Tag Archives: Pearly Everlasting

Lots of Snowy Egrets, 05-31-19

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.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

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.

Species List:

  1. American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos,
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna,
  3. Ash Flower Gall Mite, Eriophyes fraxinivorus,
  4. Ash Leaf Curl Aphid, Prociphilus fraxinifolii,
  5. Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis,
  6. Bermuda Grass, Cynodon dactylon,
  7. Bindweed, Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis,
  8. Birds-Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus,
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans,
  10. Blue-Eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolium,
  11. Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia,
  12. Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum,
  13. Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater,
  14. Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis,
  15. California Brodiaea, Brodiaea californica,
  16. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica,
  17. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica,
  18. Cleveland Sage, Salvia clevelandii,
  19. Common Knotweed, Persicaria lapathifolia,
  20. Common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium,
  21. Convergent Ladybeetle, Hippodamia convergens,
  22. Coyote Brush Bud Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia californica,
  23. Curly Leaved Dock, Rumex crispus,
  24. Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii,
  25. Doveweed, Turkey Mullein, Croton setigerus,
  26. English Field Daisy, Bellis perennis,
  27. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare,
  28. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides,
  29. Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii,
  30. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias,
  31. Great Egret, Ardea alba,
  32. Green Heron, Butorides virescens,
  33. Green Pea Aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum,
  34. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus,
  35. Hoverfly, Syrphidae,
  36. Hummingbird Sage, Salvia spathacea,
  37. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum,
  38. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
  39. Lippia, Turkey Tangle, Fogfruit, Phyla nodiflora,
  40. Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha extensa,
  41. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus,
  42. Oregon Ash, Fraxinus latifolia,
  43. Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea,
  44. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum,
  45. Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum,
  46. Purple Finch, Haemorhous purpureus,
  47. Purpletop Vervain, Verbena bonariensis,
  48. Rabbitsfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis,
  49. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus,
  50. Seven-Spotted Ladybeetle, Coccinella septempunctata,
  51. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula,
  52. Swift Crab Spider, Mecaphesa celer
  53. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor,
  54. Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus,
  55. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata,
  56. Variable Flatsedge, Cyperus difformis,
  57. Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis,
  58. Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis,
  59. Wild Onion (white), Allium sp.,
  60. Willow Apple Gall Wasp, Pontania californica,
  61. Willow Bead Gall Mite, Aculops tentanothrix,
  62. Willow Bud Gall Mite, Aculops aenigma,
  63. Willow Stem Gall Wasp, Euura exiguae,

Two Gardens in One Sunday

Bear's Breeches. ©2016 Copyright Mary K. Hanson. All Rights Reserved.
Bear’s Breeches. ©2016 Copyright Mary K. Hanson. All Rights Reserved.

I got up around 6:00 this morning and headed over to the William Land Park and the WPA Rock Garden.  It was only about 49° outside this morning, and got up to a high around 70°, so it was a lovely day weatherwise.

When I got to the park, the first thing I saw was a group of Mallard fledglings.  I think was the same orphaned group I saw several weeks ago when they were just fuzzy babies.  They were traveling without a mom.  If it was the same group, they’ve developed well.  Their mama must’ve died AFTER she was able to teach them enough to keep them alive.  I’m kind of proud of the little things.  They had a really rough start, but are doing very well… I also came across a couple of pairs of Wood Ducks…  In the rock garden, I saw a lot of beautiful flowers, but no really neat bugs – although an Assassin Bug nymph did land on my arm and walk around for a while.  Hah!  I wanted to go over to the larger pond in the park, but that whole section was closed off for some kind of special event. Grrrr.

I still wanted to do some more walking, so I went over to the Sacramento Old City Cemetery.  When I got there I was all set to park across the street in the big parking lot there but… the parking lot was blocked off because they were repaving it.  Grrrr-2.  So I drove around the block and parked inside the cemetery near the front gate. (You’re not really supposed to, but… the parking lot was inaccessible).  The gardens there are starting to fade already but I still managed to get quite a few photos.  The cemetery seemed full of Mockingbirds this morning; they were singing from everywhere, many standing on the headstones to show off for the girls. I was also surprised to see a young Red-Shouldered Hawk fly in and land on one of the pine trees there.  He didn’t stay long, though, because a pair of Scrub Jays kept harassing him.  Apparently, that was THEIR tree and they didn’t want the hawk loitering around there.  What was funny was: just before the hawk took off, he pooped on the tree.  Take THAT, Scrub Jays.  Hahahahaha!  As I was leaving the cemetery, I saw a male Western Bluebird land on the fingertips of one of the “monumental” size statues…

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I walked around for about 2 hours and then headed out.  I stopped first at Raley’s to get a few things for lunch before going home.

