Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Notes from the Lokout Sept 24, 2003

Greetings all,
This is a wireless transmission from the Hi Mtn. Lookout on Wednesday
September 24, 2003 at 2150hrs.
Been enjoying the Lookout for the last 2 days. Very hot and still
yesterday. Today the coastal fog penetrated inland valleys and
persisted throughout the early afternoon, cloaking the world around
me in a thick shroud to about 2500 feet. Quite a sight and some nice
relief from the heat. Cleared by mid afternoon, only a slight breeze
all day.
I tracked five condors yesterday, to my NW and SE/E yesterday. Of
note was B-167, a 6 year old female released in Ventana. I had been
tracking her for most of the morning as she moved north, seemed to
take the Sierra Madre-to-La Panza route. At 1515hrs I finally got her
in my scope, ringing up over American Canyon. Followed her for 20min,
as she made giant, graceful undulations along the La Panza, working
the updrafts effortlessly. She threw in a few stylish wing flexes as
she passed over the towers on Black Mtn., then cleared the La Panza
and soared out toward Creston. At 1535hrs several turkey vultures
floated through my field of view, as did a pair of red-tail hawks,
but B167 continued to ring up through the group, demonstrating her
clear condor advantage. Continued to track her into the evening, she
apparently hit the Santa Lucia, maybe by way of Atascadero, and
headed north. Lost her signal to my NW at 1730hrs. She continued to
give strong signals from the Santa Lucia all day today, first signals
at 1020hrs. I was hoping to see her pop up above the fog, but never
never did. She spent the day on the east end of Cuesta Ridge. Hard to
tell, but she may have even been out over SLO at times.
Her signal was strong to intermittent until I lost her at 1720hrs. I
didn’t track any other condors today day.
Relatively birdy at the Lookout right now. I’m happy to report that
there is a pair of Sage thrashers here and they’re not shy at all,
posing on parked cars and scrapping with the dozens of California
thrashers in our fruiting coffee berry bushes. They spend a great
deal of time trying to eat the berries, which they only accomplish
with much difficulty. I hope they show up for the Campout. The
California thrashers have discovered the new bird bath and today
there were up to three at a time splashing and drinking. I like
watching them drink, they have a funny way of outstretching their
neckss. Other recent locals include…2 Western tanagers, 1 Say’s
phoebe, 1 Peregine falcon, 2 juvenile Cooper’s hawks, a few coveys of
20+ California Quail, 15+ White-throated swifts, and the usual hoards
of Anna’s, scrub jays, ravens, and TVs. There is still at least one
Myotis bat living in the Hi Mtn. sign. No sign of the bears. 2 or 3
human visitors each day so far, one was 80 yrs old and had known
folks who staffed the Lookout in the 50’s.
Right now its windy and cool on the mountain. I may actually need a
blanket tonight. I’m baking cookies, so I really should go. Hope to
see you all at the 2nd Annual Condor Campout on Oct 4.
Until the next transmission,
-Paul Andreano