So Much to See Today!, 04-29-90

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.

Western Bluebirds, Sialia Mexicana

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.

Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans

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.

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans

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). 

Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos,ducklings all by themselves.

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!

Canada Goose, Branta canadensis,goslings

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.

The Canada Goose X Greylag Goose hybrid.

I walked for about 5 hours (!) and then headed back home.

Species List:

  1. African Blue Sage, Salvia africana
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii [deep red]
  4. Balloon Flower, Platycodon grandifloras [deep purple]
  5. Bearded Iris, Iris × germanica
  6. Bear’s Breeches, Acanthus mollis
  7. Beauty Bush, Linnaea amabilis [pink flowers, look similar to Catalpa]
  8. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  9. Black Sage, Salvia mellifera [kind of looks like horehound]
  10. Blue Agave, Tequilla Agave, Agave tequilana
  11. Blue Statice, Limonium sinuatum
  12. Borage, Borago officinalis
  13. Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia
  14. Brazil Raintree, Brunfelsia pauciflora
  15. Bronze Fennel, Florence Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare dulce
  16. Buff Orpington Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Orpington
  17. Buffelgrass, Fountain Grass, Cenchrus ciliaris
  18. Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata [nymph]
  19. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  20. California Goldenbanner, Thermopsis californica [kind of looks like broom]
  21. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  22. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  23. Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica
  24. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  25. Cape Honey Flower, Melianthus major
  26. Cardoon, Artichoke, Cynara cardunculus
  27. Cayuga Duck, Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Cayuga
  28. Chinese Weeping Cypress, Cupressus pendula
  29. Common Columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris
  30. Common Greenbottle Fly, Lucilia sericata
  31. Common Poppy, Red Poppy of Flanders, Papaver rhoeas
  32. Common Stretch Spider, Long-Jawed Orb Weaver, Tetragnatha extensa
  33. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  34. Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
  35. Crevice Alumroot, Heuchera micrantha [tiny pink flowers]
  36. Dame’s Rocket, Hesperis matronalis
  37. Domestic Swan Goose, Chinese Goose, Anser cygnoides domesticus [white or gray, knob on forehead]
  38. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  39. Douglas’ Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii [small brown squirrel, white belly]
  40. Dutch Iris, Flag Iris, Iris × hollandica
  41. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  42. Fern, Japanese Netvein Hollyfern, Cyrtomium falcatum
  43. Field Penny-Cress, Thlaspi arvense [“silver dollar”]
  44. Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
  45. Giant Fennel, Ferula communis
  46. Giant Herb-Robert Geranium, Geranium maderense
  47. Giant Mullein, Broussa Mullein, Verbascum bombyciferum
  48. Golden Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha
  49. Grass Sharpshooter, Draeculacephala Minerva
  50. Graylag Goose, Anser anser
  51. Hairy Matilija Poppy, Romneya trichocalyx
  52. Hedgehog Holly, Ilex aquifolium
  53. Hellebore, Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus
  54. Hoary Rock-Rose, Cistus criticus [bright pink, crinkly petals]
  55. Honeywort, Blue Shrimp Plant, Cerinthe major ssp. purpurascens [purple]
  56. Honeywort, Cerinthe major [yellow]
  57. Hoverfly, Common Flower Fly, Syrphus ribesii
  58. Japanese Yellow Woodland Sage, Salvia koyamae [yellow]
  59. Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis sp.
  60. Juniper Leaved Grevillea, Grevillea juniperina [spidery,orange]
  61. Leatherleaf Mahonia, Leatherleaf Barberry, Berberis bealei
  62. Lords and Ladies, Wild Arum, Arum maculatum
  63. Love-in-a-Mist, Nigella damascena
  64. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  65. Mexican Sage, Salvia Mexicana [deep purple]
  66. Moss Verbena, Verbena pulchella
  67. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  68. Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
  69. Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata domestica
  70. Naples Garlic, Allium neapolitanum [white with green seed center]
  71. Northern Catalpa, Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa
  72. Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa
  73. Pacific Forktail Damselfly, Ischnura cervula
  74. Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Empidonax difficilis
  75. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  76. Peruvian Lily, Alstroemeria aurea
  77. Pinkladies, Oenothera speciosa
  78. Red Hot Poker, Kniphofia uvaria
  79. Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber
  80. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  81. Rose, Rosa sp.
  82. Rosemary Grevillea, Grevillea rosmarinifolia [spidery, red]
  83. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  84. Scarlet Kammetjie, Freesia laxa
  85. Sea Mallow, Malva subovata [kind of looks like hibiscus]
  86. Seaside Daisy, Erigeron glaucus [like fleabane]
  87. Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
  88. Small Honey Ant, Prenolepis imparis
  89. Smokebush, Smoke Tree, Cotinus coggygria
  90. Soap Aloe, Aloe maculata
  91. Society Garlic, Tulbaghia violacea
  92. Spice Bush, California Sweetshrub, Calycanthus occidentalis
  93. Spurge, Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias
  94. Spurge, Sun Spurge, Euphorbia helioscopia
  95. Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
  96. Sweet-William, Dianthus barbatus
  97. Tasmanian Flax-Lily, Dianella tasmanica [develops bright blue seeds]
  98. Tobacco, Coyote Tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata
  99. Tower-of-Jewels, Giant Viper’s-Bugloss, Echium pininana
  100. Valley Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa varipuncta
  101. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  102. Wild Beardstyle, Stalked Bulbine, Bulbine frutescens [spray of orange or yellow flowers]
  103. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  104. Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus
  105. ellow-faced Bumble Bee, Bombus vosnesenskii