Tuesday Dec 1, 2015 news Volume 14 Issue 16

At the Park

Coots first came up from the ditch on November 1, and by November 3 were able to find the grass on the lawn. The main source of food for coots in winter in California is from eating the grass in large parks and golf courses.

park coots

park coots

On the next day coots arrived that must be returnees from last winter. They could be readily hand fed and were eager to eat corn. Wild coots around here usually won't eat corn, and certainly won't take food from strangers.

tame coots

tame coots

tame coots

tame coots

tame coots


A large grouchy male coot guards the water dish. Notice the feathers standing up on the back of his neck. Coots will fight over anything of value. But this one is an excessive case. Maybe one in a hundred coots are both aggressive and fearful, and never establish a close relationship with either coot or human.


There were some surprises in feeding these birds. Other sorts of food is provided for the crows. One coot snatched a chicken bone meant for a crow, and another ran off with a dead mouse. I don't know how or if these items were eaten by the coots. There have been reports of cannibalism when coots are forced to eat coots that have died from starvation. Coots are called omnivorous, but I was thinking of something like insects, not rodents.

At the Boat

At the boat, various numbers of coots come and go in the first week of November. One male individual is there faithfully evey morning about an hour before sunrise.

By the middle of November, he is able to climb up the coot ladder and eat the corn and drink the water there.

He is very wild and shy, and difficult to photograph. The color in his toes indicates that he is probably a returnee from last year.


early riser

The shape of this coot's frontal shield is quite distinctive, and makes him easy to recognize. (above)

early riser

Around November 20, a lesser scaup arrived at the boat and seems to have been accepted by the coot. This little duck may have been the one here last year. The coot still fights off any other coots that happen to try to move in.

early riser

On November 29 a few new coots are at the boat in the morning at five AM. They must be returnees since they know to climb up on the boat's swim step immediately and find food and water there. The previously resident coot is quite angry about this.

early riser

Another Sign

Drought Sign

The Port who has been flooding the lawn with water like a rice paddy for years, has now decided that there may be a problem with the water. El Niño is, however, bringing some water this winter that helps the landscape. A Scripps researcher mentioned the fact that without the current climate change, this would be just another normal year for rainfall. San Diego citizens continue to meet and exceed government standards for water conservation, but most of our critical ground water is used up and would take years of normal rainfall to replenish. Conservation is never a solution to a permanent problem, but it will do for now, until our current city and state politicians are gone.

Crazy Pigeon

early riser
The crazy pigeon with the odd hairstyle is still often seen in the park, but is not bothering the crows so much this month.

A Different Bird

night heron
Night Herons are rare in the marina, but common where they nest in the tall trees across the bay at North Island. The recently fledged juveniles have an especially endearing appearance as they seem to show an expression of astonishment at everything they see. This is the first time that one ever came to my boat.

Friendly and Helpful Crow


I was late going over the park, so the friendly female crow came to the boat to find me. The crows must know that the hostile swallows are done nesting and gone for the year. The crows were always afraid to come down to the docks since the swallows were sure to attack tham. She looks around the dock and boat, examining stuff she has never seen before. Finally, she acts as if she wants me to follow her back to the park and flies and hops along the dock toward the parking lot.


News Links

This section presents links to news agencies with the intent of showing news articles as they were written by the originating author. Websites using obnoxious popup advertising or employing HTML tricks to discourage taking quotes, protected by US Code Title 17, will not be referred here.

Reproduction of dolphins hurt by BP oil spill The Tribune Dolphins living in a Louisiana bay polluted by BP's massive 2010 offshore oil spill have had a very difficult time giving birth

Family of peregrine falcons 'wiped out' in Clee Hill bbc A family of protected peregrine falcons may have been wiped out after two adult birds were feared poisoned.

Baby whales learn migration skills from mothers, Scottish study finds The National A 20-year study led by experts from the University of St Andrews has revealed that cultural traditions among southern right whale populations are shaping their genetic patterns.

Why A Neurotoxin Is Closing Crab Season In California npr State officials have closed both recreational and commercial fishing for Dungeness and rock crab on the California coast north of Santa Barbara to the Oregon border, due to a large algae bloom that's making the crab unsafe for consumption.

Coasties ‘devastated’ over death of much-loved lone dolphin found tangled in rope at Empire Bay daily telegraphShe delighted ferry commuters, fishermen, boaties and tourists with her friendly antics. But now the Central Coast is mourning the loss of its very own ‘Flipper’, after the popular lone dolphin was found dead at Empire Bay.

Are Rice Farmers and the Government Killing Off California’s Salmon? the dodo“The issues we’re seeing with the chinook salmon are showing that these diversions are having real-world, on-the-ground effects on an endangered species,”

Port issues Solicitation for Development of up to 57 Acres on Harbor Island - the logHold onto your hats, they're at it again

Moss Landing man sentenced in sea otter shooting Santa Cruz SentinelMOSS LANDING >> A 71-year-old Moss Landing man has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service, a $500 fine and six months of probation after he shot an air rifle at a wailing baby sea otter last year.

Sunken Warship Brings Sea Life To Ocean Waters Off San Diego’s Mission Bay- KPBS"The wreck of the Canadian destroyer Yukon is a magnet for divers looking for adventure near the San Diego coast. The ship is also attracts a wide range of marine life. Citizen scientists are documenting the area to help understand how the wreck is affecting the underwater environment." --It is a somewhat deep dive for inexperienced divers, and a few have been killed on the Yukon. Also, the ship was in National City for cleaning and cutting large holes in the sides to make it safer for divers to escape. The holes were roughly covered with plywood and explosives were added so it would make a spectacular "explosion" when it was to be sunk the next day. Unfortunately, the sea was a bit rough when it was towed out of San Diego Bay to the sinking site. Pumps aboard were unable to keep up with the leaks, and the ship rolled over and sunk laying on its side. When everyone came to watch it sink the next day, it was already gone. This adds to the confusion of someone trapped inside. I have never found it very productive for fishing. It's too deep for bass, and you don't have much time for fishing before the divers arrive. As soon as they put up a dive flag, you can't be anywhere near it.--editor

UPDATE: DEMOLITION CONTINUES ON OREGON'S BLUE WHALE CARCASS earth touch news"Twenty thousand pounds of rotting whale never smells good. But thanks to ideal weather conditions on Oregon's Ophir Beach, there was only a faint, nose-crinkling whiff of death in the air when a giant blue whale carcass washed up last week"

Correction: Navy Sonar story chron"Feds OK Navy exercises off West Coast, says no major impacts to orcas, other marine mammals"

Court case highlights conflict between fishermen and marine mammals press of Atlantic City "Daniel Archibald denies the charges filed against him in U.S. District Court. But his lawyer, Bill Hughes Jr., said in court papers that even if Archibald shot the animal, he wasn’t breaking any laws."

Dead dolphins aren’t much fun san diego reader"Three dolphins washed up dead on the shores of Imperial Beach in the past month — a fourth on Silver Strand State Beach — and officials are investigating at least two of them to determine if they were killed as a result of Navy sonar exercises."

When the crows attack, who you gonna call? In Eilat, it's the crow hitman PRI"He shot the wrong crow — the crow that lives next to Daniela Schulenburg-Ortner, the city’s number one animal rights activist.."

In wake of collapse fears, feds to assess anchovy populations. Monterey County Weekly "The last assessment of anchovies—a key food source in the local marine ecosystem—goes all the way back to 1995, and a group of scientists that include retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Alec MacCall have recently argued there is evidence of a widespread collapse of anchovies off California. "

In wake of collapse fears, feds to assess anchovy populations. MIT News "In the new process, called shock electrodialysis, water flows through a porous material —in this case, made of tiny glass particles, called a frit — with membranes or electrodes sandwiching the porous material on each side. When an electric current flows through the system, the salty water divides into regions where the salt concentration is either depleted or enriched. When that current is increased to a certain point, it generates a shockwave between these two zones, sharply dividing the streams and allowing the fresh and salty regions to be separated by a simple physical barrier at the center of the flow."

Australian court fines Japanese whaling company $1m for 'intentional' breaches The Guardian "Kyodo Senpaku has been found guilty in a case brought by Humane Society International – the first verdict of contempt of the environment act"

El Niño surprise? Tropical sea turtle spotted in Bay Area river, 80 miles inland Scripps News"Dan Maloon, while fishing recently in the San Joaquin River 80 miles east of San Francisco Bay, was astonished to spot a large tropical sea turtle swimming lazily along the riverbank – thousands of miles from its typical range."

Pigeons spot cancer as well as human experts Science mag "It may sound like a bird-brained idea, but scientists have trained pigeons to spot cancer in images of biopsied tissue. Individually, the avian analysts can't quite match the accuracy of professional pathologists. But as a flock, they did as well as trained humans"

Pigeons Tend to Land on the Right Spot When Looking for Breast Cancer Scientific American "NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Years of schooling and training are needed to teach pathologists and radiologists to spot cancer on medical images, but a new study finds that pigeons can be about as accurate as these professionals, with the help of a few food pellets."

WTO Ruling on Dolphin-Safe Tuna Labeling Illustrates Supremacy of Trade Agreements The Intercept "International trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) need to be carefully examined piece by piece because they can take precedence over a country’s own laws.."

New Study Suggests Angler Education Can Benefit Sharks Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science " The research, led by University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science scientists, showed that recreational anglers were more supportive of shark management and conservation if they had prior knowledge of shark conservation."

Anonymous hackers target Iceland sites in whaling protest straitstimes " Activist hackers from the Anonymous collective have claimed responsibility for bringing down five government websites in Iceland in a protest against whale-hunting by the North Atlantic nation."

Baby Tortoises Show Up In The Galapagos For The First Time In Over A Century earthables "There hadn't been one single baby tortoise sighting in more than a century on the Galapagos Island of Pinzon, until a small group of the tiny, shelled youngsters were spotted this year"

http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/11/24/st-marys-waterman-has-oyster-license-permanently-revoked/ Maryland state "James Phillip Nelson, 39, of Hollywood, is prohibited from working in the oyster fishery in any capacity after he was convicted of harvesting oysters from a polluted area, and possessing oysters that were between 28 percent and 48 percent undersized, a second offense on both counts."



"It is not the strongest of the species
that survives, nor the most intelligent
that survives.   It is the 
one that is most adaptable to 

Charles Darwin

Are you ready for extinction? We are about half way there.


Beaky the Coot
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