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updated: Mar 17, 2011, 9:08 PM
By Dedicated Staff
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If you take a walk out to the beach at Sands, the wind-swept beach below Coal Oil Point, this round tile roofed roundhouse is the last structure you see before you pass through a chain link fence and into plover territory.
The threatened dune-residing birds are on the beach just below this well-preserved structure, which looks like it may have been an aviary along time ago. It's protected by a fence and obviously of historic value. Could it date to the days of Colin Campbell, British lord and impressionist artist who settled on the windy point and established it as a guest ranch? The bathhouse just below the cliff on the Devereaux side of the beach, ravaged by years of graffiti, was the estate's bathhouse. (Source: Snowy Plover Docent manual.)
Artists still make forays to the Coal Oil Point Reserve to paint beautiful images of the dunes and ocean beyond. Wild birds are among their subjects. The reserve's website says it's mission of restoration "is the return of an ecosystem to its natural conditions prior to European disturbance." There's some irony there, considering Campbell's background.
The only residents of the point now are visiting scientists, UCSB preservationists and passing hikers, surfers and plover docents, who protect the birds' habitat and breeding ground. The roundhouse, meanwhile, watches silently, a sentinel from days gone by. If you know more about its past uses and history, please share in the comments section.
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