Today I didn’t have my usual amount of time, so I opted to continue working on The Book and visited the AIDS Memorial Grove.
But first, I strolled through Whiskey Hill. It’s been a while! Not much new to report. Just a quiet, mostly empty spot with Coast Live Oaks, some Brown Creepers, and some Dark-eyed Juncos. And, I like it that way. I noticed tiny acorns on one Coast Live Oak! So dang early!!
Also on the hill were dueling Red Admiral butterflies. Made me wonder what flowers they nectar from out there. Not a whole lot to choose from!
But, the far East end always has some native flora to enjoy, like Seaside Buckwheat and Orange Bush Monkeyflower. Glad to have visited when both are in bloom.
After entering the Carousel and picnic area, MORE Red Admirals were fighting under Coast Live Oaks. Or courting? Hard to tell.
Took the stillnewishtome trail along the tennis courts and made my way to the AIDS Memorial Grove. I have plenty of flora to work with for that spot in the Spring, but I am low on fauna. So, that was the primary goal.
But, notable flowers were Pinto Beardtongue (love those pouty lip petals), Pinkladies, Ironwood, a Redbud of some kind (?) with lovely heart-shaped leaves, San Francisco Wallflower, Lavender-cotton (with a fly of some kind, photo-bombing), Clockweed, White Sage, Sea Thrift, Meadow Crane’s-bill, Rock Crane’s-bill, and Kousa Dogwood.
I then sat across from the lawn and listened. Using the Merlin Sound ID feature, I recorded the bird sounds to help me. Since, for whatever reason, birds are often heard there but not often seen. At least, not by me. American Robins, Song Sparrows, Brown Creepers, Steller’s Jays, and Dark-eyed Juncos. But, what I mostly heard were CROWS. Like, SO MANY. It sounded like there was another British parliament session somewhere near the Lily Pond. And, that ruckus went on for most of my time there. It’s so strange, how that happens every so often. Couple times a year? Wish I knew what they were arguing about!
After failing to see a dragonfly land so I could see it better, I moved on up toward the creek. But, instead of the usual path I take (the North side), I walked up the South side just for kicks. And, I’m so glad I did.
Apparently, I’ve never done that in the Spring. Because I saw things there I’ve never seen there before! Red-berried Elder (currently, with berries), Common Snowberry, Common Dog-Violets, and even flippin’ Star-flowered Lily-of-the-Valley. With berries! I’ve never seen the berries before and had no idea it had berries!! Even some very pale Pacific Bleeding Heart was out. What bounty on that side of the creek!
I soon headed home, but as I approached the Southwest end of the ballfield, I looked up at that Barn Owl box posted high up on a dead tree trunk. I’ve seen it many times before. And, because it’s so high up, I’ve never really tried looking in. For whatever reason, I felt like I should try just then. I went toward a large stump from the huge tree that fell down during the storms. And, I had planned to get on top of it for a decent shot at seeing inside the box. But, I took one look through my binocs first.
A FACE! A BARN OWL FACE PEERED BACK AT ME!!!
I thought for a second I was just seeing what I wanted to see. The blazing sun was hitting me right in the eyes. But, soon after I saw the face, it moved out of sight.
BARN OWL! There’s a Barn Owl in that dang box, people!!!
So, this is very exciting. I’ve never known where they are in the day in GGPark. I am certain one (or two) are in the SFBG, as I’ve seen daytime iNat observations there. But, I haven’t been able to find them there. But, THIS. This is something!! I had to get going and didn’t have any juice left in my digital camera. But, at least one Barn Owl is in there. That box is SO CLOSE to where I live. I now just need to find time to be out there, on top of that stump, close to sunset so the light isn’t in my eyes. Or, even better, a couple hours after sunset to see it come out!
For a day that was mostly research and not heavy at all in the wildlife department, this was a crazy exciting way to end my Naturing time today, folks!