Fort Baker (11/15/2022)

Today I attended a “Monarch Meetup” event, which is part of the One Tam Summit. It was an hour and a half gathering to hear from the Tri Org about their efforts to assist Western Monarchs in the GGNRA and how folks could assist in count efforts using iNat.

Since I’ve never been to Fort Baker before, I headed out early for a little Naturing time beforehand. I’d heard about Mission Blue butterflies having a presence there, so I’ve always been intrigued to check it out.

Turns out, there’s not a whole lot there. It’s kinda like a mini-Fort Mason. But there’s a small harbor, yacht club, a restaurant/bar (only open on weekends), and an inn. Still, pretty quiet. Both of people and flora and fauna.

But, I’ll admit it. It’s got some nice views of the GGBridge and the city and Alcatraz and Angel Island. The Southeastern tip (Point Cavallo) gives you quite the view. And I was able to see Bay creatures, like Brown Pelicans and two Harbor Seals (one of which looked perfectly serene while it soaked up the sunshine) and a handful of Cormorants and even a pod of Porpoises!

The trails are not much to write home about. And the Lupine I saw was sparse, so the host plants for the Mission Blues are all likely behind the protection area fence. Saw one spot where a tiny bit of tidepools could be seen, from a distance.

Golden-crowned Sparrows were all over the place. And after noticing berry-filled Toyon trees, a California Scrub-Jay with an acorn of sorts, and some House Finches, I found a tiny trail (with a fruiting California Buckeye alongside it) that connected to East Road. At the base of the staircase there, I saw a ton of birds!

They were going TO TOWN on a large Toyon tree, bursting with berries. A Hermit Thrush and an Anna’s Hummingbird nearby and a Townsend’s Warbler (that tried flying out of the Toyon and almost flew right into me before it zipped right back to where it came from) and many Yellow-rumped Warblers high above flycatching from the eucs and California Towhees on the ground and House Finches.

Those in the Toyon were eating up those berries! And it made me wonder why I saw practically no birds in the previous Toyon tree, also bursting with berries. This tree was not out in the open, so maybe that was a draw? Maybe these particular berries were THE BOMB? It was neat to see so many different birds all eating together.

And it was kind of a relief that I finally got some good photos of them! I’ve honestly been worried about my camera skills lately, as I feel it’s been a while since I’ve been able to get photos of any kind or photos I think are worthy of sharing. I’M BACK, BABY.

The Monarch Meetup event was informative. We walked up a bit of the Chapel Trail, where Monarchs have wintered before. Learned some things. But the delightful surprise was seeing people I knew! An NPS intern I met over the summer and three folks from the department I was part of during my internship were there, along with a handful of other staff from the Tri Org. Got to catch up a bit with the folks I knew and met someone who works at the GGRaptor Observatory. Had not planned on any re-connecting today, so that was fantastic.

While I was taking in this newtome place, I wondered if this spot had resident owls. Pretty much EVERY GREEN SPACE seems to have Great Horned Owls, it seems. And, turns out there’s one sighting on iNat. But it was on the opposite side of where I was today. Boo. But now I’ll definitely come back. Definitely.

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