Habitat Gone...Just LIke That

I awoke to a rumbling on Monday. It was heavy equipment, off in the distance. Must be freeway work I thought. Yet, when I drove down the freeway there were no signs of construction or heavy equipment.

Again, yesterday, I heard the rumbling, but did not pursue further. This morning, when I got up, I looked out the back window and some giant piece of equipment loomed high into the air spewing forth wood chips. A mountain of wood chips.

The holly orchard (top of picture left) was being obliterated. I knew the land had been owned by a 90+ year old gent, whose kids lived somewhere in Washington State. I knew the Nature Conservancy had tried to talk the old man into bequeathing this parcel to them. It was one of the largest, undeveloped areas in my County surrounded as it were by developments.

The area has been home to coyotes, raccoons, hawks, deer, owls, squirrels and experimenting teenagers. In addition, it has been a longtime habitat to an enormous flock of Vaux’s Swifts (every bit the equal or superior to the Chapman Grade School Chimney flock). Now that habitat was leveled in two days with the biggest chippers I have ever laid eyes upon (like semi trailer sized). There now stands a giant pile of chips and a mound of trees yet to be chipped.

I don’t know if the family sold the property or what the intent is for the property now that it has been leveled. I can guess. More houses or apartments in an already overly developed area with little infrastructure to handle the traffic.

I don’t challenge private property rights to level some trees. But, the plans, if they exist, to build a bunch of ‘affordable’ housing has already degraded the area.  More to follow?

Update 7/28/11: A City Park. Land donated by old timer. Nice, better than homes. But, there is a park not 100 yards away. The street is at least partially occupied by the type that don’t move out of the way as you drive up. You know, on their sorry ass terms. The picnic benches are occupied by saggy pants thugs who sit atop the bench and put their feet on the seats. I don’t see many families except early in the day near the small play ground. Moms come early while the players sleep. So another park. Hmmm, ‘community’ (love that damn word) hearings are being held in a week. Sounds like with the rapidity with which the land is being cleared they already have their plan. Public input? Seeing as how I seldom see a cruiser at the park a block away, not much to say except roust the MFer’s. Keep them moving. Introduce yourself blue suit. Keep them moving like the Swifts and Coyotes.

Habitat Gone. The future of the land is unknown, but suspected. The picture is not very inspiring...just a scraped piece of land now. SwittersB

Maybe the critters have headed South toward the tall trees and the freeway beyond. My point to post this simply to note the loss of  a buffer zone, a natural area (granted a man made holly orchard) has disappeared. We always read about these disappearing wild areas. Here’s one in my own backyard. Neighbor tells me those Swifts had roosted in that orchard for over 25 years. Guess they roosted someplace else before the orchard. 

Rural America Declines