Golden Gate Park (3/25/2022)

Today I was able to get outside after three days! Had something to submit, so. It was so nice to get today.

Not surprisingly, I just HAD to check in on the baby Great Horned Owl, of course. Going to call it “Furball” for now. But, let’s start from the beginning.

Started out on my street, and I noticed what looked like Douglas Iris and Jerusalem Sage. Just across the street from my place. It’s amazing the things you don’t see until you earnestly take a good look. Wish I had my own place to plant things!

Instead of taking inventory on how Spring is going in GGPark for The Book, I decided to just enjoy the outdoors today. So, I headed out to the 7th Avenue entrance.

On the way to Whiskey Hill, I saw that the Prunus trees on the corner have finally started to blossom! Took some photos and will see how they match up in my database. They look like Yoshino Cherry, but I can’t be positive yet…

As expected, I found delightful solitude on Whiskey Hill. AND, there were two Red Admiral butterflies in the dog run area! They were flitting around each other and rested on the path, right in the sunlight for me to see them. I so don’t recall seeing butterflies here. Ever. Is it a better year for butterflies? What’s happening??

Also odd for that place, a group of Cedar Waxwings were making their dog-crying noises high up in the eucs. Never heard or seen them there before. And, I’m happy anytime I see them.

Got to the end of Whiskey Hill, and I saw small clumps of bird nesty-looking materials. And, there were a number of them. In varying sizes. Were they all failed nests? Or abandoned nests that fell from the pine tree above? They were fascinating to look at. So many different kinds of materials! And, so well woven together that they all retained their shape after presumably dropping onto the ground from a significant height. Amazing.

Crossed into the Koret area, and I immediately heard Acorn Woodpeckers. So, they’re still there! Saw two fly from Coast Live Oaks into the eucs and got to watch one banging its beak loudly for a bit. Also there, I saw that strange unhealthy growth thing coming out of Coast Live Oak branches that I’ve seen near the Shakespeare Garden. Really need to try and find out what that is.

Walked alongside Sharon Meadow, which I haven’t done in a while. And, I saw that the hillside along the tennis courts has a new trail at the ridge! First time noticing that, so I took a stroll on it. It’s tranquil, except for the random tennis noises. But, it’s quiet. Empty. So, a nice private walkway if you want to avoid the sidewalk. Oh, and I spotted what looked like large Deer Mushroom at the base of a tree stump. So exciting to see any mushroom these days.

It ends at Pelosi Drive, where a grove of Maiten Trees were. Love Maiten Trees and their droopiness.

Stopped to admire the Yoshino Cherry trees (I think) at the corner. I don’t know how one can walk by a burstingwithblossoms tree and not stop to appreciate it.

On my way to the Lily Pond, I saw Blueblossom. Mixed blue and white Blueblossom. Is that a thing?? It looked like they were all from the same base. NUTSO. I’ve seen blue and white Blueblossom before, but never on the SAME SHRUB. So, apparently, that’s A THING.

Got to the Lily Pond, and it was relatively quiet. I mean, with the American Robins hanging around there lately, it’s not truly quiet. But, not much was happening on the pond. A couple Mallards and a small group of Ring-necked Ducks. Oh, and the usual Song Sparrow. Don’t think I heard a hummingbird or Ruby-crowned Kinglet there. Odd!

But, there were two Red-eared Slider turtles on The Log. It is so rare I see turtles out at the Lily Pond that I always forget they’re even there at all.

Chilean Rhubarb and Dogwood are growing quickly! Like they popped up out of nowhere! Past them, I saw the Mountain Grape berries are still plentiful. I started to wonder what might eat that fruit when a Robin flew right past me and into one of the Mountain Grape trees in the corner. Saw one grab a berry and pop it into its mouth! So nice when you’re given an answer so quickly.

That Sticky Snakeroot is back. And, one Wild Daffodil is still hanging on. Ren told me to start looking in the Calla Lilies for Goldenrod Crab Spiders. So, I looked into a couple in the Tree Fern Dell, but I didn’t spot any. Looking forward to seeing them soon.

I didn’t have a ton of time today, so I headed straight to the Secret Gardens to check in on the GHO owlet. You know me.

On the way, a California Scrub-Jay perched prettily in a bare tree for me to admire. The Secret Gardens are definitely showing their Spring Look right now. Dawn Redwoods have bright green leaves. And, Broadleaf Forget-Me-Nots are practically everywhere.

Up on Lila’s Hill, I saw Pokeweed and Kangaroo Apple on top of each other. How have I never seen that before?

Near the top, I started scanning the GHO Nest Tree for the owlet. And, THERE IT WAS. Looking perhaps 25% larger than Monday! Is that POSSIBLE? I think it was further out than last time, so it was super easy to see it today. I even saw a part of its back, and it looks like an adult GHO back there already. Crazy.

As I first raised my binocs, it looked right at me. Just like last time. And, it even adjusted its body so it could get a better look at me! It was totally unobstructed, so I got great looks at it. It is definitely still “Furball.” But, it seems more fierce and confident already compared to Junior last year. Brian thinks maybe it’s female, as a result. And, that’s not a bad theory!

I scanned and scanned and could not find another owlet. Or any parent. I looked in nearby trees, and NOTHING. Looking forward to finding out what trees they’re resting in… Oh, and more owl photos below for the owl fans.

On my way out, I spotted some yellow Garden Tulips. That’s new! And, some Spanish Bluebells were quietly gazing downward underneath a Coast Live Oak.

A nice but short day of Naturing today. And, of course, it was fantastic to get to check in on Furball. Will likely be doing that at least once a week. You know me. Owl Witch and all.

But, it was lovely to be outside today. I was reminded that even on days when I don’t have my preferred minimum of two hours to be out Naturing, it’s absolutely worth being outside for even a compromised amount of time.

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