Golden Gate Park (10/27/2022)

Today I managed to squeeze in some Naturing in my backyard inbetween my flu shot and leaving early to head up with Brian to Port Costa for some Duo Gadjo live music at the Bull Valley Roadhouse!

Everytime I wonder if it’d be worth it to fit in a short Naturing session, I am always so glad I did so. Today was no exception.

I thought I’d check in on the owls and hit the Lily Pond. No owls were to be found. But a VERY DETERMINED Red Admiral butterfly made certain I could see it fluttering in front of me then landed almost at my feet to ensure I’d get a great photo or two. They are too funny when they do this!

After also not finding owls in the fakenesttree, I strolled down the Slime Mold Lab Trail. And I must say, the Lab is OPEN FOR BUSINESS. There are so many blobs of Dog Vomit Slime Mold on the two logs right now! Mostly the West log. But, yellow and white blobs. SO FUN. Really need to get myself a Slime Mold book for Xmas.

After I got to the end of the trail, I tried to follow bird noises that weren’t obvious to me. That led me to look up and see a big Red-tailed Hawk high up on a tree over Lila’s Hill. Looked down from it, and I caught sight of lovely and bright Butterfly Bush flowers. Never saw them there before! Nice to know they’re not just at North Lake. Oddly enough, the bush at North Lake is not currently blooming. Hm!

A group of Yellow-rumped Warblers were flycatching and zooming around in trees. The one I first saw was the one I got photos of, and the first photo just happened to catch it in mid-call (or song?). I find that birds look pretty odd when they’re looking right at you. And now I am finding that they look hysterically funny when looking at you AND calling/singing.

Also in the area were Dark-eyed Juncos and a singing Hermit Thrush and Pygmy Nuthatches and one Black Phoebe. It was prime feeding time, it seemed!

Nearby, I noticed a small Redbud tree. Never saw it there before. It had maybe tenish leaves left, all in gorgeous shades of red and burnt orange. What is with me that I hadn’t noticed it before?

Over at the hidden meadow, the bigger birds were not happy with each other. California Scrub-Jays and Steller’s Jays and American Robins. A timid Townsend’s Warbler bopped around above them. Then a Steller’s chased away a California Scrub, which promptly buried its Coast Live Oak acorn in the grass. I got to watch it do that! It poked it into the ground then grabbed a mouthful of dirt and packed it in. Another mouthful of dirt and packed it in. Accidentally grabbed a blade of grass. Ptooey! One more mouthful of dirt and packed it in. DONE.

I love how amazing their memory is that they can remember SO MANY PLACES they bured acorns. It’s one of those astounding feats in that fantastic book Yvonne gave me, Secrets of the Oak Woodlands. SO GOOD.

On the other side of the meadow, there were butterflies! THREE Red Admirals!! One had so much bird strikage I couldn’t believe it could still fly. But not only could it fly, it could still FIGHT. Close-by, an Umber Skipper (I think) sat patiently on the grass and Pink Knotweed, perhaps enjoying the entertainment?

The Secret Gardens was so full of activity!

Headed down to the Lily Pond, and not much was happening. In fact, I neither saw nor heard a single bird on or near the pond. WEIRD. Just one Turtle on a log. That was it. HOWEVER, I did hear a Northern Flicker up on the South ridge. On my way to investigate, I saw that they tore out a bunch of foliage right near the fence on the Southeast side. There was an Alder tree there and a Red-flowering Currant shrub. And more. All gone. Now you can hear the dang generator thing more. No idea what the plans are there, but I’m not happy so far!

Headed up the South trail, and I found the Northern Flicker and got to watch it scoot up a tree and dig in for any food from the holes. Also got some decentish photos! I’m always SO PLEASED when this happens. They are so good at hiding from me.

Something I’m noticing more and more with my photos lately of fauna is how well they blend in to their surroundings. Like the Yellow-rumped Warbler and Northern Flicker today. And the juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron yesterday. And the Brush Rabbit from Monday. I’ve really been stopping to take in that incredible magic of how suited they are to disappear into their surroundings. Do they know? Do they instinctively land on things or sit in spots they know they’ll be best camouflaged in? I’m really asking. Gotta look more into that.

No owls appeared in the owl nursery on my way out. I realized how different the light was over there. And it made me wonder if the tree they favor is the one with the right amount of low light. Is that why they change trees? I avoid direct sunlight whenever possible, so I can absolutely relate.

All in all, a very worthwhile short visit to my backyard today. Less than an hour, and I saw so much!

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