Golden Gate Park (11/03/2021)

Today I was tasked with showing Robin and Dan some owls. And, I DELIVERED.

We met up at the Lily Pond and walked the back way to the owl nursery. Fortunately, Ren had already let me know there was an owl present! Things were already looking good.

And, sure enough, Ren was there with the Great Horned Owl. At this point, it’s still possible it’s not Junior. But, I just don’t think so. We watched him for a bit. He was mostly still and chill. Then, all of a sudden something like 20-30 crows and ravens all swarmed on his tree. The crows were crowding the owl nursery, and a handful got into the tree. Some got pretty close to Junior. Ravens circled above the tree. And, THE NOISE. But, not once did they actually get in Junior’s face. He smartly moved to a spot where his back was protected. And, he just STOOD THERE. Occasionally, he’d look here and there, but he was mostly stoic the whole time. So proud of him!

They kept at it, and at one point he stood super thin and tall, with his horns completely straight up! I’ve never seen that before!! He didn’t budge, and eventually they all gave up and left.

At that point, Robin and I headed toward the Lily Pond, killing time til sunset. On our way, I noticed a small and solo Yellow Fieldcap mushroom. Haven’t seen those in a while! We were getting close to the pond, when I just happened to look up and to the right and spotted another GHO. In a Coast Live Oak and bigger than the owl in the nursery. We watched it for a little bit, and then it HOOTED. JUST FOR ROBIN.

We then went to the pond, where some Mallards and a Hooded Merganser were hanging out. Showed her the Hooded Merganser with my binocs and a nice Cross Orbweaver. And, she headed out.

I didn’t have a ton of time before sunset, so I looked around the Tree Fern Dell a little. The St. John’s Wort is blooming, AGAIN. No sign of other owls over there, so I figured I’d make a slow walk back to the nursery. The owl we last walked by was now preening. And while watching it, I noticed what looked like two raccoons napping on a horizontal plateau of a large tree trunk. Just 20 feet from the GHO. Nature is interesting.

Back at the owl nursery, Junior was gone. But, the Golden Hour was upon us. And, the nursery looked so lovely. Figured I’d see if Junior was closer to the Lily Pond before heading home.

I decided to walk a little down the path where I last saw a coyote to look in the Coast Live Oaks there. I looked up, and there was Junior. Super visible and super alert. I stood there watching and taking pics. He preened. Watched all the things he heard nearby. And, then he started hooting. After the first one, I heard a higher pitch hoot from where the other owl was, confirming it was Ma Owl. Got some video of him doing extreme leg stretches, but I can’t afford a Premium WordPress account to share video…

He was taking his time to leave that side of the pond, so I decided to leave. I looked up one last time over the pond and saw him fly over it and into the Monterey Pines just north of the pond. And, he continued hooting. Got to hear him (and likely Ma Owl) hoot until I turned onto Bowling Green Drive, where I got to watch bats and moths and termites in the air all the way home.

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