Today was my only day this week to visit my backyard. I was a little glad to be able to go today, as tomorrow’s forecast was to be like 71 degrees or something ridiculous like that. HOWEVER. Turned out TODAY was the hottest day of the week. It ended up being something like 76 DEGREES today. Not cool, weather folks. NOT COOL, LITERALLY.
Since it was going to be my only day in GGPark this week, I did most of the Greatest Hits. I headed straight for Stow Lake on MLK. I realized on my way there that today would be an AMAZING DAY for SCENTS. So, I hit all the best ones. And, even though I had planned to intentionally visit the best scents in GGPark, I also surprised myself with some by smelling them in advance and forgetting some that ended up on my way. If you were in the Bay Area today, I hope you were able to get out and stop to smell the flowers.
I documented the aromatic flora I stopped to enjoy, but I only meant to document them for my reference later. Looking through my photos from the day, I decided that even though they were mostly not great photos that I’d still immortalize them to thank them for perfuming so much of my time outside today.
Here’s the list: Cherry Laurel, Sagewood, Angel’s Trumpet, Garden Heliotrope, Mexican Mock Orange, Blueblossom. What was particularly astonishing to me was how even flowers past their prime smelled SO DANG GOOD today. That’s how warm it was. Lemme know if you’re interested in a GGPark Scent Tour or GGPark Scent Map. I’d be happy to share them with you.
In addition to these flowers, I did more blossom research. I don’t know why I didn’t quite realize it before, but I believe there are two purple leaf plum trees. Purple-leaf and Purple-leaved. Tomorrow I’ll dive into that more. Regardless, the blossoms have hit GGPark. Some trees around Stow Lake are even seemingly at FULL PEAK right now. It’s nuts.
As for fauna, I got a funny shot of the Lesser Scaup of Stow Lake that was not intentional. Both a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret were hunting in the marshy bits of the Southwest corner near each other. I was able to let a lady know their names, as she only knew the heron. A couple crossing our path asked, and then she told them. Teaching begets teaching?
Also in that corner were the usual winter gang. And, I got a perfect view of one of the smaller Muscovy Ducks to show off its beautiful gothy back feathers.
Feijoa is blooming over there. And, as I was getting photos of a Small-flowered Crane’s-bill nearby, an incredibly large mosquito landed on my wrist. I only knew because it was incredibly painful there all of a sudden. Usually, I don’t feel it until it’s too late. I stupidly just whacked it away instead of killing it. Should’ve known I’d need to douse myself with bug spray on a super warm day like today.
That Great Blue Heron near the pretty bridge flew over to the small island’s floating bits, right in front of me where I was applying bug spray. Like, it wanted to make sure I saw it or something? It gave me several poses, but I like the first one I got of it in the marshy bits the best.
I rounded the Northwest corner and heard a Pacific Wren singing its crazy song/call. Never heard one there before! I continued to the Stow Lake picnic area to sniff the Dally Pine. Lucky me, some flowers were out. And, though few, their scent was MIGHTY.
Bright pink Manuka was also out over there. I adore those flowers.
I kept on my way past the bathrooms and noticed a small wood chipped path through Redclaws shrubs. As if it were made especially for kids. Awesome. Had to go through it. Had to.
After admiring very old Redvein Abutilon, I headed to the Pioneer Trail. I passed by a man with two young boys. After, I heard one of the little boys say, “Dad, an OWL!” The dad said, “Where?” And, presumably, the little boy pointed at my Totoro backpack as I slowly walked away from them. The little boy then emphatically said, “OVER THERE! SEE?? From the movie. I remember!” I could vaguely hear the dad say something like, “Oh, yeah. What was the name of that? Totoro!” I like to think I am like the White Rabbit in GGPark for kids that notice such things.
Not long after I started on the Pioneer Trail, I heard HOOTING. And, this time, having been fooled before, I knew the Great Horned Owls were up on Strawberry Hill. I kept going, noticing a Red-tailed Hawk flying from one tree to another.
I got to where the Kanzan Cherry trees are and saw two people on the trail looking at where the owl sounds were coming from. The guy asked me, “Do you hear the owls?” And, I told him they were up on Strawberry Hill. As I watched a glorious Townsend’s Warbler up high in a tree, I explained that I’d heard their hoots all the way down here in the past. The girl (with casual binocs around her neck) asked, “Have you seen them?” And, I let her know I did last week up there. And that Strawberry Hill wasn’t far. I kept going, and I overheard them say they’d go find them. Nice.
I decided to end in the Secret Gardens, to see if I could hear the GHO pair there. On my way through the Music Concourse, I noticed a newtome flower. It looked tropical or something. So far, NO IDEA what it is as my ID apps are all failing me. Hoping I can ID it someday! And, California Buckeye leaf clusters are starting to show themselves past the CAS. Yay!
Got to the Secret Garden and headed up that hill. I decided some days ago that I’d name the hill the name of the lady who has a grave marker up there. So, it is now Lila’s Hill, as far as I’m concerned.
Up in the usual pine tree was the female GHO. Got better light on her this time, but still my photos are pretty crap. However, I got some fun ones of her doing Crazy Eyes. Owl pics below for the owl fans.
I thought I’d hear hooting from either of them by then (sunset), but nope. She just sat there practicing Crazy Eyes. Maybe it was too hot to hoot? I had to head home, so I never heard either hoot. But, she’s there. She’s good. And, that’s good enough for me.