2006 (total): 103 days, 169 hours
2007 (total): 238 days, 425.75 hours
2008 (total): 50 days, 73.00 hours
ground squirrels along the Slough, which emerged from their winter hibernation
last month, are appearing in larger numbers above ground recently to take
advantage of the better weather and to begin their breeding season.
The local species, Otospermophilus beecheyiis,
is named after British sea captain Frederick Beechey who explored Northern
California in the ship Blossom during a two year voyage from 1826-28.
The average litter consists of seven to
eight young born after a 28 day gestation. The young first emerge from
the burrow around six weeks old and resemble full-grown adults 6 months
later. Ground squirrels enter true hibernation - a coma like state - late
in the Fall and remain underground until early Spring.
Arrived at the East Lot yesterday morning
to find it barricaded off and officials looking for the owner of the blue
van pictured above. The van has been parked in the lot 24/7 for the
past two years ... it was part of the group of overnighters that were given
courtesy citations in January of 2006. All were subsequently enrolled
in the County's Safe Parking program and relocated with the above exception.
Turns out the County was hosting a Disaster
Drill and the van was interfering with a planned helicopter landing. After
consulting with the local sheriffs it was decided to leave the unoccupied
van in the lot rather than tow it off. The van was shrouded with
a tarp to prevent damage from rotor-wash.
The training exercise addressed the very real possibility of
a downed aircraft in the bay. The initial objective, according to
a Fire Department Information Officer, on
the pier, was to drop a pair of self-inflating life rafts to
the survivors within ten minutes of the accident in order to get people
immediately out of the water. Larger rescue vessels from the Coastguard
and Santa Barbara harbor would be expected to arrive on the scene within
The 'survivors' in the morning's exercise were an atypical group
of airline passengers - they seemed to be mostly female and under the age
of twenty-one [grin].
The group descended the catwalk under the hoist and loaded onto
three large rafts. They were then towed to the target area and transferred
to the smaller survival units awaiting pickup by personal watercraft. Some
were taken to shore by the watercraft and others (presumably trained firecrew)
were airlifted to offshore vessels.
The exercise was conducted very professionally and resulted in
minimum inference with other activities on the pier and in the park. The
presence of the Information Officer was a very helpful addition.
I found some recent vandalism out on the pier this morning and followed
the YouTube link (click on picture) to this video of the 'vandal' in action
Sec. 26-35: No person shall post, place or erect any paper,
notice, advertising material, sign or similar structure or publication
within any county recreation area without the specific consent of the county
director of parks, or deputy. (Ord. No. 3708, § 1). I
think it is safe to assume that the defiant young man pictured above neither
sought nor obtained the required approval.
It seems like Goleta Beach, especially the Pier, is becoming
a favorite venue for home-made videos posted to the net. Here is a link
to one featuring several young men jumping
off the pier. As this last video says, "Why not?". Indeed, why not
when there is little or no enforcement of the existing ordinances.
While cleaning the pier this morning I was told of a
bird out on the end that was in distress due to carelessly discarded fishing
When I got there I found a seagull wrapped in monofilament with
two hooks in its throat and another in its wing. A fourth hook on the line
had snagged on the pier decking.
The gull had become trapped sometime overnight and was in a weakened
and exhausted condition.
The Wildlife Care Network was notified and the bird was placed
in a transport box but unfortunately it died before being picked up.
Yesterday afternoon the East parking lot was invaded by a caravan
of horse trailers and support vehicles for what turned out to be "undisclosed
equestrian magazine photo shoot staged at Goleta Beach" according
to an article in this morning's Edhat.
While photographing the horses yesterday I overheard one man
with a video camera call for 'more models'. Thinking it might be
a commercial venture which requires a permit* I tried to obtain more details
but found the group reluctant to discuss the nature of their activity.
I did speak with several young women ('models') who told me they
were hired to ride and pose with horses provided by El Capitan Ranch.
I noted that the horse handlers were wearing El Capitan Ranch T-shirts.
This morning I called the County's Film Permit Office and spoke
with Philip Oates who said that there was no permit on file for yesterday's
activities. Mr. Oates indicated he would be following up on the apparent
failure to file for a permit in order to recover the fees owed to the County.
You would think the County would be monitoring activities in
their Parks a bit more closely so as to not lose any potential sources
of revenue ... especially now that the Board of Supervisors has acknowledged
a financial crisis within the County Parks system.
Mr. Oates also indicated that he was concerned with more than
just the lost fees ... he said the County has an obligation to make sure
that such activities carry liability insurance and are planned to reduce
their impacts on other park visitors including trash pickup and removal.
*Section 14C-5 of the Santa Barbara
County Code requires a permit for commercial still photography on public
or private property in unincorporated areas of the County or on property
controlled by the County within incorporated areas.
Update (3-12-08): On the 10th I notified
the local Park Rangers of my concern and they contacted the group. Today
a ranger told me that a spokesman for the group claimed that they were
only doing non-commercial photography for their website.
Section 14C-13 of the County Code requires
a certificate of insurance providing general liability coverage of $1,000,000
and naming the County of Santa Barbara as additional insured as a condition
for issuing a permit.
Section 14C-6 (f) of the County Code provides
an exemption for low-impact photography. The exemption usually is granted
for stock and similar photography that doesn’t involve models, props, or
crews, but the exemption must be requested in writing from the County Film
Photography in Santa Barbara County parks
that does not qualify for a permit exemption under Section 14C-6 (f) of
the County Code requires a permit review fee and a use fee. Fees for
use of parks, buildings, and grounds other than the County Courthouse range
from $30 to $450 per day. Fees for use of the County Courthouse range
from $30 to $1,000.
It's that time of the year again ... elephant seal pups washed out
of their offshore island rookeries will haul out to rest and recuperate
on local beaches as this one did this morning.
of the Elephant Seal website has this to say: "People
often think that seals on the beach are dead because they are not moving
or breathing. They will often stop breathing and dramatically lower their
heart rate – as they do routinely at sea – for periods of a few minutes
to half an hour. That apnea and their general inactivity are ways of conserving
energy. During the time they are on shore, which occurs only in the rookery,
they are fasting and relying on their stored fat to meet their water and
Because this was just a pup and not ready to live on its own
the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center
(805 687-3255) was called for assistance.
A little while later Peter
Howorth from the Center arrived with his van and transport cage.
Peter first distracted the pup by brushing sand off of its back and reassuring
it. When the pup relaxed it was picked up by the scruff of its neck and
put into the cage for transport to the Center for observation and possible
Noticed this truck and horse trailer racing through the parking
lot this morning coming to a halt near the east end. Shortly afterwards
a golden retriever exited the cab making a beeline for the beach followed
by the owner sans leash.
As the dog was sniffing for a likely spot to do his/her duty
I reminded the owner that this was not an offleash park and the dog, now
chasing seabirds, needed to be restrained.
Whew - that was a mistake! The owner, apparently a long-distance
animal hauler, seemed a tad bit overstressed and was just not up to a verbal
reminder of her responsibilities. After a profanity and obscenity laced
response she dismissed my request since I wasn't anybody in uniform (or
words to that effect).
Being the accommodating individual that I am I offered to provide
her with a uniformed response ... shortly afterwards she was joined on
the beach by a county Animal Services officer who officially reminded
her of her responsibilities ... this time in writing.