Corona Heights Park and Golden Gate Park (3/28/2022)

Today I split my time between Corona Heights Park and Golden Gate Park. Since visiting Twin Peaks, I’ve been curious if spots like Corona Heights Park would have similar flora. So, I went to check that out. Then, I was super curious if Furball was ok after the rain last night. So. Had to do THAT.

At CHP, I was first greeted by bursting Mexican Bush Sage and Lavender. BURSTING. It was a nice sight below the cloudy skies. A ton of other flora were busted wide open. I think I maybe have never been to CHP in early Spring? It was a bit unrecognizable! Brown Sage and Jerusalem Sage and Rosemary lined the entrance, along with a number of Ironwood trees (big and small). And, lovely Chinese Wisteria hung over a neighbor’s fence.

There’s a designated meadow for dogs now.

My focus was on the cherty hillside. And, as I suspected, it was a lot like Twin Peaks, flora-wise. Varied Lupine and Pacific Pea and Orange Bush Monkeyflower and Ocean Spray and California Buttercup and Seaside Buckwheat and Blue Dicks and Pacific False Bindweed. SO MUCH like Twin Peaks.

Headed up to the top, and I caught sight of a rock formation up there that looked just like the rock creatures at Mt. Sutro’s Fairy Gates Trail. So nice to see them elsewhere in the city.

I couldn’t help but look for Mission Blue Butterfly larvae on the Varied Lupine. Of course, didn’t see any. But, some Varied Lupine was fenced off from the trails, along with some Miniature Lupine. So, maybe things are happening off and away from the trails. Just like Twin Peaks?

Near the top, I was investigating for larvae when a Yellow-faced Bumblebee buzzed in and onto various Varied Lupine flowers. And, GET THIS. It rested on the bottom of the flower when getting nectar! That Pea flower shape is so helpful. Had no idea. Guess it’s possible I haven’t seen bumblebees on them before?? Anyway, so fun to watch. I was there for a bit, just enjoying it.

On the south side, I noticed a California Buckeye tree. Maybe I didn’t know them when I was last there? So, yeah, I was starting to think maybe I just forgot some of the flora here? It’s a good thing I note all of this down in Airtable for reference!

Further along, they’ve got a lot of the hillside fenced off for restoration. Yay! Near there, I saw a newtome flower, Narrowleaf Mule-Ears! There was a bunch of it! Also, tiny newtome flower, Small-flowered Catchfly was sitting demurely near the Mule-Ears. There’s no way I have ever been here in the Springtime. NOPE.

Blooming Ngaio were near the meadow, and I absolutely remember them! Love those small flowers. On my way out, I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk perched at the roof corner of the Buena Vista Manor House. How fun to see them on top of buildings for a change.

So, I left myself time to check on Furball. On my way there, I caught sight of a mushroom village! Looked like bluish white Parasola mushrooms partially under shade of a tree I entirely forgot to note. Seek thinks they’re Hare’s Foot Inkcaps, but I’m not convinced. Surely, Alan on iNat will get to the bottom of this. While looking at them, a man walked by and said, “See a SQUIRREL??” “Nope, I’m looking at mushrooms,” I replied. He took a quick look and remarked they looked like psychedelics. Hm. Doubtful.

The CAS has some new wood greenhouse-looking shacks up now. And, one has what looks like a birdhouse on a pole next to it, but an image of a black bat was on it. Anyone know what THAT’S about?

Blooming Fava Bean was ahead. Random! First time I ever saw them was part of the proper CAS Botanical Garden. They got pretty far! They will always look like bunnies to me, and that Spring image was not lost on me. If I had any outdoor space of my own, I think I’d want them just for the flowers. And, I’d give the fava beans to Carol and Dan.

The Secret Gardens are looking more and more Spring-like each time I visit. Tiny green whoknowswhat, just popped out of the ground. That flowering Prunus tree I still need to ID is going nuts. And, lots of birds were out and about, eating everything.

I noticed a Ruby-crowned Kinglet hopping in a Willow tree that I somehow never noticed before. Then, all of a sudden, there were so many birds in that same tree. Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Bushtits and a slender yellow bird I couldn’t ID that chased the Kinglet out! One tree feeding so many birds. And, there aren’t many willows that I know of in the Secret Gardens. Odd.

Also on the Willow tree were GALLS. Willow Apple Gall Sawfly! First time seeing them this year, neat!

Finally got up Lila’s Hill, and Furball is A-OK. Had to walk around to get a decent look at it. It was facing South and seemed further out than in the past. AGAIN, it really looks like it’s aging crazysuperfast. Is it possible it’s growing faster than Junior?? Got to watch it see me, then preen, then look around, then preen more. ALREADY PREENING. They grow up so fast.

Got my check-in done, so I headed out. Just happened to catch sight of a small spider hanging from California Manroot over at the Slime Mold Lab (currently CLOSED for lack of business). Looks Orbweavery, but no good theories yet. Hoping iNat helps me out there.

Red Red-berried Elder and Portuguese Laurel were blooming on that trail, too. Nice.

Walked past the owl nursery on my way out, just for kicks. And, I took a tiny trail through it to the meadow below, which I’ve never done. I stopped to look at it from a totally new viewpoint. And, I wondered how many owlets grew up there. Because Junior is not the only owlet that was raised there. Do the Great Horned Owls pair lead their owlets there?? So fascinating to think about. And, so flippin’ excited to find out what happens next month!

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