Golden Gate Park (3/11/2022)

Today was a shortish Naturing day. I let errands take more time than intended, and my planned location had to change. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I actually kind of had a similar day to that time I had planned to visit North Lake not long ago. Fog was coming in quick, and I scrapped that North Lake plan to spend time in the un-foggy East side of the park instead. Yeah, that happened AGAIN today.

So, I think I did the same thing as last time. Meandered around the Lily Pond and Secret Gardens. Hubei Anemone flowering at the North entrance to the AIDS Memorial Grove was a nice surprise. Just the one, but soon there will be more. I walked up the owl nursery to walk around the Lily Pond. And, a butterfly flew up in front of me! A West Coast Lady! I could only think that it was a uniquely warm day around these parts for a butterfly to be out for me to see around 4pmish. I know I say I never see butterflies. And, that is almost always true. But, WOW. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one East of Strawberry Hill. So dang exciting.

On the South trail to the Lily Pond, I couldn’t believe all the birds I was hearing. Maybe also due to the warm weather? Ruby-crowned Kinglet and American Robins and Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos and even a Nuttall’s Woodpecker. Most are not unusual residents of that area. Not at all. But, it seemed like they were all making noises. More than usual. All at the same time. Are the more usual residents disturbed that the Robins are now all along the South side now?

Red-flowering Currant is starting to shut down for the year. I’m again sad to see it go. But, Yoshino Cherry is coming in strong. It’s a consolation.

At the Lily Pond, a male Mallard happened to be perched on a log in the pond when I arrived. The sun was hitting its feet just perfectly that I had to capture it. They are quite stunning ducks. I often walk past them, along with another stunning but alltoocommon bird (the American Robin). So, it’s nice to stop and appreciate them.

Canary Herb-Robert is starting to show itself. And, some Wild Daffodils are hanging in there. It may even appear that Chilean Rhubarb is thinking about coming out.

I noticed an Allen’s Hummingbird displaying its gorgeous neck colors, then spotted another Allen’s Hummingbird that flew in somewhat close to it. Both were in their spots. Kind of just waiting. I wondered if they were a pair or were to become pairs or what. Then, one chased the other out of sight. Not sure what that Anna’s Hummingbird above it all thought of it.

During this, a Red-shouldered Hawk cried from a tall tree out of view. And, another Red-shouldered Hawk flew in circles around that tree and landed in it. A pair? The one that flew in soon flew out and onto a tree where I could see it, overlooking the pond. The one that remained kept crying. But, not the usual cry. A different sound than that. Would be interesting to know what it was saying repeatedly. “Let’s have kids!” “Let’s nest here!” “Ravens are close-by!” I don’t know that I’ve ever seen two adult Red-shouldered Hawks near each other. Hm. Something to look out for when I’m here.

Wandered through the Secret Gardens. Red Alder leaves are showing. Not much else new to report there. Well, Rhododendrons are popping up. Not a fan. Don’t know why. But, they are MEH to me. So, I rarely report on them. Sometimes, when walking through GGPark (noting what’s going on with the flora, like I do), I feel like maybe John McLaren’s spirit is with me. But, I don’t care for rhododendrons. So, probably not.

Since it was pretty quiet in the Secret Gardens, I went to check in on the Great Horned Owls. But, after walking up Lila’s Hill, I couldn’t find them. Walked all around that tall pine tree. No sight of them. Loud music from the bandshell was playing. They started up the live music there again recently. And, that pine tree likely gets the most of that sound. Maybe the owls don’t like it?

But, is it possible the female is in the nest? That nest is crazy high up there. I’d need to see big movement in it to know she was in there. I wandered more to kill time and couldn’t hear any hooting. But, then, I don’t know if I would have with the live music going. Need to remember not to visit these GHOs on Wednesdays or Fridays while this is going on.

During my wandering, I noticed a particularly beautiful tree. It leaned. And bended. And, it had a lovely reddish color to it. Bits of lichen on the branches. Some leaves at the very top. Hey! Some flowers left! Strawberry Tree! I have never seen one so bare. And, with that trunk shape. All other Strawberry Trees I’ve seen lately are full of leaves and flowers right now. Strange. Is something up with this tree? Is it dying? Need to check in on it from time to time.

Just past it, a large pile of dirt near the shed had a sign placed on top. “SOIL.” It’s sad that Rec and Parks folks have to indicate a large pile of dirt is intentional. It will be used for something. Please don’t mess with it. Please keep dogs away from it. GAWD.

On my last loop around, I saw that the Angel’s Trumpets are dying off. And, the Rhododendrons are replacing them. Changing of the guard, I guess!

Took a seat on top of Lila’s Hill one last time. JUST in case. No hooting. But, the live music took a break. And, I got to sit and watch the golden hour make wonderful reddish hues on the tops of the pines and cypress trees South of me.

Not a terribly eventful day. But, I’ve been truly enjoying watching the seasons transitioning. And, any day I get to be outside is a good day. So, it was a good day.

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