2018 – Is It Spring Yet?

What’s Happening on More Mesa …

In spite of the continuing drought, there are a myriad of birds on More Mesa!

flock of birdsOver the past two months, bird enthusiasts have reported dozens of different bird species on More Mesa in a single, relatively short, visit! Further, of the dozen or more raptor species that MMPC follows on More Mesa, most have been seen in recent months and often with two or more of the species seen at the same time. (Photo courtesy of John McKinney.)

kitesKites: We are still getting reports of kite roosting behavior with 13-14, and up to 22 birds! Although the 22 were not seen routinely, this number is exciting news for the Goleta Valley, as we have had only one or two kite pairs for many years of the drought.

burrowing owlBurrowing Owls: There have been several sightings of two Burrowing Owls … very unusual for this to occur and definitely good news for More Mesa. Burrowing Owls were formerly common in Santa Barbara County, but have been virtually eliminated with only one or two over-wintering birds along the entire South coast. To learn more about these tiny owls (with a definite attitude) see page 35 of the More Mesa Handbook. (Photo courtesy of John Storrer.)

peregrine falconPeregrine Falcons: In addition to so many other birds, we have also seen another raptor not usually seen on More Mesa, the Peregrine Falcon. Like the Coopers Hawk, the principal prey of the Peregrine is birds. Perhaps there is a link here? (Photo courtesy of Larry Friesen.)

Ask the President

Q: What’s the best way to see all the birds on More Mesa?

A: Hike!! You can see birds anywhere on More Mesa.

viewpointAs you visit this special place more often, you will find the spots where your favorite birds can be found. A popular short hike is on the east side (adjacent to Hope Ranch) and starts at the gate on the end of Mockingbird Lane. A straight walk directly south brings you to the bluffs and a spectacular view of the Santa Barbara Channel and the Channel Islands. If you feel adventuresome you can continue down the rough wooden steps to the beach. However, More Mesa is a great walk without going down to the beach … as the area is honeycombed with trails.

If you have more time and are so inclined, John McKinney of The Trailmaster suggests hiking the following 2.5 mile counterclockwise loop around More Mesa:

  • Head for the stairs to the beach (as above)
  • At the coast, turn west along the ocean … using the narrow path at the edge (only when it is dry) or a wider path that is slightly inland
  • Walk the full length of the bluffs to the western edge of More Mesa (line of homes and a commercial nursery) and turn north towards the mountains
  • Turn back east along the inland edge of More Mesa and past a profusion of trails
  • Close the loop and rejoin the main trail near the trailhead

trailsAlternately there are several options for turning north before the extreme western edge of More Mesa that will take you into oak and willow ravines that are both charming, and have entirely different habitats.

We are indebted to John McKinney and his web site, for much of the information above. John has been visiting, and writing about, More Mesa for 30 years. And we are happy to report that More Mesa will be included in the pocket guide “Hike Santa Barbara” … available this Spring. For additional information and hikes visit The Trailmaster. THANK YOU JOHN!

You Can Help … Become a “Citizen Scientist”! Since 2003 MMPC has maintained a data base of bird and animal sightings reported on More Mesa. Some of these sightings come from other data bases, and some are from supporters who report what they see on More Mesa.

Our website has an easy and convenient way to report More Mesa sightings. Simply go to the “Sightings” page and fill in the required information. You can obtain an approximate location for your sighting by consulting the map at the bottom of the page, gridded with alphanumeric coordinates. For example a Peregrine Falcon seen at the coast was reported in grid I 6. We are especially interested in reports of raptors like White-tailed Kites, Coopers Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Owls of all species, Kestrels, Loggerhead Shrikes and Peregrines.

Thanks so much!

Valerie Olson

President, MMPC

September 2012

Our mission remains, as always, to preserve More Mesa, in its entirety.  Toward this end we have been extremely busy, in several areas, during the past month.

Supporter Base: First, we have been actively engaged in expanding our base of supporters.  For example, we mailed more than 10,000 postcards to communities surrounding More Mesa.  The purpose of these mailings was twofold: to let our neighbors know of the existence, and work, of the More Mesa Preservation Coalition, and to raise awareness of the potential for development on More Mesa.  Response was very gratifying.

Fund Raising: Second, we have gone into an active fund raising mode. This decision represents a significant change for MMPC. During the past twelve years we have functioned with minimal funds, all from unsolicited donations. However, we now believe there may be much more interest in selling the property than there has been in the past. Therefore, we need financial resources for many additional activities: to support our legal team (Environmental Defense Center), for mailings, and to participate in any acquisition fund raising. To accelerate fund raising we have implemented a “Donate” button on the web site and are actively soliciting funds as well.

Oak Group:  Also in the area of fund raising, and as reported in our February and April News, the month-long October exhibition of Oak Group paintings of More Mesa is fast approaching.  It will be held at the Faulkner Gallery of the Main Library. The opening, on Friday night, October 5th (5:30-7:30 PM), features a gala reception to be hosted by the More Mesa Preservation Coalition.  All those on our supporter list will be receiving an invitation, by mail, in the next few weeks.  Even if you cannot make the opening on the 5th, stop by any day in October to view the paintings.  Part of the proceeds of this exhibition will go to benefit MMPC.

We will need help setting up for the reception on the afternoon of the 5th, and at the reception itself.  Please let us know if you can give us an hour or more of your time. It will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much!

Current Development Proposal: Note: As far as MMPC is aware, the sale of More Mesa to a Saudi developer in late 2012 seems to have marked an end to the attempts of the Hawk team to develop More Mesa.  Therefore all material related to this potential development has been removed from the MMPC web site.

art show

February 2011

It has been several years since the More Mesa Preservation Coalition has reported on the growth of our supporter base, and how important it is to the success of our mission … to preserve More Mesa forever. Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity to reemphasize the significance of building this already large and powerful supporter base, especially at this critical juncture.  That is, with the release of the Draft Updated Bio Resources Report, and the significant drop in the asking price for More Mesa, it is imperative that all members of the community who care deeply about More Mesa be aware of everything that is happening in, around, and about this very special place.

2011 c hart

From the few community residents who chose to be supporters of MMPC in 2000, we have increased to more than 1000 strong (see above).  One of MMPCs major goals for 2011 is to increase the size of the supporter data base by at least 25%.  This goal, while ambitious, is extremely important. This is because, should the status of any aspect of More Mesa change, at any time, we want all of the community to know about it … and know about it quickly.  Agility, and the ability to respond to any issue effectively and promptly are essential. To accomplish this growth, we are planning an aggressive outreach program.  It will consist of both tabling and talks, designed to inform our community and engage them in the process of preserving More Mesa.

You can help by talking about More Mesa to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.  Urge them to be included on the MMPC supporter list, by signing up on the home page of this web site or contacting us at the email address on the Contact page. We ask that supporters supply an e-mail address, and at least one other form of contact (mailing address and/or phone) so that we easily relocate those who change servers.  Please know that all contact information is held in the strictest of confidence and will not be supplied to any other person or organization … ever.

You can also help by letting us know of any fraternal, civic, religious, service, environmental or other, organization that would like to have a uniquely tailored, and illustrated talk on More Mesa.  We can accommodate presentations of any length, or emphasis, and we provide all the necessary AV equipment.

Thanks so much for all your help.

more mesa


The More Mesa Preservation Coalition (MMPC) is a group of concerned citizens committed to preserving More Mesa in perpetuity. Members include professionals, neighbors, conservationists, activists, scientists, planning specialists, students, hikers, equestrians, cyclists and beach goers. More than 1000 people have already signed on to be made aware of what is happening to More Mesa and have given offers of help. We believe that we represent a broad coalition of members of the whole Goleta Valley community.

The MMPC tracks events and development proposals that may affect the ecological, recreational and scenic values of More Mesa, and takes appropriate action to protect these essential values of the Mesa. Our long-term goal is to work cooperatively with the site’s private owner, government agencies and the community, in order to purchase the remaining 265 acres for long term preservation. The entirety of More Mesa and its beach could then be managed as a nature park, protecting both the habitat and recreational values of this incredible site.