Golden Gate Park (12/30/2021)

Today we Natured with friends in my park! These friends, who first called GGPark “Karen’s Park” were up for a day of Naturing in our backyard with the added bonus of happy hour oysters and pisco cocktails after. Seemed like a fine proposition to us!

We took them to a part of the park we rarely visit, primarily because of the lack of biodiversity. However, we managed to see A BUNCH of mushrooms, so it was an exciting day in the end! We first caught sight, thanks to Logan, of a Red-tailed Hawk swooping into a eucalyptus (I think?) tree as we were about to enter the Monarch Bear Grove. Soon after, it flew (with a tree branch piece in its mouth) to a nearby tree and into a nest where another Red-tailed Hawk was waiting? Super exciting to know where some Red-tailed Hawks are nesting already! Will be keeping an eye on them.

Our route took us past the Slime Mold Lab (where no slime mold was to be seen, but Candlesnuff Fungus and Bleeding Fairy Helmets were still around), through the Rhododendron Dell, past the newly landscaped area west of the Skate Park, alongside the Blue Playground, into the Heroes Redwood Grove, across Doughboy Meadow, up to Rainbow Falls (which were not falling), to a live concert under the Crossover Drive overpass, into the Stow Lake Picnic Area and back trails, along Stow Lake, up Strawberry Hill, down Huntington Falls, back along Stow Lake, and on our way to happy hour.

We saw so many mushrooms, everywhere we went. We spotted Blewits, Scurfy Twiglets, Deceivers, Layered Cups, Chip Cherries, Psathyrella corrugis, Hare’s Foot Inkcap, Fragrant Funnel (thanks for smelling them, Octodrone Maxilla!), Hemimycena, more Blewits, more Chip Cherries, Milking Bonnets (?), Funeral Bells (?), Tall Psathyrella (?), and Turkey-Tail.

As for fauna, we saw Black Phoebes and a European Honeybee and White-crowned Sparrows and a striking Townsend’s Warbler and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Bushtits and even the Great Horned Owls of Stow Lake (up at the reservoir level on Strawberry Hill).

The only flora sighting worthy of noting is a biggie. For me. Yes, there were a couple flowering remnants of Dally Pine at the Stow Lake Picnic Area. But, while having our mandatory Cookie Snack Break there, I spotted a bunch of blooming Dally Pine flowers off in the distance. AN ENTIRE ROW OF THEM WERE LINING THE BACK TRAIL! I had never noticed before because I’ve never seen them blooming there. Thought they were all baby pine trees? It was SO EXCITING.

I seem not to have many “WHOA!” moments of discovery anymore in GGPark, so this was THRILLING. There are more Dally Pines in GGPark than I knew. These are all in a group together. And, one was still blooming. A DELIGHT TO FIND.

It was, of course, fantastic to see Great Horned Owls, too. Especially, as I haven’t seen this pair together in some time. But, that Dally Pine find. WHOA! And, getting to share more of my park with friends. Can’t beat it.

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