Hard Pressed Environment…

Dear Barbara,

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spectacular San Lorenzo River…

No video nor photo can capture the entire, spectacular river visual as tons of topsoil are turning the water dark brown and huge trees are whizzing downstream into the Ocean. It makes me cringe to see the brown plume extend so far into the ocean, because the San Lorenzo River banks can ill afford that amount of soil loss. Each tree I see dash by like a match stick, adds to the frightening amount of recently lost trees due to drought and diseases. Do you wonder how the immense tree loss will effect our California? It looks like the Ocean isn’t excited about the tree debris and the unusual strong surge is pushing the trees either back up into the river mouth or placing them along the shore line. Seabright’s creative beach goers have turned the beach front into prime shanty town real estate.

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creative beach Shanty town

Last Thursday morning the river didn’t have one single bird on the water between the Trestle and Crescent bridge. When I came around the bend, I saw 8 SNOWY EGRETS huddled on the rocks, taking shelter by the dead tree. The MALLARDS show no desire to enter the turbulent river and are lallygagging safely along the shore strip. On the way back I schmoozed with Claire on the Trestle bridge when a SHARP-shined Hawk darted out from the levee bank, flew right by us to the trees, returned to hunt PIGEONS underneath the bridge and didn’t reappear. Being sure it was still around I went looking for the small Hawk and there it was: sitting on the railroad track, contemplating its unsuccessful hunting. I have to tell you that I was not happy to see how skinny the HAWK was. The storms take a toll on the wildlife feeding needs. Birds have a hard time foraging during rain and wind.

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staying safe…

Wow! that was one hell of a Study Session with City Council and Park Commission for the Park Master Plan. This Plan will lay down the City Parks guideline for recreational use until 2030. As you know I bemoan the fact that the Plan doesn’t include an Environment Chapter/Section, which addresses the Parks Natural Resources adequately. The man-made buildings and structures are listed in detail, including maintenance price tags. The Natural Resources, which are a highly valued Community asset, are barely mentioned in the Plan. We need to raise our voices on the environment behalf and the Santa Cruz Bird Club sent a call for action letter to their members. The Environment deserves better than that, don’t you think?

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breakfast is here…

A RAVEN, sitting high on a pole, was announcing to its mate that breakfast was being served, displaying the delicious morsel. Their ingenious vocal exchange is just amazing!  Listening to them, I swear I can decipher what they are communicating about.  And being on the topic of black birds, I have to tell you about this one: on and off I have been seeing this bird along the levee, which I hesitated to id as an EUROPEAN STARLING. The bird was mostly on its own, which is unusual for that company eager species, didn’t have the usual STARLING markings and had this Pinocchio beak. Finally I called on the id- expertise of my ever patient Bird Guru, Steve Gerow, who informed me it was indeed a EUROPEAN STARLING, who Nature decorated with a ‘new look’ beak.

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European Starling w/’new look’ beak

Turbulent river greetings, jane

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3 thoughts on “Hard Pressed Environment…

  1. Until Santa Cruz elects a majority to City Council that cares about the environment enough to protect our natural areas, we’ll continue to see the planned degradation of our river and our greenbelts. Meanwhile, the autocrats continue their charge under the false banners “More use is better” “More parks visitors will deter homeless camps” and “Parks users build environmental constituencies.” Thank you for helping to do the necessary groundwork- building a constituency for Nature.

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  2. The debris we see flowing down the San Lorenzo is Mother Nature’s winter cleaning. Out with the old, the sick, the dead and the dying, leaving room for new vibrant growth following cleansing rains. It’s a natural cycle that has gone on unchanged for millions of years, and here we see it on display. Fantastic!

    The birds, fish and all other critters who live here among the tall trees and diverse plant species have evolved with these cycles of want and plenty. As long as one species, Homo sapiens (so called), doesn’t destroy the essential biodiversity of this bioregion, the cycles will continue.

    ‘Twas ever thus!

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