Lots of Golden-Crowned Sparrows, 10-16-20

Up at 7:00 and out the door by 7:30 to go for a walk at William Land Park and the WPA Rock Garden.  I was really hurting today -– the Poltergeist is angry — so I didn’t stay out as much as I normally might.

At the park, the middle pond is almost completely covered with Sacred Lotus, but the lotus has gone to seed and is dying off, so it’s really just a mostly-ugly mess in the water. I think the ducks and geese will be grateful when it’s gone so they can have the water to themselves again. [Give me some waders; I’ll go out there and pull up those plants.] The seed pods made for good landing spots for the Black Phoebes, though.

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans

The leaves also hosted swarms of what I think were a kind of Semaphore Fly. There were dozens of them. I think they’d all just hatched or something and were warming themselves up in the early morning sunlight.

Among the Mallards and domesticated ducks there were a few wild Wood Ducks. I also saw a Muscovy Duck hanging out with a plump black-and-white Rock Pigeon. I don’t get to see this kind of pigeon very often, and have the feeling this one had been someone’s pet.

Rock Pigeon, Columba livia

The Fox Squirrels were out in force, running around, trying to find hiding places for their nuts and acorns. They carry the nuts in their mouth, and then place it into the ground, patting dirt and grass over the nut to try to hide it. 

If they see you watching them, they sometimes try to fake you out by doing the patting on the ground, then secreting the nut to a different location. Hah!

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

In the WPA Rock Garden, I saw a hummingbird taking a “bath” in the sprinkler water that had collected on the leaves of a bush.  And where there were several stands of Red Amaranth in the garden, the plants were inundated with lots of Golden-Crowned Sparrows who were chowing down on the seeds and florets.

The Strawberry trees are getting their fruit this time of year. The Carob Trees were covered in fluffy catkins, the Firethorns were covered in berries, and the Japanese aralia (also called “Paperplants”) were flowering. 

Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo

Even as the seasons start to shift, nature is working to continue the reproductive and feeding processes necessary for a lasting ecosystem.

I ended up walking for about 2 ½ hours before heading back home.

Species List:

  1. Angel’s Trumpet, Brugmansia arborea
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  4. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  5. Buff Orpington Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var Orpington
  6. California Fuchsia, Epilobium canum
  7. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  8. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  9. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  10. Carob Tree, Ceratonia siliqua
  11. Chinese Juniper, Juniperus chinensis
  12. Chinese Praying Mantis, Tenodera sinensis [ootheca]
  13. Crested Duck,  Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
  14. Crimson Fountain Grass, Cenchrus setaceus
  15. Domestic Swan Goose, Chinese Goose, Anser cygnoides domesticus [white or gray, knob on forehead]
  16. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  17. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  18. Graylag Goose, Anser anser
  19. Great Desert Spoon, Century Plant, Dasylirion acrotrichum
  20. Italian Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens
  21. Japanese Aralia, Paperplant, Fatsia japonica [kind of looks like a cross between a coffee plant and a fig tree]
  22. Juniper Leaved Grevillea, Grevillea juniperina ssp. sulphurea
  23. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  24. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  25. Mediterranean Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens
  26. Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucantha
  27. Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata domestica
  28. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  29. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  30. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  31. Pokeweed, American Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana
  32. Pyracantha, Narrowleaf Firethorn, Pyracantha angustifolia
  33. Red Amaranth, Cock’s Comb, Amaranthus cruentus
  34. Rock Pigeon, Columba livia
  35. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  36. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  37. Semaphore Fly, Subfamily: Dolichopodinae
  38. Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  39. Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo
  40. Sugarbush, Protea sp.
  41. Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
  42. Trailing Abutilon, Callianthe megapotamica
  43. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  44. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa