I got up around 6:00 this morning and headed out to William Land Park and the WPA Rock Garden for a walk. It was 53° when I got there, but it was up to 72° within about 2 ½ hours. Anything over 70° is really “too hot” for any kind of exertion for me, so I headed back home. Got lots of flower photos, so that will probably take me a day or two to ID all of them. I also got to see some male Wood Ducks and a Green Heron at the pond, as well as the exuvia of several cicadas.
I got up about 5:30 this morning, fed the dog his breakfast and then headed out to the Cosumnes River Preserve for a walk.
There was little to no water in the “wetland” areas, so not a lot of birds or dragonflies. I walked along the slough on the side of the road, and then walked through the oak woodland to the nature center, and then back to the car. Along the slough, I saw Tree Swallows, a pair of Western Kingbirds, and a trio of Brown-Headed Cowbirds doing their bowing thing. They were on the top of a tree, so bowing was difficult, and they kept rolling off their twiggy branches. Eventually, they gave up and flew off.
Further along, I came across a small flock of Snowy Egrets who were feeling for things in the water with their feet. As I was watching them and taking pictures, a Great Egret flew in and joined them. Seeing the great Egret and the Snowy Egrets side-by-side really exemplifies their size difference. It looked like a mama bird with lots of babies around her. Some of the Snowy Egrets were flashing their top knots at one another. I got the sense that it was a more an aggressive, territorial thing than a romance thing. None of the birds had their long, trailing feathers in; and none of them were sporting the pink blush in the face the Snowies get when their breeding.
Beyond the regular Oak Apple galls, there weren’t a lot of other ones out yet. I saw some Red Cones just starting to grow – looking like tiny red pimples on the leaves of some of the Valley Oaks. I did see the curling leaf galls and “flower” galls on the ash trees, but not as much as I’m used to seeing.
As I was walking through the oak woodland, I was surprised to see a large flock of American White Pelicans fly overhead. By the time I got my camera up and focused, though, they were gone. It’s always so neat to see those big birds flying. They don’t look like they should be able to stay aloft, but they’re so graceful in the sky.
I also got a glimpse of a Green Heron when he flew out from the rushes around the bridge area, and up into a willow tree. There were so many twiggy branches around him, though, it was hard to get any decent shots of him.
Near the nature center, I saw some House Finches, Anna’s Hummingbirds, and a baby cottontail rabbit. The baby was a surprise; my brain couldn’t get itself around how small it was at first, and I just stared at it. I did come to enough to get a few shots of the bunny before it scrambled away, though.
Even going down to the boat launch area, I was surprised by the lack of insects. I was hoping to see dragonflies, damselflies and spiders there, but… nothing.
I walked for about three hours and then started to head home. My insides were starting to complain, and I hurried to the restroom near the boardwalk area where my car was parked – only to find that the thing was locked shut. Seriously?! Guh! I hate it when that happens.
American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos,
Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna,
Ash Flower Gall Mite, Eriophyes fraxinivorus,
Ash Leaf Curl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii,
Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis,
Bermuda Grass, Cynodon dactylon,
Bindweed, Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis,
Birds-Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus,
Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans,
Blue-Eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolium,
Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia,
Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum,
Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater,
Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis,
California Brodiaea, Brodiaea californica,
California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica,
California Wild Rose, Rosa californica,
Cleveland Sage, Salvia clevelandii,
Common Knotweed, Persicaria lapathifolia,
Common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium,
Convergent Ladybeetle, Hippodamia convergens,
Coyote Brush Bud Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia californica,
Curly Leaved Dock, Rumex crispus,
Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii,
Doveweed, Turkey Mullein, Croton setigerus,
English Field Daisy, Bellis perennis,
Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare,
Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides,
Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii,
Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias,
Great Egret, Ardea alba,
Green Heron, Butorides virescens,
Green Pea Aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum,
House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus,
Hummingbird Sage, Salvia spathacea,
Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum,
Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
Lippia, Turkey Tangle, Fogfruit, Phyla nodiflora,
Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha extensa,
Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus,
I got up a little before 6 o’clock this morning and headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve for a walk by myself. I was trying to beat the rain – and was also on the lookout for slime molds. I did beat the rain (it didn’t show up until around 3:00 pm), but I zeroed out on the slime molds. I think they need one more sunny day between the rainstorms to wake up.
It was nice and quiet on my walk, although I did come across a few other people. I was able to identify some birds to a couple who I think was visiting the place for the first time, and also directed a photographer to some good spots for photo opportunities. Doing my trail-walker thing.
I saw a lot of the usual suspects: deer, turkeys, Starlings, House Wrens. I saw several bucks in their velvet, including the one with wonky antlers (one long and one short) and a torn ear. He should be easy to recognize from here on out. And I also saw a doe with one ear that seemed really droopy. I don’t know what might have been bothering that ear; It didn’t look damaged or infected, at least as far I could tell.
A nice find was a male California Quail and one of his brides. I hear the quail at the preserve all the time, but they’re very fast and secretive, so I hardly ever get to actually see them. This pair were pretty far away from me, across a meadow, but I was still able to get some shots. At one point, the male jumped up on a pile of brush so I could see him. They crack me up; their chubby little bodies look like light bulbs.
I also got to see quite a few female Common Mergansers going up into the cottonwood tree the Wood Ducks were in the last time. There were maybe three or four of the Mergansers, each flying around the tree and landing on different parts of it, quacking in low voices all the while. I don’t know if they were scouting out a nesting spot or were attracted to something else. I got some interesting-angle shots of them.
I was greeted by a pair of Western Bluebirds on another part of the trail. First the female flew in and then the male. They’re such bright, cheery-looking little birds. I always like seeing them.
And there was a very chubby California Ground Squirrel who popped up from her burrow to look around. I think she was pregnant based on her body mass. Their gestation lasts about a month, and then its another 6 to8 weeks before the babies emerge from the burrows. So, we won’t see them until sometime in July, most likely.
By the pond at the end of the Pond Trail were was some very fresh otter scat, so I’m guessing the otter was around there earlier this morning. I’ve seen otters in that pond occasionally, but they usually wait until there are more crawdads around… The leeches in that pond might deter them, though.
I’m always curious when I find folded leaves or sealed leaf tents on plants, but I recognized what one was before I opened it when I found it on a mugwort plant. I handled it gingerly, and put it back where I found it afterwards. Inside was, as I suspected, a mama American Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum, and her egg sac.
I was careful about how I opened it and handled it, because theses spider can pack a very painful bite (and are believed to bite more people than any other spider). The bite is said to burn like a wasp’s sting (and for sensitive people it can make them sick). The mother spider seals herself inside her rolled leaf tent with her egg mass, which can have as many as 100 eggs in it (although less is typical). She stays with the mass until the spiderlings hatch. After her babies hatch, she’ll stay with them until they’ve all gone through one molt (usually around 2 weeks). As I mentioned, I set her and her tent back where I found them. She’ll spin new web to close her tent up again. ((Investigating leaf-rolls can be very interesting and rewarding for a naturalist, but just be careful. You never know what might be inside of them.))
The young coyote showed up again today, in between two deer who didn’t seem to be aware that it was there. It’s a very young coyote – gangly and thin, a teenager – but is hunting on its own, which I think is kind of unusual. It moves too quickly, so I can’t tell if it’s a male or a female, but I did manage to get a few better photos of it today and a video snippet.
I got so preoccupied with my photo-taking that I lost track of time, and didn’t get back to the car until 11:30 am… So, I’d been on my feet for five hours. My ankles were killing me during the drive back to the house.
Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus,
American Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum,
Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens,
Bedstraw, Velcro Grass, Cleavers, Galium aparine,
Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii,
Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans,
Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum,
Blue Elderberry, Sambucus cerulea,
Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus,
California Brodiaea, Brodiaea californica,
California Buckeye Tree, Aesculus californica,
California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi,
California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana,
California Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar, Battus philenor hirsuta,
I got up around 6:00 this morning and futz around a little bit so I could get to the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery around 7:00 am (which is when they open their gates). The cemetery has several gardens, so I was basically looking for pretty flowers and pollinator species. It was 54° when I got there, and almost 70° by the time I left.
The gardens include an extensive rose garden, a make-shift Japanese garden, a perennials garden, and a natives garden. I spent most of my time in the perennials garden because there are so-so many different plants there all crammed into a small place. Everywhere you look, there’s something different growing.
As I probably mentioned before, I suck at identifying cultivated plants, so my ID list may be pretty shallow this time around. The roses are all going to be marked “Rosa sp.”, because I don’t know the different varieties. Same with the irises and most of the geraniums. The gardens have placards for some of the plants and flowers, but I wasn’t paying attention.
Inside the cemetery, which abuts another large private cemetery, are smaller cemetery areas: one for firefighters, one for the Masons, and one for athletes. Some are decorated with plants; others are bare.
The place was inundated with Painted Lady butterflies all warming themselves on the stones and drinking from the flowers. They photo-bombed a lot of pictures. I was kind of upset to see some kind of weevils sucking the life out of a wide array of the plants. I think they were Fuller’s Rose Weevils (Pantomorus cervinus). Everything from daisies to roses to irises were rendered ratty-looking by them. The little buggers were chewing on everything. It seemed like an unusually bad infestation.
I also found some pinkish aphids that looked like they had a blood-spot on the back of their bodies. I haven’t IDed them yet. When I first saw them, I thought they were insect eggs, they were so tiny, so I was surprised when I was able to “explode” the image with my cellphone and see they were actually aphids.
Most of the irises were done blooming, but there were still a few that were showing off here and there. If I had gone in April, I would have seen a lot more. Still, I found ones that were all dark purple, a mix of purple and lavender, blue and white, all sky-blue, all white, peachy-pink, a mix of pale tan and lavender, a mix of orange and maroon, etc. I love taking photos of their fuzzy “tongues”.
I also saw a lot of succulents in an unusual variety of colors. Some were the standard green, but some were so dark brown they looked almost black, and there was one that was pale yellow with green stripes. Really pretty.
I’m not much of a rose fan, but I really like the trailing roses, and there’s a variety that looks like candy canes which I think is really pretty. I was a little disappointed that the hydrangeas, which I think are gorgeous, weren’t really in bloom yet – but they give me an excuse to go back there in the next few weeks…
When I stopped at the fountain to rest for a minute, a woman came up with her Corgi – and the dog jumped right into the fountain, kicked around for a minute and then laid down in the water. Hah! The woman says she comes to the cemetery a lot, and the fountain is her dog’s favorite resting spot.
If I were going to be buried in a cemetery, this would be the kind of place in which I’d like to end up. (But I want to be cremated, and my ashes scattered in a forest.) This cemetery is “full”, though, so it won’t take in any new bodies unless the person/family already owns a family plot there, so someone sells you their plot. They do let people volunteer to take over the care of the plots, however, and you can really tell which volunteers have the greenest thumbs. Some of the more well-tended plots are overflowing with flowers and greenery; just beautiful.
The place has been around since the 1800’s, so the majority of the trees inside of it are HUGE; 30-, 40-, 50-feet tall and just so impressive. There’s a double line of weeping cypress along one walkway that are magnificent.
My walk was very nice; slow paced and relatively quiet (except for the community-service-hours-gardening crew and their leaf-blowers), with nice weather and sunshine. I also got to see a few birds including crows, Northern Mockingbirds, a pair of Mourning Doves, Anna’s Hummingbirds, and a pair of Western Bluebirds. Sometimes the birds would perch on the headstone or on the top of the spire-like monuments, and the photo opps were really neat. One of the hummingbirds was drinking at the flowers of an aloe plant, and rather than hovering under the flowerheads to drink, it perches on the stems of the plant… so, again, a nice photo opportunity.
Revisiting the stonework and taking photos of the headstones, mausoleums and monuments also adds to the experience. Some of the headstones face west (to the setting sun) while others face east (depending on the individual’s beliefs); some have flowers carved into the stone (full ones for the adults, buds for the ones who died too young), and then of course there was the ones with lambs on them (for children). It’s all so interesting… I need to start going there more often again.
I walked for about 3 ½ hours and then headed back home.
1. 14-Spotted Lady Beetle, Propylea quatuordecimpunctata,
2. Aloe, Aloe maculata,
3. Amaryllis, family Amaryllidaceae,
4. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna,
5. Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis,
6. Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus, (green)
7. Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii, (red)
