Golden Gate Park (3/17/2023)

Today we had less than two hours for Naturing. And Brian seemed intrigued to try and find that Varied Thrush that I saw two days ago in the Chain of Lakes Garden. It’s one of his favorite birds, too. So, off we went!

Things were seemingly quiet when we arrived, via the back trail past the otherworldly portal that I’m oddly fond of. But we soon saw a couple Allen’s Hummingbirds zooming all over the place and chasing each other and courting one another! Heard a Pacific Wren and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Saw an Orange-crowned Warbler, a Yellow-faced Bumble Bee, California Towhees, Fox Sparrows, American Robins, a Brown Creeper, Steller’s Jay, and a Hermit Thrush. No Varied Thrush. That we could find.

Took a short loop West of the COLG, where I found a lovely and small community of Peeling Oysterling (I think) fungi on a euc. Might not get a confirmation soon or ever. Alan on iNat is apparently in Ecuador. And has been away for a spell. The other Fungi Fairies on iNat have not stepped up in his absence!

Upon our return, we again did not find the Varied Thrush.

HOWEVER. I walked by myself to the East end of the garden and just stood there. Looking South. Can’t remember what bird it was that I first saw. But, after standing still and being quiet for a bit, IT HAPPENED. That magical moment, what I call a Snow White Moment, when the birds slowly but surely come out and do their thing and don’t mind you there at all.

Brian soon joined me, and it got EVEN BETTER. It was like EVERY BIRD IN THE AREA came out! In addition to what we saw previously that all came out again in front of us, a couple Black Phoebes and Bushtits and Chestnut-backed Chickadees and something like three Townsend’s Warblers (!) and Pygmy Nuthatches seemingly all surrounded us at one point. And I was so happy to share it with him.

The Hummingbirds zoomed past us. A Pygmy Nuthatch made woodpecker-loud knocks high up. Townsend’s Warblers ate above us. One even casually swooped down into the birdbath right next to us and had a quick bath as if we weren’t even there.

At some point we needed to get a move on, so we left the magical garden. And made a quick stop at North Lake, just so he could see it. We lucked out and saw a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron nested in the reeds that I didn’t spot two days ago (and Brian got an IDable photo of, below). And, since he also digs the Night-Herons, it was a nice cherry on the top of our Naturing day to end with.

It was a short but Good Friday, folks.

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