Feathers in Flight


Have you ever seen a California condor up close and personal? Well, come to Ventana Wildlife Society’s Feathers in Flight event on Saturday, September 7, 2013 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM at Rancho Grande in Big Sur and meet “Dolly” a young condor from the Los Angeles Zoo making her first appearance in central California. This is the first time a live condor will be on public display at a private event such as this one. This is truly so unique that it is actually hard to believe. But it’s true! Tickets are $75 per person and ages 12 and under attend free. Call Cathy Hamilton at 831-455-9514 or send her an email at cathyhamilton@ventanawsorg to sign up. All proceeds directly benefit California condor recovery Big Sur.
You can also signup online here http://ventanaws.org/events/


Condor Project

The Big Sur Grange and Big Sur Historical Society co-host and the Ventana Wildlife Society Presents

THE CONDOR PROJECT-Past, Present, Future
Thursday, April 4th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Big Sur Grange

Please join us for a fascinating presentation by Joe Burnett,
Big Sur Condor Project Coordinator. Program to start at 6:30.

Soup, salad, bread and a small dessert will be furnished starting at 6:00

Donations accepted and appreciated

RSVP 831-667-2956 no later than April 2nd.

Thank you and I apologize for this being so late.

Dave Smiley

Condor Photos by Dave Fauset

Dave Fauset has been working for Winsor on the highway at Partington Ridge. The other day, while working the Highway, he had the wonderful opportunity to see and photograph our Condors.




Thanks for sharing your photographs, and enjoy your home away from home while you are here!

Condor Photos by Dan

Here are some photos that Dan sent he a few days ago. To all the Father’s out there … HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!


The amazing thing about this second photograph is the narrow depth of field, as evidenced by the wing tips, and yet how focused is the eye. Great job, Dan! Thank you!

Wind, Road Conditions, and Mike Tyner

UPDATE: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. should be officially open in the morning, and the county is planning on keeping an eye on it to make sure it remains clear. Telephones in South County were not working, so it took a while to get the evening update. Unless you must get through it, it would be advisable to wait until daylight hours.

County Roads is working Nacimiento RD from east to west to clear it, be there around noon. Will work toward the coast. County will give me an update sometime after 5 pm on conditions. Here is their website, but it is also listed in the winter links provided to the right: County Roads

One VWS biologist, Mike Tyner, was killed when a tree fell on him during the high winds of Wednesday, 11/30/11.

From Ventana Wildlife Society:

“Mike Tyner was a wildlife biologist who dedicated the last six of his nine years working for Ventana Wildlife Society, to save California Condors in Big Sur, CA. He was truly an exceptional individual who served as the field supervisor for Ventana Wildlife Society’s condor recovery program. Tragically, during high winds that we received in Big Sur on November 30, a tree toppled causing his death. This loss is catastrophic, heartbreaking, and painful. As our staff mourns the passing of a remarkable friend, our hearts go out to his family. Mike will be greatly missed!” – Kelly Sorenson, VWS Executive Director and VWS Staff

Mike Tyner and Condor

A friend’s house suffered structural damage when a tree fell on her roof.

Storm damage by Debbie Reed

Power has been out to Big Sur Valley for some time, and my appt to get my Commander serviced was canceled, as they had no power, either!


Get prepared and find some good savings on portable generators for the next power outage.

New Fire, Soledad – Gloria Fire

This one is not looking too good tonight, as I turn off power to conserve. Will check in at first light, as it looks to be quite active tonight. BE SAFE everyone!

Notes from wildlandfire:
“Just got back to my house at Paraiso Vineyards. Been sitting at office since 1600PDT. That fire ripped for awhile. Around the time power went down the fire activity was extreme in Bryant Canyon. The flames were shooting 60 feet or more in cyclonic flames. When the Fire Got into Bryant it started spotting 1/8 mile or more as it went from north side to south side of Canyon in what seemed like 10min. The DC10 finally made it to fire at 20:20 dropping from the North origin point running South on East side of fire. Watching them drop with Lead Plane as they both ran their full lights was weird. After the run was over The AA told them the drop was very effective for how dark it was getting got some pics along with 248 other images of the fire. The fire is still spotting as I write this and very active. AS the fire hit Highway 146 they started Backfiring trying to stop it SW flank. Also they might have lost 2 or more structures during the fire. Nothing confirmed. When power was lost it went out from Greenfield North to the Hollister AB which was shut down after that because they had no power.”

This was taken by Kelly O’Brien of KUSP from Jamesburg at the top of Laureles Grade, shortly after the helicopter went down.
Gloria Fire, Laureles Grade

9:00 pm update – 2500 acres and 0% containment, per CalFire.
Total Fire Personnel: 185
Engines: 21
Fire crews: 6
Dozers: 8
Water tenders: 4
Conditions: Hwy 146 East is being closed.
The fire is threatening the 270K Transmission Lines that provide power to Northern San Luis County.

8:30 pm update – probably will not get the photos tonight, the power lines have been shut off. One report has the fire getting close to the top of the hill toward the Highway 25, Hollister side. It sounds extremely active.

8:00 pm update – 100 homes threatened. Evacuations under way. KSBW is reporting 2000 acres as of 7 pm tonight. Also power out for many areas.

7:00 pm update – “helo hit highpower lines. fire restart at start of fire.” From scanner traffic: “Copter 404 has struck power lines (which have not come down) and had to make an emergency landing near the fire….they are now conducting a firing operation to protect the chopper. It also sounds like the fire is really running good right now.”

6:30 pm update – 500 acres 0% contained, per CalFire.

6:00 pm update – Just got a call from my girlfriend, Cheryl Harris. It is about 5 miles from the ranch in Gonzalez, and is pretty incredible. She is on her way home, and will send photos when she gets there. She says she is not worried, as the cows have eaten every blade of grass on the ranch. Can’t wait to see what she sends me!

“Sounds like they may order up VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker), threat to major high voltage powerlines.” 6 tankers already ordered up, at least one helicopter. Those familiar with the Salinas Valley know that winds every afternoon are present.

5:00 pm – I was trying to correct the photos in my Bryson post, when I got word of a new fire in Soledad. Information sketchy at this point.

“Veg fire, east of Soledad, 75-100 acres Rapid ROS. Fire making run to the east.” Besides the usual distress of this fire, east of Soledad is Pinnacles National Monument, a condor breeding area

From Mike Soe of ksbw:
LaGloria Fire, Soledad

BTW, if searching on the web for this fire, note there is another fire called “Soledad Fire” in LA Co. This one is the LaGloria Fire.