The Presidio (1/25/2022)

Today I was surprised that I was able to get outside. I had an audition that I thought would take up much of my afternoon, but nope! I felt like visiting El Polin Spring. Haven’t been in a while. Also thought it might be nice to visit MacArthur Meadow. Haven’t been in a while. And, I’m now reminded that both spots this time of year on a relatively chilly day are perhaps not the best spots to visit on such a day.

So, for those who look at my posts primarily, if not exclusively, for pretty photos, sorry I couldn’t deliver today.

Don’t get me wrong. I quite enjoyed seeing WATER in places I’ve never seen before. The spring was flowing. There was a pond of water next to the wood walkway. MacArthur Meadow had water I could see in it for the first time. And, there were random streams here and there along the Ecology Trail. All of that was great to see.

But, absolutely nothing new blooming I haven’t seen recently elsewhere. Twinberry Honeysuckle, Blueblossom, Red-flowering Currant. One exception! Blooming Seaside Woolly Sunflower at MacArthur Meadow! After seeing so much of it lately with no flowers, that was a treat.

I did manage to watch a major hummingbird battle, though. Only one photo came out somewhat in focus. Two Anna’s Hummingbirds were fighting over the tiny stone waterfall. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet nearby could not have cared less. But, I was ENTHRALLED.

And, while I of course didn’t see any, I heard a frog croaking here and there in the area. Nice!

After MacArthur Meadow, I headed up Barnard Avenue, wondering if I might catch a glimpse of the Great Horned Owl pair that nested there last year with two owlets. No sign of them, but it’s mostly eucalyptus trees there. Do they roost in them? I wouldn’t think so. And, the few pines nearby seemed too close to buildings. HOWEVER, I did spot EVIDENCE. Some scat and what looked like a dead mouse of sorts. HM! I know that the GHOs in The Presidio nest a little later than the ones in GGPark, so maybe it was too soon to look there.

I ended my Presidio visit with the Ecology Trail. Heading Southwest, I approached the area of a mess of fallen trees. The place looks like Robin Hood and his gang plotted the fallen limbs to be a trap or something. On my approach, I heard A HOOT. But, an ODD HOOT. Like, a half hoot? A hoot with hiccups? I then heard a high hoot from the female further south and what seemed like quite a distance from the male above me somewhere. I recorded his hoots and posted to iNat. Hoping someone there might know why he sounded like that.

I was hoping to get closer to the tree he was in, but I was barred by fresh poison oak. Protecting the owl from me, I like to think! It was a bit til sunset, so I opted not to wait for owl action. The area was crazy dark already, and I wasn’t likely going to get a good look at one. So, I left them alone. And heard them hoot as I left.

The only mushrooms I spotted were some old Chip Cherries. That’s it!

I got to about halfway to Inspiration Point and started hearing MORE FROGS. And, SO MANY MORE. I realized I’d rather hear frogs on my way out than walk the rest of the Ecology Trail back to my car. So, back to THE FROGS.

And, I couldn’t believe how loud they were and how many they sounded like. Got to the pond areas where all the ruckus was coming from. And, the sound was DEAFENING. They were even loudly croaking away even as I got close. A fence kept me from getting closer. Even with being RIGHT NEAR THEM, I didn’t spot a one. Sierran Tree Frogs, yep. Without fail, I end up cracking up after listening to their frog chorus after about 10 seconds. At some point, it really sounds like they’re croaking one complicated symphonic piece together. If you’d like to listen to any of my 30 second recording, check out

After giving up on seeing any of the tons of frogs near my feet, I spotted what looked like a Merlin flying over me that drew my attention to a Red-tailed Hawk landing in the eucs just north. So, a couple raptors spotted!

In the end, I didn’t see that much today. But, I heard A WHOLE LOT.

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