The Presidio (4/25/2022)

Today I returned to The Presidio to check out the newly opened Battery Bluff Park.

It’s a very different experience than seeing and walking all over the batteries in other parts of the city. You can’t walk on these. They’ve been cleaned up and have ropes around them. Maybe they’ll open them up at some point? Surprised there’s no graffiti on them yet!

Lots of baby plantings literally everywhere you look, even under the overpass and North of the stables. The place will look nice after a couple years when all the flora is bigger! So bizarre to see this space. I have no memory of what it looked like before they started renovating.

Views are nice, if you’re into such things. But, since there wasn’t much flora or fauna there for my interests, I didn’t stay long.

On my way out, I decided to stop near El Polin Spring and do a bit of Naturing in the spots we didn’t get to. Things were quiet at MacArthur Meadow, but the meadow is quite lush-looking right now. And, lots of things were in bloom, like Orange Bush Monkeyflower, Pacific False Bindweed, Seaside Woolly Sunflower, Coast Paintbrush, Seaside Daisies, and Pink Honeysuckle. Ladybugs were also out over there. But, not a lot of movement of fauna. It was a bit windy out. Absolutely no butterflies!

After I finished up there, I thought I’d walk along Barnard Avenue to see if I might spot any Great Horned Owls. A pair had two owlets there last year that we got to see. Not that I had any expectation of finding them, really. I wouldn’t be around near sunset. And, there are MANY EUCS along there. And, those are tall trees! I had low hopes, but I figured I might as well check since I was there.

No sign of them in the spot we saw them in last year. So, I kept going but REALLY lowered my expectations at that point. Decided I’d head South and do a loop past the Common Ringlet intersection to return to my car. After about twentyish feet, I turned to look to my left, and THERE THEY WERE. Eye height. In a euc. What looked like THREE GREAT HORNED OWLETS. When I turned to face the tree, I inadvertantly stepped on a dry leaf that made a crackling sound. And, the owlet that was upright LOOKED STRAIGHT AT ME. It stared at me for pretty much my duration there. There was definitely a furball on the right of it, with its head buried into its sibling. And, I THINK there was another furball in front of the upright owlet. I think.

I realized this must be the iNat observation I saw some weeks ago and tried to find based on the iNat location. The location didn’t make any sense when I got there, as the photo was of the nest at eye-height. And, the eucs at that location (West of the cemetary) didn’t have anything like that from what I could tell.

But, THIS was absolutely eye-height. In a euc. This had to be it.

I was feeling my Owl Witch prowess right about then, I must say. I mean, this nest is ENTIRELY unobstructed. It’s at eye-height, which is just AMAZING. But, I’m still delighted I spotted it! Reminds me of what my CalNat instructor said last Saturday. That a big part of seeing things like birds is noticing what looks like it doesn’t belong. And, those white furballs stick out! More owl pics below for the owl fans.

I stayed there a bit, looking at them in my binocs and getting some photos. A couple people would pass me here and there. And, I couldn’t believe they didn’t ask what I was looking at! I was looking at great stuff! I had to control myself from squealing! I had to work to not blurt it out to people!

Near my car, I heard an occasional frog croaking where the hidden ponds are, which was nice. And, two Belted Kingfishers were cackling away out of my view, too.

So, not a whole lot of observations/photos for today. But, I unexpectedly found THREE (I think!) GHOwlets. I even reported it to the Wildlife Ecologist over at the Presidio Trust, who appreciated the info! So. A very good Naturing outing today, indeed.

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