McLaren Park (12/7/2021)

Today I got a notification from iNat that a Fly Agaric was observed in SF! A while ago, I saw on iNat that these were actually in SF from time to time. I’ve never seen one in real life before and had no idea they were here in SF or even the West Coast, so I set iNat to notify me when it was around. And, it was in McLaren Park yesterday, so I ventured out hoping it’d still be there.

And, THEY WERE STILL THERE. They were right where iNat said they’d be, and there were a small group of them! Some were HUGE! I had no idea how orange they get when they fully bloom. And, I never would’ve guessed they got so big. It was very exciting. And, I am now one of those people who ventures out to a specific place to see a specific mushroom. Yep, that’s me.

Even though Brian and I had planned to continue our exploration of McLaren Park together, I decided to go it alone to complete the north section of the park since I was out there anyway.

Moving on from the delightful American Fly Agaric spot, I heard a Northern Flicker close by. Spotted it and started walking toward it to get a better look, but it was shy and flew into a cluster of trees and bushes. While looking for it there, I heard then spotted then watched an Anna’s Hummingbird hanging at the top of a barren tree. California Scrub-Jays and Golden-crowned Sparrows were nearby, eating what they could find in the grass.

Heading West, I noticed a green caterpillar on the path below me. A Girdler Moth! So bright green! And, pictures of it in full moth form make me hope to see it someday.

Chip Cherries were in one explosion area, but most of what I saw fungi-wise was Shaggy Parasols. Like, everywhere! Oh, and a Red-tailed Hawk was being dive-bombed near Gambier Plaza.

Made it to the couple of spots on my list: Upper Reservoir (where I saw a female Common Goldeneye among the Mallards and American Coots), McLaren Labyrinth, Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre. The rest was pretty unexciting, flora/fauna-wise. I did spot a small group of Cedar Waxwings, but they were hiding high up in a tree, so I didn’t see them very well.

It seems like a great dog park. At least, when I was there, 4 out of every 5 people were walking their dog(s). And, a handful of folks taking a walk. One jogger. And, given the relative small number of wildlife creatures and flowers I encountered, maybe it’s not a major hotspot for such things? I do need to see about the Great Horned Owls there, though. I’ve seen them observed there on iNat here and there.

So, all I have left to explore is the Coyote Trail in the south section, and then I’m done with McLaren Park! The rest I haven’t seen is recreation whatnots. Will be nice to check it off my list. And, now I know there are Fly Agaric mushrooms to be seen there!

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