Golden Gate Park (1/26/2022)

Today I wandered around in my backyard. No agenda.

On my way to it, I stopped to look at blooming flowers on my street. Bladderpod! Someone thought that was a good name for a flower?? But, hey. It’s native! That’s nice!

I decided I’d stroll through places I rarely go lately. So, I went up Whiskey Hill. I spotted one perfectly red Purple-leaf Plum fruit. Leading the way! And, a maple tree (Bigleaf Maple, I think) looked like it had party confetti leaves. The first bird I heard was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I believe they are literally everywhere I go right now.

On the tall side of the hill, Coast Live Oak was bursting with new leaves. That hill is like a mini-Oak Woodlands Trail. Immerse yourself in Coast Live Oaks? Yes, please.

After I crossed into the Koret area, I heard and then saw an Acorn Woodpecker high up in a Coast Live Oak! Never seen them here before. And, thankfully, I got a couple decent photos to remember it by.

After walking through Robin Williams Meadow, I headed to the Camelia Garden path. Took a quick stop behind McLaren Lodge. Quick stop at the Fuchsia Dell, where I enjoyed hearing the many ravens flying near me to assemble in the empty Ginkgo tree near me. Their wings’ whooshing sounds are so thrilling.

Not much was blooming or heard/seen otherwise in these spots. Some Wild Daffodils, some bunches of Three-cornered Garlic, and just one camelia tree with flowers. Oh, and only one Garden Nasturtium flower among the vast arrays of leaves. Quiet and empty over there.

Next, I visited the Secret Mushroom Spot. On the way to the amazing scents of the tons of blooming Blueblossom, I heard tiny cries and found a Red-shouldered Hawk very low in a Lemonwood tree. It was looking down at a group of sparrows below it. I took another step closer, and it left. Boo.

While I wasn’t expecting mushrooms there, there were some! Turkey-Tail and a small cluster of Mica Caps with even some baby Mica Caps nearby, about to take over. And, I found that odd! I don’t recall seeing Mica Cap villages when it hasn’t recently rained. Hm!

My first Artist’s Bracket mushroom ever is over there and had broken apart. I was bummed to see it, but it let me see the inside which was super neato.

After mourning my first Dally Pine tree that is no longer there, I headed up to the back way of the Lily Pond. Once I came to the end, I noticed a strange smell I couldn’t place. Turning a corner, I saw that the small shack that used to be there was gone. And, it looked like a fire had happened. I’d sometimes see young folks hanging out behind it. So, maybe that? As I got closer to see, I recognized the smell. A burned out fire from a building has a very distinct smell. To me, it smells like death. It was sad to recall that smell from a house fire I experienced many moons ago. But, I almost cried when I saw the burnt leaves and tree trunks from the Coast Live Oaks that were around and above the shack. Looks like no trees were completely destroyed or anything, so that’s good. Wonder what they’ll do with that square spot. Hopefully plant things.

That gorgeous blue sage I can’t get a confirmation ID on from iNat was blooming in the Tree Fern Dell. That same (?) group of Ring-necked Ducks were on the pond, along with some Mallards and three female Hooded Mergansers – all tucked in the same way that they made me think they were posing like a Motown Girls Group or something. A Black Phoebe was fly-catching, as usual. Song Sparrows were chirping/singing, as usual. A Hermit Thrush was failing miserably at trying to eat blackberries it had to hover under to touch. And, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet had clearly been eating eucalyptus flowers recently and was busy fly-catching, as well.

I ended my time in the Secret Gardens, wondering if I’d hear any Great Horned Owls. On my way to the spot, I could not help but become intoxicated from the blooming Angel’s Trumpets over there. It’s amazing how amazing flowers can smell if it’s just a teensy bit warmer than the day before.

No hooting was heard. Which makes me wonder if the pair are already nesting? I read that they hoot in the Fall/Winter for territory but are quiet when nesting. So… maybe? Now I have to find the nest tree… And, doing that without them hooting may very well be impossible until an owlet or more is born.

So, no owls were heard. But, no coyote wailing in anguish this time either. So, I’ll take it!

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