Golden Gate Park (10/21/2022)

Today I had just enough time to visit my backyard.

My plan was to visit the AIDS Memorial Grove, as it’s been a while. And it’s on my list for The Book for Fall. And, of course, stop by to see any of the Great Horned Owls of the East.

Made a brief stop, as I typically do, to check in to see if any faces are in the Barn Owl box on the ballfield. And there WAS ONE! I saw a nose. I swear. A nose. An owl was in that box, folks.

All was quiet in the Monarch Bear Grove. OR SO IT SEEMED. Got to the main trail leading up to the AIDS Memorial Grove, and I stopped to notice the Rosemary, still very much in bloom. And then I saw lots of movement in the Coast Live Oak above me. Dark-eyed Juncos! High up in trees! This is not how I typically see them, so I was mesmerized for a bit.

Then a flash of yellow came out from among them. A Townsend’s Warbler! It was hanging with them and bopping about, like it does. What was interesting was seeing it briefly land on the the trunk inbetween busying about on the branches. At one point, it flew into the Coast Live Oak baby bush right in front of me. And didn’t mind one bit I was there watching it.

After it disappeared, I noticed a Hummingbird (Anna’s?) just quietly perched high up in the same Oak tree. It couldn’t stop scratching its head with its right foot. I could not stop watching it do this. I tried. And I failed.

And then a Hermit Thrush starting calling, and it was out in the open in the Coast Live Oak next to the one I was watching. THEN, a bunch of Chestnut-backed Chickadees started moving through the Coast Live Oak on the other side. AND THEN, a group of White-crowned Sparrows appeared all of a sudden and moved onto the ground near the meadow.

At this point, I honestly felt SURROUNDED BY BIRDS, FOLKS. I stood very still, not wanting to disrupt any of them doing their business. They seemed to increase in numbers and get closer to me on the ground, like I wasn’t there. OR, like I was flippin’ SNOW WHITE OR SOMETHING. Yeah. That’s what it felt like. True story.

After I waited patiently for them to have their time so close and all around me, I slowly backed away so as not to scare them off. And, it worked. They didn’t adjust themselves at all for me. And that pleased me very much.

I resumed my walk up to the AIDS Memorial Grove and heard a GONG from the gong up there. A man came from that direction, with his unleashed dog, and muttered to me, “[Something unintelligble] to wake up the dead!” To which, I replied, “Cool.” And we continued on our very different paths.

All was quiet at the top of the AMG. So you could really hear and enjoy that waterfall up there. Cigar Plant was about the only thing blooming in the area, along with some Natal Lilies near the entrance. But the trail along the “creek” was so delightfully Autumny. The Vine Maple leaves are quite stunning right now.

At the bottom, they were setting up for some event this weekend. “Save the Redwoods,” they told me. The whole lawn area was blocked off for tents and huge atrium-looking enclosures. My plan was nixed.

Walked up the middle staircase and saw some blooming Silver Spurflower and Licorice Plant, and Fall Phlox was at the very top. And that was all the research I was able to do.

Didn’t think I’d have enough time for the Lily Pond AND the owls, so I headed straight to the owl nursery. One owl was there. While looking for the other, I saw Ren coming! We chatted a bit about what we’d seen of the owls lately and that not many spiders are out just yet. Then Mike joined us. And we soon parted ways. I had Happy Hour with Brian very soon, and I do hate to be late for that.

I stayed watching the one owl for a bit. Wished I had more time to look for the other, perhaps closer to the Lily Pond? I did spot a GHO feather below the nearby Japanese Maple tree, though. I’ve seen them sometimes in the eucs above that path. Good place to check closer to sunset one of these days… Couple owl photos below for the owl fans.

On my way out, I noticed three things worth noting.

One was the Yellowjacket mummy head, near the fakenesttree. It’s starting to fray! And now looks way creepier than usual.

Two was a couple fungi below the Redwoods nearby. Someone already pulled out one of the two, and it was pretty wilty already. So I didn’t want to pull out the other to investigate further. But a perfect triangle piece was removed from the cap. And this is something I’ve seen often enough before. Who eats a perfect triangle piece off of mushroom caps? I’d really like to know!

Three was a real surprise. I walked down onto the ballfield and saw a Say’s Phoebe on top of one of the “No Dogs on Athletic Field” signs. Have I ever seen a Say’s Phoebe in GGPark before?? Definitely not here. So that was a real treat! I’ve actually not seen them THAT often at all before, so it was a happy surprise. The Black Phoebe nearby didn’t seem to mind its cousin much.

Short Naturing outing, but quite full of treats for me!

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