Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Water Birds of California

Refuses to look at camera

Yellow tail
 After starting my bird watching adventure I went to my local library (LAPL) and got several bird books. Then I explored the pages of E-Bay and bought two books,  Water Birds of California and to my surprise Osprey's were not included which I thought was quite strange.
Sharp beak

The Osprey is a large fish-eating hawk. It is the only hawk that dives into the water.

I have never seen once fishing by my sailboat but the Pelicans and Terns dive into the water bill first and the Herons that I see fish from the boat docks stabbing their prey but the Osprey have evolved extraordinary adaptations helping them become expert fish eaters. Starting with the feet, osprey talons are extremely long and sharp and combined with specialized scales on the toes, the osprey can easily grab and hold on to prey. One of these talon-clad toes is also reversible, this means that instead of having three forward pointing toes and one back, ospreys can point two forward and two back, this creates a powerful grip helping to prevent prey getting away.
Night photos

My first encounter with an Osprey was when one decided to roost on my Mast Head causing serious damage to the wind vane. At that time across the water from my boat there was a six pack fishing boat named Osprey. 
I had to go up the mast several times to try and fix the vane. Finally after several hikes up the mast in my bosun chair I finally left the vane a little crooked. Then a few years later my neighbor on a Catalina 36 decided to fly her spinnaker in the afternoon when the wind roars down the hill from the Fort above and her sheets came lost and the wild sail almost took down my mast. She had it repaired and now my mast head weather vane is sprayed with anti-osprey pepper spray. (lol)

Having watched the Osprey for several weeks lately I know that they can be quite messy. Blue Herons leave a trail of white guano spread out over an area (most likely a Mustang parked in the parking lot) but Ospreys don't swallow their prey whole like other sea birds and tear the flesh from the prey and eat in  a very delicate fashion much like in a sushi bar. They also don't eat the entails of their catch and simply leave them on the boat owners boat or dock or maybe an adjacent boat. 
The amount of bait in the harbor here varies and so do the sea birds that feed on the prey here. 

In the past I had read that Audubon was not a fan of the Bald Eagle because the eagle would steal from the Osprey and should have never been given the status of the national bird. 

Ospreys are every where 

A unique thing about ospreys is that they are a family of one. That's all, one species worldwide. Evidently ospreys got it right the first time and evolution didn't need to make changes along the way. That's pretty unusual when you think about it. South America alone has over 300 different species of hummingbirds, making up dozens of shapes, colors and sizes, but the entire world has only one osprey. There are no "great ospreys" living in the Alps or "snob-nosed" ospreys living on the beach in Malibu.
Loose feather
The Osprey is cosmopolitan and is also know in fancy talk as Pandion haliaetus

Monday, July 23, 2018

Bird Watching My Cooper Hawks

Egg from nest
A couple of years ago I started taking pictures of the water birds that appear around my sailboat. Then I would take pictures of the Pelicans flying along the Pacific Ocean by the bluffs or those trying to feed off the returning fishing boats. When there is a lot of bait in the water by the boat Terns, Grebes and Cormorants are here fishing too.
Getting ready to fly
The Grebes and Terns were new to me and the majority of people in the marina probably know the difference between a Sea Gull and a Pelican but not much more. 
Fledgling with downy featers
The populations of the Grebes vary here as they are migratory and they breed and nest in fresh water lakes in Northern California that have been effected by the recent drought. 
Long tail
Last year when walking my German Shepherd below the Korean Bell I saw a nice Red Tail Hawk in the tree and took several pictures with my Samsung Galaxy (gone to smart phone heaven). My Nikon had become retired and put away (it happen when you get old and outdated) but I had several lens so I got it out of the closet (It was never Gay) but it refused to work again. Cost to have tested was $250.00 so I bought another one just like it that worked for $90.00. 
growing up
When I was a preteen I had a BB gun and a Wham-o sling shot but I never shot at birds sitting on the power lines but once we took out a window in a garage on the alley of Tenth Street in Santa Monica.
 My arsenal also included a bow and arrow, several 22 rifles and a WW2 Bayonet. 
proud parent
I surmise now looking back that birds were pets and you didn't shoot them. My Grandparents (Father's) had a walk-in bird cage where they kept their aviary in the backyard on Vermont (Los Angeles Born) In Santa Monica where I grew up the next door neighbors had a walk-in aviary between their garage and rear house cottage. How cool were these bricklayers (they built brick walls) that Harry Junior had a room full of trophies from Motorcycle racing and sailboat racing. These hulls were wooden (before fiberglass) and his fore decks were parquet and so very pretty.
in the nest
So recently I observed a pair of Cooper Hawks building a nest in a eucalyptus tree high up in the fork of the tree. The parents to be were stripping off small branches from the pine and gum trees. There is a small park below Fort MacArthur on a small hill side slope. Lots of people use the path for walking and biking. The downside is so do the homeless. Actually Richard Henry Dana lived close by where his Hide House when he was living here. There is a plaque in the Fort bearing his presence.
nice tail feathers
I had been walking below the small park and would often take pictures of all the small birds and the butterflies. Then I noticed that the small birds but not the humming birds had changed locations, they had moved out. Cooper Hawks are bird eaters and have long tails and shorter wings to fly within the trees when hunting prey.
My interest in birds took me searching the local library for Bird Guides and I borrowed several books, also bought two guides off of E-Bay. 
It is very hard to see the Cooper's in the trees because there frontal plumage blends in with the trees. A Cooper builds barrels and Captain Ahab would have had a few working for him but back in the time of Audubon (painter and bird shooter) there was another bird watcher named Bonaparte and he named the Hawk Cooper for a friend.
young pair
Animals have Greek or Latin names and birds are not without exception so we have: Accipiter cooperii. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Lime Bikes are Slime Bikes

I remember when they built the docking bicycle ports near my sailboat. One at Cabrillo Beach, one by the Double Tree Hotel and one next to the homeless rec center at 22nd Street Park. These docking station required a slab being poured and mounting racks with a solar panel charging the batteries to operate the log in.

