Tanoaks at El Corte de Madera

JO and I went up to ECDM around 12:30 today to see whether our trees were ripe for pollinators. It threatened to be foggy, but turned out to be sunny and around 75 degrees. We found three trees with catkins at near eye level. Other trees with catkins were too high to see easily, and still more had no catkins.

Some trees with immature? catkins had female parts that appeared to be more developed, being green spiky future acorn caps, with small short acorn beginnings. One had old brown catkins next to it. Are these last year’s female flowers?

The only noticeable insect activity around the tanoaks was a small cloud of flies up high over a branch in the sun, and another fly just checking things out but not landing.

There were a lot of grasshoppers in the sunny spots in the trail. The ones whose legs I could see had blue on them. One large one landed in front of us. Then a smaller one landed about 6″ away from it. It made some sounds, and approached the larger one. It tried to climb on, but the larger would have none of that and flew.

Courting grasshoppers

Courting grasshoppers

Stridulation presumably by male while on ground, and crepitation while flying away. Recorded with an Olympus LS-10.

There were a surprising number of insects on stinging nettle, including what could be Red Admiral caterpillars in rolled-leaf retreats. Some caterpillars had also created retreats in the nearby thistle.

Caterpillar in thistle retreat

Caterpillar in thistle retreat

There were quite a few crab spiders and other small spiders. A butterfly flew across the trail, disappearing, and left us wondering what it was. It was medium-sized and appeared to have black and green on it.

Hermit Thrush sang, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Hutton’s Vireo called, and we saw a California Quail family and baby Dark-eyed Junco.

Here are the rest of the photos.

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