyrospila
  33. Goldwire, Hypericum concinnum
  34. Green Leafhopper, Nephotettix virescens
  35. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  36. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  37. Lace Bug, Corythucha sp.
  38. Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidi [on Valley Oak]
  39. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 2nd Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
  40. Lupine, Chick Lupine, Lupinus microcarpus
  41. Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  42. Mugwort Weevil, Scaphomorphus longinasus
  43. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  44. Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii
  45. Plum, Prunus cerasifera
  46. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  47. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  48. Popcorn Flowers, Plagiobothrys sp.
  49. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  50. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  51. Rose Clover, Trifolium hirtum
  52. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  53. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  54. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  55. Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta
  56. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  57. Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
  58. ?? spider egg sac with black tips