I got up a little before 7:00 AM, let my dog Esteban go potty, and fed us breakfast before I went out to William Land Park and the WPA Rock Garden for a walk. It was sunny but in the 40’s all the while I was out, so I wore my Owl Kitty sweatshirt.
Inside the garden, flowers are starting to bloom. Another week or two and it should be spectacular — if the weather doesn’t change again and knock the snot out of the plants. The Grevillea (red and orange) bushes are blooming as are the Portuguese Squill. The squill always remind me of Easter; they look like frilly eggs in a blue-flowered basket to me. I was happy to see lots of pipevines running through the other plants in the place.
I saw doves and Bushtits, lots of Western Bluebirds and Audubon’s Warblers, and Dark-Eyed Juncos.
The fun sighting, though, was a Hermit Thrush. Those little speckled-bellied guys always make me smile.
Another thing that made me smile, was seeing a squirrel pulling the rough hairy stuff off the side of a palm tree. It took a huge a mouthful of the stuff and rolled it up into a big ball then ran off with it. I assumed that it was gathering nesting material for its drey. I tried following it, to see where it went, but lost track of it. It was too fast for me.
In the middle pond at the park, more than half of the water surface was covered with dead lotus. It’s an eyesore, and it discourages the ducks and geese from enjoying and utilizing the full pond. The maintenance crew really needs to dredge that crap up.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
In the largest pond, the water was green, and didn’t look very clean. Among the birds there was a small flock of Ring-Billed gulls, some in their winter plumage, some in their breeding colors (with a red ring around each eye).
Because the gulls are so common these days, I was surprised to read, “… This species was nearly wiped out by human persecution and development between 1850 and 1920, but has since rebounded to become a common and familiar bird…”
Cornell also reports that the gulls are believed to be monogamous (which I didn’t know), but it’s not uncommon for there to be female-female couples who share nests.
The gulls were very loud, and were gesturing a lot with their heads and bodies. According to Cornell: “…Long Calls, by lowering head to feet then raising it to shoulder level while calling [are considered to be aggressive]. Several Head-tosses, each a single extreme backward toss of head, given before call terminates… Oblique-gakkering Call, a-a-a-a-a-a-a… or kuh-uh-uh-uh-uh… heard during ground disputes, length depends on dispute type, syllable number not restricted…” I took video of some of it to document the posturing the birds were assuming.
The gulls weren’t the only ones being antsy and pushy. I saw a large collection of Red-Eared Slider Turtles on the edge of the island in the big pond and watched as a Western Pond Turtle approached the group from the water, and proceeded to try to shove another turtle out of the way so it could have its sunning spot. Hah!
I walked for three hours and then headed back home. This was hike #7 in my #52HikeChallenge with this year.
- African Flag, Chasmanthe floribunda
- Aloe, Candelabra Aloe, Aloe arborescens
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
- Barberries, Berberis sp.
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blue Statice, Limonium sinuatum
- Borage, Borago officinalis
- Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
- Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Ceanothus, Mahala Mat, Ceanothus prostrates
- Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum
- Chinese Quince, Chaenomeles Lagenaria [white or pink flowers]
- Coastal Rosemary, Westringia fruticosa
- Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Daffodil, Wild Daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus
- Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
- Douglas’ Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii [small brown squirrel, white belly]
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
- Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis [white belly]
- Elephant’s-Ears, Bergenia crassifolia
- Fortnight Lily, Dietes grandiflora
- Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry, Ribes speciosum
- Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
- Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
- Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Grevillea, Juniper Leaved Grevillea, Grevillea juniperina [spidery,orange]
- Grevillea, Rosemary Grevillea, Grevillea rosmarinifolia [spidery, red]
- Greylag Goose × Domestic Swan Goose, Anser anser domesticus × anser cygnoide
- Gull, Ring-Billed Gull, Larus delawarensis
- Hellebore, Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus
- Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus
- Honeywort, Blue Shrimp Plant, Cerinthe major ssp. purpurascens [purple]
- House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
- Japanese Aralia, Fatsia japonica [stalks of white flowers, huge leaves]
- Laurustinus Viburnum, Viburnum tinus [bunches of pink buds that open to mall white flowers]
- Love-in-a-Mist. Nigella damascena
- Magnolia, Saucer Magnolia, Magnolia × soulangeana [pink flowers]
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Marguerite, Dimorphotheca polyptera
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Oregon Grape, Berberis aquifolium
- Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marmorata
- Paperwhite, Narcissus papyraceus
- Pekin Duck, Domestic Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
- Portuguese Squill, Scilla peruviana
- Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
- Redvein Abutilon, Callianthe picta
- Roldana, Roldana sp. [clusters of medium-sized yellow flowers]
- Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus
- Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
- Sea Mallow, Malva subovata [kind of looks like hibiscus]
- Spurge, Eggleaf Spurge, Euphorbia oblongata
- Spurge, Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias
- Summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum [like lily of the valley with green spots]
- Swan Goose, Anser cygnoides
- Tobacco, Coyote Tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata
- Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
- Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
- White Brodiaea, Triteleia hyacinthina
- White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Wild Celery, Angelica sp.
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
- Yew Tree, Taxus sp.
Buy Me a Coffee!
Donate $5 to buy me a coffee so I have the fuel I need to keep exploring and bring more of nature to you. Thanks!