Visiting Mount Lassen to Say Goodbye to Beaky

My depression is bad today, too.  Hard not to cry… I was up at about 5:30 am and out the door with the dog by about 6:00.  We stopped first at the gas station to fill up and get some stuff to eat on the road, then we headed for Mount Lassen.  As the day progressed it got up to 90-something in town, but at the mountain it was 69°.

Lake Helen and the "Belly Button" rock; © 2015, Mary K. Hanson.  All rights reserved. This is where I said goodbye to my brother.
Lake Helen and the “Belly Button” rock; © 2015, Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved. This is where I said goodbye to my brother.

On the way, I stopped at  rest stop near Shingletown and just walked around for a bit with the dog.  Beaky would have loved the “silence” of the place.   All you could hear was the whispering of the pine and cedar trees…  I got some photos of stuff I hadn’t seen before like several Red Osier Dogwood trees that still had their bluish-white berries on them, and the exuvia (shed exoskeleton) of what I thought might have been be a big stonefly, but no… the face was wrong. Looked so alien with big saw-blade like mandibles in the front.  When I got back to the hotel later it took me several hours to find it online.  It was from the larva of a Spiketail dragonfly; most likely the Pacific Spiketail (Cordulegaster dorsalis), a large black-and-yellow dragonfly with bright blue eyes.  I’ve never seen one of those, so it was kind of neat to find the exuvia from it.

After that pit stop, we continued on our way. It takes a little over an hour to get to Lassen from the hotel, but we were still really early and the rangers weren’t awake yet when we arrived.  So we self-paid the $20 it now costs to get into the park (but you can use the pass for a week), and then just went where we wanted to go… taking Highway 44/80 through the park and stopping off at places I knew I wanted to photograph or visit.

Not a lot of critters out up there – although we did see some deer and some Golden-Mantled chipmunk / squirrels.  I was surprised by the wildflowers, though.  They were still blooming all over the place, especially around King’s Creek.  In one spot, there were so many flowers all around me, I didn’t know where to aim my camera first.  Blue and yellow Lupine, Fleabane, Owl Clover, Pearly Everlasting, Pussypaws, Rabbitbush, Naked Buckwheat, red Snow Plants (in fruit), Monkey Flowers, Mountain Monardella, Ranger’s Button (a kind of wooly parsnip), Thimbleberry, California Corn Lily, etc.

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I also found another exuvia of a different kind of dragonfly  –  most like a Darner of some kind based on the size and the shape of the head.  It was sitting along the grassy bank of Lake Manzanita, the first lake you come to at the park…

Around the Hot Rock, there were also wildflowers… but also some odd kind of crusty-spongey fungus I had never seen before.  It was only on the trees that had been burned black (and were still crispy-charred) by what I assume was a recent wildfire.  The fungus blooped out of the side of the trees like little “muffins”, tan on one side and white on the other.  I also noticed that a lot of the burnt trees were “bleeding” sap… which means there might still be a spark of life left in them; either that or the fire boiled it all out to the surface.  Whatever; it was interesting to see – and photograph.  I got a lot of the “classic Mount Lassen” shots: the “Devastated” side of the mountain, Manzanita Lake, the Loomis Museum (which was closed) and Lily Pond, Emerald Lake, Summit Lake, King’s Creek (where we stopped again and had some brunch – blueberry muffins and water),  Lake Hellen…

When I got to Lake Helen – with the view of the summit and the Belly Button Rock in the background – I recorded a farewell to Beaky, tearing up as I did so.  I can’t think of him without crying…  On the day we had mounted the summit together, Lake Helen was visible from the trail… and since I couldn’t go up the trail this time with the dog (“no dogs allowed”), I opted for the opposite view: a look up at the trail from the lake.

In the parking lot at the summit there was also a dirty patch of snow piled up, so I perched Sergeant Margie on it and took his picture.  I have another photo (with more snow) in the same parking lot from when he was about 5 years old.  He’s 13 now…

I noticed that each time I got out of the car to walk around, with the elevation climbing between each stop, it got more and more difficult for me to exert myself.  Around the summit parking lot (8500+ feet) it was really difficult just to walk the dog across the lot to the patch of snow.  Old lungs…

I didn’t go all the way through the park; skipped Bumpass Hell and the Sulfur Works.  I drove up as far as Emerald Lake and then turned around and headed back to the hotel… getting there around 1:30 pm.