June 2012

Babies, Babies, Babies

In spite of the very high, and continuous, winds we have been experiencing over the past weeks and months, More Mesa’s eastern kite pair have already hatched, and fledged, three chicks!  A sightings report, filed through our web site, has confirmed that there are, indeed, three juveniles …  already out of the nest and “perching, begging, and practicing both flying and landing”. And, with an early fledging such as this one, there is a good possibility for a second clutch this summer.

This is really great news, as we are fairly sure that there were no young at the east nest site in 2011; the first time this had occurred in decades. (The lack of chicks at east could have been attributed to the abundant rainfall and high winds that we experienced last spring.)

And … the Audubon Kite Watch Team, a group that has been monitoring kites throughout the Goleta Valley, reported that there are chicks at the west nest as well!!

Two of the three fledglings on the east side of More Mesa.

July 2011

A teaching moment …
Although we have not had any documented fledglings at More Mesa, as yet, we have an amazing kite photo to share with you this month.  The image was taken by wildlife photographer Barry Rowan, late in May at Lake Los Carneros.  We thought it would be fun and informative to list all the things one can “read” from this single special image:

  • There are three kites; one of which has captured a prey item.
  • The bird with the prey in its talons is an adult …probably the father. We know the bird with prey is an adult because it is all white (except for the wing tips) and has red eyes.
  • We know the prey is a vole because of its overall size, the size of its tail and its color.
  • The adult is in the process of transferring the prey item to one of the fledglings.
  • The fledglings can be identified from the rusty patch on their chests and brown eyes.

From all of the above we deduce that this is a “teaching moment” for Dad, and, hopefully, a learning experience for the young.

For more extensive and detailed information about kites see the eleven part “Kite” feature on this web site at  White-tailed Kites.

Thanks to Barry Rowan for the use of this photo. More of Barry’s superb photos can be seen at: Wildphotography – Barry Rowan


March 2011

Although March is “coming in like a lion”, there are already many signs of spring out on More Mesa.  Grasses are green (and high), wildflowers are starting to make appearances and our special raptors are courting and nest building.  The east kite pair is especially busy.

Kite watchers may be interested in a story from 2004, when Lynn Watson was fortunate enough to observe a White-tailed Kite pair on Vieja Drive – from nest-building, chick fledging to eventual foraging by the family on More Mesa. This photo-illustrated, most special of kite tales, is now available on this web site at Vieja Drive White-tailed Kites, 2004 or click on the image below.

vieja kites
Story Summary

December 2010

As this relatively quiet year draws to a close, and has been our custom, we offer some highlights of 2010.

  • Bio Study
    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
    . 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.

  • Tenth Anniversary
    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.

more mesa
Aerial view of More Mesa along the Santa Barbara coastline.

September 2010

It’s Quadruplets!
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.)

Sightings Reports
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.

flickr site