If the past is any indication of the future this wind should stop around September 1st as it has for the past 20 years I’ve lived here. If it doesn’t I really won’t know what to think, I’m not sure if it will mean anything at all either. I’ve read the weather predictions for this winter, the Farmers Almanac predicts a warmer and drier than normal (?) years. The Weather Channel predicts it will be cooler and wetter just North of here, but still dry. One thing is for sure it’s going to take a lot of rain over several years to get us out of this drought. Global warming has nothing on California as our cycles are 1- Drought 2- Followed by a year of heavy rain 3- Mud slides over wildfire burned areas 4- Wildly uncontrollable vegetation growth following the mud slides 5- Wildfires out of control due to the uncontrollable growth of vegetation. That my friends is our cycle and it’s been like that since before the people of the First Nation settled here.
It was nice enough this morning to spend an hour or so in the wind and the smokey haze which seems to be lifiting. The weather guesser reported the air quality was good, however it is the highest level that may be in the good category. He did claim it is OK for people with chronic illnesses to go out side. I wore my mask, took my camera and Skunk-puppy out to enjoy the somewhat clear air.
I was fortunate enough to be able to take a few pictures, in fact I went out several times for an hour each. I like taking photos of ‘Blue Jays, the one in the picture above was looking for a spot out of the wind, that Fig tree makes a nice wind block. He looks to be a well worn veteran of the climate but something tells me he’s a fledgling. Mostly it was due to his size, he was a bit small and unusually fluffy. But as many people know those old Scrub Jays look tattered and worn most of the time. I got the word on line it’s OK to feed the birds again so I purchased a bunch more seeds and spread them out.
Seagulls don’t visit the bird station however they fly over it as this one is perhaps checking out what the commotion was. Sadly not many small birds have been in the wind lately, it may be grating on their last nerve as it is mine. Mocking birds, Scrub Jays, Robins and Doves have all paid visits. I laid out a variety of seeds, Sunflower, wild bird mixture and peanuts to name just a few. It is the Peanuts that have become a bit of an issue. I realize it’s a free for all, first come first serve. The Peanuts are mainly for the Jays and Red Squirrels, now here I go with the mindset I don’t like in any one, there is a Ground Squirrel eating everything.
Here I am wanting to choose between critters, something I never do as I value all animals and the place they occupy in the world. But when it comes to Ground Squirrels I have little toleration for them. They are disease ridden carriers and over populate an area in a few months beginning with just one mating pair. I have seen two this year, one across the slough and the other has taken up residence next door. I had a job for a few years of which part of it was vector control for just over 200 acres. It consisted of thousands of discarded tires of all sizes, thousands of wood pallets, and thousands upon thousands of Ground Squirrels. I was tasked with ridding the area of all of them, so I went to the County for advice on what to do; that advice was free poison. I am deathly against poisoning wild animals especially in the California Condors native habitat; that’s what drove them to extinction to begin with. There is no other way to eradicate them. I accepted it as they go into their burrows to die when they are deathly ill, then the poison is spread in the den; I hate that but had to do it.
The photo of the Great Blue Heron above displays the reason why not to take photographs of subjects against a very busy background that is in focus. It takes a bit too much searching to figure out what it’s about and it draws no emotion. In other words it’s just a picture.
That old Ground Squirrel approached Skunk-puppy, getting within 5 feet of her the dog did not know what to do. It was most likely the only time a Squirrel of any type started to chase her. Both were eyeing one another to see who would make the first move, they were frozen in anticipation. Skunk-puppy jumped up the Squirrel turned inside out instead of turning around. He let out a high pitched squeak and much to everyones surprise the dog dang near caught him. The Squirrel squeezed under the fence to hide in the Rabbits den; that’s an entirely different story on how that happened.
The Seagulls are returning in droves now, I have noticed some fledglings among them as well. One I took a photo of is abnormally large for a Gull, in fact I thought it was a Hawk flying close to me out of the corner of my eye. He has developed a pattern following the near levee he hunts the shoreline several times an hour. Today I was waiting and got a few shots of him.
As I sat there after the Squirrel/Skunk-puppy episode I began wondering if I should purchase a pellet gun and put
me the pesky rodent out of my misery. That is the thought I don’t like having, as if I have the right to kill it because I don’t personally like them. My thought was if I were to buy a single shot it would be better than one that holds hundreds of pellets. What the heck kind of thought is that? My intent would still be to end the poor little fluffy tailed Rats life. I have a different plan however.
The Great Blue Heron merely throws himself off the dock, the trick is to catch him doing it in a picture. It’s one of the times interesting things may occur with any bird actually. Not only from where they are taking off from but where they are flying to, in fact the destination may be more event full than where they come from. This Heron is on a mission to catch up to the fledgling that he has been mentoring, his thought may be “where the heck is he now?”
No mammals like hot peppers, birds on the other hand don’t mind them. In fact I have heard (through the coconut telegraph) Parrots really like them. I plan on making a hot sauce and spreading it liberally on the feeders. I must avoid putting it on the bench however because people walking along the levee sit on it. Now that could cause a problem, It was set there as place for the small kids to rest; being the entire reason the bench was placed there. I am not able to get myself to put it on the bench so part B of the plan is to purchase a regular Squirrel proof bird feeding gizmo for around 30 bucks. I’d put the hot sauce on it perhaps. I didn’t realize Ground Squirrels are able to eat so many peanuts, holy mackerel.
I took another photo of a Sun Set, I’m not a fan of Sunsets nor do I take them unless they are spectacular or in this case asked to take one. Making matters more difficult is there is only one place I can take photos without the 15 kilowatt towers and lines in the view. This is it, but that’s not the only issue, I have to cut the trees in half due to all of the houses, docks and boat houses in the way. It’s basically a pretty picture but we’ve all seen images very much like it and that’s the reason I don’t like taking them; they are all too common which is disastrous for a photograph.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance