Monday, May 28, 2007

Lookout visit 27-28 May 2007

Hi all,
Amy and I finally made it up to the Lookout for an overnight visit this weekend. The Lookout itself was in great shape, clean as a whistle and no leaks or insect infestations. We had great Hi Mt. weather- ranging from cool and windy to warm and hazy to calm and balmy in the eves. The campground was full and we had several walk-in visitors on both days. Had the pleasure of meeting Peter and Melissa from La Purisima Audubon yesterday, and they may be the newest additions to out volunteer staff. Welcome aboard Peter and Melissa!

Bird activity on the mountain was relatively low, just the usual suspects enjoying the feeders and bird bath, or soaring past the Lookout. At about 1900 on Sunday evening we were watching a grey fox walk up the road through the scope. I happened to scan past the Huff’s Hole rocks (we’d been checking Huff’s and Hi Valley all day and seen only TVs) and found an adult female peregrine falcon perched atop the Huff’s formation. We watched her there for the better part of an hour, preening up a storm, before she dove down onto the south side of the rock and disappeared.
We got signals for several condors throughout the weekend, as you would expect, a few Pinnacles and VWS birds to the N/NW and some weak signals for a few Hopper birds to the SE (Sunday only). Of note were: Sunday evening signals from Pinnacles bird 313 who’s signals remained strong until 1900 and seemed to be west of the Salinas Valley on or near the Santa Lucia; Monday afternoon signals on Pinnacles bird 336 who’s signals remained east/southeast of the Lookout between 1435 and 1616, gradually diminishing in strength, as if the bird were headed south; Monday afternoon “soaring type” signals from Ventana bird 194 in the general direction of Cone Peak (which was visible all weekend, even through the haze) between 1115 and 1530.
Thanks again to Mike Baird for hig generous donation of a Dell 7500 laptop to the Lookout Project. Its perfect!
I hope the first two months of summer are fun and productive on Hi Mt., and even though I won’t be around, my thoughts will often soar toward the Lookout. The apricot tree is setting fruit again this year, and as we enter into another season of condor tracking and outreach on the mountain, may the Lookout Project continue to ripen and feed us, just like that tough old tree!
Best to all

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Volunteer Workday May 12, 2007

Hello all, The event today at Hi Mountain Lookout was attended by 22 persons. Another 12 - who were attending the annual Pozo to Hi Mtn. wildflower field trip - arrived at noon to join the group for a picnic lunch. The lookout project planning session was attended by staff, interns, and volunteers represeting USFWS Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, Ventana Wildlife Society, U.S. Forest Service, Morro Coast Audubon Society, and the Santa Barbara Zoo.
A number of hard workers put in time trimming and reducing the height of the tall chaparral brush growing near the lookout, necessary to reduce the fire fuels. Thank-you to all who attended and helped out!