Sunday, January 23, 2005

2004 Year in Review

Hi all,
Here is a summary of the activities and accomplishments of the Hi
Mountain Lookout Project during 2004:
Planning session at Cal Poly- 8 staff and volunteers, revising and
updating the Volunteer User Manual (revisions were completed by end of
2004 and the handbook will be distributed to all volunteers).
Morro Bay Natural History Museum Condor Exhibit Open House (the VWS
condor exhibit in the auditorium was on display for several months). Hi
Mtn. Project volunteers and collaborators were recognized at the evening
8th Annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival. ‘Condor Country’ van field
trip. USFWS Condor Recovery Program/Hi Mountain Project power point and
slide talk presentations.
Morro Bay Natural History Museum Monday morning “Mind Walk” lecture
series: Condor Recovery Program and Hi Mountain Lookout Project slide
talk by Steve Schubert
Work Weekend- 20 staff and volunteers. USFS contractor John Porter
conducted lookout safety improvements and lightning
protection/electrical grounding. MCAS funded the $2,700 labor and
materials costs.
Annual Huff’s Hole peregrine falcon nesting survey. A condor was found
perched at a cave entrance there on the cliffs! Note: One evening
several months later 8 condors roosted overnight on these cliffs.
Possible future nesting attempts here will be closely monitored.
Cal Poly Ornithology field trip to Hi Mtn., led by Dr. Villablanca
Cuesta College Community Programs “Condor Country” van field trip to the
lookout, led by Steve Schubert
VHF Ham Radio Contest and Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club Field Day campout
at the lookout
Hiring of summer interns Jeremy White, Amy Millan, and Jenn Yost.
Internship funded by USFS and Cal Poly Bio. Sci. Dept., supervised by
Kevin Cooper and Dr. Francis Villablanca
Workday at the lookout- 9 staff and volunteers
The three Hi Mtn.interns received field training and condor monitoring
experience at Hopper Mountain NWR, assisted by USFWS staff
Planning meeting at Cal Poly attended by Hi Mtn. staff and volunteers,
USFWS, USFS, VWS, and Pinnacles NM staff
3rd Annual Open House event and campout
~45 in attendance
Cal Poly Mammalogy field trip and campout at Hi Mtn., led by Dr.
Completion of storage shed construction and shelving, by Kevin Cooper
and Tom Murphey, USFS
Ongoing activities-
Website ( management and improvements by Paul
Staffing of lookout by volunteers and training sessions for newly
recruited volunteers
Cal Poly senior project student research
Look for coverage of the Hi Mountain Lookout Project in an upcoming
issue of AUDUBON magazine and a KSBY TV interview (after the roads dry
up and accessibility to the lookout improves for the camera crew). The
lookout project has also been nominated for a San Luis Obispo County
environmental award, submitted by Dick Parker, MCAS President.
“Thank-you” to all who have contributed to our collaborative efforts!
Steve Schubert, Volunteer Coordinator

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Lichens at Hi Mt.

Hello all,
This weekend I attended the thirty-third annual banquet and program of the California Native Plant Society, San Luis Obispo Chapter. The guest speaker spoke to an audience of about 60 persons about lichens of San Luis Obispo County, a departure from the usual lecture topics about flowering and other vascular plants. Charis C. Bratt, a Lichenologist from the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, began her presentation by talking about California Condors! She was a condor observer in the Santa Barbara backcountry in the 1970’s (she gives her ‘hello’ to Jan Hamber). While condors were sometimes away from the observation area days at a time, and having a lot of free time to look around, she first began (at the age of 50) to take notice of the lichens growing nearby. Now she is a world renowned lichenologist, consulted and visited by other lichen experts, and sometimes brings them to SLO Co. to study and collect the locally diverse lichen flora. After beginning the slide talk by mentioning that Diablo Canyon is internationally known for the lichen growth there and the Los Osos stabilized dunes are home to the endemic popcorn lichen, what really got my interest was a 5 minute discussion about Hi Mountain. The location is one of her favorite sites for viewing, photographing, and collecting lichens for study. Other lichen sites of interest she mentioned in ‘condor country’ in SLO CO were Caliente ridge, Castle Craggs and Pine Mountain. I enjoyed the talk.
Steve Schubert