As this relatively quiet year draws to a close, and has been our custom, we offer some highlights of 2010.
It is nearly a year and a half since the field work for the Updated Biological Resources Study was completed, and the final report has still not available. We have requested estimated release dates several times and have been assured that the report will be available some time in the future … but that has not happened as yet.
More Mesa For Sale
As we reported for the last 2 years, More Mesa remains for sale, with the asking price dropping from $110 Million to $85 Million, and now to $40 Million. As far as we know, it has not been sold. As always, we will keep you informed of any developments in this area.
More Mesa Handbook
Link. In March 2010, the More Mesa Handbook garnered yet another, and its most prestigious, award to date. This time as winner of the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) “2010 Outstanding Public Involvement/Education Program” for the entire state of California! The award was conferred jointly to AMEC – Earth and Environmental, and the More Mesa Preservation Coalition website. See the April, 2010 News for more details.
In July of this year the More Mesa Preservation Coalition celebrated its 10th anniversary! In that very eventful decade, we have grown from a tiny cadre of less than 10 concerned neighbors, to a supporter base of well over 1000 community members. To commemorate this landmark, we created a timeline that features the major milestones MMPC has achieved, as well as important events concerning More Mesa. This timeline can be found in the “Events” Section of this web site at Timeline. We are very proud of our accomplishments, and trust that this 10-year body of work will lay the foundation for the preservation of all of More Mesa—forever.
- And finally …
- A Bobcat family has been observed several times on and around More Mesa
- There appears to be a Monarch butterfly roost on the eastern edge near Hope Ranch.
- There may be a communal Kite roost near the historic eastern nest site.
As always … thank you all for your wonderful support, and for loving this very special place. Our warmest holiday wishes.
Aerial view of More Mesa along the Santa Barbara coastline.
A Different Look At More Mesa … As you all know, we have been experiencing very atypical weather across the South Coast since late spring. Strong winds, never ending fog, and drizzle are rarely such large components of our weather. And, of late, heavy rain, with accompanying thunder and lighting have been added to these unusual conditions. So, in keeping with these strange weather patterns, we present some alternate views of More Mesa; views that are not often seen by most visitors to our favorite place.
We are grateful to photographer Jon Greenleaf for these haunting and engaging images. (Click on an image to see larger version.)
Bobcat Family: Over the years, anecdotal, and very informal reports of Bobcat sightings have reached the More Mesa Preservation Coalition. Moreover, we have never received any written or photographic documentation of these reports. However this year, it has become clear that a Bobcat family is frequenting More Mesa. The mother was first seen in spring, reappearing later, in July, with her mate and two kittens (sometimes referred to as “cubs”). It should be noted that, although mating is usually the only time that adult Bobcats are together, this male Bobcat seems to be genuine member of his little family!
Bobcats normally mate in late winter or early spring; although mating can occur at any time. In April or May, the female gives birth to a litter of kittens; typically three, though up to seven may be born. At birth, weighing in at 10 ounces, the kittens’ eyes are closed. In about ten days, the eyes open as bright blue, changing to yellow as they grow older. Young are weaned after 2 ½ months and stay with their mother for up to a year. She begins teaching them how to hunt at about 5 months old.
Speculation is that the cats are coming down from the foothills and following the creeks. The increase in wildlife on the flats that has been noted since recent fires, is believed to be associated with loss of habitat. We hope that all those who are privileged to see these magnificent animals will remember they are wild animals. Please respect their presence, keep your distance and refrain from harassing them in any way (as this could be detrimental to their survival). We trust that as the foothills recover from fire damage, Bobcat habitat will be restored and this family will be able to return to their ancestral hunting territory.
Female and one of the kittens
Last month we reported the presence of Northern Harrier Hawks on More Mesa … in summer … a most unusual occurrence. And since early spring, we have also noticed some very atypical kite behavior. That is, the historical “east” site, with its perching, hunting and nesting areas, has been nearly devoid of kites. This was very puzzling, as the year-round use of “east” has been documented consistently for many decades. And, while mating behavior had been observed in late spring at a central location, no confirmation of any fledglings had been reported.
However, we are elated to announce that four chicks have fledged from a nest historical “west” kite site! Given the unusual weather conditions this summer (low temperatures, high winds and extensive fog), it may be that kite hatchings have been delayed this year. (To read more about kite nesting and care of fledgling, please go here.)
The fledglings reported above were sighted by several different MMPC supporters; birding enthusiasts who regularly file reports that constitute the large (albeit informal) data base we have amassed on the birds of More Mesa over these past ten years. Of late, we are doubly fortunate, since most of these great reports are being accompanied by photographic documentation.
Because we wanted to share these images with all our supporters, and share them in a timely fashion, we have set up a Flickr account to host images from sightings reports, from now on. You may access this information here or by clicking on the image below. We would also like to remind everyone that any observer can effortlessly file a sightings report by going to the home page of this web site, and clicking on the button labeled “Birds, Animals and Rare Plant Sightings”.
Finally, many thanks to all of you who go out on More Mesa to observe its bird life, and then take the time to file reports. This documentation adds immeasurably to both our scientific data base, and our enjoyment of the bird treasures in this wonderful area.
The More Mesa Preservation Coalition is pleased to announce that Dan Gira has rejoined the Board of Directors of the MMPC. And, in addition to being a Board member, Dan has agreed to assume the post of Vice-President as well. Welcome back Dan!
Although we do not have our regular winter raptor visitors to enjoy at this time of year, there are still many beautiful and interesting birds to observe on More Mesa. We have had several reports of a Peregrine Falcon, on and near the coast, sightings of Blue Grosbeaks and two recent reports of a Harrier Hawk as well. And, while Peregrines and Grosbeaks are summer species on More Mesa, it is most unusual for Harrier Hawks to be observed at this time of year. Look for these and other rare birds during your visits to More Mesa. And, be sure to report them by clicking on “Birds, Animals and Rare Plant Sightings” located at the bottom right hand side of the home page of this web site. Sightings reports are very important because, while anecdotal in nature, they represent an extensive data base, that has been, and will continue to be, used as credible evidence for the existence of the various special species that live on More Mesa.
Blue Grosbeak on More Mesa