I got up around 6:00 this morning, and was out the door by 6:30 to go over to the WPA Rock Garden and William Land Park. There was an odd overcast for most of the day which helped to save off some of the heat we’ve been experiencing lately, so it was about 61°F all the while I was out walking and only got up to about 77° by the end of the day. Nice!
There were a few other people in the park and garden, but they all respected the social distancing thing, which I appreciated. The WPA Rock Garden was pretty much showing off with a variety of cultivated and native plants and flowers. Lots of sages, roses, irises, lilies, and one of my favorites: Tower of Jewels. I’m sure I located over 70 different species there.
CLICK HERE for the album of flowers.
CLICK HERE for the album of other photos from today. [There were so many, I had to split the images up.]
I was surprised that I didn’t see as many birds and insects as I expected to this time of year.
I then walked around the middle-sized pond in the park. It’s getting overrun with Sacred Lotus again. Once more, I didn’t see a whole lot of wild birds, but there were plenty of resident geese and domestic ducks around, as well as a few pairs of Wood Ducks. I did see a pair of Western Bluebirds when they landed near the edge of the pond to get a drink and bathe a little bit. Oh, and I saw a couple of Double-Crested Cormorants.
There were also quite a few Douglas Squirrels and Eastern Fox Squirrels running around, and several Red-Eared Slider Turtles in the water and sunning themselves on the banks.
When I walked around the amphitheater near the pond, I was happy to come across the nest of a Black Phoebe. Mom periodically sat on the eggs/babies while dad kept guard. I was able to get a few photos of them.
When I was done at the garden, I drove over to the larger pond in the park and walked around that one, too. The first thing I notice there was a pair of Wood Ducks in a tree. The female was checking out one of the manmade duck boxes set up for them, but she didn’t seem all that comfortable with it. She flew up against the opening, but didn’t go in. I wonder if there was already a bird in there.
I saw Mallard ducklings in a variety of stages from fuzzy newborns to young fledglings. There was a one tight group of ducklings (which I think were Wood Ducks) that were without their parents. They were swimming around the pond all the while I was there, peeping and crying. No one answered their calls and it made me wonder if the parents had abandoned them or had been killed (or stolen).
There was a pair of dark Muscovy Ducks mating in the water, and I thought it was interesting how the male kept making sure his mate could breathe (by putting in bill under her chin and lifting it up). I’ve seen Mallards mate in the water and sometimes the females get pushed down so far they can’t get their head up and drown.
When I was taking photos of a couple of groups of goslings, one of the white Chinese Goose (AKA Swan Goose) decided she didn’t like me around there and started to rush me, head down, ready to bite. I told her “no” a few times, but that didn’t deter her. So, I took my hat off and held it in front of my thigh figuring that if she struck at me, she’d get the straw hat and not my skin. The lowering of the hat discouraged her and she finally walked off. Phew!
While I was dealing with her, though, I could hear a very odd, exceedingly loud honking sound coming from the edge of the pond. When I went over to investigate I realized it was a hybrid goose, probably part Canada Goose and part Chinese Goose. It’s call was so weird though, sounding like a mix between a scream and a honk, CREE-onk! CREE-onk! CREE-onk! It was like its voice cracked mid-sound. I tried to get video of its sound, but every time I turned the camera on it, the goose went quiet.
I walked for about 5 hours (!) and then headed back home.
