Golden Gate Park (11/30/2021)

Today I simply went to my park. Thought I’d try and see my owls. No other agenda.

MY GAWD, was it hot out. Felt like 80 degrees. I probably should’ve worn my Naturing vest, though it quickly got cold later so suffering with my light Naturing jacket was apparently a good thing in the end.

Crossing the ballfield, a large group of Common Ravens were the only ones on the field. Was hoping they’d play a game, but they seemed a bit disorganized for it.

I walked through the Monarch Bear Grove and noticed some of their tiny yellow flowers. And, the Cherry-Plum tree I saw starting to bloom in there was FULL ON BLOSSOMING. The 2nd Spring of 2021 continues.

I cruised through the owl nursery, just curious if anyone was there. Didn’t see any owls, so I headed toward the Lily Pond. On the way, a Townsend’s Warbler (maybe the brighest yellow one I’ve ever seen?) and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet were my familiar companions. Just past them, I noticed an odd dark orange thing on the leaves of the hillside. Insect-egg Slime! I first saw this in Santa Cruz at Pogonip, but I have not seen i since. SO EXCITING. And near it was a yellow version. I felt pretty confident it’d be the highlight of my day.

On my approach to the pond, the temperatures thankfully felt like they dropped 20 degrees. I can almost always count on the Lily Pond being a lovely, cool place to escape from the sun.

I heard a couple ravens squawking above in the Monterey Pine ahead. It was noticeable enough that I took a look up there. And, both Great Horned Owls of the Lily Pond were there! Ma Owl was sitting perfectly in the huge nest up there that’s been there ever since I started my GGPark adventures. Pa Owl was just below and facing the ravens in nearby branches. Now, I’ve seen them before hanging in a tall tree in the area that had a nest this early into the winter onset. But, they left that tree and moved at some point to the owl nursery area. So, who knows how long they’ll stay or if they’ll nest there, but the ravens were PRETTY TICKED OFF about it.

Nothing terribly dramatic seemed to be imminent, so I visited the pond. The larger group of Hooded Mergansers had a somewhat large group of Ring-necked Ducks with them. And, a Mallard couple were head-bobbing with each other. Also, saw a Shamrock Orbweaver settled amongst leaves and webbing underneath. This was weird, as I believe I’ve only ever seen them in webs before. Ren, any insight? Just laid eggs or something?

I ventured along the Tree Fern Dell trail, and I spotted many a mushroom! Chip Cherries, Firerug Inkcap, Pale Brittlestem, Parasola conopilea, Ceriporia, and Red Edge Brittlestem. But, the super exciting find was a newtome slime mold – Chocolate Tube Slime! I’m glad I started a new Flickr album just for slime molds. I’ve got a decent collection now!

It was getting close to sunset, and while I was hoping to visit the Secret Mushroom Spot, I didn’t want to chance it. I stayed put and sat on the bench opposite the pine tree. And, soon enough, the pair started hooting. The ravens were gone, and they were free to hoot away. While watching and looking up at them, a lot happened. A ton of bats started flitting about overhead. Seemingly, more than I’ve ever seen there before. Two raccoons crept out of the ferns on the pond side and crossed the path to the other side. Two older women stopped to talk to me about the owls. After telling them some things, one of them asked, “How do you KNOW ALL THIS?” I wonder if instead of Owl Witch, people who talk to me about the owls will think I’m an Owl Stalker… Then, another raccoon came out from the same place, gave me the same look, and went to the same exit. Then, a woman walking her dog looked past me and said, “Coyote!” Apparently, one had crossed the path behind me. She quickly grabbed her little dog and attached its leash. Then, another pair of older women (one with binocs) slowly walked near, speaking of owls. I pointed the pair out to them, and we had a long chat about them. I’m definitely not the only one who knows where they’ve been in the park!

I was then left alone, and one of the owls flew east into a nearby tree. I watched it for a while, then saw it fly further east and out of view. Wasn’t sure where the other one was. But then, one flew west and back into the original pine tree. Had I missed a mating moment? That’s my guess. Just a guess, but an educated guess?

I truly enjoy talking about the owls with interested folks I meet in the park. If only GGPark were hiring for an Owl Docent. I would demand that job be mine.

2 thoughts on “Golden Gate Park (11/30/2021)

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