Golden Gate Park (11/16/2022)

Today I visited Mallard Lake, The Oasis, and Elk Glen Lake. Needed to get some Fall species for The Book, and it’s just been too long since I’ve been.

Starting at Mallard Lake, like I do, a group of Mallards were appropriately hanging out on the East end. The light was making the most of the Sycamore-looking trees’ leaves. I cannot believe I have yet to find out what those are. Next time.

Rounded the West corner and started onto the trail. A Townsend’s Warbler was the first to show itself to me. Got to watch it bop around above me for a bit. Only heard a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Song Sparrows there.

Nothing fancy going on on that trail, but some flecks of hotpinkred Baby Sage (that never show up well in my photos) and lovely Saltcedar Fall-colored leaves were nice to see. Some of the Blackberry bushes still have some flowers AND fruit. Reached the East end, where only an American Coot was at (as the Mallards all flew off before I got there). And I saw a raptor swoop into my view. A Red-shouldered Hawk was perched, a little more South than where I’ve typically seen one before. But out in the open for me to enjoy watching.

No Hummingbirds were taking baths at the waterfall, but a Ruby-crowned Kinglet bopped around in a tall tree, a Golden-crowned Sparrow (for real this time) picked at the ground, and a Song Sparrow stood on a rock to call out to who knows.

Got to The Oasis, and those Violet Tubeflowers (I think – definitely Iochroma) were blooming, along with Anti-febrile Dichroa (aka Chinese Quinine) and a variety of Redvein Abutilons. And some Pale-pink Sorrel quietly rose above the Ivy and Indian Strawberry below it.

Ok, that Abyssinian Banana is going BANANAS. That droopy thing is opening up into the scariest alien-head EVER. Someone should keep an eye on that thing. And it ain’t gonna be me.

On the other side of the trail, I happened to notice a couple small white fungi in the ground! There were three of them, and they were all button-sized on top. Pulled one out, and it’s the cutest thing. Short and stout, and the one I pulled had a tail of some kind! Not sure if they’re fully grown or what. And no idea what they are yet. Smoky Dapperling was the best guess from iNat. But I should return in a couple days and see if they’re any bigger.

Butterfly Bush and Kawakawa and Aechmea caudata were all showing off their blooms. Even the Star Magnolia rabbit’s foot buds are out. Otherwise, not much fauna, as usual. I wonder if the tropical plants there scare them off?

Over at Elk Glen Lake, the Southwest end has been cleared of a lot of bushes and whatnot! I can actually see the individual trees over there now. And this made a Western Redbud (I think) known to me! Also there, the group of Coastal Bush Lupine bushes are doing really well. They seem so much bigger than last year.

What’s either a Maple or American Sweetgum tree had GORGEOUS Fall-colored leaves on display. It was hard to walk away from. It was that pretty.

An American Coot and a Pied-billed Grebe were all that were making use of the lake itself. But then I spotted the Great Blue Heron of Elk Glen Lake in the distance! It was walking eversoslowly in the Northeast corner and toward the reeds there. Such a treat to see it.

On the trail, I soon saw a varied group of birds all near each other. Golden-crowned Sparrows (I think) and a Hermit Thrush (first time seeing one in Elk Glen Lake, I think!) and a California Towhee and an American Robin. The Robin was in great light that made me realize how beautiful that bird is. I often overlook it since they’re everywhere.

A couple deflated Twinberry Honeysuckle blooms were STILL HANGING ON. Past that and the Fairy Door, a brand new bench was set up right at the lake’s edge. This makes the lake finally have one bench that can actually view the lake. I think this was moved from the North side that literally faced nothing but shrubbery. Good idea, Rec and Park!

On that North side, I caught sight of ANOTHER HERMIT THRUSH. It was doing that wing-flapping thing. What’s it doing, Bob? Is it POSSIBLE it’s a juvenile begging?

On the opposite side of the trail, a rustling was going on under what I think is a Pride of Madeira bush. A Fox Sparrow was stomping on the ground and eventually popped out for me to see it. But not get a photo worthy of sharing.

Up ahead, a pigeon looked like it succumbed to a raptor right on the trail. White-margined Nightshade was displaying its weird fruit. And a Robin-sized nest was sitting out in the open on a low branch of that expansive tree with the lovely Fall-colored leaves right now. What is it? American Witch-hazel? Persian Ironwood?

A Wren-sound came out from the reeds right there. But sadly, it never repeated its call for me to record. And nearby, some Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf had come and was about to go on a euc stump.

In the Elk Glen Lake Garden, a newtome Sage of some kind was blooming. Wish me luck finding out what the heck it is. And some Gum Rock-rose were out, too. At the West end, many new eucs were planted in that recently cleared space. Have I seen this already?

More and more often I find myself thinking I might’ve already noted something before in previous posts. It’s a little disconcerting. Unless you haven’t noticed yet, either? If so, lemme know.

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