Field Journal – GGP

Date: August 30, 2023

Location: 37°46’23.7″N 122°27’18.6″W {{{Horseshoe Pits/Northeast Entrance to McLaren Lodge}}}

Site Description+Conditions: 70 deg. F under mostly sunny skies, light westerly wind… This excursion took us to Golden Gate Park, through various trails at differing heights, beginning at the northeast entrance, then mostly south towards the Conservatory of Flowers/McLaren Lodge before looping back. While some areas in full sun were considerably warmer than those shaded by larger trees, eucalyptus etc., conditions remained stable throughout the duration of this inaugural voyage. Many different species of trees, flowering shrubs/plants, etc. provided various resources for the birds on site.

Narrative: While the birds were a little shy at first in some areas, we eventually spotted smaller common species near the northeast entrance (under some shade from the large trees in the vicinity), including the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, numerous Pygmy Nuthatches, Dark-eyed Juncos, House Finches, and a couple of Common Ravens found higher up in the larger trees. In summary, we found an abundant diversity of duller-colored species in these shaded areas. Upon moving to warmer areas in full sun, more colored species were found, some feeding on berries/fruit such as the Townsend’s Warbler, Western Tanager, Anna’s Hummingbird, along with multiple woodpeckers and jays. Some of these latter species are on their way south in their fall/winter migrations.

Species Account: Townsend’s Warbler — Setophaga townsendi

These birds stand out with their bright yellow chests; more mature individuals will be more brightly colored and males will exhibit a black throat. All exhibit a dark crown and dark cheeks surrounded by a yellow crown. These birds breed in the Northwest U.S. before migrating south to Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala for the winter. They travel in groups, often with other warblers. Closely associated with the Hermit Warbler; these two species are known to interbreed.

Pictured: female/immature Townsend’s Warbler

For more:

Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 438

Home Time – Anza Vista

I currently live in a pretty residential area of San Francisco, Anza Vista. The topography is somewhat unique; the neighborhood sits on a large hill with very strong winds on the west side, and I am always noticing certain birds that fly out here where they might not in other places around the city (especially gulls flying overhead). I ventured out in the late afternoon/evening and was curious to see what I could identify (even though this is a thickly settled area) using my binos and the Merlin app. I scouted both my backyard and the neighborhood…link to my eBird list is attached for your viewing pleasure.

Merlin Meditation 1

In this inaugural Merlin Meditation, I decided to travel all the way to my backyard for some nice vibes and splendid bird calls. These five were very active in the evening…always hearing the Western Gull, American Crow, and California Towhee where I live in Anza Vista (San Francisco)…nice to put some formal names to the sounds.

“Meditation is not a matter of competence but of willingness.”