Friday, February 8, 2008

San Francisco, etc.

Hummingbird at Fort Mason

Today’s entry is about some of the fauna from our January 19-20, 2008 trip to San Francisco. I’ll show the flora in another post.

The herring spawned in San Francisco Bay a few days before our trip. This article explains the phenomenon. The article says that "While the males release milt into the water, the females swim with their bellies near suitable substrates and release up to 45,000 sticky eggs that adhere to the surface of the chosen substrate. For San Francisco Bay herring, suitable substrates include natural and manmade structures that are relatively siltfree, such as eelgrass and the red algae Gracilaria, rocks, shells, pier pilings, jetties, and boat bottoms." I have problem knees, and my sweet husband clambered down the rocks to take pictures of the roe for me.

The gulls were chowing down on the tiny (about 1/8 inch in diameter) golden eggs. The food was more than plentiful, yet the gulls were still stealing from each other and screaming their heads off (not a surprise :-)

Here’s a calm one:

SATURDAY, 1-19-08

Fort Mason Area, near the marina: Along the water at the marina, there were tons of gulls eating herring roe. The Surf Scoters were much closer to shore than usual, so we got great looks at them. There were tons of jellyfish.This very cooperative Peregrine Falcon was perched on the mast of a sailboat. Look at the heart-shaped pattern on the right (its left side).

We also saw a Harbor Seal and a Sea Lion (no photos).

A cute dog at the marina (yes, it was with a person):
Until this day (1-19-08) I had never never seen a Black-crowned Night-Heron (or any heron, for that matter) hunker down on the ground like this. We watched it for a while -- it seemed quite calm and cozy.

We looked for the Orchard Oriole that had been seen recently at the Fort Mason Community Garden. We didn’t find it, but the plants (some of them in bloom) were quite lovely, and the gardeners were very sweet.

We saw the feral parakeets. They sounded a little like Acorn Woodpeckers.

Here's a hummingbird on its nest (can you tell that I took it through our spotting scope? :-)

At the Presidio, at about 4:20 P.M., we saw the Rose-breasted Grosbeak (a male with just a stripe of rose down his front) that had been hanging out there.

I described our dinner and hotel in this entry.

SUNDAY, 1-20-08

On Sunday, we looked for the Burrowing Owl that had been hanging out near the Sutro Baths. We didn’t see it, but there were some good birds in the trees (including Pygmy Nuthatches) next to the lot in which we parked.

We did see the Harlequin Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye (both males) that have been in the Hunter’s Point area lately.

On Wednesday, 1-23-08, we looked for the Townsend’s Solitaire that had been seen in South Land Park. We ran into a friend who lives in the neighborhood who was also looking for the bird. We didn't find the bird, but I got to meet the friend’s AWESOME cats, Bodie and Jade. My husband had been raving to me about how sweet Bodie is, and it’s all true!

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