The Presidio (5/12/2022)

Today I was able to squeeze in some Naturing before my final dress rehearsal!

With the short amount of time, I thought I’d go see how the Barnard Owlets were doing. But before that, I strolled a bit through El Polin Spring and the Common Ringlet corridor.

Ok, but FIRST. While I was doing my Food Bank volunteering this morning, I turned a corner and spotted a Great Blue Heron just off the sidewalk on the non-house side of Sunset Boulevard. It was SUPER STILL. I just stopped in the street and watched it. It’s that quiet out there in the Outer Sunset to do such things. It did that sway-thing and soon snatched a Botta’s Pocket Gopher out of the ground! It made sure it was dead. Then, it swallowed it whole.

I have seen a GBH on the exact other side before, so I’m thinking this might be the same one?? Ok, so that doesn’t happen often. Seeing a GBH outside of a park. In SF. Neat!

So, I arrive at El Polin Spring. Get out of my car. And, a flippin’ GBH is on the grass at the bottom entrance! Never seen one there before! It was playing Stoic, so I didn’t watch it for long. But, I was getting some serious GBH vibes for the day!

El Polin Spring looks a little different since I was last there. Pretty much no butterflies at the Spring level. Lots of Douglas Irises and Seep Monkeyflower there, though. More Twinberry Honeysuckle berries.

After taking a look at the little waterfall for a Hummingbird (and seeing an Allen’s bathing right there, as usual), I just sat on the boardwalk plank to see if any butterflies might come out. It was a bit windy, but the wind would come and go. And, it was sunny out. No butterflies came by, but I did watch a hidden Pocket Gopher grab some foliage to drag it underground. And, seeing one alive that remained alive seemed like a nice way to come full circle on the Pocket Gopher vs. Great Blue Heron day I was having.

Spittlebug spittle was in many spots. I might have spotted a couple chyrsalises? And, I got to watch a female House Finch nibbling away. Was it on an Arroyo Willow? Can’t believe I didn’t think to note that. Doofus!

Some pretty red roses were along the staircase up to the Common Ringlet Corridor. Wasn’t able to ID the rose, so I’m guessing it wasn’t native. Pretty, though! But, out of reach to see if they had a scent…

Got up to the log meadow, and I spotted TWO Common Ringlets! Didn’t see any marks on them but was able to get one photo. Thought if I saw any that I’d report back to the Presidio Trust Wildlife Ecologist in case this info is still helpful? Guessing it might be!

Walked over to where I watched them get marked and released. No sign of any. But, on the other side of the trail, Ithuriel’s Spear and newtome Coastal Onion brightened up the beige hillside. And, got to see a newtome Brown Leather Wing Beetle (?) just chilling on some Lupine. Like ya do.

Walked over to what that Wildlife Ecologist called the “Mustard Gas Corner” (!), where the Ringlets were known to do well. And, I saw two more! Got a great photo of one that showed a Sharpie mark! This tells me it was specifically a California Ringlet, as that’s the subspecies that was getting re-introduced. Sent all this info to him when I got home.

I was feeling pretty good about finding four Ringlets as I made my way to Barnard Avenue. Arrived at the GHO nest, and I saw two owlets. Huddled together with their backs to the sun. But, just two. I looked for a parent or the other owlet, but I didn’t find them. I was able to find a spot where I could see them facing me, though. Good to know for future visits. Still, just two. Looked again for a parent or the other owlet. Nope.

So, either the other owlet is the eldest and was elsewhere, or the youngest owlet did not survive. I believe these are the two options. And, the third is that it was on the ground figuring out how to get back up, I guess. My understanding is that when large birds have three babies, it is uncommon for the youngest to survive. So. Yeah. We’ll see what turns up in the next week or so…

On my walk back to my car, I got to see a Bronze Beetle (aka Chrysolina Bankii, which apparently, recently got a common name, yay!) and a Western Bluebird and Vine Maple and a Mourning Dove. Not too shabby for a short bout of Naturing. Maybe it helps to know where to find the biodiversity!

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