Staying Close to Home
By Chuck Graham   |   September 14, 2021

As my leg dangled off my kayak and into the ocean, I waited to see how curious this adult harbor seal really was. It had been circling the flotilla of kayaks, displaying curiosity mostly seen from their pups. Suddenly, the adult approached. It decided to use my heel for a scratch post. Back and forth […]

Rattlesnakes Rearing Their Heads; SBWCN Has Some Tips
By Nick Masuda   |   July 1, 2021

It wasn’t a message that any neighbor wants to see on the NextDoor app: “Rattlesnakes Galore. We found FOUR RATTLESNAKES on our property TODAY! My nerves are shot!!! Also saw a bear last week. It’s a jungle out there, neighbors. Please keep a watchful eye out everywhere you step and be really careful with your […]

 

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More from Montecito

Spotted but Nary a Spotting
By Chuck Graham   |   June 3, 2021

The reflection from my headlamp glistened off the wet of its black button snout as we gazed into each other’s eyes under a star-filled night.  I felt the thumps on my picnic table that doubled as my bed at around 2 am on a windswept Santa Rosa Island. I had slept soundly until then, lulled […]

Worth Saving: Wetlands at Ormond Beach Need Our Love
By Chuck Graham   |   April 15, 2021

The perpetual northwest winds were up, grooming the exposed foredunes of a windswept Ormond Beach in southern Oxnard. The well-manicured dunes constantly shifted with the winds, buffering a sliver of coastal wetland still hanging on in Southern California. The wetlands at Ormond Beach are one of the last remaining coastal wetlands in the entire state. […]

Flash of Blue
By Chuck Graham   |   April 8, 2021

From my kayak I could hear the distinctly harsh shek-shek-shek of the island scrub jay, a songbird that has the smallest range of any bird in North America. As I paddled west along the tranquil northerly shore of Santa Cruz Island, my periphery caught a flash of blue through my 300mm lens streaking through a […]

The Beat Goes On
By Chuck Graham   |   February 25, 2021

Resting easy in my tent, headlamp burning bright, I was putting pen to paper when I heard giant kangaroo rats (GKRs) communicating with one another throughout a star-filled night. From one grassland burrow to the next, the drum of their oversized feet tapped the ground at a feverish pace, sending a message to other GKRs […]

High Plains Paddling
By Chuck Graham   |   December 10, 2020

The stoic gentleman at the Mono Lake visitor center studied me like a deputy sheriff during a roadside sobriety test. “You can die out there,” he said deadpan. “Folks paddle out there and they don’t come back. The winds come from out of nowhere and catch people off guard.” I did my damnedest to convince […]

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Bears of the Sea
By Chuck Graham   |   December 3, 2020

I’d never been so popular before, as dozens of northern fur seal pups surrounded me while mugging my kayak with demonstrative splashes and harmless bumps into my boat in the dense kelp forests of Adams Cove on the western fringe of San Miguel Island. It was quite possible that these raucous eared fur seals – […]

Speed Thrills: Chronicles from the fastest land mammal in North America
By Chuck Graham   |   November 5, 2020

I almost lost them in the densely vibrant fields of hillside daisies within the Carrizo Plain National Monument. They were about a half-mile west of where I stood, my Canon 300mm IS lens aimed in their direction. I was hoping for them to meander my way, but with wildlife you never know. They have their […]

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Mind and Body in Sync, While You Walk
By Michelle Ebbin   |   September 3, 2020

After nearly 16 years living in Montecito, not a day goes by when I don’t think how lucky we are to live in such a special place. Since quarantine and now as my kids have started three different schools online from their bedrooms, never have I been more appreciative of our precious beaches where I […]

Giving a Hoot
By Gretchen Lieff   |   August 13, 2020

Owls have long lived in my most favorite category. Their stoic demeanor. Their wisdom. The intensity of the screech owl’s screech, the trills and lonely melodic resonance of the great horned owl’s “hoot hoots,” and the barn owl’s hissing rasp. Twice this week the California Highway Patrol rescued owls hit by a car along Highway […]

Staying Grounded, When Everything is Up in the Air
By Ann Brode   |   August 13, 2020

A bit of uncertainty can be exciting. A script with a surprise ending has intrigue. Embracing the unknown is part of the artistic process. But when the reliable routines of everyday life have been scrambled, it’s a whole different story. Negotiating the new normal of social distancing, working at home, and Zoom classrooms has challenged […]

A Memorial Day Swim
By Irene Russo   |   August 13, 2020

The Ocean Renegades at the Miramar Things Fall Apart; the center cannot holdMere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywherethe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction while the worstare full of passionate intensity. WB Yeats Miramar oh Miramar, you are an icon of beauty, a tribute to […]

Bandit, Ann, and Abe
By Gretchen Lieff   |   August 6, 2020

When you’ve been quarantined for weeks and a tree falls on your house, at least you’ve got your friends, and your dog Ferocious winds tore through Montecito that night, leaving a wake of damage and power outages. Forecasters blamed a strengthening ridge of high pressure and weak offshore gradients for producing the scary and destructive […]

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