Lots to See at William Land Park, 02-22-22

 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.

Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]

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.

Species List:

  1. African Flag,  Chasmanthe floribunda
  2. Aloe, Candelabra Aloe, Aloe arborescens
  3. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Barberries, Berberis sp.
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Blue Statice, Limonium sinuatum
  8. Borage, Borago officinalis
  9. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  10. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  11. California Sycamore, Western Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  12. Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica
  13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  14. Ceanothus, Mahala Mat, Ceanothus prostrates
  15. Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum
  16. Chinese Quince, Chaenomeles Lagenaria [white or pink flowers]
  17. Coastal Rosemary, Westringia fruticosa
  18. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  19. Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
  20. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  21. Daffodil, Wild Daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus
  22. Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
  23. Douglas’ Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii [small brown squirrel, white belly]
  24. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  25. Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis [white belly]
  26. Elephant’s-Ears, Bergenia crassifolia
  27. Fortnight Lily, Dietes grandiflora
  28. Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry, Ribes speciosum
  29. Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum
  30. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  31. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  32. Grevillea, Juniper Leaved Grevillea, Grevillea juniperina [spidery,orange]
  33. Grevillea, Rosemary Grevillea, Grevillea rosmarinifolia [spidery, red]
  34. Greylag Goose × Domestic Swan Goose, Anser anser domesticus × anser cygnoide
  35. Gull, Ring-Billed Gull, Larus delawarensis
  36. Hellebore, Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus
  37. Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus
  38. Honeywort, Blue Shrimp Plant, Cerinthe major ssp. purpurascens [purple]
  39. House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
  40. Japanese Aralia, Fatsia japonica [stalks of white flowers, huge leaves]
  41. Laurustinus Viburnum, Viburnum tinus [bunches of pink buds that open to mall white flowers]
  42. Love-in-a-Mist. Nigella damascena
  43. Magnolia, Saucer Magnolia, Magnolia × soulangeana [pink flowers]
  44. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  45. Marguerite, Dimorphotheca polyptera
  46. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  47. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  48. Oregon Grape, Berberis aquifolium
  49. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marmorata
  50. Paperwhite, Narcissus papyraceus
  51. Pekin Duck, Domestic Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
  52. Portuguese Squill, Scilla peruviana
  53. Red-Eared Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans
  54. Redvein Abutilon, Callianthe picta
  55. Roldana, Roldana sp. [clusters of medium-sized yellow flowers]
  56. Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus
  57. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  58. Sea Mallow, Malva subovata [kind of looks like hibiscus]
  59. Spurge, Eggleaf Spurge, Euphorbia oblongata
  60. Spurge, Mediterranean Spurge, Euphorbia characias
  61. Summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum [like lily of the valley with green spots]
  62. Swan Goose, Anser cygnoides
  63. Tobacco, Coyote Tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata
  64. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  65. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  66. White Brodiaea, Triteleia hyacinthina
  67. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  68. Wild Celery, Angelica sp.
  69. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  70. Yew Tree, Taxus sp.

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