Notice the missing grip on the bike
Then came along the dock-less version of urban pollution the Slime Bike.
Hard to ride with handlebars this low

I was walking the two dogs one morning when I first encountered
the bikes sitting across the street from a Metro Docking Station. 
There is no shortage of internet stories about how ugly these things can be. At first the slime folks came out in their rented vans an picked up the broken ones but lately they don't seem to give a fuck as now the hot item is the scooters that they rent and the charges are higher.
The scooters require a daily service truck to recharge the internal battery. If you check out the California DMV Code you will see that you must have a valid divers license, wear a helmet and

One of my bike geeks "Neon Fred"was running stairs to get in shape for mountain bike riding on a coaster brake. He found the rear lock off a slime bike laying in the gutter. I took his discovery and with the addition of a tamper proof socket I took it apart (the lock) but before I did that I sent an e-mail to Lime Bikes saying I had their parts if they wanted them back.
They did reply to my e-mail but since reading and writing is not a skill required these days they went to the wrong place so I took the lock apart. Lots of neat gears controlling the locking bar, a speaker, a nice battery plus GPS a couple of other LSI circuits. Not cheap.

At first the cute Chinese Flight Crews that visit the Double Tree started riding them and that was enjoyable. Probably doesn't beat girls in Holland.

Then the homeless started riding them in great numbers. That is a hard figure since you need a smart phone with an downloaded app and a credit card for payment. You can get a cell phone for free if you are on any welfare plans but you also need a credit card? The lock can be forced open by breaking the small plastic gears inside the lock. I see Slime Bikes with dogs in the basket and homeless cruising.

The e-scooters have been banned in various cities up and down the coast of California. same with the dock-less bicycles. YouTube has plenty of dock-less in Asia.
Lots of media jumping up and down about this great cure for transportation.

I see these as another slur a rolling graffiti. Dumped everywhere and anywhere. The ocean is great for rusting and maybe the Pacific will rust this scum.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Virtual Address

Happy the Yorkie

I live on a sailboat. The sailboat is tied to a dock. The dock is anchored by a gangway to the shore and moves up and down with the springs and neaps tides. There are several marinas located in San Pedro, California and the one where I am has a street Address. It has a Street sign and recently after a year the city fixed the street lights.
Lucky during the heat wave

being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted 
  • virtualdictator
being on or simulated on a computer or computer network 
  • print or virtual books
  • avirtual keyboard
 : such as
a occurring or existing primarily online 
  • virtual shopping
b of, relating to, or existing within a virtual reality 
  • virtual tour
of, relating to, or using virtual memory
of, relating to, or being a hypothetical particle whose existence is inferred from indirect evidence 
  • virtual photons
 — compare real 3
I am not sure how my address became such. Years earlier (not sure as I forget important dates) I was corresponding with the Los Angeles and State of California and my letters kept coming backing as my address here in San Pedro was not legit.
Lucky the Yorkie asking for Ice
Today the Yorkie started barking as Rich (who says he is a surf God) came by the boat to asks if I had heard about a floating body. I had not, searched the Web but found nothing
today. He said he had heard about it from a friend that uses the App NextDoor. So I  tried to use the app again but as usual my address is not verifiable. So I went to their trouble shooting link and wasted an hour dealing with people who can't either type or read.
tent to block the sun
Rich the Surfer God just came by and said there was a floating body in the marina east of here and he personally talked to a security person. As one can observe my blogging often contains up to the minute reports.
The marina here asked liveaboards not to use the marina office as a mailing address so I got a post Office box at Fort Mac Arthur instead of the main post office in downtown San Pedro because it was then homeless center on Beacon Street.
So after I got my PO Box I filed a change of address with a forward from the marina to the PO. That forwarding is only good for one year. In January of this year I filed for additional coverage on my Kaiser insurance and because the form refused to allow a PO Box I used the marina address. 
Tongue out
Then three weeks ago Kaiser sent me three letters saying they were going to cancel my main plan because my address was not valid. I replied to all three then two weeks later received an invoice showing credit on the additional plan. I then drove to Kaiser member service and was told the additional coverage was cancelled because I didn't make any payments. I never received anything' Then after member services to the post office where I was explained after my forwarding had expired (one year) all mail to that address would be returned to sender. So Kaiser kept getting their invoice back marked "return to sender" but my account showed my other address of the PO Box which they failed to use.

During June I bought some batteries on Amazon which were never delivered (awaiting refund) and the seller suggested I search the local post office and seek out my carrier and try and find them.
Not sure where my floating address will be next.