Park Week 2/9/2024

The main event affecting the park this week took place in San Francisco at the office of the Bay Area Air Quality Monitoring District. Two extra posts this week, on Tuesday and on Thursday, covered the event. A statement made on behalf of the Chavez Park Conservancy at the event is here. The park also had its own events, with both a King Tide and a Pauper Tide on Thursday during daylight hours, which doesn’t happen very often. And a little Daffodil bloomed on the west ridge, announcing the unofficial start of the Spring season.

Coming up tomorrow, Saturday, another Stewardship Day in the Native Plant Area. Weeds are encroaching and need to be set back. Meet up Saturday Feb. 10 at 9:30 a.m. at the parking circle end of Spinnaker Way.

First Sign of Spring

According to the iNaturalist app, this is Bunch-flowered Daffodil (Narcissus tazetta), also known as Chinese sacred lily, cream narcissus, joss flower, and a string of other names. It grows from a bulb that a kind soul chose to plant for a mysterious reason in this particular spot on the west ridge at the junction of three broad dirt paths. It’s been featured here before, most dramatically in a fabulous 2019 photograph by Phil Rowntree, here. I first noticed it on almost the same day in 2018. And again in late January in 2020, here. And in 2021 and 2022. But last year, even though I looked for it, I could not find it. Might have been run over by a mower. Good news that it’s back.

Extreme Tides in Daylight

Shortly before 11 in the morning on Thursday, the tide hit 7.0 feet, qualifying as a King Tide, and once again flooded the dirt path leading to the southeast park entrance, as it has done for at least twelve years running, thanks to the City not caring.

By 5 pm the water level had dropped 8 1/2 feet to a minus 1.5 reading. I’m calling it a Pauper Tide. Or maybe Homeless Tide? This is what you saw standing at about the same spot as in the photo above. The same extreme tidal swing happened on Friday an hour later on both ends.

On the acres of exposed mud, a familiar group of feathered friends foraged for dinner. Western Sandpipers pecked away like sewing machines in a flock of about 150. Western Gulls, including a number of young ones in their first winter, mixed it up with seven or eight Snowy Egrets and a couple of Willets. More birds probably arrived as the light faded. Their beaks have sensors at the tip that let them find edibles by probing mud in the dark.

Top of the Box

No Barn Owl mom adopted this beat-up nesting box on the north side, but a Great Blue Heron found it a good perch. This heron — I think it’s the same individual — has been canvassing the park for more than a week now. After holding this perch for many minutes, the bird swooped to the ground just a few feet from the busy paved perimeter trail. That was a little too close to people and their pets for comfort, so it took to the air and made a broad arc east and south, out of sight. I happened to have the camera on it as it left its boxy perch:

The Barn Owl boxes that are falling apart are on the agenda for replacement. We’ve been distracted with other urgencies. But soon. Send a contact msg if you want to help.

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One thought on “Park Week 2/9/2024

  • great heron pics…..

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