Tuesday, November 1, 2005

10-28 to 11-1-2005, Hi Mountain Lookout

Greetings all,
Just a few notes on my most recent visit to the Lookout. I made it up late Friday and stayed through Tuesday evening. It was typical Hi Mountain weather, ranging from cold and 30+mph winds, to hot and still, to dripping fog, and everything in between. Had signals for several Pinnacles birds throughout my stay, and a few Ventana birds on Halloween. With all the birds at Pinnacles now, seems like we should almost always have a bird or 2 to track from the Lookout. Other bird activity was relatively low, with just the local red-tails, band-taileds, juncos, titmice, Anna’s, TVs, ravens, a few lesser goldies, and one marvelous fly-by from a peregrine. Also had 2 common poorwills on the road by the gate one evening.
There were quite a few human visitors on Saturday and Sunday, mostly on horseback. Seems like the Central Coast Longriders are getting some use out of their investment in our gutters and cistern. On Saturday I was joined by a Search and Rescue team from SLO who were doing some orienteering practice http://www.condorlookout.org/archives/photos/2005/slo_search_rescue.jpg Their crew leader hadn’t been in the Lookout for over 20 years, and he vividly remembered seeing the fire finder in the middle of the upstairs cab!
On Tuesday morning I thought I’d be a hero by calling in a small fire south east of Lopez and Sausolito Ridge. I called it in to USFS and they explained that it was a CDF prescribed burn in Phoenix Canyon.
http://www.condorlookout.org/archives/photos/2005/PhoenixCn_fire.jpg The dispatcher was very thankful for the call, though. It was wild to watch how fast this fire grew, from a little plume of smoke to giant columns of smoke and visible flames in under 30 min.

On my way down the hill, about 1/2 mile below the campground on, I encountered this juvenile bocat trying to ambush a covey of CA quail http://www.condorlookout.org/archives/photos/2005/bobcat1.jpg
http://www.condorlookout.org/archives/photos/2005/bobcat2.jpg This guy was tiny, not much bigger than a large house cat. I was surprised to see him hunting all alone, maybe mom was hiding somewhere nearby.

I’ll be back up to the lookout this Saturday and Sunday, so drop by and say

-Paul Andreano