8. Baby Sage, Salvia microphylla, (red and white)
9. Bearded Iris, Iris × germanica,
10. Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta,
11. Blanket Flower, Gaillardia x grandiflora,
12. Bloody Crane’s-Bill, Geranium sanguineum,
13. Blue Flag Iris, Iris versicolor,
14. Boxelder Bug nymph, Boisea trivittata,
15. Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia,
16. California Bumblebee, Bombus californicus,
17. California Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa californica,
18. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica,
19. Carpet Bugle, Ajuga reptans,
20. Ceanothus, Ceanothus sp.,
21. Clematis, possibly the Romantika Clematis, Clematis sp.,
22. Cleveland Sage, Salvia clevelandii,
23. Common Indian Blanket, Gaillardia aristate,
24. Common Yarrow, Achillea filipendulina
25. Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens,
26. Crimson Bottlebrush, Melaleuca citrina
28. Daylily, Hemerocallis sp.,
29. Deer Fern, Struthiopteris spicant.
30. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger,
31. Eggleaf Spurge, Euphorbia oblongata,
32. European Honeybee, Apis mellifera,
33. Everlasting, Anaphalis sp.,
34. Firecracker Flower, Dichelostemma ida-maia
35. Fortnight Lily, African Iris, Dietes iridioides,
36. Foxglove, Dalmatian Peach, Digitalis sp.
37. Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, (purple with spotted tongue)
38. Frémont’s Bush-Mallow, Malacothamnus fremontii
39. French Hydrangea, Mophead or Big-Leaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla,
40. French Lavender, Lavandula stoechas
41. Garden Geranium, Garden Pelargonium, Pelargonium ×hortorum
42. Geranium, family Geraniaceae,
43. Gerber Daisy, Gerbera jamesonii,
44. Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana
45. Green Lacewing nymph, Chrysoperla carnea,
46. Green Metallic Sweat Bee, Augochloropsis metallica,
47. Hedge Nettle, Stachys sp.,
48. Hens-and-Chicks, Sempervivum tectorum,
49. Hoverfly, Flower Hoverfly, Syrphus torvis,
50. Hummingbird Sage, Salvia spathacea,
51. Italian Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens,
52. Ivy-Leafed Geranium, Pelargonium peltatum
53. Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis fruticosa,
54. Jupiter’s Beard, Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber,
55. Lace-cap Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla normalis,
56. Lamb’s Ears Stachys byzantina,
57. Lindheimer’s Beeblossom, Gaura lindheimeri (white spidery-looking)
58. Long-Jawed Orb Weaver Spider, family Tetragnathidae,
59. Lyre-leaf Greeneyes, Berlandiera lyrate,
60. Macartney’s Rose, Rosa bracteata,
61. Mexican Firebush, Hamelia patens
62. Mexican Snowball, Echeveria elegans,
63. Monkeyflower, Diplacus sp.,
64. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
65. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
66. Pagoda Village Succulent, Crassula capitella ssp. thyrsiflora
67. Painted Lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui,
68. Panicled Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata,
69. Pincushion Flower, Scabiosa atropurpurea,
70. Pink Jelly Bean Sedum, Sedum rubrotinctum
71. Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea,
72. Purple Rose Aeonium, Aeonium arboretum,
73. Purple Sage, Salvia leucophylla,
74. Purple Salsify, Tragopogon porrifolius,
75. Radiation Lantana, Lantana camara,
76. Ranuncula, Ranunculus sp.,
77. Red Bush Monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus var. puniceus
78. Red Dome Blanketflower, Gaillardia pinnatifida
79. Ribwort, English Plantain, Plantago lanceolata,
80. Rock Purslane, Cistanthe grandiflora
81. Rose Campion, Silene coronaria,
82. Rose, Rosa sp. (cultivated)
83. Rosemary Grevillea, Grevillea rosmarinifolia,
84. Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis,
85. Sage Leaf Rockrose, Cistus salviifolius
86. Showy Phlox, Phlox speciosa,
87. Silver Ragwort, Jacobaea maritima
88. Silver Ragwort, Jacobaea maritima,
89. Smoke Tree, Smokebush, Cotinus coggygria
90. Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora,
91. Spring Starflower, Ipheion uniflorum,
92. Spurge, Albanian Spurge, Euphorbia characias,
93. Spurge, Euphorbia sp.,
94. Stalked Aeonium, Aeonium undulatum,
95. Striped Rose, Henri Matisse Rose, Rosa polyantha or Rosa chinensis x Rosa multiflora
96. Sunburst Aeonium, Aeonium decorum,
97. Tower of Jewels, Echium wildpretii,
98. Trailing African Daisy, Freeway Daisy, Dimorphotheca fruticose,
99. Trailing Bellflower, Campanula poscharskyana,
100. Trailing Lantana, Lantana montevidensis,
101. Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica,
102. Valley Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa varipuncta,
103. Waveyleaf Sea Lavender Statice, Limonium sinuatum,
104. Weeping Cypress, Cupressus cashmeriana,
105. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
106. White Prickly Poppy, Argemone albiflora,
107. Yellow Queen Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha