Monday, October 12, 2009

Save Rose Canyon!

I wrote the following letter to the deputy director of the California High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA), after being told that the HSRA is seriously considering Rose Canyon as a thoroughfare for high-speed rail (HSR) between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Preface: "The HSRA is gathering public comments to make a crucial decision: which routes they will study in depth in their upcoming Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the LA - San Diego section of the statewide HSR system. They are not currently planning to include the I-15-Qualcomm route [which would have less environmental impact] in the EIR." -- Friends of Rose Canyon

Dear Deputy Director,

I urge your group to do a full study of the I-15 to Qualcomm Stadium route. I am staunchly opposed to building the high-speed rail line through Rose Canyon. I run, birdwatch, and bike through this canyon on an almost daily basis, and I am witness to the amazing variety of fauna and flora that flourish in its ecosystem. I regularly see at least four species of birds of prey, including a family of white-tailed kites. The canyon is a true wilderness. Not too long ago, late in the afternoon, I saw a bobcat--a veritable litmus test of true wilderness--while birdwatching through the canyon. A few days ago, I had the immensely good fortune of seeing an adult golden eagle.

Rose Canyon is a hidden gem of the San Diego park system, and a high-speed rail line would devastate its ecosystem, the surrounding residential neighborhoods (and there are many residences which adjoin this canyon), and the citizens who enjoy the park. I abhor the two rail lines already present in the canyon: the trains that intermittently pass by create noise pollution that reverberates through the canyon and disturbs all life--including mine. I occasionally have to cover my ears while jogging or biking through, because the noise can be intolerable.

A new rail system that would have trains passing through every five minutes would greatly increase the ambient noise pollution, even if the trains are relatively quiet. It would create persistent, omnipresent, inescapable background noise.

It has been repeatedly shown through legitimate scientific studies that noise pollution, even mild noise pollution, increases circulating levels of stress hormones and (perhaps relatedly) the rates of heart disease and myocardial infarction. A recent paper shows that avian communities, including predator-prey relationships, are changed drastically by ambient human noise pollution, with cascading consequences. Another paper shows that ambient noise pollution affects woodland bird communities negatively. There are at least six species of birds of prey (that I have seen or heard) in Rose Canyon, and numerous species of songbirds, jays, and others--in all, at least one hundred species of birds depend on its ecosystem.

Additionally, the physical alteration of the canyon necessary to house the high-speed rail line could have unpredictable effects on the current ecosystem. No analysis is complete, because any analysis abstracts and therefore elides details which could prove important in retrospect. This is unacceptable, because the Rose Canyon ecosystem is priceless (that such a group as "Friends of Rose Canyon" exists is sufficient proof of the immense value, to humans, of this place). Finally, no estimates of the cost, feasibility, location, and impact on homes and on Rose Canyon, by the proposed rail line, have been provided to the public.

Once again, I strongly urge your group to do a full study of the I-15 to Qualcomm Stadium route. I staunchly oppose building any new rail line(s) through Rose Canyon.

Golden Eagle

A few weekends ago, I biked through Rose Canyon (in San Diego). It was the first cold day we've had since I moved here. Almost as soon as I reached the canyon, which is just a minute or so away from our apartment complex, I saw a large brown bird of prey dueling with a smaller bird of prey (red-tailed hawk). The larger bird turned toward us and flew low over our heads, and it was indisputably a golden eagle (it's remotely possible that it was a juvenile bald eagle). It seemed agitated, because it flew over some homes on the other side of the street and circled back to meet the red-tailed hawk. Another red-tailed hawk joined the aerial fight; the three birds had a sudden backdrop of six or more red and white jets flying in formation -- an air show had been going on over the past few days, and these jets were the famous Canadian "Snowbirds". I surmise that the two red-tailed hawks were a couple, and that the golden eagle had invaded their territory. It was clearly larger, clearly not a hawk, and its wings had the same S-shaped curvature, when viewed head-on, that soaring brown pelicans display here.

Update: Members of the Friends of Rose Canyon tell me that this is the first recorded sighting of a golden eagle in Rose Canyon. The birdwatchers in the club think that the eagle likely lives in the Miramar area and left its territory because it was disturbed by the air show.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Close Encounter

I hiked Torrey Pines State Reserve, yesterday. I've hiked it once before, when I was interviewing in San Diego, but didn't go as far as I did yesterday. San Diego County is a surprisingly green desert. Dr. Seuss lived here, and it's obvious that the bizarre trees and plants in his books were heavily influenced by the native flora. The leaves of many plants have an orange "color cast," similar to the tint on unfiltered photos taken with analog cameras on sunny days. Many of the trees stretch upward in unnatural curves, naked almost all the way to the top. Their leaves are clustered in round puffs, and these puffs are powdered with the colors of dusk, a surreal color scheme that I've seen only in children's books!

Torrey Pines, named after a very rare, bonsai-like pine tree species that grows here, is one of the most spectacular natural parks I've ever experienced. Amidst a Mediterranean climate, a collision of chaparral and coastal sage scrub ecosystems, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean (watch for dolphins surfing near the shore, or for whales in the distance) and grizzled species of flora and fauna that you would expect to see in much harsher climates, it leaves you desperately trying to encapsulate it all in a way your hyperstimulated brain can understand.

I hiked along the mesas of the park, which reflect to each other their precipitous, grooved, and pocketed sandstone cliffs dropping away into green ravines. I startled Audubon cottontail rabbits near the trail as I approached them. At one point, I encountered a scaly lizard of the desert, probably a western fence lizard, in the middle of my path. It didn't budge, so I viewed it from about seven feet away with 10-power binoculars. In an anthropomorphic gesture, it cocked its left eye up and looked me directly in the eyes. After a few moments, I let it win the staring contest and continued onward.

I reached an overlook at the edge of the cliff that was fenced in with large, squared logs, to prevent people from tipping over to their demise 600 feet below, and as I looked for dolphins in the Pacific Ocean and watched brown pelicans skimming the water, their wingtips almost touching the waves, I heard a sharp note that probably came from a towhee or finch somewhere in the ravine behind me. I turned around, and I saw a common raven flying up the ravine. It turned sharply towards me and landed on a wooden post just three feet away!

The raven didn't make any aggressive gestures; just watched me with curiosity, croaking every few seconds. It impressed me with a shaggy "beard" of feathers and a heavy-looking bill. Its eyes were a dull milky-black, the color of death; its intentions impenetrable. I didn't know if I should turn around or keep staring -- I feared being attacked because I didn't want to have to hurt the bird. Suddenly, it hopped off the post and coasted down the sandstone cliff facing the sea. It disappeared into the cliffside, several yards below, and I figured it's nesting there.

I turned around to leave, spoke to some hikers nearby about the experience, and the raven flew back up to several yards over our heads, flying in small haloes. We disbanded, but I kept watching the bird. Another raven, this one with a partly-unfeathered head, flew onto a torrey pine cast almost into a frieze in the valley below, its trunk providing a horizontal perch for the bird, its five-needled branches seemingly sprouting from the valley itself. The first raven joined it; their playful behavior suggested they were mates.

Later on, during the hike, I saw a raven fly into one of the many pockets in the sandstone cliffs; I brought my binoculars up and saw a portion of what was probably its nest. Other interesting sights included the large, smooth, and shiny stink beetles encountered on the trail, and a wren singing remarkable songs and that I've not yet identified. I also saw a spotted towhee and several California towhees.

On a lagoon near the shore, I spotted a bird species that seemed to be a cross between a tern and a black skimmer. At first I thought these birds were skimmers, but when they flew (one-by-one, towards the ocean) they seemed like very large terns with gull-like wingspans. I hoped I was seeing tropicbirds, but googling last night trampled this hope: they were Caspian terns, the largest tern species in the world.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Aerial Battle

I am in the beautiful seaside town of Del Mar, California, in search of a home. I start residency, nearby, in a month!

I ran atop a cliff today, and I saw two crows harassing a much larger raven. The crows made large loops, redoubling to attack the raven, and each time the raven would twirl onto its back in mid-air, meet the attack, and then correct itself. It may have twirled 360 degrees a few times! As I ran, the aerial battle moved in my general direction until I passed the birds and eventually descended to the beach below. As they battled overhead, I saw that the raven was carrying something in its beak. I didn't have my binoculars. It flew away from the cliffside and down the beach, with the crows in distant pursuit.

Ravens are known for their acrobatics near oceanside cliffs. They will sometimes turn 180 degrees and fly belly up for a while!

Periodically, during my run, solitary gulls larger than the raven would soar low overhead (I was standing atop a cliff, so they were pretty high above sea level). Once, a fleet of three brown pelicans in tight formation, leader in front, palpably filled the sky as they flew past.

I have a new appreciation for pelicans. There are many brown pelicans in Del Mar. They have huge wingspans, and they fly with wings strictly parallel to the ocean surface, such that only the natural curves of their wings break the parallelism. The wind is always blowing inland, and I view these soaring pelicans from clifftops. They skim the clifftops like radio-controlled aircraft: when they're flying in from the Pacific, I have to double-check to ensure they aren't small planes! They fly so low that I fear colliding with them.

I like Del Mar. It's a progressive little town. At night, there's little light pollution. Driving through the convoluted, narrow, clifftop streets, I'm forced to turn on my rental car's high beam to see what's in front of me.

I looked at a two-bedroom apartment here with a potential roommate, and one of the bedrooms had a window facing a half-block-sized construction area. The landlord said that, for decades, this was an undeveloped plot of land filled with native grasses and beautiful trees. Many years ago, a contract had been signed to prevent developers from ruining it. I don't know the exact story, but the current owner is apparently hungry or greedy enough to break this pact with the community. Such a loss of uniquely beautiful Southern California landscape.

I spend part of each day searching for an apartment, and my parents' tomtom GPS device has been indispensable. I'm a technology minimalist, but I realize that this device has saved me so much time and gasoline.

Global positioning device
with sultry, Hollywood voice,
I'd be lost without you.

Where have you been all my life?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Swallow-tailed Kite!

Birds are still migrating along the Gulf Coast. I was running in Dow Park today, when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, what looked like a laughing gull that suddenly banked and corrected itself too quickly. Intuition fired in: this wasn't normal flight behavior for a gull. I stopped and stared at the soaring bird, which was at least a sixth or fifth of a mile away. It banked again, and I saw a long, deeply forked tail. This immediately identified it as a swallow-tailed kite, which I've never seen before, which is local mainly to Florida and the southeastern coastline of the US, which is almost certainly just migrating through (since the only TX-based population is a summertime concentration in a small area along the TX - LA border), and which is one of the most elegant birds of prey in the world!

Its wings appeared longer than a laughing gull's. It was much more agile than a gull (of course: this exceptionally agile bird is known to catch and eat prey on the wing!). I stared at this spirit of the sky for two or three minutes while it banked and soared like a cross between a gull and a swallow high over freshly-mowed lawns of Bermuda grass and eco-unconscious housing developments. Was it disappointed in the yield of prey this cancer-stricken earth offered it? I hope not.

Many birds out today. A hawk soared over my head before I saw the kite. I saw it plainly, despite wearing my very old eyeglasses and not having binoculars at hand. It had whiter areas more distally along the wings, and a white patch (perhaps its leg feathers?) in the proximal tail area, and also a white neck and/or face. I couldn't identify it when I came home, but my closest guess is red-shouldered hawk.

Before that, I encountered a Carolina chickadee singing alone on a power line. It reminded me of my forest runs and hikes ("chicka-dee-dee-dee"). I don't know why it was there...I don't think chickadees migrate, and this park is not forested.

Other birds seen: a loggerhead shrike and the usual sparrows, grackles, starlings, and mockingbirds. I also heard what I thought was a warbler vs. vireo, but couldn't identify it by going through warbler and vireo recordings afterward. It may have been part of another family of birds.

Yesterday, while searching for a party in Pearland at dusk, I saw a silhouetted scissor-tailed flycatcher alight on a power line and flick its long tail.

Friday, May 8, 2009

High Island

I rose at the crack of dawn, Thursday, to bird High Island. It's an hour and thirty minutes away by car, from where I live, and a bit less on the way back.

The first thing I saw upon getting on the feeder to the highway was a hawk, probably a red-shouldered hawk, sitting alongside pigeons on a power line!

On the way to High Island, I saw a male scissor-tailed flycatcher cross Interstate-10. It crossed the path of an eighteen-wheeler but I didn't see it emerge from the other side! Driving in the rural or suburban parts of the east half of Texas, I've seen scissor-tailed flycatchers more often than I expected I would. The males are unmistakeable -- you see the silhouette, and you know it's a scissor-tailed. You don't even need to examine its flight pattern, which can be described as over-exerted and slow. The only other possibility would be a fork-tailed flycatcher, but that's a rare tropical vagrant to these parts.

In total, I saw approximately 18 bird species (not counting mockingbirds, starlings, grackles, and sparrows), a few being new life additions. (Birding is a cross between gambling and packrat-style collecting, I've come to think. I don't gamble, but I'm certainly a packrat!) I saw 14 species in the span of 45 minutes or so, at High Island.

The sky was overcast when I reached Boy Scout Woods, and the only other birders there were a mid-30s photographer type (immense zoom) and an older lady from Galveston. The mosquitoes attacked immediately and unrelentingly. They mobbed me, and I had to return to my car to spray Deep-Woods Off all over myself, including my t-shirt and hands. I also rubbed some on my neck and parts of my face.

Before even entering the woods, I saw an eastern kingbird vs. northern rough-winged swallow sitting on a powerline. Also saw a brown-headed cowbird nearby. Immediately upon entering, I saw a male Baltimore oriole in full breeding plumage! Beautiful. It won't stay here, of course -- it's a migrant.

The mosquitoes attacked me in intermittent swarms. I couldn't stand still to take photos or look around for long, because they would gang up on me. Whenever they attacked, they would go mostly for the parts of my head that weren't rubbed with Off: my scalp, temples, eyes(!), etc. Crazy. I was constantly swatting the air surrounding my head.

Anyway, I hurried through the woods, heard some interesting birds, saw mostly grackles, starlings, and male cardinals, and headed back out. In the gravel parking lot, I startled a pair of Inca doves. The male was in breeding plumage. Very different from mourning doves, in call and plumage (also, the male had otherworldly red eyes). Headed off to the rookery after killing about 10 mosquitoes in my car!

At the rookery, I finally saw the alligators that patrol the pond surrounding two small islands atop which the rookery has been built by the marsh birds. Saw about half the number of birds I usually see: roseate spoonbills (in the US, found only along the coastal areas of Louisiana and Texas, and in deep south Florida), black-necked stilts, common moorhens, long-billed dowitchers (vs. curlews or godwits), cattle egrets, great egrets, and neotropic cormorants. The cormorant rookery on the southern end was decimated, probably by the last hurricane.

Took photos and headed back to my car quickly, to avoid being devoured by mosquitoes. Checked out the abandoned building in which barn owls nest...the owls weren't there (I've seen one of them before)...saw some other birds at distance, but they were silhouetted and I couldn't make them out -- I've seen an orchard oriole at the rookery, in the past.

Back in the car, I killed at least 20-30 mosquitoes before heading back home. The photographer drove a Volvo...his was the only car parked next to mine...he walked past, saw me frantically killing mosquitoes in my car, and told me to start driving with my windows open. That wasn't very effective. He pulled out a hat with a
mosquito net, because he was photographing the rookery...another photographer had recommended that to him last week!

Anyway, I got back on the highway to head home after about 45 minutes of birding. Periodically, I'd see stray mosquitoes in my car and I'd try to swat them away or kill them! Saw a red-winged blackbird in the reed marshes north of High Island; also saw one on the way to High Island. No bobolinks, unfortunately. I have yet to see a bobolink, although I really want to see one. Also missed seeing blue-gray gnatcatchers -- they've all migrated north by now. Every now and then, I miss their wheezy, soft, incessant gibberish, their constant activity, and their large, white-ringed eyes. Lovely birds.

As I parallel-parked alongside my parents' house, I saw another mosquito and killed it. Wow!

Other birds seen: swallows and several loggerhead shrikes.

In short, the trip was largely a waste of gasoline. I wanted to donate money to the High Island stewards (Houston Audubon Society), but no one was manning the welcome area of Boy Scout Woods, so I couldn't. I'll donate online, by joining the Houston Audubon Society (but I'll decline their print newsletter, to save on costs for them and to reduce the environmental impact of the newsletter, which seems to be printed on high-quality paper).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Monarch Caterpillars on Butterfly Weeds

My friend Julian made an interesting video of his butterfly weed plants and the Monarch caterpillars that eat them:

Thursday, April 16, 2009


From The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, by Alan Watts:

There is no English word for a type of feeling which the Japanese call yugen, and we can only understand by opening our minds to situations in which Japanese people use the word.

To watch the sun sink behind a flower-clad hill, to wander on and on in a huge forest without thought of return, to stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands, to contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds. (Seami) All these are yugen, but what have they in common?

Black Lungs

I love running along the Memorial Park bike trails. (I live in Houston, Texas.) I tripped over a tree root and almost broke my left arm recently, but I'm confident I'll keep running there. The bike trails wind deep into the city forest, and newbies are always afraid of getting lost. Under the forest canopy, I'm protected from sudden subtropical downpours, but I'm also protected from the intense summer sun -- the air is markedly cooler inside the forest than out, and the broad leaves of the giant deciduous trees around me absorb the brunt of the midday sun.

Last week, I decided to run along the official running trail of Memorial Park, and I was disgusted by the smell of exhaust from passing cars, and by the smell of charcoal burning at a nearby BBQ restaurant (it was noonish). It forced me to detour through a narrow strip of woods between two streets, and I noticed an immediate difference in air quality! The air was noticeably cleaner inside the woods. I soon reached the opposite side, and the air reeked again (this time, of lawnmower and trimmer exhaust, since I had entered a residential area). I jogged a bit through the neighborhood, then turned back. As I approached the narrow woods, a pileated woodpecker spanned the mouth of the trail! Beautiful: a black and white blur trailing a splash of red.

There was no shortage of runners along the official running trail. There never is a shortage of them, and this fact never ceases to amaze me. It's a universal law that people have no qualms about running alongside busy streets. This trail reminded me of the very popular one around Rice University. I ran there once, with a friend, and I swore to myself to never run around Rice again. I've run through Rice many times, but I'm the only person who does this, to my knowledge -- I've never encountered other runners within the Rice campus. However, a train of runners surrounds the campus at almost all hours, running along busy, ugly, noisy, smelly streets, and totally missing the beauty and better air quality within.

There was a recent New York Times article about measurable levels of nicotine byproducts in NYC nonsmokers; I've often wondered if "sidewalk runners" are similarly affected by motor vehicle exhaust.

Up to 15% of lung cancers arise in people who have never smoked. Interestingly, peanut butter (and other natural sources of vitamin E) may protect against development of lung cancer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nesting Dove

My apartment complex has a few palm trees near the main pool area. One day, while walking past one of these trees on my way to the gym, I noticed a dove sitting in a leaf base about six feet above the ground. Over the following week, I consistently saw the dove sitting there, and figured it's nesting. Here's a photo:

Sure enough, two weeks after I first saw it nesting there, I came upon this scene:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What is Grace?

I was stuck in slow traffic yesterday and decided to take the feeder. I'm glad I did, because I passed by a flea market and its neighboring plot of undeveloped land. Rolling with soft hills, and covered with a mess of uncut grass, shady trees, and large patches of Mexican primrose in full bloom, it was as pretty as any rural meadow in spring:

A few blocks farther down, I passed by a concrete dump. Atop this dump, at least thirty feet in the air, grew some small trees! They were surrounded by patches of grass. I feel that this, this is grace:

These scenes were as moving as any I encountered in Europe or elsewhere.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Texas Environmental Leadership Conference: Strategies for Achieving Change

I attended the Texas Environmental Leadership Conference today. I sat in on "Leadership for a Greener Houston," a set of lectures followed by a Q/A session on strategies for making change happen. The speakers included Martina Cartwright, law professor and director of the Center for Environmental Law & Justice at Texas Southern University; Bill Dawson, former environmental reporter at the Houston Chronicle and now a lecturer at Rice University; Ginny Goldman, head state organizer of ACORN; and Leo Gold, host of The New Capital Show on KPFT radio.

They covered a number of interesting issues, summarized below (none of these are necessarily my own opinions):

Cartwright: The existence of adequate legislature is insufficient if enforcement agencies do not receive sufficient funding by the state government.

Dawson: The newspaper industry is in financial trouble: papers all over the country, especially small-time operations covering news outside the mainstream, are closing their doors. Some are concerned that this will negatively impact Americans' access to knowledge about current affairs. Dawson states that the internet may be a big catalyst for the closing of print operations; he also stated that few papers have figured out how to make money by taking their operations online. It's a tough life for reporters right now.

