Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Notes from a few weekends

Hello Everybody,
Sorry I have not been staying up on sending out information regarding the
weekends I have been there. So here is the past few weekends I was at the
lookout with Lisa and others.
July 18 - 20
This had to of been the most exciting weekend that I have ever spent
at the mountain. The first part of the day was fairly quiet with a lot of
hummingbird activity and a red tailed hawk perching in the cypress tree off and
on. In the distance I could see thunder clouds but did not expect them to reach
Hi Mountain. Around 4:30 am sat. (7/19) morning it began to rain and the
first lightning strike was seen off in the distance past Machesna. Thunderstorm
activity continued to occur throughout the day southeast of the lookout.
Finally Selasphorus hummingbirds started to come around the feeders. That
afternoon the sun came out and the group decided to pick star thistle. Before
knew it a storm came up upon us without any notice and we were unable to get off
of the mountain before the lightning started around us. I myself had never
been so close to lightning before in my life. We watched as a lightning bolt
struck in the vicinity of trout creek and started a fire. Fortunately the fire
put itself out with the help of hi humidity and a little rain. That night I
stayed up and watched the spot where the fire started to make sure it did not
flare up. I did get a couple of pictures of the fire I will soon post.
Another exciting event on sat. was a black bear sighting. The bear was spotted
east of the lookout off of the Hi Valley trail. The thunderstorms subsided
sat. night leaving Sunday to be a pleasant day. Sunday started out fairly
uneventful. A red tailed hawk was perched again in the cypress tree and a
eagle flew by. Lisa went out and collected data with volunteers and we all
pulled more star thistle. As many know later that day the Parkhill fire
started. We were one of many people to call the fire in. Unfortunately we did
get any condor signals over the weekend.
July 27
I was only able to spend Sunday day at the lookout and Lisa could not
be there on Sat. The morning was extremely busy. The first group to arrive
was a group of 6 bikers that continued on down to Hi Valley. Next I had two
more bikers who where very impressed with the deck. A men’s colony guard was
the next visitor and enjoyed his first visit. The last two groups were two men
on motorcycles and three more bikers. I was barely able to take signals at
all during the first part of the day due to all of the visitors but did pick up
one bird for about an hour in the morning in the direction of pine ridge. The
afternoon was uneventful and I did not pick up anymore condor signals.
August 2 - 3
Lisa and I were joined by Amy and Cedrick, two new cal poly
volunteers. Our big project this weekend was to finish painting the inside of
lookout (thanks Paul for starting). This weekend was huge for condors. On sat
picked up 12 different birds throughout the day and late into the evening. We
suspect that they spent the night southeast of the lookout since we picked up
signals early the following morning. We had many of the same birds on Sunday
and some that sounded very close to the lookout. As everybody already knows
Kevin and Mary saw a condor off of the west ridge road. Kevin and Mary also
installed screens on all of the windows upstairs and are in the process of
installing a screen door. The lookout really is shaping up upstairs and
downstairs in the interpretive center. The weather was amazing this weekend and
temperature was very mild.
Holly Messer