Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nature stuff going on around San Diego the weekend of January 31-Feb 1, 2015

Buena Vista Lagoon

I usually post my weekend events articles on Examiner, but thought I would post them here and see how they do. I may go back to posting them on Examiner in the future.

Saturday's weather is supposed to be a little wet, but may clear up in the afternoon. It should still be a nice weekend for most activities, though. Bring an umbrella for Saturday morning. Here are a few things going on this weekend.

Earth Discovery Institute: I like posting events for this organization. Mostly, they work with the east county preserves such as Rancho Jamul and Crestridge. This weekend, they will be having  the "Lilac 5k Fun Run and Kids Fun Run Fundraiser" on Saturday, January 31st from 7-11am. The actual race starts at 8:30am. and begins at the Crestwood Ecological Horsemill Road entrance at 1171 Horsemill Road in El Cajon. Unfortunately, pre-registration ends tonight. But, you can register at the day of the event. Entry fees for the race on the day of the event are $30, but Crest residents get $5 off. The fun run is $15 for the day of the race. Contact the Earth Discovery Institute at  619-447-4715 or email for more information.

Mission Trails Regional Park: The park wants people to know that the south climbers trail is now open. It was damaged by fire last summer. This area is popular for climbers and is open from sunrise to sunset. Be prepared for a lot of people on the weekends. Also, if you want to learn about the basics of birding at Mission Trails, there will be a free class this Saturday at 1pm in the Visitor's Center. They are located at 1Father Junipero Serra Trail in east San Diego. Call them at (619) 668-3281 for more details.

Buena Vista Audubon: You can also learn about basic birding and participate in a bird count at the lagoon this Saturday beginning at 8am. The class starts at their nature center at 2202 S. Coast Highway in Oceanside. Joan Fountain at 760-729-1379 and Tom Troy at 760-420-7328 are the ones leading the class and count.

Update on "Mystery Goo": So far, no one knows what the goo is, but some of the bird patients that were being cleaned are being re-released in a different location. They have ruled out oil and PIB, the substance that killed hundreds of sea birds in Great Britain a few years ago. The little dunlin shown in the picture on this blog a few posts ago is said to be doing well.

On My page: Sorry that I haven't posted a Lake Murray birding update as I've been a bit under the weather. I may have to pass on it for this month and post it next month. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Desert stuff and water

Last week, I went to the Borrego Springs area. I used to go there more often in the past, but with high gas prices, it made it too expensive to do so. When I went, it was very nice with mostly clear skies and mild temperatures. I went out to look for birds, mostly.

The first place I went to was Peña Springs in the Culp Valley area of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I've been there many times and have even done artwork based on that area. The funniest thing is that I can never find the actual spring though I look really hard for it. Someone will have to show me where it is sometime. Springs are interesting places to visit as they often attract a lot of animals, especially in the summer. If you do visit a spring during the warmer months, be respectful and limit your stay. That way, the animals won't have to wait too long to get their water.

Here are some photos of the landscape:

On the way down to Borrego Springs, I noticed, for the first time, that there are two large solar farm in the valley. I love green power, but I worry about the birds. At first, this one looked like it was a lake, which made me worried. However, the panels were all propped up at an angle. I noticed when I was driving level that it emitted a bright shine.

This one has flat panels, but they are dark, so they don't look like water. I am not sure about hot hot they get, but not all solar panels heat up. I didn't actually visit the farms or talk to anyone from them, so I don't know much about them except what I can see from a distance.

I heard there was a rare bird over at Rams Hill, a resort-residential area that has long been established. I also heard that the golf clubhouse has good food at reasonable prices. The area is restricted and you're not allowed to visit unless you are going to the golf course or clubhouse. You must check in with the guard. Once you're there, you can walk on the golf cart trails, though.

They have very nice water features there. I really enjoyed the landscaping which attracted a lot of migratory birds. I guess there's been controversy over Rams Hill having so much water as there are water issues in the Borrego Valley. I'm not sure if those issues with Rams Hill were resolved or if they have found a compromise, but that wasn't why I was there.

Lots of coots there, enjoying the water and warm weather, plus they fertilize the greens. I wish I took a photo of the clubhouse. But, since they have good food, I may be back anyway.

Oh, and the rare bird, an Inca dove, was not found that day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

West coast updates and news

Hi everyone!  Sorry I haven't posted much in the last month on any of my blogs. For one, I haven't been taking very many photos of birds and such.  Also, I haven't done a whole lot of artwork, either. I may write here more regularly now, though.

For those of you who have known me from may notice me posting a lot fewer articles. The main reason is money. I'm practically not getting paid anymore. I get paid for traffic and nothing else. I used to get paid every month, but not for a long time. I think it's due to overall changes in search engine criteria and the internet. It's also hard to get support when I need it. I'm planning on writing one article a week or less each month until page views there go up. I actually get paid more doing other things or even blogging.

Speaking of Examiner, I just published an article there about a massive goo problem in the San Francisco Bay Area. International Bird Rescue has been inundated with birds stuck with a sticky substance similar to rubber cement. Right now, it is not known what the substance is, but it is suspected to be the same substance that affected sea birds off the coast of Great Britain a couple years ago. You can read more about this in my Examiner article:   Mysterious substance coats sea birds in East San Francisco Bay.  IBR says it's up to almost 300 birds in need of care and that the goo may have made it to the west side of the bay.

Gunked up patient at International Bird Rescue
Credit: International Bird Rescue
They need a lot of donations because there is no one deemed responsible for the mess, yet, so they're paying for everything.  You can donate on their site or pick them as a charity to donate through Amazon Smile.

I haven't posted anything on the killdeer blog, lately. But, I do have a few pictures I've taken. When I was counting birds, I came across these rare guys at Lake Murray (horned grebes):

This weekend: If you are looking for stuff to do this weekend, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve will be cleaning up junk in the Tijuana River Valley from 9AM to Noon this coming Sunday, the 25th. Meet at the entrance to Border Field Park at 1500 Monument Road. You must RSVP for this project.  You can do so here.

King Tides!!! Today was the second day of King Tides in San Diego! Today's was at 8:30AM. Tomorrow, it will be at 9:01AM.  A good place to see them is anywhere along the shoreline, or around San Diego Bay. If you miss tomorrow's tides, look for some in the middle of February.

Here are a couple photos I took last year of the King Tides. It went right over the bike path in the South Bay near the Silver Strand.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wow, it got really cold, too!  And, on at least two freezing cold (or below freezing cold) days, I had to get up early to go count birds! Today was one of those two days. You can see a little bit about today's count on Killdeers, Phoebes and Finches, my bird blog.

I haven't done anything for New Years since I was half my age, so I didn't do anything last night. We had snow relatively close to town a couple of days ago. Today, so many people went to Julian, a small historic mining town in the mountains, that Julian closed the town down, pretty much.  Well, not really, but they were asking people not to bother coming up there. Apparently, traffic was backed up all the way to El Cajon the way people were talking.

Not much happened in town on Christmas. It was a nice day and I went down to Lake Murray to see the ducks and loons. Arthritis duck is was still there, but last Tuesday, he was shivering in the cold, so I am worried about him. I haven't checked on him in the last few days, so I don't know what is going on with him.

Even though it was cold, it was a nice day to do stuff. I'm glad I didn't go to Julian. I've experienced enough snow as a kid when I lived in Detroit, so I don't care if I see any. I might go up to Julian later as I like the tea shop up there.