Dawson also stated that online reporting is viewed as parasitic: There's very little original reporting out there on the internet. Much of it is commentary on existing news, via blogs. There's also very little fact-checking going on online.

He then segued into some strategies for getting your message out there to the mainstream media, if you're an ordinary concerned citizen. He stated that you can gain credibility by creating a blog or using YouTube to disseminate messages about issues you care about. This can lead to an interview by local media stations, if you play your cards right (e.g., contact them and point them to your work).

You can eventually become a go-to person for reporters who cover subjects that interest you. You should position yourself as someone who can find newsworthy events they care about. Drop some story ideas to opinion-writers and special-topic writers employed by your local paper.

You can also organize publicity-seeking phenomena ("stunts"), such as an event in the park or a march in the streets, etc. Do such things on Saturdays (or Sundays), since Saturdays are the slowest news days of the week, and papers are more likely to pick up your story.

Dawson himself was the sole environmental reporter for the Houston Chronicle for years, and the Chronicle still doesn't have an environmental blog.

Goldman: People who make choices about public transportation, dilapidated neighborhoods, etc., are usually those who are not affected by such issues. How can we get those who are directly affected to speak with a unified voice?

For example, poor people in one area kept talking about huge rats in neighborhood alleys. ACORN organized hundreds of people to assist with rat abatement.

Goldman also stated that people directly affected by issues -- those who speak from personal experience -- have a real impact when their voices are heard. Additionally, she's found that it's very difficult to influence legislators unless media outlets cover the issue.

Finally, she stated the obvious: People don't care about environmental issues if their basic needs are not being met.

Gold: Gold still earns a living by being a financial advisor (he owns a financial advising firm, hosts a radio show, and owns a nature preserve in Texas!), and he states that it's important to "stay where you are" if you want to become a leader in the environmental movement. Stay in your own field, however removed, but notice issues and get the word out about them or work on the issues directly. Gold was concerned about the lack of recycling in Houston, and used his radio show to get the word out. The city is now running a pilot program, and if it works, they'll expand it to city-wide recycling. He got people to sign a petition -- he found people interested in his project, and he led the project himself. He says that this is a much better strategy (obviously) than confronting legislators alone.

He noticed that every component of his effort was important: the petition, a website, and his radio show all contributed to the success of his project.

Q/A Session: The host, a guy apparently associated with Environment Texas, stated that you must be specific when dealing with legislators, and that you should never underestimate how much they know about the issues of concern to you. You must tell them exactly what the problem is and exactly how you want it to be addressed. You absolutely should not approach them with vague demands. Therefore, do your research beforehand.

Some other random tidbits were the solar power issue: The current mayor of Houston is interested in solar power and brings it up occasionally. However, no real headway seems to have been made, and the next election is coming up soon, so we should vote carefully. Gold apparently hosted (not sure about this) an environmental forum in which he questioned the candidates...I'm really interested in The New Capital Show now, and plan to keep up with Gold's radio show and website!

One lady stated that she's having trouble getting her neighborhood to implement a recycling program, despite an apparently massive effort on her part (an Earth Day event in her neighborhood, etc.), and Cartwright stated that if logical argument doesn't influence elected officials, then it turns into a power issue, and you should focus on running someone with your own values against them in the next election. The host suggested that this lady present her dilemma to the city commissioner (I think).

Cartwright also stated that she's concerned that the people who bear the consequences of our consumption often live in communities that have no voice.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Sandwiched Wilderness

This tiny strip of deciduous trees, between my apartment complex and a Holiday Inn, could be the last stand of a decimated deciduous forest. Much to my surprise, a Carolina wren seems to live here. I've heard it singing in the underbrush more than once, and I actually saw it singing on a tree branch just a week ago. It reminded me of a country rooster. On the day I took this photo, a Cooper's hawk soared low overhead, flapping its wings occasionally, and something rustled in the dead leaves beyond the fence.

You can see a dead Christmas tree in the lower left part of the photo. A dead Christmas tree looks like a deciduous tree in autumn! Here's the tree up close:

Saturday, February 14, 2009


This is a blog of photos and related exaltation of undeveloped urban lands.