Sarah & I spent a lovely couple of hours at Chrissy Field yesterday, along with what felt like most of the rest of San Francisco. Apparently everyone else here was feeling the itch to get out, as this lovely day (mid-50s, very little wind, clear skies) found the Golden Gate Promenade as crowded as I’ve ever seen it!
Golden Gate Promenade
After a quick shopping stop at Sports Basement, we walked around Chrissy Lagoon. A dozen or so Scaup, several Bufflehead, two Snowy Egrets and a bunch of Ruddy Ducks and American Coots were present, along with many Western Gulls. A quick scan of the gulls turned up one Glaucous-winged Gull, but my gull ID skills aren’t sharp enough yet to pick anything else out, if present.
We walked along the Golden Gate Promenade, a magnificent example of urban renewal if ever there was one. Formerly the airstrip for the San Francisco Presidio, and once very polluted, this land has been transformed into a wonderful multi-use path with a grassy lawn and a lagoon where the airfield used to be. Unsurprisingly, given its stellar views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, the largely-undeveloped Presidio, and downtown SF, it is an extremely popular area, with tourists, joggers, bicyclists, locals, families, kite-fliers, surfers, birders, etc etc making heavy use of it.
Restored dunes and the Golden Gate Bridge
With so much use inevitably comes some measure of conflict, and the main one here is between dogs and the endangered Western Snowy Plover. Dogs are permitted off-leash everywhere at Chrissy Field except for one perhaps half-mile-long beach area, where the Snowy Plovers spend the winter, and dogs are required to be on-leash. As in every other visit, I saw numerous off-leash dogs in this protected area, which is disheartening, since there is abundant room for dogs to play in the surf off-leash without bothering a protected species!
This time, the 3 Snowy Plovers I saw were not being bothered, and Sarah & I enjoyed a few minutes of watching these cute little shorebirds, which blend in VERY well to their preferred rocky beachy habitat. I had only seen them once previously, way south of SF in Big Sur, and it was great to observe an endangered species right in our fair city.
Signs of spring were visible, with territorial Anna’s Hummingbirds darting about, Strawberries and Lupine flowering in the restored sand dune area, and a warm note in the air. My light fleece jacket was actually too warm – a nice problem to have in early February to be sure 🙂
Golden Gate Promenade
The Warming Hut has finally re-opened after a fire damaged it a year ago, and it makes a fine turning-around point, since it has a nice little store with a cafe in it, so we walked there, then retraced our steps back to the car.
On our return, I scanned the lagoon again and saw one female Common Merganser, but no other not-previously-seen birds.
It’s always wonderful to go for a walk here, and today was no exception! I wished I’d had my SLR with me, as the bird photo ops are often very good here, as most birds present are used to people and allow a close approach, but so it goes!
Location: Crissy Field GGNRA Observation date: 2/9/08 Number of species: 19 Greater/Lesser Scaup - Aythya marila/affinis 15 Surf Scoter - Melanitta perspicillata 40 Bufflehead - Bucephala albeola 5 Common Goldeneye - Bucephala clangula 1 Common Merganser - Mergus merganser 1 Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis 20 Horned Grebe - Podiceps auritus 1 Western Grebe - Aechmophorus occidentalis 30 + Clark's Grebe - Aechmophorus clarkii 2 + Snowy Egret - Egretta thula 2 American Coot - Fulica americana 10 + Snowy Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus 3 Western Gull - Larus occidentalis 150 + Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens 1 Rock Pigeon - Columba livia 10 Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna 5 Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans 1 American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos 4 White-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia leucophrys 30 + = year bird This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)