Green Darner at the City Cememtery

I slept in a tiny bit today and got up around 6:45 am.  The weather was lovely: breezy and about 55° when I first went out and then up to about 81° by the afternoon.  I took Sergeant Margie over to the Historic City Cemetery for our walk, and we were there for about 2 hours.  I got a few photos of flowers and some of the Striped Cucumber Beetles (Acalymma vittatum) that seem to be in abundance in the cemetery this time of year.  My favorite encounter of the morning, though, was with a large Green Darner dragonfly (Anax junius).  She was hanging from the leaves of a hydrangea, warming up in the early morning sun.  Because it was still cool outside, she was kind of torpid, and let me urge her up into my hand and onto the end of my thumb.  I could have stayed there all day looking at her… but the dog wouldn’t stand for that.  Hah!  So we continued our walk and eventually headed back to the car.

Lots to See at William Land Park

 I really wanted (and needed) to get out into the fresh air and walk around, so I got up around 6:30 and took Sergeant Margie with me over to William Land Park and the WPA Rock Garden.

It was good morning to walk.  We saw all kinds of stuff!  Skippers, a little Gray Hairstreak butterfly (Strymon melinus), some orb spiders, a crab spider, two different kinds of praying mantises, a dragonfly and some damselflies, leaf hoppers, Harlequin Bugs, a cranefly, bees, and a Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar.  I also found some Small Milkweed Bugs (Lygaeus kalmia), and I moved in to get some photos of them, the little ones jumped on the larger ones back and she ran off with them.  Hah!  I then found a whole colony of Leaf-Footed Bugs (Leptoglossus phyllopus), a couple of mamas and babies of all sizes from hatchlings to juveniles.  Hordes of them on the pods and leaves of the big Indian Bean Tree (Catalpa bignonioides).  It was kind of neat and kind of creepy at the same time.  On one of the oak trees I also found a variety of wasp galls.  Some were cone-shaped (from the Red and White Cone Gall Wasps, Andricus kingi), some were blobby (from Wooly Leaf Gall Wasp), and some were spiky (from the Spined Turban Gall Wasps, Antron douglasii).  It was kind of neat to see them all clustered together in the same area.  Around the duck ponds we saw Blue Herons, Green Herons, a large white Egret, crayfish, and a mama Wood Duck with her ducklings amid the ubiquitous geese and ducks.  I tried to get as many photos as I could.

After walking for about 2 hours, I drove over to Raley’s and picked up a few groceries — including a locally grown yellow watermelon for supper — before heading home.

MDP-ing? Yep!

I got this in my email this morning:

Thanks for your interest in dragonfly monitoring! The great thing about MDP is that you don’t have to be an expert to submit data. I would keep an eye out for good migratory pathways (ridgelines and coastlines tend to be good). Once you find a good place for viewing dragonflies, familiarize yourself with protocol and data sheet and pick a few hrs to observe. You can watch for 10 min or all day. It’s all very useful info. You don’t even need to ID them to species. You can just record numbers you see. If you have questions, their website is very helpful, (or you can ask me too). — feeling excited.

Yay!  I’m going to try helping out with the MDP!



Walking the WPA on Sunday Morning

I got up around 6:30 again this morning, and saw to it that my brother Marty’s dog Waukegan got her morning antibiotic pill (so Marty could sleep in) before taking Sergeant Margie with me over to the WPA Rock Garden for our walk.  There wasn’t a lot going on, but I did get some praying mantis and damselfly photos.  We also got to see some mama ducks with their babies at the duck pond, along with some big crayfish.  One of the ducklings had an open sore spot on his back and I couldn’t imagine what might have happened to him… Then I saw the second mother duck come over and try to bite him as he entered the pond.  Poor little thing…  The dog and I walked for about 2 hours and then headed back to the car.

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist