Golden Gate Park (3/15/2023)

Today I went out West to visit Middle Lake, the Chain of Lakes Garden, and North Lake. But Middle Lake is still VERY MUCH CLOSED OFF still. HUGE PILES OF SAND! So, I did the other two. Then capped it off with Lloyd Lake since I had the time. And, I’ll admit I’d never guess my two primary photos for a blog post would be from LLOYD LAKE!

But, it’s late. Didn’t get started on this until I got home from rehearsal. And normally I’d just stay up and journal about my adventures at such a late hour, but I’m performing tomorrow night so I’m just going to go through the highlights. Believe it or not.

At the Chain of Lakes Garden, I saw Red-tailed Hawks MATING. Looked up when I heard one up above, and another soon swooped over and did their business! They sure do make a lot of noise when they do their business!! And I must say that it’s quite odd watching wildlife sex with binoculars. Always feels weird…

Also saw a Varied Thrush! Behind the garden, stomping on the ground and eating up stuff, close to where a Pacific Wren was calling. Can’t believe I got to see one again this year and unobstructed! And a Ruby-crowned Kinglet kept me company there for a spell.

At North Lake, I saw a surprisingly high number of fungi! TONS of Scurfy Twiglets and many Chip Cherries and MAYBE an Amanita (though, I doubt it). Actually got an IDable photo of an Orange-crowned Warbler (woo!). Spent some time watching THE BRAVEST BOTTA’S POCKET GOPHER THAT EVER WAS. I mean, I have NEVER seen one SO BOLD. Almost entirely out of its hole FOR SO LONG. Didn’t even mind me coming around to face it to get an adorable mug shot. Wish I could share the Gopher video I got of it.

Couple of juvenile Black-crowned Night-Herons, a Downy Woodpecker (I think), the usual suspects, a female Scaup (not sure if it’s a Lesser or Greater, and there appears to be disagreement on iNat about it!!), and a Ruddy Duck that was so intent on the BEST BATH EVER. No sight or sound of the Belted Kingfisher.

Had spare time, since Middle Lake was closed, so I stopped by to loop around Lloyd Lake. It’d been a while. And while the initial outlook was what I expected (Gulls and Mallards), I saw some highly unusual things there!

An American Wigeon! Mixed in with the Mallards that I didn’t notice at first. That GORGEOUS green eye makeup, hooboy! Such a treat as I’ve rarely seen them. Then I spotted my first butterfly in GGPark this year, and a rare one for me! California Tortoiseshell! THRILLING, to say the least.

Also saw fungi there! Maybe Spring Fieldcaps (but they were too big maybe for that?) and Chip Cherries and some Agaricus and a whopping community of Red-cage Fungus in a variety of phases!! Ohmahgawd, it was like I hit the jackpot over there! I first saw old cages and wasn’t expecting to see a ripe red beauty, but there she was. With two little ones next to her. SO satisfying to finally see a ripe one at last!

Was admiring what I think are newtome blossoms just outside the lake, where a Black Phoebe was posing nicely for me. And a Townsend’s Warbler disappeared on me. When I heard A HOOT. YES, I’ve heard a Great Horned Owl there before! And I couldn’t believe the time on my phone (4:14pm) when I heard it! It was really 3:14pm, so I was entirely dumbfounded to hear a hoot so dang early. Looked for it, but didn’t find it. But, SUPER EXCITING that it is still there. Wonder if it has a female mate there now, too…??

Happened to spot a juicy pink Blewit before I headed home to get ready for rehearsal.

But, WHAT A DAY. Often there’s like one truly special highlight. Something I have never seen or have hardly ever seen. And today there were SO MANY OF THOSE THINGS. I honestly had a really tough time picking just two photos for my primaries. What a problem to have.

Not able to get out for as much Naturing this week as I’d like, so today I was particularly grateful for such bounty. Thank you, Backyard!

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