The Presidio and Golden Gate Park (7/19/2022)

Today was YET ANOTHER bit o’ Naturing in the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. Sick of this location duo yet?? Wish I could check in to both locations on FB, but nope.

Well, after my first official volunteer gig at Tunnel Tops, I figured I may as well go check out the supposed Franciscan Manzanitas I’d heard about under the GGBridge. I was so close. I might as well go check that out!

On the way, I did a quick stop at the Sierran Tree Frog spot. It was just after 4pm, and yes. I was yet again curious if they might still be out. Odds seemed slim since it was definitely not SUNNY out right then. HOWEVER. I spotted one! It was tiny (half the height of my thumb?) and grayish and was perched on the raised concrete, peering out into the marshiness. Is that a word?

Anyhoo, just saw the one. AND, all the Anise Swallowtail caterpillars were GONE. Didn’t notice any pupa. Did they all become food for birds?

I then went on a hunt for those Manzanitas. I’d heard about this endemic species at an intern workshop that the Presidio Native Plant Nursery hosted. They mentioned an interesting story about how the last known Franciscan Manzanita was randomly spotted on the side of the highway in the Presidio. And was then transported for A LOT OF MONEY. Its new location is a SECRET. But there were other Franciscan Manzanitas, from the original remaining tree, under the GGBridge.

Now, I don’t know why I thought there was a trail under it that was accessible from Fort Point. I really can’t say why I thought that. And, I was wrong.

Headed back up to where the dang trail under the bridge actually is, and I did not see a Manzanita. I did see ONE small shrubby thing. Could’ve been it? But it was far, fenced off, and there were no flowers. BOO. Not even sure if that was one. But I still might find out where the original remaining tree was re-located. We shall see…

SO. Yeah, I’m on a Great Horned Owl kick lately. Back to the owl nursery. And today, there were TWO there. Again, can’t tell them apart. While I was watching them, one flew to the fake nest tree. I headed over there, and TWO were there. One was in Ma Owl’s usual spot. The other was on a branch above. After learning from Ren that Junior has been seen in Ma Owl’s spot, I am now entirely clueless as to who is who and who is where. I’m just DUMBFOUNDED.

They appeared to be intrigued (annoyed?) by the persistent cries of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. I actually was able to spot it perched in the Secret Gardens. Never have I heard SUCH A CRY-BABY Red-tailed Hawk before!

Spent some time in the Secret Gardens, filling in gaps for The Book. Came upon a newtome flora. Captivating round nut?? Bentham’s Cornel! Not only had I never seen THAT before, but close-by were flowering Orange Day-Lilies. Never seen those there either! Ya think ya know a place…

Francoa appendiculata and Gum Rock-rose were also blooming, and all of this was good news for The Book. I plan to include the Secret Gardens as a location, but I’m not a fan of Rhododendrons. So it was great to get more flora today from there!

I made my way back up to the GHOs for one last check. And I spotted what looked like a House Finch tearing apart whitefuzzyflowerbits. Purple Finch! Easily the best looks I’ve ever had of one, AND I even got some ok photos. It was rarely still as it chomped away. Exciting!

The two GHOs were still in the fake nest tree. Headed back to the owl nursery, and one was still there! So ALL THREE are still there. The world seems to make sense again.

There was a guy who’d been over there since I arrived. He was making some odd noises and taking photos of his abs? Funnily enough, the remaining GHO there shot up super tall and seemed perturbed! Made me think it was Miss Junior ’22. Since I saw Junior ’21 do that last year when he was startled/upset. I believe I’d feel the same way if some guy was near me making odd noises and taking photos of his abs. Yep.

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