The last time I put gas in my truck was on January 24th. The tank was getting low so I made a trip into Fort Bragg To fill it up this last Thursday. That’s a total of 56 days. I went back into my records and found that on average, before I started this experiment, I was going 21.5 days between fill ups. Will have to see if I can keep this up. Since a fill up is about $50 these days that equals 10 trips to Ukiah by bus or almost 7, “16 trip bus pass cards”.
When I do a trip into town with my truck I try to make the most of the it. I get my shopping and banking done and maybe a birding effort that might be hard to do by bus and bike. This day I decided to do Ten Mile. I needed to see if I could do my normal route of Ward Ave. to Inglenook Creek and back in time to catch the last bus to Mendocino. It was a mistake on my part. The March winds were extreme and cold coming in off the ocean. Walking towards Inglenook was walking straight into them. I didn’t see much, the birds being smarter then me. I did see Alison Cebula, a state parks employee and one of my Snowy Plover Monitor Trainers, walking far ahead of me. At least she was getting paid for her efforts.
Ten Mile is part of the old logging history for the area. It’s now part of MacKerricher State Park. A logging haul road used to go from Fort Bragg to Ten Mile River. Most of that haul road is covered in sand or washed out by the ocean. California State Parks now plan to remove what’s left of the asphalt road and let the dunes return to their natural state. The plan has caused some controversy with the locals that mostly live in back of the dunes. Others think that the park should maintain the haul road for easy access down to Ten Mile River. I agree with the park’s plan. Some areas should be hard to get to.
Ten Mile can be a place where you can go for miles without running into a person or a bird. But when it’s hot it’s hot. Especially during the Fall shorebird migration. During the Winter it is home to upwards of 60 endangered Snowy Plovers and this year at least 6 Burrowing Owls (I believe a new high). Burrowing Owls are a California species of special concern. Snowy Plovers have a breeding history here. I believe the last time was in 2005. It is hoped that they will try again. If we can keep Ravens, dogs, and other disturbances to a minimum that might happen.
My regular camera was acting up so I took the above with my Apple Itouch. You can get a feel for the isolation of Ten Mile. I think the black and white is sort of neat.
I stopped at the inner harbor of the Noyo River to eat lunch and get out of the wind. California Sea Lions haul out of the water to rest on some of the docks. There I found a “branded” sea lion (C869). A search of the internet found that this sea lion is part of the controversial sea lion vs. salmon program on the Columbia River. Sea lions are branded so they can be identified. If they are found to be excessively eating salmon they are killed. This sea lion was branded either in Astoria or below the Bonneville Dam I believe in September of 2005.