So Many Wild Creatures in the Neighborhood!

Bernalwood has all kinds of awesome creatures and plants all over the place; you just have to look a little bit, and learn how to figure out what you’re seeing.

It also helps if you have an awesome camera or lens. I don’t know anything about cameras, but luckily, Logan Bartling seems to have one. Also luckily, in addition to writing an excellent blog about birding on Alcatraz, he lives in Bernal Heights, and kindly shared some recent photos with us.

The very top photo is a Western scrub jay. This shiny guy is an Anna’s hummingbird. They have a funny little wheezy squeak, like an over-loved dog toy. I hear it all the time on Bernal Heights Blvd., and can usually find the source sitting on a sunny branch.

Red-tailed hawk. You know when there’s a movie set in a crazy jungle or somewhere super-exotic and wild and you hear the high-pitched terror-inducing cry that tells you, “this is a crazy location?” That’s a red-tailed hawk.

A pocket gopher. Gardeners and dogs know these guys.

The fearsome Jerusalem cricket. Ew!

A pair of kestrels. Logan claims that the kestrels follow him. My hunch: he just knows when and where to look for them. He says he’s seen them lately along Bayshore and up on Powhattan and Bernal Heights Blvd.

Photos: Logan Bartling of Maganrord.

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8 thoughts on “So Many Wild Creatures in the Neighborhood!

  1. This is a shout-out for the “fearsome” Jerusalem cricket. One evening a large terrifying looking insect suddenly started strolling across my living room! I had no idea what it was so I killed it. Then I learned it was a Jerusalem cricket — a harmless creature that does good work biocomposting in the soil. So, if you should be confronted by this “fearsome” creature, just let it walk on by and you won’t be burdened by guilt.

  2. I’ve seen and heard a couple of hawk at Upper Douglass Dog Park. There are gophers there too – hence the hawks I guess.
    I didn’t know that variety of hawk made the classic sound!

  3. Thanks for the great photos and commentary. I was raised in Contra Costa County, and knew the Jerusalem cricket by it’s other name – potato bug. They have appeared in many of my nightmares over the last several decades, and still raise the hairs on the back of my neck. BUT I know that they are completely harmless.

  4. Yes, Bernal has a nice collection of creatures. A couple years ago, I observed a heron on a roof on Peralta. Also, I have seen some opossums or something similar like a big rat at night!
    Somebody has the Bernal’s Great Owls in picture?

  5. I’ve recently seen groups of green parrots (4-6 together) on the east side of the hill, presumably either taking a break from Telegraph Hill, or extending their range. One of the neighborhood opossums once climbed three flights of stairs to come peeking in the glass door on my back deck.

  6. I’ve seen plenty of raccoons, too.

    A couple years ago I thought I had a raccoon sneaking my garage at night to eat my cat’s food. So I took good care to close everything up at night and still cat food everywhere. Finally realized a mama oppossum had dropped her babies (7 of them) off in my garage and they were just happily eating my cat’s food and drinking its water. Fun times!

    Also, a couple of months ago, I thought I was smelling skunk each morning when walking down my hill, but after few days of smelling it in the exact same area, I realized it was just my neighbor doing some indoor “cultivation” in their garage. Harvest time is over, so no more “skunks”.

  7. When I lived on Anderson at Eugenia, raccoons frequently visited us, even going so far as to sneak in the cat flap on the back door and raid our kitchen! They helped themselves to cat chow and anything they could find in the lower cabinets – pasta, cereal, crackers, etc. I once came home to find they’d destroyed some decorative fake fruit on a basket, even. They’re fearless, too – they once barged in while I was at home and stood staring at me from 5′ away across my living room, probably thinking, “you gotta problem with this?”.

  8. I love the photos and responses. We actually have lived in the Upper Haight for 27 years and enjoyed similar wildlife. I particularly love the songbirds and mourning doves. We actually had 6 pair of the latter this year. I’m using past tense because nearly all of the song birds and mourning doves have disappeared in the past 2 weeks. There are only 3 mourning doves and some juncos left. And I have found a couple feeder finches dead on the ground. So what do you think? Is somebody poisoning the birds in the Upper Haight?

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