Valentine’s Day. I was up around 7:00 am and headed over to William B. Pond Park for a walk even though I was in pain. It was about 46° when I got there, mostly cloudy and threatening rain, so I had to wear my jacket.
The first thing I noticed were the Yellow-Billed Magpies. There was one on the ground picking up bits of wood chips, and wondered what it wanted those for. Then I realized it was part of a pair of birds that were building a nest in a tree next to the parking lot. They had the cup pretty much completed.
Cornell says: “…Nest is extremely large structure with mud (or dung) and stick base, stick canopy (dome), and mud bowl lined with animal hair, grass, shredded bark, or rootlets…”
So, I figured they were lining the base of the nest with the wood chips. Cool! As I looked around, I could see two other nests being built in other nearby trees. None of them had their domed tops yet, so I figured all of the birds must’ve started building the nests around the same time. Once the domes are in place, you can’t see into the nests, so — no peeking at the babies.
The Silver Wattle trees are in bloom right now, all decorated with bright yellow puff-balls; the first sign of spring while the cottonwood and oak trees are still pretty much naked. There were tiny bittercress plants showing off, along with some of the Bur Chervil and White Horehound.
There seemed to be Spotted Towhees everywhere I looked today; down on the ground, up in the trees and bushes. You could hear their tow-weeeh calls from all around.
I also saw a solitary Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting in a tree, calling out, warming itself up in the morning sun.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
The water in this part of the river was exceptionally low. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that shallow before. If I were more sure-footed, I could have walked right across it in several spots.
The geese were taking advantage of all of the exposed riverbed and rocky sholes. In one spot there was a group of Turkey Vultures working on what I think was a salmon carcass. A Great Blue Heron was standing behind them. In a shallow pond next to them, male and female Wood Ducks were swimming around.
I got to see a Song Sparrow singing away in the branches of a tree near the shore. And later found a Mockingbird trying out his repertoire.
I only walked for about 2 hours and then headed back home, but this counted as hike #17 in my #52HikeChallenge.
- Almond Tree, Prunus dulcis
- Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon [heard]
- Bittercress, Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta
- Bur Parsley, Bur Chervil, Anthriscus caucalis
- California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Chinese Praying Mantis, Tenodera sinensis [ootheca]
- Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
- Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons [white flowers]
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous [heard]
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii [heard]
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
- Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus
- Redshank Moss, Ceratodon purpureus [green moss with red shanks on the sprouting heads]
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Ring-Billed Gull, Larus delawarensis [ black ring, light eye, yellow legs]
- Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
- Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens
- Silky Pink Gill Mushroom, Nolanea sericea (Entoloma sericeum ssp. sericeum) [very dark brown cap with a nipple on top]
- Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- White Alder, Alnus rhombifolia
- White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
- Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli