Closer to god… 29 June 2008Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, San Francisco, WAR!.
… and not interested in selling us any bibles.
Steven Mull was only feet away from this California Condor, bird number 72, a male born on April 12, 2002, as it perched near the Lookout Studio on the South Rim at Grand Canyon Village.
Fewer than two dozen California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) remained when the last wild individuals were captured in 1987 for captive breeding. [Read more about California Condors and the efforts being made to save the species.] They have since been reintroduced into Grand Canyon National Park and remote areas of California. [Birder’s World]
So many mixed messages about the fires in Big Sur… the first article I landed on and linked to yesterday, seemed hopeful, maybe too hopeful (that the tourists scheduled for 3 weeks from today don’t cancel in a hurry, I guess) as soon after I posted it, I read containment there was at 3%. A few hours later on the evening news, they reported 80% containment.
Here is the answer, too many effing fires to count:
A lightning-sparked wildfire in the Big Sur region of the Los Padres National Forest has burned 42 square miles and destroyed 16 homes. The blaze, which was only 3 percent contained, has forced the closure of a 12-mile stretch of coastal Highway 1 and driven away visitors at the peak of the tourist season.
Farther south in the forest, a wildfire that started three weeks ago has scorched 92 square miles of remote wilderness. It was 80 percent contained Saturday.
11 pm news says the fires have merged.
“This is not going away anytime soon,” said Mark Savage, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
It’s not fog.
Haze from a series of wildfires covers the San Francisco skyline on Wednesday, June 25, 2008. Fire crews from Nevada and Oregon have arrived to help California firefighters battle hundreds of blazes that are darkening the sky over the San Francisco Bay area and Central Valley, leading public health officials to issue air-quality warnings. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Something’s wrong as the air just got worse in SF at around 7pm Saturday… as we should have (they promised us! waa waa) a front of moist cool air moving in from the ocean. Maybe it went to Vegas to gamble. Or, DC to lose its mind and pad its pockets.
As river rushes into Mo. town, residents file out
WINFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A makeshift barrier holding back the Mississippi River failed early Saturday, swamping the low-lying part of the small community of Winfield and ending a valiant but ultimately doomed battle against the surging river.
“I figured it was a long shot,” said Jan Fox, 50, who finally left her mobile home Friday night when her power went out. She called the show of support overwhelming.
“It was wonderful, all the people who came, the sandbaggers, the military,” she said.
Around town Saturday, gratitude for the last-ditch effort was mixed with a feeling of resignation. Many were ready to move forward.
“It was a valiant effort,” said Chris Azar of the Winfield-Foley Fire Department. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t do more, but Mother Nature won. Now, just give it time for the water to recede.”
Across the central part of the state, the Missouri River, which joins the Mississippi near St. Louis, is rising because of heavy rain that fell on Thursday and early Friday. The National Weather Service predicts moderate flooding in parts of mid-Missouri by Monday.
While Winfield lost the battle to save its levee, some Missouri towns have apparently weathered the threat.
The levee held at Alexandria, a tiny town near the Iowa state line, and water is receding, allowing evacuees to move back home. A few houses had water inside, but nothing irreparable.
A massive sandbagging effort was still protecting most of the businesses in Clarksville, and water was still high but receding in nearby Louisiana. Both of those towns don’t have levees.
Back to life and death, of a slightly different sort:
A HISTORIC FEAST: Seafood Buffet: A pair of California condors get all they can eat on a remote beach in Big Sur.— Ryan Choi, Ventana Wildlife Society
The report is from 2006 so I made like a bandit and stole the whole.... In honor of the vultures, you know.. 😉
He believes that the whale died of natural causes and probably washed onto shore during the last major winter storm in the middle of April. A few days later, the Big Sur community and California State Parks alerted VWS that condors were feeding on the body.
Since VWS started observing the area, the nonprofit’s biologists have witnessed condors on the carcass three or four times a week. One time, field biologist Ryan Choi recorded five condors by the beached whale.
As a plane high above zippers across the sky, Burnett estimates that the condors will probably be able to use the whale as a food source for three to four months. He explains that the condors eat by creating a hole or using a pre-existing one like an eye socket. “They take the path of least resistance,” he says.
Then, they dip their sharp beaks and serrated tongues into the dead animal searching for meat. “They go in like a vacuum cleaner,” Burnett says.
Burnett, who has worked for VWS for 13 years, goes on to say that the condors feeding on marine animals like whales is a truly great thing for the species. Terrestrial creatures like deer often have levels of lead in their systems. Condors, like other animals including humans, can only take so much exposure to lead. Meanwhile, whale meat appears to have low levels of contaminants.
Burnett believes that this event, along with the birds beginning to feed on sea lion carcasses in 1999, is one of the most impressive things that he has witnessed while working for VWS recovery program, which currently has 25 birds released in the wild. The next big milestone Burnett is hoping to see is for some of the birds in Big Sur to hatch a chick.
We watch as a handful of seagulls take their turn and feed on the beached whale. Overhead, a peregrine falcon soars above the carcass, and a Layson albatross makes a landing on the beach.
“There is a whole ecosystem around this whale now,” Burnett says. “I couldn’t have dreamed up this set-up.”
A view of a California condor through its own primary feathers.
Photographer: Joel Sartore Location: San Diego Wild Animal Park, California.
“The thing that bothers me is the assumption that if I make a judgment that’s different from yours, then it must mean I am less progressive or my goals are different, meaning I must be not really committed to helping people but rather I am trying to triangulate or drift toward the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council].”