Sunday, May 9, 2010

Between every two pines... a doorway to a new world

It’s almost officially over. The defense is done. I passed. I threw most of my stuff in storage, said goodbye to some friends (for now), and hit the road. Destination California. What a crazy week!

We started our training in Yosemite—had a great week. Met the new crew (they are great), got re-acquainted with all my favorite meadow birds (and new ones too), and saw some amazing scenery as usual. Yosemite has so much to offer—especially beyond just the valley were everyone usually congregates. We saw a mama bear with three cubs on our way back from a hike at Hetch Hetchy.

Side note: Hetch Hetchy Valley is currently flooded by O'Shaughnessy Dam, forming the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The damming of the valley in the 1920s, and the creation of a reservoir were at the time and since, a major environmental controversy in the Western United States. In 1906, after a major earthquake, San Francisco applied to the United States Department of the Interior to gain water rights to Hetch Hetchy. This provoked a seven-year environmental struggle with the environmental group Sierra Club, led by John Muir who observed:

“Dam Hetch Hetchy! May as well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.”

Hanging out in South Lake Tahoe for now—there’s still quite a bit of snow on the ground here and a storm on the way. I saw people ice fishing on my way into town. We’ve got a condo not too far from Tahoe with access to a hot tub and pool. It’s going to be a good summer.

Flycatcher count for the week: Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Dusky Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, and Pacific Slope Flycatcher.

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