Posts Tagged ‘Carpinteria Salt Marsh’

lies: One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also,…

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

lies:

One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also, granted, Pokémon Go player) is that it gets you out in the world, visiting interesting places. Yesterday I was walking through the marsh when another marsh enthusiast (Kim; I’m sorry I don’t know her last name) told me about a big bird that was flopping around in the bushes next to the Franklin Creek channel. I checked it out from across the creek, and could see that it was an adult osprey. It appeared to be attached by the legs to a length of fishing line that in turn was tangled in the bushes. The bird would try to fly, making loud alarm calls, then fall down into the bushes and lie there looking upset.

Kim was calling everyone she knew trying to find someone who could help; I started calling everyone I knew. Because it was a Sunday it was hard to get someone, but eventually Kim got through to someone who got through to Niels Lameijer, a Carpinterian who works with the Ojai Raptor Center as part of their rescue and rehabilitation program, and shortly thereafter he was on the scene. Here’s some video I shot of Niels rescuing the bird.

Warning: Includes a closeup toward the end showing the bird’s bleeding leg, impaled by the hooks of a fishing lure. So if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing maybe best not to watch.

In thinking about it, I think the likeliest scenario is that the bird dove onto the lure while someone was fishing with it, mistaking it for an injured fish (which, after all, is a lure’s goal). Presumably the human at the other end of the line then either cut the line or it broke, allowing the osprey to fly away.

I don’t want to think badly of the fisherperson(s) involved without knowing more about what happened. It’s possible they were fishing legally and just didn’t realize the osprey was interested in their lure. It’s also possible, though, that it was someone fishing inside the marsh, which is illegal, though I’ve sometimes seen people (usually kids) doing it along the nearby Santa Monica Creek channel. I’ve tended to turn a blind eye to that in the past, but if I see it in the future I’m going to be more vocal.

Niels sent an email today saying that the bird is doing well, and should soon be released back into the wild. I hope to see it flying over the marsh again soon.

Reblogging myself with the followup video of the bird being released in the marsh the next day (Monday). Nothing icky-looking about this one; just a beautiful raptor going back where it belongs.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2thmIts.

One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also, granted,…

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also, granted, Pokémon Go player) is that it gets you out in the world, visiting interesting places. Yesterday I was walking through the marsh when another marsh enthusiast (Kim; I’m sorry I don’t know her last name) told me about a big bird that was flopping around in the bushes next to the Franklin Creek channel. I checked it out from across the creek, and could see that it was an adult osprey. It appeared to be attached by the legs to a length of fishing line that in turn was tangled in the bushes. The bird would try to fly, making loud alarm calls, then fall down into the bushes and lie there looking upset.

Kim was calling everyone she knew trying to find someone who could help; I started calling everyone I knew. Because it was a Sunday it was hard to get someone, but eventually Kim got through to someone who got through to Niels Lameijer, a Carpinterian who works with the Ojai Raptor Center as part of their rescue and rehabilitation program, and shortly thereafter he was on the scene. Here’s some video I shot of Niels rescuing the bird.

Warning: Includes a closeup toward the end showing the bird’s bleeding leg, impaled by the hooks of a fishing lure. So if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing maybe best not to watch.

In thinking about it, I think the likeliest scenario is that the bird dove onto the lure while someone was fishing with it, mistaking it for an injured fish (which, after all, is a lure’s goal). Presumably the human at the other end of the line then either cut the line or it broke, allowing the osprey to fly away.

I don’t want to think badly of the fisherperson(s) involved without knowing more about what happened. It’s possible they were fishing legally and just didn’t realize the osprey was interested in their lure. It’s also possible, though, that it was someone fishing inside the marsh, which is illegal, though I’ve sometimes seen people (usually kids) doing it along the nearby Santa Monica Creek channel. I’ve tended to turn a blind eye to that in the past, but if I see it in the future I’m going to be more vocal.

Niels sent an email today saying that the bird is doing well, and should soon be released back into the wild. I hope to see it flying over the marsh again soon.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2tJKsYq.

It’s my day to lead the docent tour at the salt marsh….

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

It’s my day to lead the docent tour at the salt marsh. Lately it’s been hit-or-miss; sometimes there are attendees, sometimes there aren’t. I hope I get at least one person. I’ve learned that’s all I need to have a fun time.

I do the tour each month and have been doing it for years, so I’ve learned which months are my favorites. September is a really good month. The chaparral mallow is still in bloom, and the coyote brush has started flowering, with the yellow male flowers out in profusion and the white female flowers beginning to do their thing.

There’s a decent high tide (5’) at 11:30, which is right around when the tour will be ending (if it happens at all). The marsh full of water is the best.

I’ll have a nice time if no one shows. But I’ll feel sad that I didn’t get to share it.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2bLUMIa.

Construction Projects, Before and After

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

I drive a ridiculous amount during the week. When the weekend comes, I really appreciate that I live in a town small enough that I can get around without driving. I also appreciate that William is the kind of kid who, when I ask if he wants to walk downtown for lunch, will answer, “Sure.”

I’ve taken a couple of walks with him lately that took us past some interesting building projects. One is the Lavender Court condos on Carpinteria Avenue. This project is the reason I’m on the planning commission, more or less. After I wrote a letter about Lavender Court on behalf of the Carpinteria Valley Association, Mike Ledbetter and the other city councilmembers gave me the chance to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, by appointing me to the commission.

One thing I mentioned in my CVA letter was the way the project blocks mountain views along Carpinteria Avenue. Here’s the artist’s rendering that was used in ads promoting Lavender Court. This same rendering was on display in the front row when the project’s developer came before the planning commission recently seeking changes in Lavender Court’s conditional use permit:

lavender_render

One point I made in my CVA letter is that the rendering is misleading, because it shows the tops of the Santa Ynez Mountains as being visible above the buildings. Here’s a shot I took on my walk with William the other day (you can see our shadows at the bottom):

lavender_court

See the mountains above the rooftops of the project? Um, right. You can’t.

You can view a few more shots that I took if you click through to the Flickr photostream. Looking at those shots, and at the artist’s rendering, I can see both sides of the issue. The rendering is accurate, in the sense that if you viewed that project from a little ways south of the street — which apparently is the viewpoint the rendering is using — you’d be able to see the mountains over the top of the buildings. But the reality is, the view that the public sees is more like the one in my photos, with the mountains hidden. In hindsight, I think the mountain views along Carpinteria Avenue — which the city’s general plan specifically calls for preserving — were harmed by Lavender Court.

I wasn’t on the planning commission when Lavender Court was approved. But even if I had been, I doubt I would have said anything about the mountain views. The rendering makes it look like a non-issue. Also, city staff argued at the time, and the planning commission and the city council agreed, that there would be no negative impacts, since views would be maintained through the driveways, and on either side of the buildings.

Live and learn.

On the way back home from a recent walk, William and I detoured to the salt marsh, which meant walking along Dorrance Way. We passed the site of a project that has come before the planning commission a few times during the past year; the owners had to go back and forth with the city a bit before getting approval to demolish an existing single-story bungalow and replace it with a two-story house.

As we passed the lot, I saw that the bungalow is gone. Here’s the picture I snapped through the chain link:

dorrance

I’m looking forward to seeing what the finished house looks like.

One more piece of construction we came across during our walk was this new entrance to the salt marsh. It’s down near the north end of Ash Avenue, so people visiting the marsh from that side can enter without having to hop the fence, or having to walk farther down Ash toward the beach.

marsh_entrance

Weeding the Land Trust Parcel at the Marsh

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

When I heard last Sunday that then-president-elect Obama was calling for the Martin Luther King holiday to be a national day of service, I suddenly remembered an email that Pat Blakeslee had forwarded to the Carpinteria Salt Marsh friends list:

From: William Abbott
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 5:04 PM
Subject: Salt Marsh restoration party: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Hello all Salt Marsh Friends,

We have good news for Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Patagonia and the Land Trust are facilitating a restoration work party, starting at 9AM on Monday. Patagonia is sending 6 volunteers from 9 to NOON; any local Salt Marsh lovers are welcome to join in and stay for as long as they like! Bring waders, if you have any!

By William Abbot’s count, 21 volunteers showed up for the event (counting me); here’s a shot he took of us doing our weeding (that’s me in the middle):

weed_day12

Here are some of us at the end of the event (again, that’s me in the middle):

weed_day22

The best part for me was that I got to pester Andrea Adams-Morden (second from the right in that second picture) with all manner of questions about the plants we were pulling up, and the ones we were putting in. Andrea is the volunteer coordinator for the marsh docents, and knows an awful lot about the plants in the marsh.

Monday’s event was in the part of the marsh that is owned by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. That’s the part beyond (that is, west of) the new footbridge spanning Franklin Creek. It’s interesting to compare it to the city-owned section near Ash Avenue, where a lot of restoration work was done in the late 1990s, and where volunteers have been doing monthly weeding sessions ever since. The Land Trust parcel is weedier (in the sense of having more non-native plants), and also has some bare spots where mud gets dumped during flood-control dredging. In both ecological and aesthetic terms it’s arguably more degraded than the area along Ash Avenue. On the other hand, it’s also farther away from day-to-day human activity. It’s quieter, and wilder. It’s the part of the marsh where the (non-native, I realize, but still very cool) red foxes hang out.

On one of my first trips across the footbridge after it was opened last summer, I sat on one of the big, rounded boulders near its western end. There’s a small channel there, with a pool where egrets and herons like to fish. I sat there for a while, enjoying the solitude, and then I noticed an odd sound. It was a sort of whispering, a very low-volume series of pops and clicks, coming from the muddy margin that the low tide had exposed. It took me a second to realize what it was: The sound of hundreds of horn snails crawling through the mud.

horn_snails

The Land Trust parcel at the marsh is a work in progress. But I really like it, and it felt good to be able to help it out with some weeding.