Hi Jane and all,
As I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have been spending most of my time these days trying to protect some habitat for my own species. I’ve saved all of my bird walking energy for canvassing the neighborhoods for Measure M, the rent control ballot measure. At 80 years old I have to measure out my walking time carefully.
It’s funny how protecting human habitat and bird habitat in Santa Cruz kind of amounts to the same thing. Birds and people in Santa Cruz are being driven out primarily due to commercial and recreational development for financial gain. Some people think, and even say, ‘well, if birds get driven out of the San Lorenzo River (or people out of Santa Cruz), they can always go somewhere else’. That’s just plain wrong for animals and just as wrong for humans. Animals establish their territories for specific reasons (safety, food and water availability, nesting habitat, etc. They do this at considerable expense, and depend on that habitat to survive. With humans, we also move into a place for specific reasons – family, friends, nearby schools, services, quiet, the neighborhood, the cost. We want to stay there for these reasons. Our homes aren’t interchangeable for homes anywhere. Measure M would protect the 5500 humans that now live in their rented homes and would be covered by Measure M, but will be vulnerable to eviction the day Measure M loses. Let’s not let that happen. Let’s keep birds and humans safe in their homes!
I did take one walk where I captured some photos that made me smile, especially these two crows either schmoozing, begging, or perhaps plotting an assault on a hapless hawk; and this row of very well behaved pigeons in perfect formation.
I sometimes think that pigeons would make good candidates for military school. They are impressive in both their flight formations and their battlement line-ups!
There are many new signs of ongoing efforts by the Public Works Department to control our River. Here’s a photo of the surface of the riverbed that has been ploughed into furrows in hopes that a fast flowing stream will carry away some of the excess sediment that will otherwise have to be dredged. I hope it works.
I was surprised to see this unfamiliar little creature which I am guessing is a juvenile CALIFORNIA TOWHEE. Also a late breeder.
I also stepped back with surprise at my first sight of a hammock on the Riverwalk, hung skillfully between a redwood tree and the exercise station. A fashionable new trend for the unhoused?
Finally, stealing a moment to take a short walk at twilight, I was happily drawn into the magic of a solitary Pied-billed Grebe outlined against the silky, sunlight-infused surface of the River.
Here’s a quote from John Muir about why you and I, Jane, go back again and again to the same place – even though the urban river isn’t exactly pure wilderness:
“So abundant and novel are the objects of interest in a pure wilderness …it matters little where you go or how often to the same place. Wherever you chance to be always seems at the moment of all places the best; and you feel that there can be no happiness in this world, or in any other, for those who may not be happy here.” John Muir
May we all find happiness wherever we find ourselves.