Golden Gate Park (1/13/2022)

Today was a FULL DAY. And, I was in no way expecting it to be.

Typically, I like to have my primary two photos from my Naturing outing represent two different things. Just for variety. So those just looking at the photos (since my Naturing posts are so so so long now) have different things to look at. But, I had to put two birds up here. Because I am ECSTATIC to have gotten any photos of them IN FOCUS given how often they moved!! Quite proud of that.

I planned to visit the Oak Woodlands Trail. It’s been a while, and my list for The Book for that area was pretty slim. And, by the end of the day, I added A TON to my list.

First through the Monarch Bear Grove, where blooming Wartleaf Ceanothus and that purple sage I thought was Mealycup Sage but am now not so sure were out in full purple colors.

I took the back way (south trail along the ridge) along the Lily Pond and was happy to see blooming Seaside Buckwheat where the new plantings were at the south entrance. And, right near it were a scattering of Common Bird’s Nest Fungus! Funny how once you see something for the first time, you start to see it everywhere!

At the Lily Pond, a hummingbird and Ruby-crowned Kinglet were maybe having a minor battle in the Curly Willow. But, not much else was going on. I took a quick side trip to the Secret Mushroom Spot, where there were hardly any mushrooms. But, the sweet scent of all the blooming Blueblossom was intoxicating. AND, I spotted a Red-breasted Sapsucker! First time seeing one in GGPark! One (or two?) have been reported recently in the SFBG, so I wonder if this one spent the afternoon outside the garden for a change…

I finally started the beginning of the Oak Woodlands Trail (east). Sadly, that beehive stump is still a mess. Will they replace the door someday? A couple bees went in/out, but they were too quick for me to see well or capture. Would like to know what they are. No amazing Laetiporus this time, but some interesting stuff was on that stump in the back! Turkey-Tail and Layered Cup and some tiny red dots (Carnival Candy Slime Mold??).

Moving on, two Anna’s Hummingbirds, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a small group of Dark-eyed Juncos were at the top. But, the exciting find was the blooming Chaparral Currant at the intersection of the pedestrian and bike trails. It is so going in The Book.

Westward, some Scurfy Twiglets and Orange Bush Monkeyflower and Hooker’s Evening Primrose were out. And, as seemingly often happens when I’m there, a Red-shouldered Hawk was being harrassed by Common Ravens. Oh, and a Yellow-faced Bumblebee was hovering over the Seaside Woolly Sunflower bushes. I’m so happy to see them lately.

And, once I crossed Arguello, another Anna’s Hummingbird sat for a while in a bush. Now, I have NEVER been able to capture it when its iridescence was showing. UNTIL TODAY. AND, I got INCREDIBLY LUCKY to have gotten two shots of it IN FOCUS. I’m still kind of giddy about it.

Golden-crowned Sparrows and a Townsend’s Warbler were bopping around in the plantings there. And, I spotted a Golden Ear mushroom hanging on a log with Turkey-Tail.

So, I hadn’t noticed much in the way of mushrooms aside from Mulch Maids last Fall or Winter. But, it was a whole new ballgame today. Fragrant Funnel were forming a new colony. Honey Mushrooms and Cramp Balls were keeping company. False Turkey-Tail occupied both logs on one side of the trail and on a living Coast Live Oak on the other. And, past Foley’s Gazebo, I spotted Mulch Maids, a mushroom I can’t ID, and Golden Milkcaps. So many!

I made my way to the Rhododendron Dell, where I expected to meet Ren. While there, I got to get some photos of a very plump Golden-crowned Sparrow. Checked in on that Dally Pine nearby (no flowers, but the leaves look healthy) and noticed blooming Stinking Hellebore just underneath.

Continuing on in the Secret Gardens, I saw a newtome flower – Chinese Photinia! Next to it, a couple Prunus blossoms and a couple Magnolias were beating out the other buds on their trees. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet appeared to maybe be eating mosquitoes?? And, some California Agaricus, Trembling Crust (?), and a Blewit were showing themselves.

Ren met up with me to hear the Great Horned Owls hooting, and I showed her the pines they were in lately. We waited a long time to hear anything, but the hot pink sunset was a decent consolation prize. Until one of the owls flew from the hill and into a pine in our view. Finally! It hooted quietly once or twice then quickly moved pretty much out of view to a pine next to it. THEN, the female owl made her high hoot known, seemingly from the pine on the hill I’ve seen her in before. He hooted for a while, not moving and not in view. Then, he flew north and out of view entirely.

It was getting pretty dark at that point, so we were about to head our separate ways. Then, Ren saw a coyote towards the hill. While describing it, ANOTHER COYOTE crossed in front of us! Just trotting along and onto the paved path we were likely blocking it from, heading toward the CAS.


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