Solstice Happening

The sun is close to setting over the gathering at the 2022 Winter Solstice Celebration. Guest speaker Alan Gould in blue jacket, right.

Sunset on the Winter Solstice brought out about three dozen friends of nature to the Chavez/Huerta Solar Calendar in the park yesterday. Alan Gould of the Lawrence Hall of Science gave an informative and humorous talk and answered questions from participants about this astronomical event that is key to the change of seasons on this tilting earth. Santiago Casal, founder and curator of the Solar Calendar, was in attendance. Stones on the calendar installation mark the location where the sun sets at each of the Solstices and on the Equinox dates. The weather was cool and dry. The sun fought its way through several layers of low clouds before setting in a fog bank over the Pacific.

When Will City Fix It?

Gap in seawall, at least ten years old, lets 7.1 tide flood pedestrian/bike walkway along Marina Boulevard

The tide reached 7.1 feet at 10 this morning, and will hit 7.2 at 11 tomorrow and again close to noon on Saturday. These are “King Tides,” and they happen with scheduled regularity, no mystery about it. For at least ten years, there has been a gap, only about six feet wide, in the seawall along Marina Boulevard opposite the hotel. Through that gap comes enough salt water to flood the full width of the pedestrian/bicycle walkway. Every year. This morning I talked to a couple of construction workers sitting in a contractor’s truck along the street, where a crew looked like they were repaving the newly paved Marina Boulevard stretch near the corner. Looked totally unnecessary to me, but what do I know. The worker nearest the window said “I’d be happy to plug that gap if they told me to. But I don’t give the orders around here.” Understood. I don’t know whether the Public Works Director or the Parks Director can give the order to plug that gap. But certainly the City Manager can. Does the City gave a hoot whether the pathway gets flooded with salt water every year? Evidently not.

Burrowing Owl Update

The Burrowing Owl this morning remained for the second day in Perch A, in the cover of the dried California Poppy bush in the rocky eastern slope of the Burrowing Owl Sanctuary, out of park visitors’ sight. Once again I set up my 6000 mm lens on the Open Circle Viewpoint, turned on the video, and stepped away, letting the camera run unattended for 29 minutes. When I got home I found out what the owl had been doing. Nothing special! Unlike yesterday, the bird stayed in the same spot on the same foot, looked left and right and rarely upward, and took no evasive actions. Here’s a one-minute sample, fairly representative of the whole segment.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Dec. 22 2022

Do you want to keep track of where the owl has perched since its arrival? Here’s the spreadsheet.

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2 thoughts on “Solstice Happening

  • Pingback: Park Week 3/24

  • I request a repeat of the wonderful wingspread picture of a few days ago.

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