(continued from here)
At the Headlands Visitor’s Center, formerly the Chapel of Fort Cronkhite, I headed out along the trail on the south side of Rodeo Lagoon. As is usually the case, I quickly saw a trio of River Otters splashing and swimming by the lagoon’s east side. A Great Blue Heron stood patiently in the reeds, hopefully not noticed by the otters (a fellow bird photographer caught an amazing sequence of one of these otters going after, and narrowly missing, a Great Blue Heron!!).
Many flowers and shrubs were in bloom, including this fuzzy foliage:
I do not, however, know what it is, although I’m sure I’ve seen (and probably identified) it before…..
Anna’s Hummingbird / Calypte anna
An Anna’s Hummingbird gave me nice close views for a while. I just love how tiny their feet are!
Red-flowering Currant / Ribes sanguineum
Currants were blooming in a lightly-shaded spot along the trail. Although I thought at first it was a Sticky Currant, a quick lookup at home proved it to be a Red-flowering Currant. A pretty bush, either way!
Rodeo Beach & Lagoon
I neared Rodeo Beach and was surprised how few people were there – it’s often rather busy, especially on beautiful days like today!
Bermuda Buttercup / Oxalis pes-caprae (non-native)
Non-native, but abundant, Bermuda Buttercup (AKA Sourgrass) was all over the place. Like many of our semi-naturalized non-natives, this one comes from South Africa.
Cow Parsnip / Heracleum maximum
Just a couple of towering Cow Parsnips were beginning to bloom. For some reason I’m very fond of this noxious member of the Carrot family (Apiacea), which can cause itching-to-blistering if its juices are touched.
Field Chickweed / Cerastium arvens
In a shady nook, a couple of Field Chickweeds grew. This white flower has a lovely symmetry in its deeply-lobed petals, making it almost appear that it has 10 separate petals.
At the beach, between the ocean and the lagoon, a menagerie of wildflowers bloomed — Bermuda Buttercup, Horned Searocket, and Yellow Sand-verbena.
Red-breasted Merganser / Mergus serrator
A duck in the lagoon caught my eye, and I was please to spy my first Red-breasted Merganser of the year. Oddly, I have only ever seen female-types (which could very well be juveniles), never a male.
Yellow Sand-verbena / Abronia latifolia
I paused to photograph the nearly-perfectly-spherical flowers of a patch of Yellow Sand-verbena, then walked across the bridge to Fort Cronkhite and headed back toward the Visitor’s Center, now on the north side of the lagoon.
Double-crested Cormorant / Phalacrocorax auritus
As is their habit, Double-crested Cormorants were perched on every stump sticking out from the lake, and American Coots munched along the shoreline, but little else was evident.
Giant Horsetails / Equisetum telmateia
A large patch of Giant Horsetails caused me to pause. They don’t really look very much like horse tails to me, but they must have reminded someone of them, as even their latin genus name is horsey.
European Starling / Sturnus vulgaris
I was in no hurry, so I even gave some invasive European Starlings a little time. Although I am required to dislike them due to their displacement of native bird species, their antics were funny to watch. This one high-stepped and opened its beak wide, looking very self-important.
Rough Cat’s-ear / Hypochaeris radicata
Under a road rail grew a few Rough Cat’s-ears, one of few asters I think I can identify reliably. Although you wouldn’t know it from these photos, half of this walk is right alongside the access road to Fort Cronkhite, and it’s not as pleasant as the south side for that reason.
California Poppies / Eschscholzia californica
Across the road, a patch of happy California Poppies rose up.
Western Bluebird / Sialia mexicana
A bird on a wire next to some Jays caught my attention. At first I thought it was a Western Bluebird, but discounted that since it was very pale, and I had not seen any bluebirds here previously. Should have stuck to my first thought, as that’s exactly what it is.
Great Blue Heron / Ardea herodias
The Great Blue Heron I’d seen when I started around the lagoon was still there, and allowed me to get pretty close until I’d shot my fill of heron portraits. Right as I got to the steps that climb to the Visitor’s Center, I witnessed a Great Egret tussle, as one flew into another’s territory, and was quickly chased out.
With that, my walk was done. For such a short outing, there’s always a lot to see if you take the time, and I’m always grateful and somewhat amazed to have all of this just a few minutes from San Francisco!
|Birds seen:||Wildflowers seen:|
|Location: Marin Headlands
Observation date: 4/5/09
Number of species: 27
Canada Goose – Branta canadensis 2
+ = year bird (85 so far)
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)
|– Anderson Thistle
– Baby Blue Eyes
– Beach Strawberry
– Bermuda Buttercup (non-native)
– Blue-eyed Grass
– Broom sp. (non-native)
– California Blackberry
– California Buttercup
– California Manroot
– California Poppy
– Cala Lily (non-native)
– Cow Parsnip
– English Plantain
– Eucalyptus (non-native)
– Field Chickweed
– Horned Searocket
– Iceplant (non-native)
– Lupine sp.
– Miner’s Lettuce
– Morning Glory
– Red-flowered Currant
– Redstem Filaree
– Rough Cat’s-ear
– Scarlet Pimpernel (non-native)
– Sticky Monkeyflower
– Vetch sp.
– Wild Radish
– Yellow Sand-verbena