Sky River

Wind gusts toppled porta-potty in Dog Park

Walking through a storm can be great fun, if it isn’t too ferocious a blow. Our Sunday atmospheric river had some gusts in excess of 20 mph. That wasn’t enough to blow me into the water but it sufficed to topple the porta-potty at the edge of the Off Leash Dog Area. That took me back to December 2014 when a heavier wind knocked over both of the plastic poop-palaces on the south side of the park. See “Trees, Toilets Take Wind Hits at Park” Dec. 30 2014.) Instead of replacing these supposed-to-be temporary facilities with real bathrooms made of stone, which could have been done very cheaply, the Parks administration put the boxes back up and surrounded them with a wooden shield. Parks loves to pay the monthly rent and service fees on these disgusting facilities. See background. But I digress.

The main reason I went out there was to check for Burrowing Owls. I used to think you’d never see a Burrowing Owl in the rain because of course they’d pop into one of the burrows and stay dry. In the spring of 2019 I learned that the owls love to be out in the rain. One of the regular owls never perched in so high and totally exposed a spot as it did during a big downpour. The other regular stayed where it usually perched and just let the rain slide off its feathers. (See “The Owls Came Back,” August 10 2019.) However, today I saw no owls. What I saw in the way of bird life was about 100 scaup and maybe six big grebes in the North Basin, plus a sparrow or two flitting quickly across the path and into the shelter of a coyote bush. I had my little camera in a plastic bag and what with wind and rain and the blocked autofocus light and rainblots on my glasses, my camera work was nothing to write home about. The very best image that came out of my adventure was this cellphone shot straight down at the ground. Tiny green critters showing their glossy faces, loving the river in the sky that’s giving them life. Soon the park will be green again.

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