I took a walk this evening on More Mesa. I have not walked there very often this year, unlike most years when visits were more frequent. It is a handy, close area to visit, and a place today to enjoy the anticipation of the rain due tomorrow. More Mesa is one of the best places locally to view the interface between land, mountain and sea. In the winter it is green, with splendid sunsets made more colorful by rain clouds – a rarity in summer. In summer, More Mesa has a unique energy with flowering plants, butterflies, birds (many baby) and bright sunshine.
(More Mesa, looking toward Santa Ynez Mts – December 14, 2008)
I did not take my bird lens this time – just the 28-300mm lens. But, I did see a few interesting birds. Two white-tailed kites were seen in the more southern part of the usual central north-south swath of WTK territory – so possibly there will be nesting kites in central More Mesa this spring. I saw kestrels in two places, one along the eastern edge, and the other in the southwestern area. Perched in coyote brush close to the cliffs, was a loggerhead shrike. But the most surprising was a harrier, which flew over the beach area of More Mesa a number of times. It took me by complete surprise, as I was faced toward the ocean, to see a bird fly from my right over the cliffs and above the beach. I immediately recognized it from the white band on the tail. Do they normally hunt along the beach? There were many birds along the shore, especially sanderlings.
(More Mesa – December 14, 2008)
Located where it is, with the view it affords of the mountains and channel islands, and the abundant wildlife in an urban area, More Mesa is a very special place. I remember Rick Halsey, while attending a Jepson Herbarium course at Sedgwick in 2003, making the comment that after traveling over Chumash Highway (old name: San Marcos Pass) toward Santa Barbara, the largest patch of green, undeveloped land seen, is More Mesa. It is an area that also allows good distance walking along the many paths, with fresh air often cooled by marine fog. I hope it is preserved in perpetuity. A handbook about More Mesa is slated for publishing soon – for more details please see More Mesa link below.
(More Mesa, view toward UCSB – December 14, 2008)
Slideshow – click on any image to start slideshow