Wednesday Apr 1, 2015 news Volume 14 Issue 4

Blue Heron

As has been the case in years past, at least one great blue heron comes to the docks before sunrise on most mornings. The light reflecting off the water just after sunrise makes some interesting photographs. Toward the end of February, and through March, there are fewer jack smelt to catch.




It's difficult to get the camera focus correct in darkness, but that's when the heron catches fish. The bird walks away, probably afraid that I may steal the fish, making estimating the focus even more difficult. This is a nice size jack smelt. The camera has an automatic focus function that works in the dark by briefly flashing a red light on the subject. I usually turn this off for obvious reasons.

The heron almost always comes to the end of the finger dock by the boats port side. She preens a while after sunrise and then flies away.


Spring Migration

Warm weather beginning late in February made the possibility of early migration likely this year. The lesser scaup, being about the same size as the coots, quickly emulated the coots' early morning habits and would arrive to eat every morning. Until March 15 when he disappeared and never returned. A few days later, all the coots were gone, but returned in a few hours.

for coots, migration is not a unique event. Birds may go and return at random times until April.


The Coots

Along with the scaup, eight coots maintained their winter quarters and were mostly quiet and peaceful in the marina. Except for this male who appeared to be the most dominant, there were very few fights and crowing matches among them. He had a remarkable rectangular shaped frontal shield that made it easy to identify him.

There was one female in the group who appeared to be his mate (below).

dominant male



The pair of coots are bowing to each other in a mate bonding display. The bowing bares the top of each bird's head to the other making an invitation for mutual "nibbling" or allopreening. In the picture below, the female is hastily "dabbling" by splashing her beak in the water side to side. This is a friendly sign of recognition.


The coots were always provided with corn, fresh drinking water, and live worms on the boat every morning. Even with the advantage of a mated pair having the tendency to maintain a territory to their advantage, this pair never established posession of the boat's swim step. This may be caused by calling Bigboy up to make certain that he had eaten without the disruption of the others (below).


Bigboy in past years had been a remarkably large and powerful male coot. His appearance doesn't show his age but he must be at least six or eight years old, and he is starting to show it in other ways. It seems like he should be able to dominate over any other coots, but is now quite timid compared with the other six males. He is either unable or unwilling to "hop up" on the dock from the water. He hops up on the boat (right) when called to be fed, and knows to stand there for feeding. The other coots will hop up there to eat also, but usually don't attack Bigboy until they have eaten and all leave.



News Links

This section presents links to news agencies with the intent of showing news articles strictly for the purpose of information and entertainment. Facts and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of and associates.

PETA Will Be Fined All of $500 For Killing a Little Girl's Dog Huffington Post Blog "It seems PETA is going to be punished for taking and killing Maya, a little girl's pet chihuahua. The putative "animal rights" organization -- which hauled in $50,000,000 in donations last year -- will be forced to pay a $500 fine."

The girl who gets gifts from birds BBC News Magazine "One young girl in Seattle is luckier than most. She feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return. " NOTE: see gifts from the crows in Marina View Park.

PETA "devastated" after dog taken from porch is euthanized Hampton Roads "Don't judge us by this one mistake," Nachminovitch said. "We do many good things. If we could change what happened, we would be the first in line to do so." "

PETA's got that guilty look, finally, but it's been in the doghouse before Hampton Roads "If the workers had run over the little dog, that would be a mistake. If they meant to give the dog a rabies shot and instead gave it a dose of deadly poison, that would be a mistake. Going onto a family's porch, seizing a young dog and quickly giving it the needle? That's a deliberate act. And a bizarre one."

6 Reasons Why Discovery Cove Is A Waste Of Money cetacean inspiration "Here are 6 reasons why Discovery Cove is a complete waste of money, and why you should explore better options that don’t involve tourist trapping, the spending of thousands of dollars, and a faux paradise with trained exotic animals for selfish entertainment."

Yes, California Can Really Ban Shamu, Legal Experts Say Think Progress "The bill would outlaw orca performances, ban captive breeding programs, and prohibit the export of whales out of the state. Existing whales would be retired to sea pens or permitted to be displayed but not performed. SeaWorld argues the law would likely be invalid under the state and federal constitutions. "

California halts 12 injection wells over water concerns Reuters "The action is part of a statewide review of California's 50,000 underground injection wells, which oil companies use to dispose of billions of barrels of undrinkable water "

Shelter Island: A Petri Dish for Copper Reduction the log "This story is the second installment in a series on copper reduction."

Developers target projects at or near boating destinationsDevelopers target projects at or near boating destinations the log Because of the lack of support infrastructure (water in California), this would be a great place for building condos for people who never leave the house and don't bathe; a state prison.

Hiker who freed trapped eagle due in court today KTOO "When Juneau resident Kathleen Adair came across it scouting a trail for a group hike, the eagle was alive and looking at her. She spent an hour freeing it.But there’s more to the story. Two and a half weeks later, Alaska Wildlife Troopers cited her for the hindrance of lawful trapping. She now faces a potential $500 fine and 30 days in jail.."

HSUS Booted From CPAC Humane Watch "Last week we questioned why the radical Humane Society of the United States would be permitted to exhibit at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). After all, would PETA be welcome at a conference of political conservatives? Probably not. It didn’t take long for HSUS to get the boot."

Great Barrier Reef taskforce appointed to prevent marine park being declared 'in danger' ABC Australia "The Federal Government has ramped up its campaign to prevent the Great Barrier Reef from being declared "in danger", appointing a taskforce to coordinate the lobbying effort.."

Study projects unprecedented loss of corals in Great Barrier Reef due to warming Science Daily "The coverage of living corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef."

Birds that bring gifts and do the gardening BBC " My first was presented to me with her wings splayed open and head bowed. I was very ceremoniously handed a yellow foam dart from a toy gun! She refused to take the dart back as she does when we play games. I felt truly honoured. She has continued to surprise me with gifts that she finds. ."

Norway whale meat dumped in Japan after pesticide finding Yahoo "consumption of whale meat in Japan has steadily and significantly fallen in recent years and there is little support for whaling itself, although a confrontational campaign by animal rights activists has galvanised some support for the practice."

Watch out for the fine print Miami Herald There has been so much trouble with the cruise ships, their employees and passengers, and the law; that I hate to see one of these monsters drive into the bay.

Rescued Magpie Becomes Lifelong Friend With The Family That Saved Her Life bored panda "After being rescued and nursed back to health by a young family in Newport, Australia, a magpie named Penguin has become a regular visitor and friend at the Bloom family’s home" (pictures)

One Map Shows Why the Epic Drought Is About to Get Much Worse Takepart "U.S. Department of Agriculture officials reported on Wednesday that some snowpack monitoring sites for the first time recorded zero snow on March 1." (pictures)

Birds Can Smell, and One Scientist is Leading the Charge to Prove It Audubon "For more than a century nearly everyone believed birds sense of smell was poorly developed or nonexistent. They were wrong. ." "A program officer once called to say her application was the worst he’d ever seen. “Your idea that birds can smell is ridiculous,”he said. “This will never be funded, so stop wasting your time.” '

U.S. bird experts mystified by Midwest avian flu spread Reuters "Experts who doubt that wild birds are spreading the virus note that the disease has moved from Minnesota in the north, south to Arkansas and Missouri, the opposite direction birds migrate through the area in the spring. ”

L.A. County request for copper paint conversions grant rejected the log "“The Regional Water Quality Control Board mandated an 85 percent reduction in the copper load level in the marina by 2024, and yet the first time that you were asked to concretely support our collective efforts to achieve this goal, the boating community in Marina del Rey was rebuffed,”

Jackson animal shelter director charged with animal abuse KFVS "JACKSON, MO (KFVS) -The director of the Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary in Jackson has been charged with animal abuse.,”

California will run out of water in a year and should begin rationing its use immediately, NASA scientist says Daily Mail Nothing has been done because politicians won't admit there is a problem.

New bird flu strain has poultry farmers scrambling WRAL Avian influenza is common in wild migratory waterfowl but doesn't usually harm them. But the H5N2 strain is deadly when it spreads to commercial poultry. It can wipe out a flock of tens of thousands of birds in a few days, as it did at a farm last month in Minnesota

In Idaho Thousands Of Snow Geese Fall From The Sky Dead Inquisitor "In Idaho, an estimated 2,000 snow geese fell from the sky dead as they migrated to their nesting grounds in Alaska. Right now the experts believe that Avian Cholera is the suspect in those deaths."

Protestors Prompt Hunting Outfit "Ducks Unlimited" To Cancel "Phigeon" Shoot the dodo "A massive bird shoot organized by the Prior Lakes chapter of Ducks Unlimited (DU) has been cancelled, thanks to a successful campaign headed by the animal welfare group SHARK. "

It seems that this "hunt" for commercially bought domestic pigeons was successfully carried out this year on March 19.

Pigeon Hunt

As usual outrage follows.