- African Blue Sage, Salvia africana
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii [deep red]
- Balloon Flower, Platycodon grandifloras [deep purple]
- Bearded Iris, Iris × germanica
- Bear’s Breeches, Acanthus mollis
- Beauty Bush, Linnaea amabilis [pink flowers, look similar to Catalpa]
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black Sage, Salvia mellifera [kind of looks like horehound]
- Blue Agave, Tequilla Agave, Agave tequilana
- Blue Statice, Limonium sinuatum
- Borage, Borago officinalis
- Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia
- Brazil Raintree, Brunfelsia pauciflora
- Bronze Fennel, Florence Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare dulce
- Buff Orpington Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Orpington
- Buffelgrass, Fountain Grass, Cenchrus ciliaris
- Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata [nymph]
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- California Goldenbanner, Thermopsis californica [kind of looks like broom]
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Cape Honey Flower, Melianthus major
- Cardoon, Artichoke, Cynara cardunculus
- Cayuga Duck, Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Cayuga
- Chinese Weeping Cypress, Cupressus pendula
- Common Columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris
- Common Greenbottle Fly, Lucilia sericata
- Common Poppy, Red Poppy of Flanders, Papaver rhoeas
- Common Stretch Spider, Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha extensa
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
- Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
- Crevice Alumroot, Heuchera micrantha [tiny pink flowers]
- Dame’s Rocket, Hesperis matronalis
- Domestic Swan Goose, Chinese Goose, Anser cygnoides domesticus [white or gray, knob on forehead]
- Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
- Douglas’ Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii [small brown squirrel, white belly]
- Dutch Iris, Flag Iris, Iris × hollandica
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- Fern, Japanese Netvein Hollyfern, Cyrtomium falcatum
- Field Penny-Cress, Thlaspi arvense [“silver dollar”]
- Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
- Giant Fennel, Ferula communis
- Giant Herb-Robert Geranium, Geranium maderense
- Giant Mullein, Broussa Mullein, Verbascum bombyciferum
- Golden Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha
- Grass Sharpshooter, Draeculacephala Minerva
- Graylag Goose, Anser anser
- Hairy Matilija Poppy, Romneya trichocalyx
- Hedgehog Holly, Ilex aquifolium
- Hellebore, Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus
- Hoary Rock-Rose, Cistus criticus [bright pink, crinkly petals]
- Honeywort, Blue Shrimp Plant, Cerinthe major ssp. purpurascens [purple]
- Honeywort, Cerinthe major [yellow]
- Hoverfly, Common Flower Fly, Syrphus ribesii
- Japanese Yellow Woodland Sage, Salvia koyamae [yellow]
- Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis sp.
- Juniper Leaved Grevillea, Grevillea juniperina [spidery,orange]
- Leatherleaf Mahonia, Leatherleaf Barberry, Berberis bealei
- Lords and Ladies, Wild Arum, Arum maculatum
- Love-in-a-Mist, Nigella damascena
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mexican Sage, Salvia Mexicana [deep purple]
- Moss Verbena, Verbena pulchella
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
- Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata domestica
- Naples Garlic, Allium neapolitanum [white with green seed center]
- Northern Catalpa, Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa
- Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa
- Pacific Forktail Damselfly, Ischnura cervula
- Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Empidonax difficilis
- Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
- Peruvian Lily, Alstroemeria aurea
- Pinkladies, Oenothera speciosa
- Red Hot Poker, Kniphofia uvaria
- Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber
- Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
- Rose, Rosa sp.
- Rosemary Grevillea, Grevillea rosmarinifolia [spidery, red]
- Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
- Scarlet Kammetjie, Freesia laxa
- Sea Mallow, Malva subovata [kind of looks like hibiscus]
- Seaside Daisy, Erigeron glaucus [like fleabane]
- Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
- Small Honey Ant, Prenolepis imparis
- Smokebush, Smoke Tree, Cotinus coggygria
- Soap Aloe, Aloe maculata
- Society Garlic, Tulbaghia violacea
- Spice Bush, California Sweetshrub, Calycanthus occidentalis
- Spurge, Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias
- Spurge, Sun Spurge, Euphorbia helioscopia
- Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
- Sweet-William, Dianthus barbatus
- Tasmanian Flax-Lily, Dianella tasmanica [develops bright blue seeds]
- Tobacco, Coyote Tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata
- Tower-of-Jewels, Giant Viper’s-Bugloss, Echium pininana
- Valley Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa varipuncta
- Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
- Wild Beardstyle, Stalked Bulbine, Bulbine frutescens [spray of orange or yellow flowers]
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
- Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus
- ellow-faced Bumble Bee, Bombus vosnesenskii
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