Golden Gate Park (1/5/2022)

Today I went on an SF City Guide walking tour (“Golden Gate Park: Mid Park Ramble – Hidden Gems, Rarely Visited”) and managed to sneak in some Naturing while on the walk.

Turns out, I knew pretty much everything (minus a detail here and there) from the history we were given. But, I wasn’t expecting to learn a ton since I’d already done my own research/reading/what have you over the past 2ish years. There were even some things I didn’t understand (like why so much credit was given to McLaren vs. Hall). Ultimately, I was just curious what these walks were like, since I’d done my own last summer for my CalNat capstone project.

The tour covered the Japanese Tea Garden (outside), half of Stow Lake, Strawberry Hill, Prayerbook Cross, and Portals of the Past. And, I was able to quickly observe a bit of flora and fauna along the way.

Northern Shoveler couples were shoveling away at the east end of Stow Lake, though our guide called them “Mergansers.” Yeah. I thought about saying something, then decided I didn’t want to correct him in front of everyone. So, I’m going to try and find a way to message him privately on that!

The rest of the usual gang of wintertime birds on the lake were there, like that one Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Buffleheads, and that one Hooded Merganser. And a Double-crested Cormorant was posing in such a way I thought it was going to burst into a dance routine any second. But, alas.

After learning that the ugly bridge is a “roman bridge” and was intended for use by horse and carriage (vs. the pretty bridge which was intended for pedestrians), we spent some time on Strawberry Hill. I spotted a super bright orange mushroom that I unfortunately couldn’t find a good specimen for in the ground. But, gawd. The brightness of that orange made me think it was a partial orange peel someone left. Oyster Rollrim? We shall see…

A newtome mushroom was ahead on a log, Peeling Oysterling! But, not much was happening on the hill. No sign of the Great Horned Owls, but there was work and noise going on at the reservoir level, so maybe they were elsewhere.

After quickly stopping to observe a banana tree (with bananas and one flower left on it!) I’d never really paid attention to before near the Stow Lake bathrooms, we went to visit the Prayerbook Cross. I’d just been there last week, and I’m not a fan of crosses, but I got some decent photos of Stinking Dapperling up there.

A quick stop to look at the Portals of the Past, and we headed back. On the way, I spotted a Western Black Elfin Saddle! First time seeing one in GGPark, and so neat to see another so soon after seeing them for my first time ever this past weekend. Right nearby, I saw what turned out to be Purple Jellydisc. Tiny coral-looking blobs on the side of a log. Newtome!

I started on my way and headed back to Stow Lake to complete the other side. The group must have gone straight back to the Japanese Tea Garden, which makes sense to end where we started. But, I was happy to have the rest of Stow Lake to myself and be able to stop whenever I wanted.

A group of three older women stopped me, told me they were on a Prayer Walk, and asked if I needed them to pray for anything for me. I politely declined and continued on. Guess that kind of thing can happen around the lake in the mornings?

Right below where the Red-shouldered Hawk was crying, I stopped to smell the divine Sagewood flowers in bloom. I was there for a minute, drinking in that heavenly scent. Must’ve looked strange to others, but SO BE IT.

The Feijoa are starting to bloom. The Red-flowering Currant is becoming bolder in its blooms. And, I spotted one blossom on a Purple-leaf Plum tree. It really feels like winter now, flora-wise.

That area of Chip Cherries explosion was STILL THERE.

Dark-eyed Juncos and Golden-crowned Sparrows were out and didn’t mind me watching them nearby. And, that gorgeous gray and white Domestic Mallard was preening away.

All in all, I think I’d be interested in partaking of another tour that’s not in GGPark sometime. I’d love to learn more SF history of other parts of the city. But, I think I’ve kinda got GGPark down at this point?

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