New Year Outings
By Robert Bernstein
Happy New Year!
We did two hikes for New Year. This one at the new UCSB North Campus Reserve with our friends Pali and Raven just before New Year: https://swt.org/hikes/northcampus-pali-raven-2020-1229/
And this one on New Year Day up to Inspiration Point with some Sierra Club friends: https://swt.org/hike-al/inspiration-2021-0101/
One highlight on the North Campus walk was watching this Great Egret up close:
Another highlight on that walk was watching this swarm of insects on the Pond Trail that looked like flying ants. My entomologist friend Kenny Learned kindly identified them as Subterranean Termites. They go through this phase of growing wings after a hard rain. They then head out to try to start new colonies. Mostly they serve as food for insect-eating birds, lizards, frogs and more!
The North Campus Reserve had been the Ocean Meadows Golf Course for decades. UCSB has spent years removing non-native vegetation, moving vast amounts of soil and replanting hundreds of thousands of native seedlings. All designed to restore it to how it was before the golf course. The biggest change is having a lot of water on that land now. Which attracts many birds.
The Pond on the Pond Trail was still fairly dry. It will take some more heavy rains to refill it.
The Pond Trail took us out to the beach where we posed for a photo!
That spot where the trail meets the beach is also the site of the famous "Steel Beam".
Another beach visitor left this editorial comment that many will agree with!
It is always a treat to see a soaring turkey vulture, even if they are fairly common.
We walked awhile on the beach and came up the old oil service road onto the bluffs. Pali and Raven posed on the bluffs.
As noted above, our New Year Day hike ended at Inspiration Point with this spectacular view:
With Arlington Peak behind us:
The big highlight for me was watching the many paragliders and an occasional hang glider soar above us. This is an annual event on New Year Day that is not to be missed!
Here is my video of them:
We hear so many DON'Ts in this time of COVID that it is also good to remember there are plenty of positive DOs!
It is important to stay COVID safe by avoiding gatherings indoors and large outdoor gatherings. But it is just as important to enjoy safely being outdoors! We are very fortunate to live in a place where this is possible!