A Lovely Garden Jaunt, 04-15-21

I got up around 6:00 this morning and headed over to William Land Park and the WPA Rock Garden for a walk. My hip was hurting a LOT, which made walking painful, but I felt like I needed to move around anyway.

I figured that with its regular watering, the garden should be pretty and full of blooms, and it didn’t disappoint.

Spring flowers in the WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park

There was color everywhere: yellow, red, purple, blue, orange… and I saw a few plants I hadn’t seen there before including Meadow Squill and a gorgeous white Wisteria vine that was being trained to grow along a pipe-frame at the entrance to the garden.  Lots of different kinds of irises and different colors of Columbine. The Smoke Trees were starting to “smoke”, and the double-ruffled cherry trees were in bloom. Sooooo pretty.

I was expecting to see more insects, but it was a little chilly yet (around 51°) when I was out there. I did see some bumblebees, though, and ants, and aphids — and a handsome Armyworm Moth. I checked out all of the fennel plants and pipevine vines for any evidence of butterfly eggs or caterpillars, but nope. It may be a little too early for them.

In the garden I saw Bushtits, Mourning Doves, Golden-Crowned Sparrows and hummingbirds. At the ponds, though, I saw more.

There were a couple of mama Wood Ducks in the water. One had four babies, and the other one had — wait for it — FOURTEEN babies! 

Wood Ducks are known for “brood parasitism”, though, which means they’ll lay their eggs in another bird’s nest. So, one mama may actually be brooding the eggs of several females in her nest. They’re also known to lay their eggs in several different nests (if there are acceptable ones nearby) before choosing which nest they’re going to sit on.  So, a brood of fourteen babies isn’t necessarily that uncommon.  But it was still pretty incredible to see.

Other birds included Mallards and Canada Geese, domestic ducks, Western Bluebirds, a White-Breasted Nuthatch, a Great Egret flying overhead, a Belted Kingfisher, Black Phoebes, and House Finches among others.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

One of the pairs of geese had a brood of seven goslings that were all still in their yellow fuzz. I saw three of the babies have a wrestling match with one another before they all settled down onto the grass for a snooze in the sun.

In the large pond there were several turtles. At one point, I watched a large female Red-Eared Slider Turtle climb up out of the water to sun herself on the rocky lip of the pond. After she came up, I saw four others do the same, further down the walk. Then, next to her, a Pacific Pond Turtle swam up, looked around and climbed up onto the lip, too — at one point looking like it might climb up onto the Slider Turtle if it had had the chance.

The Slider Turtles are considered an invasive species in California, brought into the state by the pet trade. People would buy the turtles, get bored with them or get tired of cleaning up after them (water turtles poop in the same water they swim in), and then dump them out into the wild. The Sliders are now so numerous that they’re taking over the basking sites and food of the native Pacific Pond Turtles. So, I was happy to see at least one Pond Turtle in the pond.

It was a lovely morning, and I walked for about 3 hours before heading home.

This was trip #35 in my #52HikeChallenge.

Species List:

  1. African Lily, Lily of the Nile, Agapanthus africanus [white or blue]
  2. Aloe, Soap Aloe, Aloe maculata
  3. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  4. Aphid, Rose Aphid, Macrosiphum rosae
  5. Armyworm Moth, Mythimna unipuncta
  6. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Blue Statice, Limonium sinuatum     
  9. Blue Statice, Perez’s Sea Lavender, Limonium perezii
  10. Borage, Borago officinalis
  11. Branched Asphodel, Asphodelus ramosus [spire of white flowers; bulbous seeds]
  12. Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia
  13. Broadleaved Pepperweed, Lepidium latifolium
  14. Bronze Fennel, Florence Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare dulce
  15. Buff Orpington Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var Orpington
  16. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  17. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  18. California Valerian, Valeriana californica [white]
  19. Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica
  20. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  21. Cape Honey Flower, Melianthus major [toothed leaves; dark maroon leathery flowers]
  22. Cardoon, Artichoke Thistle, Cynara cardunculus
  23. Chinese Quince, Chaenomeles speciosa [red flowers]
  24. Chinese Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis
  25. Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio
  26. Common Columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris
  27. Common Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  28. Common Field Daisy, Common Daisy, Bellis perennis
  29. Common Poppy, Red Poppy of Flanders, Papaver rhoeas
  30. Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
  31. Crimson Bottlebrush, Melaleuca citrina
  32. Domestic Swan Goose, Chinese Goose, Anser cygnoides domesticus [white or gray, knob on forehead]
  33. Double Rosebud Cherry, Prunus × subhirtella
  34. Douglas Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii [small brown squirrel, white belly]
  35. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  36. Fern, Japanese Netvein Hollyfern, Cyrtomium falcatum
  37. Fernald’s Iris, Iris fernaldii [white and yellow flag iris]
  38. Garden Sage, Salvia officinalis
  39. Giant Fennel, Ferula communis
  40. Golden Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha
  41. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  42. Goldenrain Tree, Koelreuteria paniculate
  43. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  44. Honeywort, Blue Shrimp Plant, Cerinthe major ssp. purpurascens [purple]
  45. Honeywort, Greater Honeywort, Cerinthe major [rusty red]
  46. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  47. Iris, Bearded Iris, Iris × germanica
  48. Iris, Netted Iris, Iris reticulata
  49. Iris, Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus
  50. Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Dragon Arum, Dracunculus vulgaris
  51. Japanese Aralia, Fatsia japonica [what I call a coffee bean bush]
  52. Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis fruticose
  53. Juniper Leaved Grevillea, Grevillea juniperina sulphurea [spidery, orange]
  54. Lavender, Topped Lavender, Lavandula stoechas
  55. London Plane Tree, Platanus × acerifolia [multiple seed balls per strand]
  56. Love-in-a-Mist, Nigella damascena
  57. Mantle Storksbill, Pelargonium alchemilloides
  58. Meadow Squill, Scilla litardierei
  59. Mealy Blue Sage, Salvia farinacea [purple socks]
  60. Mexican Sage, Salvia mexicana [deep purple]
  61. Moss Phlox, Phlox subulate
  62. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  63. Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata
  64. Oregon Grape, Berberis aquifolium
  65. Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa
  66. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
  67. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  68. Portuguese Squill, Scilla peruviana
  69. Prickly Pear Cactus, Indian Fig Opuntia, Opuntia ficus-indica
  70. Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber
  71. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  72. Richardson’s Geranium, Geranium richardsonii
  73. Rose, Rosa sp.
  74. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  75. Sage, Salvia sp.
  76. Scarlet Grevillea, Grevillea banksia [spidery, red]
  77. Sea Mallow, Malva subovata [kind of looks like hibiscus]
  78. Smokebush, Smoke Tree, Cotinus coggygria
  79. Spanish Bluebell, Hyacinthoides hispanica
  80. Spurge, Eggleaf Spurge, Euphorbia oblongata
  81. Spurge, Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias
  82. Sticky Geranium, Geranium viscosissimum
  83. Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima
  84. Sweet Mock Orange, Philadelphus coronarius
  85. Tobacco, Flowering Tobacco, Nicotiana alata
  86. Tower-of-Jewels, Giant Viper’s-Bugloss, Echium pininana
  87. Tree Aeonium, Aeonium arboretum
  88. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  89. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  90. Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
  91. White Fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus
  92. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  93. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  94. Yellow-faced Bumblebee, Bombus vosnesenskii