Summer 2017 – Youngsters About

What’s Happening With Potential Development?

The owners remain quiet on any development plans so we are continuing to build our Defense of More Mesa campaign fund (you can contribute by visiting the home page of our web site) and ensuring that the land is protected and maintained … see “How You Can Help”. Thank you for your interest.

Ask the President

Q: Who does the legal work for MMPC to help protect More Mesa?

A: The amazing EDC.
We are extremely fortunate to have the Environmental Defense Center representing us in all our legal matters. EDC, organized as a nonprofit corporation, provides legal counsel to other non profit organizations, and is the only such public interest environmental law firm between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Historically, EDC has been involved in efforts to preserve More Mesa since 1979, a mere two years after they were founded. During that time they have represented four different More Mesa organizations, with MMPC being the latest. In particular, Linda Krop of EDC has been our counsel for the entire 17 years we have been around and represented us, in exemplary fashion, in every legal issue we have had. Thank you Linda!

In early June, EDC celebrated its 40th Anniversary. As part of the festivities, all attendees were asked to vote on their favorite victory from EDC’s four decades and many triumphs. The EDC newsletter about this event reports: “One of the best moments of the day came when the winners were announced; three huge, multi-year efforts that are truly representative of so much that EDC has fought for.” Two of the three top winners were campaigns for preservation of open space: specifically Ellwood Mesa and the Carpinteria Bluffs.

MMPC looks forward to adding More Mesa to this impressive list and is certain to accomplish our goal with EDC beside us.

This Month on More Mesa

red-shouldered-a9029bd0-43d5-4983-bcd5-d880e2eb9543As summer is fast upon us, it is time for young birds to strike out on their own. We currently have a wonderful example of this in a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk that has been spending lots of time flying over the northeast corner of More Mesa. Red-shouldered Hawks tend to soar over forests or perch on tree branches while hunting for prey; small mammals, amphibians or reptiles. And although these birds are found in thicker forests over wide areas of the U.S., those in the west are typically found in riverside forest, oak woodland and sometimes in eucalyptus groves. In fact, populations in California are often more visible, as they successfully adapt to our more open habitats.

Our many thanks to Larry Friesen for the use of so many of his photos and especially these  wonderful photos of Red-shouldered Hawks!
Our many thanks to Larry Friesen for the use of so many of his photos and especially these wonderful photos of Red-shouldered Hawks!

Our newest youngster is not only flying over More Mesa, but it is constantly vocalizing … whether flying or perching. Red-shouldered Hawks are the noisiest of the hawk family and this particular youngster is competing for the most vocal Red-shouldered Hawk ever!

And on a fun note, the Red-shouldered Hawk has a much less vocal, but much more common cousin, who also lives on and around More Mesa, the Red-tailed Hawk. You are not likely to ever hear its cry on More Mesa, but you have heard it hundreds of times in your life. Very reliable sources attest to the fact that Hollywood did not think the call of the Bald Eagle, America’s National Bird and the one usually associated with eagles, was majestic enough for their taste. So they substituted the “soaring” call of the Red-tailed Hawk and this call, and not the Bald Eagle call, is the one most movie-goers think is a Bald Eagle!

The Past – The End of the Monarchy

When we left the Monarch of More Mesa in our last issue, he had succeeded in getting himself appointed “Administrator” of his brother Alex’s estate. With this bit of skullduggery, he began a channel islands 0f4ee86f-dd15-479a-9e5b-78bfb332e7b4frantic two year process by which he systematically swindled his relatives out of many of the assets of the estate. In 1896, when finally, and legally, removed from his “Administrator” position, he had successfully appropriated $80,000, which a San Francisco court ordered him to pay back to the estate. But More did not have the $80,000, as he had been losing heavily in Nevada mining stock promotions. So, in order to comply with the court order, King John gave up his 1/8 interest in Santa Rosa Island. In 1901, the remaining heirs sold their interest in Santa Rosa to Vail & Vickers who ranched on the island for more than a century, until the island was officially made a part of Channel Islands National Park in 2011.

Spring 2017

Spring 2017
This Month on More Mesa … Spring

e3f9b1cc-4700-41dc-9a97-bf3cfd9f5661Flowers: The big rains that finally came, while turning the grasses green, have not produced many wildflowers. The problem could be that the rains came too late in the season. However, careful scrutiny will reveal some Blue-eyed Grass … here and there … and some extremely tall Owl Clover. The best show however, is the one along the coast … where the California Bush Flower is in spectacular profusion.

Vernal Pool: Another sign of Spring, our vernal pool, has water in it for the first time since 2011. Unfortunately, the 2017 pool is much smaller than it was in May 2011. Further, the hundreds of frogs that populate the pool in good rain years are nowhere to be found. To learn more about these special places that are fast disappearing from California, see the Vernal Pools feature on our web site.

eeae7284-f788-49dc-b808-8339816833a8Heads Up!: With the rains come some potential hazards. Among these are sinkholes … like the one that appeared after the “big” February rain. It’s right on the edge of the coastal trail. In addition, visitors to More Mesa need to be mindful of the potential for trees toppling in the heavy winds that have been part of our weather pattern of late. Enjoy … but be careful.

The photo below, of a green and lush More Mesa, was captured by John Wiley. (To view more lovely images of our areas see the John and Ann Wiley blog.)



More Mesa has something for everyone …
especially a quiet afternoon for a good book …
and snacks.

Ask the President:

Q: Identification of plants and critters that live on More Mesa is often difficult.

We see lots of interesting birds, plants and insects out there, but we usually forget what they looked like by the time we get home. As a result, we never know exactly what we saw! Any suggestions?

A: Use your smart phone.

Three guides, “Birds”, “Insects” and “Plants” area on our web site and were introduced at the bottom of page 2 in our April 2014 Web News. And, since our web site is mobile friendly, these guides are especially useful when citizen scientists and other visitors to More Mesa are in the field. So … when you are out enjoying lovely More Mesa and see something you want to identify immediately, you have the perfect option.

Grab your smart phone, bring up our web site and look for the appropriate Guide; Birds, Insects or Plants. It works “like a charm”!

Consult our website for more detailed information on how to enjoy More Mesa from a mobile device.

The Past … The rapacious nature of John More, the Monarch of More Mesa.

Although he owned one of the most profitable ranches in the Goleta Valley, John More was hungry for even more wealth. So he decided to lease Santa Rosa Island from his brother Alex, with a plan to raise sheep and sell the wool. Not happy with the lease situation, he then attempted to buy the island from his brother … to no avail. Apparently Alex was as greedy as his younger brother and held fast to the lease arrangement until his death in 1893. Since Alex left no will, John More promptly got himself appointed as “special administrator” of the $800,000 estate … $17.6 Million in today dollars! When a huge family feud erupted about who would inherit Alex’s property, John More took the opportunity afforded by his “administrator” position to transfer all the island’s livestock to the mainland as fast as he could. He then sold it as his own, reaping huge profits from many assets that really did not belong to him. John More was not only a character, but a scoundrel, if not an accomplished crook!

I hope you liked this slightly different format. Let us know what you think about it.

Thanks so much!

Valerie Olson