today was so sunny, so i walked around Stow Lake and up Strawberry Hill and back. and, even though it was entirely sunny and in the high 60s, it felt like such a Fall day. so happy for that. i had thought about more mushroom hunting given the “Aggressive Drizzle” (that’s a quote from a local meteorologist) yesterday afternoon. but, i had such good mushroom fortune yesterday that i didn’t wanna jinx it by being greedy. and, i didn’t think i’d find much in the way of newer than yesterday’s mushrooms. so, i visited Stow Lake, where i have rarely seen mushrooms, and that was going to be ok. on my way there, i spotted one or two mushroom sightings along MLK. but soon after i started walking around the lake (counter-clockwise, for once!), i spotted the largest Chip Cherries EVER. i’ve never seen them there before! and, they were MONSTROUS!! as i was bent over to inspect them, a group of three older folks walked behind me, and one of them said, “What’s she looking at?” then one came to my side and asked me what i was looking at. we chatted about mushrooms, i told them i thought they were Chip Cherries but had to confirm that, and they went on their friendly way. so nice when someone genuinely expresses interest in what i’m looking at and sticks around for more info/interaction. the SFBG has docents. why doesn’t the GGPark? i should be one! anyhoo, spotted my first Ring-necked Duck of the Fall! plus, what looked like a juvenile Great Blue Heron. and, found my beloved Sagewood! after believing it was removed last time i was there!! what a relief. walked up Strawberry Hill across the Pretty Bridge, and up at the reservoir level were more mushrooms! weirdo Veiled Polypores and a newtome mushroom, The Prince! whut! said goodbye to what looked like the last Mexican Mock Orange flower on the shrub at the reservoir. i FINALLY iDed that thing the other day, after first seeing it in april at Elk Glen Lake. i cannot begin to express the pure satsifaction of finally knowing what that precious flower is!! my gawd, if you have a chance to smell that thing, DO IT. encountered two different (?) Red-tailed Hawks and an Anna’s Hummingbird nosing into Baby Sage before leaving the island. on the way home, i spotted my first Hooded Merganser (male and female) of the Fall! so many highlights today, i had to list them ALL.