Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kestrel activity

Today one of the kestrels from box #1 was seen driving a hawk off which had been sitting on top of the box. The kestrel pursued it as far as the river and then returned to take up vigil on a telephone wire nearby.

Friday, February 20, 2015

This California Sycamore was planted in 2007

The tree is now approximately 17 feet tall.  Other sycamore seedlings were planted 2007-2008 and were handwatered with kitty litter jugs or water from a small trailer tank until 1-1.5 years ago.  They are now on their own.  The river is a quarter of a mile away.

1992 and 2002 views of the river below the Bluffs

1992 : the riparian forest along the river is a thin strip.  This was 40 years after Isabella Dam and vegetation dependent on seasonal flooding were hard hit.  However, some trees with good tap roots survived, e.g. cottonwoods when the water table was 30 feet down.

2002:  The Kern River Corridor Endowment had purchased this land in the late 1990s from ARCO but no significant revegetation efforts had yet begun as of 2002.  Owning the land was the important thing;  the Endowment was formed on the principle that this area would never be developed.  The in-holding now known as River Ranches (the square in the upper right) was not part of ARCO's property and so not part of the Endowment's purchase;  however, the formation of the Endowment and establishment of the preserve predates development of River Ranches.

1956 view of River below the Bluffs

This is 3 years after Isabella Dam's construction.  Vegetation is shrinking in areas near the river.

1937 River and Canals


By 1937, agricultural and dairy activities had moved into an area along the Beardsley Canal;  farmers reached their property by driving along the canal.  The riparian forest is noticeably less dense than it was in 1910, but the farms were in an area that had not been densely vegetated.

1910 Kern River from the Bluffs Looking West

This very early view of the Kern Island Canal (on the left), the river (middle) and the oilfield (right) shows the thickness of the riparian forest shortly after the turn of the century. 

(This is a detail from a panoramic view of the Kern River Oilfield in the digital photographic collection from the Library of Congress.)