Monday, April 30, 2012


This morning's birdwalk in the Valley had so-so sightings of the bright triumverate of western tanager, black-headed grosbeak and Bullock's oriole. All of these, and the warbling vireos sang loudly in several places. Two species of swift were a nice plus, though we didn't see them well either. The small birds can't be happy that park biologist CB has identified 11 peregrine falcon pairs this season, with 8 known nests. Seven of these are along the Merced corridor between Arch Rock and Little Yosemite. Hungry baby predators will be hatching from eggs very soon, making our peaceful park a rough neighborhood for prey species. The river has dropped a bit since last week's rain; it's possible that it reached this year's peak on the 26th-about a month early. Meanwhile north-draining Sentinel Creek is now flowing in more channels. Indian Creek now flows beneath the Yosemite Art Center. This weekend afforded one of Yosemite's transient delights for visitors: bicycling on Tioga Road without cars. Several dozen cyclists rode the quiet corridor, from both east and west sides, with a good number rendezvous-ing at Olmsted Point. The marmots are standing by to pose for pictures there. Road crews are still working but it shouldn't be long until the pass is open to cars.

1 comment:

  1. I just heard my first-ever bay of a coyote when we visited Yosemite this Spring. It is now hard to reconcile the awe and reverence that I still carry with me at the memory, with Tom Knudson's _Sacramento Bee_ series exposing the killing of millions of coyotes in leg-shackles and with cyanide, with our tax-payer dollars.

    Part 3 is coming out Saturday, May 5, 2012, but the first two parts provide ample expose of an agency that does not have adequate public oversight. As the articles note, there is a profound disconnect between Wildlife Services' stated mission on their website, and practices on the ground. Many other countries have banned these inhumane leg traps, and we should too. As part 2 notes, the unintended consequences of trying to suppress one species and favor others are so myriad, we would better spend our money studying the interactions of species, rather than blindly killing wolves and coyotes and mountain lions in order to "help" game species of deer and sheep.

    I urge everyone who loves Yosemite to read the articles, and contact your representatives supporting the ban on the use of cyanide.

    Project Coyote has info on the bill here:

    Part 1 in The Sacramento Bee, Sunday, April 29, 2012:"The Killing Agency: Wildlife Services' Brutal Methods Leave a Trail of Animal Death"

    And Part 2, "Wildlife Services'Deadly Force Opens Pandora's Box of Environmental Problems":