Golden Gate Park (3/10/2022)

Today I received some crappy news. So, I was grateful to get outside and into my backyard for comfort.

I had to get out earlier than usual, as I wanted to get back in time for a webinar on Gray Foxes. So, I was out around 2pm. What a difference a couple hours makes. That sun was BLINDING. And, it was one of those SF days where you’re hot when you’re in the sun and cold when you’re in the shade.

I planned to just walk around Stow Lake. No other agenda than that. But, I did get a bit sidetracked on the way.

Spotted the first flowers of the Coast Live Oak near the CAS. Very exciting. Not that the flowers are amazing at all, but I just love seeing the differences in the Coast Live Oak throughout the year. And, this is it in the Spring. Also, still-blooming Cherry Laurel scented my way nearby.

After doing Crabapple blossom research lately, I figured the Crabapple trees in the Shakespeare Garden would be nicely blossoming now. And, I was right. Not quite full peak, but maybe 95%ish? I love seeing them like this. Sadly, none of my photos did it justice. I was kind of off on photo-taking today, in general. Maybe it was that I had the crappy news on my mind. But, it was a delight to see all the Yellow-faced Bumblebees and Western Honey Bees going to town on ALL THOSE BLOSSOMS.

I contemplated just standing there watching them for a while, but I persisted on my planned route.

After noticing the Western Redbuds blooming as I approached the Music Concourse, I spotted some blooming Douglas Iris near the closed gate of the Japanese Tea Garden. It will be so nice when the new law that allows SF residents to also enjoy the JTG and Conservatory of Flowers for free comes into effect sometime in April! Looking forward to that.

The Wild Cherry trees West of the JTG are starting to bloom! Those Dawn Redwoods near the Fairy Door are greening up. And, that mystery blossom tree overlooking the Fairy Door is so lovely right now. Watched an Allen’s Hummingbird above it for a while, but all photos came out blurry.

Then, I made my way to Stow Lake. All was well up there. The only thing amiss was the absence of the Lesser Scaup. Other than that, all the regulars were there. And, I watched a Northern Shoveler do this open-close beak thing for a while. Didn’t hear sound coming out. Maybe it was just exercise? Spotted another male doing the same thing a bit later. What’s that about, Bob?

Got a decent photo of one of the male Ruddy Ducks. But, just decent. Someday I’m going to get an incredible photo of it. SOMEDAY, I SAY.

At the Great Blue Heron Rookery, not much new to report. Watched a flyover of a GBH bringing a choice stick to its nest. Yep, that’s still happening. It DID look like a handful of GBHs were lying in those nests, rather than just the one I saw last time, though…

Heard woodpecker drumming (I think) somewhere up high on Strawberry Hill. Close to the ugly bridge. Couldn’t find it, but I did spot a Red-tailed Hawk where the sound was kind of coming from. All photos came out blurry. AGAIN. Such a FAIL on photos today. Was it the crazy shadows? Due to being out in more direct sun than usual? Yeah. That’s my story.

I stupidly didn’t drink enough water before heading out, so I had to stop at the Stow Lake water fountain. Figured I’d walk the back trail around and through the picnic area to cool off and be alone. The Dally Pines over there are blooming! A Park and Rec guy saw me sniffing them, and he said, “Smells like grape juice?” with a smile on his face. “Otter Pops!” I replied. “Right!” was his response. That’s right, Tammy. You called it.

Looks like they cleared out some Blackberry on the West side. Bit of mulch around the trees that were left. Looks nice! I know Stow Lake is super touristy. And, it should look pretty for that reason. But, I am really hoping they’ll be planting some native plants in these newly cleared spots around the lake. Hm. Maybe I should write Parks and Rec a letter on that…

I sat on the Southwest park bench for a while. Just watching the ducks and coots begging for food in front of me. And, that handsome Muscovy Duck I adore that calls that corner his home. Sat there for a while, mourning my crap news. And, after sitting there for a bit, I felt better. Focusing on something else. Watching the adorable female RIng-necked Ducks eyeing me. Noting the arrival of what looked like Tree Swallows flying above me. Listening to the woodpecker high up behind me. Being so close to the fragrant Sagewood still going strong over there. I meant to only stay out 2 hours to get back in time for that webinar. But, right there I was content to stay however long I felt like.

Then a flippin’ CORGI came up right in front of me to drink a little from the lake. Its owner called to it, and it walked right in front of me on those monastery rocks to cross over. And, all was right in my world again. I mean, it was before the Corgi walk-by. But, this cemented it for me.

Decided to continue on. Those Yoshino or Flowering Cherry trees past there are blooming, as are what I believe is Blackthorn as you approach the pretty bridge. Can’t wait for the Kanzan Cherry trees to get in on this action.

That spot on the South side, where the Japanese Honeysuckle is? Where the solo Hooded Merganser often is? It was strange. All the usual birds were hanging out there on the lake, as they often do. But, they all seemed so still right then. Like they were waiting for something. It was ODD. Maybe they finally recognize me as someone who’s not going to feed them??

Rounded a corner, and I noticed that Cherry Laurel was blooming on my left. At this spot of trees I’d tried to ID sometime in the first year of the pandemic, maybe? Have I never walked by them when they’ve been blooming? Is that even remotely possible?? Regardless, I’m so happy to know now what those trees are.

Walking back home, I noted how my mood had been lifted. As it always is when I get to spend time outside. The last thing I observed was right at 9th Avenue and Lincoln. The Pride of Madeira right there was out in its purple bloom glory, and I spotted a Western Honey Bee on a couple of them. Then, I kept my gaze on them all, and it soon looked like just about every cone had a bee on it. The flowers were happy. The bees were happy. And, all of it made me happy, even with that crappy news today.

One thought on “Golden Gate Park (3/10/2022)

  1. I loved this one! So sorry about your crap news, but grateful I got to come along for the contact high from the power of nature. The ending got me! Hugs.


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