The Presidio (2/1/2022)

Today I explored a bit of The Presidio. Much of it I’d seen before, but I managed to explore just a little more that was newtome.

I first started out at Mountain Lake Park. Jerusalem Sage brightened up my arrival. And, a Pied-billed Grebe, some head bopping Mallards, a couple American Coots, and some Ruddy Ducks were on the lake. But, what was odd was that the lake was so high that it covered THE ENTIRE BEACH. Now, there was never much of a beach there. But, what was there was immersed. No sign as to why, but ODD. I did get to watch a tiny Pied-billed Grebe swallow an entire crayfish, though! Second time ever seeing that!

I took the counter-clockwise walk around the lake, passing blooming Osoberry and Red-flowering Currant and willow galls. Stopping at the north end, I got to enjoy watching all kinds of happy flying insects in the sunshine. And, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet was fly-catching over there, too.

Moving north on the trail, a Cherry-plum tree had gone bonkers and had every imaginable blossom out to view. Leaving MLP, I headed up the paved Park Trail that goes through the golf course. I was hoping to make a loop that included the Fort Scott Community Garden and Dragonfly Creek.

The lovely scent of Blueblossom helped my ascent. It was nice to see work being done with new plantings on the side along the road wall. Hooboy, does that look like a lot of work. And, I spotted a newtome flower, White Sweetclover. It was a tiny shrubby thing with hardly any leaves that was randomly next to some large metal shipping container things. It’s an introduced species and was the only one of its kind that I saw, so maybe it’ll just get removed someday along with all that other crap?

Near the end, where the trail leaves the golf course, I got to peek into the General Store there. So, I have a bizarre affinity for General Stores. And, in 2020 when we explored this area of The Presidio, it was very much closed due to the pandemic. As was the golf course, too? Anyhoo, it was OPEN. And, it’s not all that exciting.

I made my way to an area that was newtome, just above the Veterans Blvd. tunnel. It was a nice and unpopular trail, full of prettily arranged plantings that quickly turned into the typical eucalyptus and poison oak type of scenery you often find in The Presidio. But, it was pretty empty. And, I always appreciate that.

Spotted more flowering Cherry-plum (random!) and Ngaio flowers before the trail ended at Rob Hill Campground. And, all of a sudden, I was looking at THE OCEAN. Something was very strange about starting at Mountain Lake Park and seeing the ocean so suddenly! Made me feel like I’d travelled crazy far.

I turned north and walked and soon got to the Fort Scott Community Garden. They’ve really been working there! An entire hillside leading down to it had been cleared of blackberry and ivy. And, many planted baby trees were there instead. So nice.

The garden was also doing well! Adorable Fava Bean flowers and a Lilly Pilly tree chock-full of berries were the highlights.

I made my way through the enchanting rock walls of the tennis courts over there and finally saw Dragonfly Creek. Having seen so many full creeks/streams lately, I figured I should check this one out, too. The one time we were in the area in 2020, the whole place was bone dry. NOT TODAY!
Yeah, there wasn’t much. But, I SAW WATER. Very exciting. I need to check in on all the creeks after decent storms come through. Oh, and a couple of Chip Cherries were nearby under the willows. Mushrooms are becoming more and more rare on my Naturing outings, so I’m terribly excited at seeing any these days.

As I passed under Veterans Blvd. and up onto Park Trail again, I found some Deer Mushroom, I think. I was so thrilled to see them that I greeted them out loud without thinking about it. Fortunately, no one else was around.

Headed back the way I came through the golf course, and as I rounded the corner of Mountain Lake I started to hear FROGS. Right where there is a tiny tunnel under the trail, with posted “turtle crossing” signs. The opposite side from the lake was where the frog chorus was coming from. And, THERE WERE MANY. It was kind of dark then, and it’s hard to see much with all the trees in the way over there, but THERE WAS WATER. I had no idea it collected over there and to THAT SIZE. Something like a backyard swimming pool? Or larger? I stood at the fence and just enjoyed the frogs singing to me. I heard them croaking almost the entire way back to my car. It was a nice way to end my Naturing time.

HOWEVER, driving through Golden Gate Park, I was heading east on MLK from Crossover Drive when I saw a huge and bright thing in the sky flying over my car from right to left. A BARN OWL!!! No mistake. I watched its bright white undersides as it flew over. I could not believe my timing. I decided to take that route last minute! WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Ok, maybe, as an Owl Witch, my odds are a bit more in my favor… I was in awe of my luck the rest of the way home.

And, I’ve truly been wondering lately if I’d ever see them again in GGPark. I’ve seen them a total of six times before in the park. Three times over at Bowling Green Drive, and three times near Stow Lake. I used to stay out late watching the Great Horned Owls that I ended up seeing a super fast fly-by of a Barn Owl on occasion. But, it’s BEEN A WHILE. And, I don’t typically stay out so late anymore for the GHOs. So, that was A TREAT. I was so giddy at seeing it. I think I’m going to feel giddy about it ALL WEEK!

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