The Presidio (1/9/2023)

Today I returned to The Presidio. It was so nice to be there yesterday that I wanted MORE. So I headed to El Polin Spring and walked the Ecology Trail Loop.

Parked at the North Circle parking lot (well, that’s what I’m calling it), and I opened my car door and immediately spotted red delicious Chip Cherries before I was even able to step out! Yes, I was Naturing from MY CAR, folks. There are THAT MANY fungi out there right now.

I was watching a huge group of White-crowned Sparrows on the grass when I heard A RIBBIT! Indeed, one Sierran Tree Frog was heard croaking here and there at the Hidden Ponds (well, that’s what I’m calling it). Not much action was at El Polin, but MY GAWD were the WATERS FLOWING. The Unhidden Pond was SO FULL. The Spring was GUSHING. Very exciting, water-wise. There was even a pond at the boardwalk. BIZARRE.

The usual Anna’s Hummingbird was at its waterfall, and it even chased away a Hermit Thrush who considered but quickly gave up trying to take a bath there. After documenting what might be Poison Pie fungi (really not certain about that), I heard ANOTHER RIBBIT. This time from right in front of me! Well, somewhere hidden in front of me! I’ve never heard frogs there before!!

I admired a small group of Blewits (that purple color!) before heading up the staircase, which had a stream grooved into the earth alongside it. This was something I’d see often throughout my visit.

At the top, a Fungi Fairy (that might’ve also pulled a Blewit I saw) had pulled a handful of newtome fungi, Redhead Russula! This (seeing many pulled fungi) was also something I’d see often throughout my visit.

A number of downed trees. Many efforts to route the storm water. TONS of Scurfy Twiglets just about everywhere. Only notable flower was ONE blooming Naked Buckwheat plant.

Approaching the short stairs to Inspiration Point, and I got an up-close view of new restoration work there. Lots of cut trees and tons of new plantings. The usual bird crew (Dark-eyed Juncos, Song Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warblers, California Towhees, and a Townsend’s Warbler) seemed to enjoy the bounty of exposed and recentlyrainedon soil.

What I kept seeing were streams. Like, EVERYWHERE. Alongside every trail. I could not believe how much water comes out of that part of The Presidio. It’s AMAZING. Even that Secret Pond I recently found out about looked bigger than a really big swimming pool. NUTSO.

Walking North on the Ecology Trail (West side), I was enjoying watching a Fox Sparrow stomp the heck out of the earth below it and a nearby Chip Cherries (that looked to me like it was coyly posing for me) when I heard A HOOT.

Okokok, I proudly admit I had planned to be in this area at the end of my Naturing time. I know the Great Horned Owl pair are in those Monterey Pines in the Winter. And I was absolutely hoping to at least hear them. Lucky me, they were both unobstructed, and the male was even perfectly lit by the recent sunlight that just emerged not ten minutes before I spotted him.

So, yeah. LOTS of photos of the GHOs. But, I RARELY see these particular two. Unless they’ve got owlets in tow. It was fantastic to watch them. Watching folks/dogs below. Watching me. Preening. The male even prepped for then coughed up a pellet that I somewhat got photos of! Owl photos (and there are A LOT today) below for the owl fans.

Decided to head out before watching them fly off so I’d have decent light to get back to my car with. And on my way back, I spotted Mulch Maids (?) and more Scurfy Twiglets and a perched Red-shouldered Hawk (that I likely heard crying earlier?) and a lovely sunset with the Goldsworthy Spire in the distance and a Hairy Curtain Crust staircase and a couple newtome fungi! Bitter Brown Leucopax and Springtime Amanita?

There seem to be more Toadstool type of mushrooms in The Presidio than in GGPark. At least, from what I’ve seen. I wonder why.

I was just at the end of where the El Polin Spring area meets the parking lot when I stopped to hear the evening chorus from nearby birds and some ribbits from the unseen Sierran Tree Frog and even the distant hooting of the GHOs. And I took a moment to appreciate how happy it all made me right then. Can’t tell you how often I think of how lucky I am that I currently have the time to do such things.

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