Tuesday, November 15, 2011

San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

Hooded Merganser. A legitimate duck.

Wow. I am tired. I'm not sure if this Two Buck Chuck is helping or hurting...it's only the first glass. I got in some solid birding today, complete with two year birds (Lucy's Warbler and Tundra Swan), as well as Yellow-throated, Palm and Black-throated Gray Warblers. How often do you see Lucy's and Yellow-throated in the same flock? So sick.

Right. Due to fatigue, this will be kept short. All of the pictures here today were taken in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park over the last couple weeks. It is probably San Francisco's only birding spots that is A) Large, B) Not Hideous, and C) Gets Rare Birds. It is over 3 miles long, over 1,000 acres in size, and is 20% larger than New York's Central Park. Aside from various museums and a small herd of Buffalo to keep the crust punks/hippies at bay, the park hosts a variety of bizarre habitats and has had its share of good birds over the years....almost all of which I have not seen.

But that is not the point. Remember that fall migration is still on, and you must keep your eyes Open. A dreary and birdless fate awaits those who do not.

Palm Warbler. Rare, but just barely. Always nice though.

Wood Duck. One of the birds that the average human imagination could never come up with.

Glaucous-winged Gull. Maybe this is one of the birds I saw murdering Crested Auklets in Alaska last year.

Greater White-fronted Goose vanity shot.

Raccoon. Hey buddy.

Summer Tanager. On the San Francisco rarity scale, I would give it a 3/5.

Pied-billed Grebe. Possibly on drugs.

Green wing of a Green-winged Teal.

Thayer's Gull. Sorry for the blown out picture...I will have to go back to get better ones.


  1. Nice. I was living in San Francisco and working at Borders in Union Square - my girlfriend was quite pregnant. I had one day a week to screw around on my own, and I'd always take the Fulton Line to the park. I loved standing in the bushes
    in the bot gardens, looking for Song Sparrow nests amidst the cycads. You can sit on the ponds and look at gulls and ducks all day long, it's where I learned them.


  2. The Pied-billed Grebe picture is amazing. Here in Utah they're way too shy to let me get close enough to get a shot that shows off their iris. I had no idea it's so intricate.

  3. Lucy's and Yellow-throated Warblers in the same flock?! Sweet! Cool photos too.

  4. That hooded merganser is totally legit. I like the artsy Teal and goose pictures though too.

  5. The goose glamor-shot fills me with glee! Do you dream about birding? I had a hooded merganser birding dream and it looked alot like this blog post ;)

  6. Sweet birds! I love Golden Gate Park, but I've only been a few times. I especially like your Wood Duck caption.

  7. I remember that Hooded Merganser -- our excuse for chatting you up at Lloyd's Lake, figuring from the size of your lens that you knew what you were shooting. You very graciously identified every duck on the pond without making us feel like the ignoramuses we are. Been following your fun posts ever since.

  8. Thanks everybody!

    @Flicker Boi - Embarrassingly, I dream about birds all the time. When I misidentify something, its more like a nightmare.

    @SwissAmerican - Ha, I thought of you guys last time I was there. Glad you're still reading!

  9. Golden Gate Park is fine, but there are a few other spots that fall into the "not hideous" category. Lake Merced (especially on the fringes of the day), Pine Lake Park, East Wash, Heron's Head, El Polin/Inspiration Point, Twin Peaks, Mount D... It's actually pretty remarkable how many really nice birding areas there are in the city, considering a) how small it is, and b) how densely urban much of it is.

  10. @Anon - I would definitely classify several of those sites as being pretty gross. Heron Head in and of itself is nice, but you can't really avoid looking at the PG&E substation, the smoggy east bay, and whatever it is they do to the north, complete with blaring Peregrine Falcon recordings.

    I'm not saying these areas don't deserve appreciation, but I prefer my birding spots not completely walled in with concrete.