Today I went to the lakes in the middle of the park. Started at Mallard Lake, where there are late-bloomer (??) California Buckeye panicles and blackberries still to be ripened. I swear the timing of things blooming around here is nutso.
Strolled through The Oasis, where Indian Strawberries are fruiting, and the Garden Nasturtium is taking over the place. So far, pretty quiet, fauna-wise.
But, at Elk Glen Lake, A LOT WAS GOING ON. A Belted Kingfisher was chilling out across the lake. I moved to try and get better photos (FAIL), but while trying to do so I noticed a Pygmy Nuthatch fly down to about three feet from me to drink a little from the lake edge. Never seen one do that before, and SO CLOSE TO ME!
Moving on, I saw perhaps the biggest group of Yellow-rumped Warblers I’ve ever seen – all fly-catching over the water. They were in the reeds and all matter of trees and looked just like Black Phoebes, zooming out and back in after catching dinner. The Great Blue Heron of Elk Glen Lake was hiding from me, but I spotted it right after admiring the freshly bloomed Twinberry Honeysuckle over there.
After watching the YRWs for a while, I walked past where the Fairy Door was. And, it was no more. Only saw it the once, boo.
Walked through the Elk Glen Lake meadow and saw some new Coastal Bush Lupine flowers. So much is blooming AGAIN right now! Finished up there and still hadn’t been out a full 2 hours (my norm), so I made a last stop at Metson Lake.
On the way there, I heard a Northern Flicker. Couldn’t find it, but I realized how many bird calls I recognized that day. I’ve come A LONG WAY.
Just before getting there, I spotted a newtome Fairy Door! It’s in a Monterey Cypress tree on Middle Drive West. Guess when one Fairy Door disappears, another Fairy Door appears?
At Metson Lake, I walked past a big group of Willows and started looking for galls or caterpillars, since I recently saw that Spotted Tussock Moth caterpillar on a willow leaf last week on the Pioneer Trail. And, BOOM! There it was!
Started the walk back and thought about the Red-tailed Hawk I’d seen there. And, BOOM! A Red-tailed Hawk flew right over my head. I then started thinking about a million dollars, but nothing happened.
Caught sight of a(nother) Hermit Thrush juvenile demurely begging amongst a large group of White-crowned Sparrows and a couple California Towhees, which was a nice way to end my Naturing time.
HOWEVER, as I approached my car at Mallard Lake, I saw a Black-crowned Night-Heron just hanging on a tree branch over the water. I didn’t seem to cover THAT much territory today, but I saw so much. It’s nice that that happens somewhat frequently for me.