Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The series of talks - Living with Fire, being organized for Jan 30 by Joe Rowitzer, has been postponed. Fire is clearly something we will have to live with. Dealing with fire is a process that can be informed by the many Agency and University of California research and extension projects. We are exploring the potential of co-hosting a series of public lectures on fire in the Santa Lucias. We envision having input from the fire protection agencies and UC. Maybe a series of speakers on topics like managing fuel around structures, prescribed fire, fire and Sudden Oak Death, effects of fire on hydrology, fire and wildlife, etc. Venues for the talks would include Hastings for the upper Carmel Valley community, maybe some larger hall in the lower Carmel Valley and another in Big Sur. But, it will take some time to get this organized. So, keep checking...more later.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hastings Winter Walk/Lunch
On Saturday, Feb 6, 10 am, I will lead a nature walk at Hastings. This is the first of what will be quarterly opportunities to go on a walk at Hastings. The next will be in late spring or early summer. We will meet at the office parking lot. Whatever the weather, we can go flip rocks, look at newts, see what flowers are out and admire mushrooms. Winter in Hastings is not as intense, but still offers glimpses of nature in action. Early February often brings a mid-winter sunny dry period- who knows? Come join us. This is a fundraiser for Hastings. We will have a wonderful lunch from Michael Jones, Cachagua Store. This will of course, be indoors, in the conference room. We are asking for a donation of $25/person and will limit the group to 25. Please call Mark Stromberg 831 659 2664 for reservations, or email: stromberg@berkeley.edu. We hope you can join us! Mile Marker 26, CV Road, Martin Road is crossroad. Meet at entry gate.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Storms? El Nino in Hiding to Emerge?
Seems there are great predictions for a series of storms, "Pineapple Express" on the way. The NWS predictions have been over-stated for so many years, it is hard to believe them. But, maybe this time. We are about due. Greg James, who is helping get stream flow data for Finch Creek (see webpage) provided this data from the Carmel River. This is flow data from the lower Carmel River, and you can see that the last 3 years have been dry. If the winter rains dried up now, we would be in serious drought. But, maybe....?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Fall Rains?
I had the impression that we were lagging a bit with regard to winter rains out here. But, we are doing fine, so far, for a pretty average year. Not the "El Nino" predicted by some.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Woodrat Monkey-business ?
So, several months ago, Walt Koenig vacated the carriage house at the School House. There were a few aluminum cans in the recycling box, and a few scattered things in the workshop. Eric Walters went in to check a few things and found this odd pattern. Some animals had moved the crushed aluminum cans into a pattern of a square around the edge of the room. Maybe this is some kind of wood rat fun? We set up a camera with an infra-red illuminator and we hope to catch the little guys in action. The region of brown down the middle of the garage floor is bat droppings- this old garage is a favorite winter roost for a colony of bats. Each year Walt gathered up the guano and use the spreader to put it on the lawn.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Red Phalaropes
On Dec 22, Jaime del Valle found a deceased red phalarope on Cachagua road, and Eric Walters observed another just south of Haystack Hill at mile 26 on Carmel Valley Road. Evidently the storm of about Dec 19 brought in a group of Red Phalaropes to the Hastings area. This bird does not do well on land, breeding in the arctic tundra, and wintering well out to sea. The remains of the found phalarope will be deposited at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley.