Posts Tagged ‘big sur’

Morgana Matus

One of the perks of being the caretaker of the Bambu Batu blog is that I, Morgana Matus, can engage in a little shameless self-promotion from time to time. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I have started a photoblog over at that will be a chronicle of my past adventures, explore visual culture, and be a repository for terrible puns. In the coming months, I will be posting images taken in Norway, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and San Luis Obispo. You can expect tales from trekking in the frozen north, slogging through the jungles of Central America, and fooling around in clown college.

So, next time you are surfing the web, stop on by! And I promise, no more shameless self-promotion. That name again, Morgana Matus.

Jayson Fann Spirit Nest

There are times when all you want to do is shed the trappings of a modern life and head for the trees. Californian artist Jayson Fann understands the desire to reconnect with nature in a direct and meaningful manner. Through his Spirit Nests, the artist constructs giant structures inspired by birds. Using local sustainably-harvested woods, each dwelling is completely unique to its location. He begins construction by finding the wood on site, and strips the branches of leaves and twigs, scattering them to reduce the risk of fire. Fann then fits each piece of wood into spiraled pattern, using the tension of the configuration and counter sunk screws to hold the composition together. To support the nest, he builds a base that is capable of supporting a 2,000 lb load.

Fann has created nests for a variety of places throughout the state, including the famous Esalen Institute and Treebones Resort in Big Sur. In addition to his installation work, he also runs the cross-cultural arts organization, Big Sur Spirit Garden. Located between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the facility offers arts education courses, training, and booking for special events. It boasts three outdoor stages, sculptures, murals, tropical gardens, and of course, the famous Spirit Nests. Hoping to foster understanding, creativity, and connection through the arts, the Big Sur Spirit Garden and its unique projects embody the energy and vitality of the region.

Nestled into the Santa Lucia Mountains of the Los Padres National Forest sits the Hi Mountain Condor Lookout, a fully restored fire tower, research facility, and tracking station.  Sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Morro Coast Audubon Society, US Forest ServiceCal Poly San Luis Obispo, and the Ventana Wildlife Society, Hi Mountain is right in the middle of prime habitat for the endangered California condor and the peregrine falcon.  In addition to observing these magnificent birds, the organization offers internships for biology students and public outreach programs throughout the year.

It is no mystery why people flock to Hi Mountain.  Aside from the stunning views atop their 3198 foot perch, the Lookout offers the opportunity to glimpse the majestic California condor, a bird with an impressive 9.8 foot wingspan and weight of nearly 30 pounds.  With jet black feathers contrasted with white patches on the underside of its wings, and reddish-orange bald heads, these scavengers are certainly a noteworthy sight in the skies over Big Sur.  While these birds can live up to 60 years, their mere existence has been in peril over the last century.  Due to poaching, habitat destruction, and lead poisoning, their numbers dwindled to only 22 in 1987.  Facing extinction, the US Government captured the remaining wild individuals in order to create a critical captive breeding program led by the San Diego and Los Angeles Zoos.  As of last year, there were 310 condors known to be living, with 210 of them having been reintroduced to their native ecosystems.

Join the Hi Mountain Lookout crew this Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19th, and Sunday, May 20th for a weekend remembering a remarkable man.  The Mike Tyner Memorial Event begins at 5:30 on Friday evening for a potluck and owl observation.  Continuing into Saturday, the gathering will feature opportunities to share memories of Mike, conduct repairs on the station, hiking tours, birding, and potluck. A condor biologist, naturalist, and Hi Mountain intern, Mike will be sorely missed by his friends and family.  To make a tax deductible donation to his Memorial Internship Fund, send contributions by mail to the Morro Coast Audubon Society, PO Box 1507, Morro Bay, CA 93443 or online.

For questions and details, contact Steve Schubert at (805) 628 6138, Francis Villablanca at (805) 748-1014, Marcelle at (806) 927-1017, or Joel Weiss at (805) 801-6236.

Have any condor sightings?  There has been a recent report of one over Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a spectacle that has not been glimpsed for over 40 years!