Pigeon Hunt Comment

Pigeon Hunt Comment

Pigeon Hunt Comment

Pigeon Hunt Comment

93 Days Chasing Sea Poachers Breaks Records the dodo"Captain Peter Hammarstedt and his international crew of Sea Shepherd volunteers onboard the Bob Barker have been at sea now for 108 continuous days. And today marks the 93rd day of their pursuit of the Nigerian-flagged, Spanish-owned Antarctic toothfish poacher Thunder. "

Jersey Shore sees increase in stranded seals, report says nj "At least 40 seals have become stranded on Jersey Shore beaches within the last week, according to an animal rescue agency. Officials with the Brigantine-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center said the higher-than-usual caseload could be caused in part by the harsh winter"

Budgeting Copper: TMDL’s origins and costs the log This is a good overview and summary of the bottom paint problem. It still lacks hard quantitative data based on the impact (or lack of impact) of decades of copper pollution in the bay. Referenced in this article, SB 315, enacted by the senate, immediately assumes that there is a pollution problem and establishes committees and funding to study it. Since this was more than ten years ago, SB-315 has the characteristics of just another "greenwashing" project and nothing has been changed in the bay. The danger here is not the cost of adopting a more expensive maintenance problem for small boat owners, but unexpected consequences that cause more trouble. Since this copper problem doesn't apply to military or large commercial shipping, the motivation is clearly political.

The Port (and cities around the bay) have always had an aversion to small boat owners. In past years, Mayor Cox had referred to the area around the marinas in south bay as "blighted". The now defunct Department of Boating and Waterways produced "motivational" posters depicting small boat owners as gross polluters, while actually being the first victims of city sewer leaks.

SeaWorld says their whales live as long as wild whales do PolitiFact "Here, though, we wanted to drill down on SeaWorld’s specific claim that the whales at their parks live just as long as they do in the wild."

Kansas wild bird populations weathering avian influenza Washington Times "WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wild bird populations in Kansas appear to be unaffected by an outbreak of avian influenza, although one wild goose suspected of having the disease has been tested for it, the state’s wildlife disease official said Wednesday. "

Dog Farmers in South Korea Offered a Way Out As Canine Cuisine Fades Wall Street Journal "HONGSEONG, South Korea—Next to piles of decomposing chickens, rows of wire cages hold several dozen dogs: beagles, English setters, a poodle, Japanese Tosas and Korean Jindo hunting dogs."

IMPORTANT NOTICE Secretaria de turismo"Please be advised of the following: In accordance with recent Mexican Government regulation revisions, the capture of Blue Fin Tuna (Thunnus orientals) in Mexican waters remains forbidden until further notice. Any incidental catches are to be released. This measure will be strictly enforced by Mexican authorities. Please avoid any fines or penalties."

Study: California experiences major drop in annual fishing licenses Fish Rap "SACRAMENTO — Annual fishing license sales in California have dropped nearly 55 percent since 1980, according to the California Sportfishing League (CSL), despite census numbers reporting the state’s population increased from about 23 million to more than 38 million in the same period."

The problem-that-must-not-be-named Yahoo "When directly asked a question about the state's response plan for future climate change related emergencies, the poor man had to do linguistic backflips to avoid saying the forbidden phrase. The entire Senate chamber erupted in laughter."

200 hens poached from California farm weeks before Easter Yahoo "SEBASTOPOL, Calif. (AP) -- Less than two weeks before Easter, a Northern California farmer says someone stole more than 200 of his hens that lay eggs with shells in subtle shades of green, blue, rose and chocolate brown."

SeaWorld says their whales live as long as wild whales do PolitiFact "Here, though, we wanted to drill down on SeaWorld’s specific claim that the whales at their parks live just as long as they do in the wild."

Japanese whaling ships return home from Antarctic with no catch Japan Times "Japanese whaling ships have returned home from the Antarctic for the first time in nearly 30 years with no catch onboard, after a U.N. court ordered an end to their annual hunt."

Meet 'Penguin', the confused magpie who lives as a human: She sleeps and eats with the family, cuddles on the couch and even helps the kids brush their teeth with her BEAK Daily Mail "Having a pet magpie around the house has become the norm for the Bloom family. Named 'Penguin' simply because of her resemblance to the aquatic creature, parents Cameron and Sam along with their three kids - Rueben, 13, Noah, 11 and Oli, 9 - are quite used to her presence around their Newport home on Sydney's northern beaches. She's often found having a sneaky snuggle in bed, dining with the family or helping the kids get ready for school in the morning."

Make Your Yard More Bird-Friendly

Sea Lion Strandings

San Diego Weather


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Video Game

Darth Vader








"Are we conquerors or stewards of nature? Knowing the crow argues for stewardship, 
if only for a selfish reason. Simply stated, to conquer the crow is to
stifle one of our powerful and long-standing cultural motivators. Our art, 
religion, literature, language, and music all draw on crows for inspiration. 
Life without such inspiration would be less creative, less imaginative, and 
less mysterious."

John M. Marzluff - "In the Company of Crows and Ravens"


Beaky the Coot
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