Good Morning, Barbara,
Steve Gerow, my bird mentor, has left his flock of birds and birders behind after bravely starring the cancer demon in the eye for some time. A few years ago I met him on one of his much sought after bird walks. I instantly fell in love with his settle, shy humor, his way of relating to the birds and their habitat. He had this wonderful way of seeing the entire setting: what kind of vegetation would attract what birds, rattle off the plant, bird names, interrupt himself to listen to a far off bird song. When I told him how hard it was for me to id birds from books, he offered graciously his id help with the result that my pics flew to his screen repeatedly, asking “Who is this?” He would return the answer with fabulous details of why it was that bird. For a long time I thought I was the only one who crawled on Steve’s screen with id dilemmas until you told me that Steve was also your to id resource. The full extend of his humble teaching surfaced when so many birders remembered his kind, gentle id help and his incredible bird, plant knowledge. He turned the urban San Lorenzo River stretch into an e-bird Hotspot. Steve listed 177 bird species in this area, which now ranks in 13th place out of a 100 Santa Cruz County Hotspots. He left us many valuable bird lists/records, which we will gratefully reference, remembering how fortunate we were to know a man like Steve, whose being was glowing with honest, gentle, sweet, shy kindness. I am looking forward to his “Happy Celebration of Life” gathering.
It was so thrilling to watch ‘my’ 2 little, adorable KILLDEER babies foraging along the river shore. Yes, the Fruit Tree Orchard batch has hatched and result is little brown cotton balls on stilts. Mama KILLDEER was sitting on her precious babies, hiding them from me. A cyclist stopped to tell me that the day before she had watched the parents bring their brood the river shore. She was thrilled to witness the wildlife scene right in town, at the same time her nerves got wrecked as the KILLDEER babies dodged the wildlife unaware levee traffic. It’s truly astounding how many dangers this little family has survived: the hunting RED-shoulder & RED-tailed HAWKS, the stalking CROWS, human traffic through the Orchard, dogs, RAVENS and heaven only knows what other perils they faced courageously. I must have missed spotting one stilted cotton ball, because a couple days later there were 3 of them, which made me happy.
So…it turns out the river mouth Culvert bit the financial sand dust for now. The reason being is that the complex and first of its kind design harvested only 1 submitted bid for $1.5 million and the City’s has only a $500,000 Culvert grant available. The City cannot fund the additional $1 million. The bid came in high, because the contractor would bear the risky uncertainties of an untested, intricate construction venture. Now the project is on the hold while the City assesses its options and explores additional potential funding opportunities for the future.
misty river greetings, jane