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