osprey eye

Look who (what) joined us for Christmas? We call it “Ozzie”. Some of you may have guessed at how we got a picture in a previous post, but only one person two of you asked. Yes, the new toy is a drone and Eric is in the process of figuring it out. It’s complicated! Needless to say we are having an utter blast with it! You may note the watermark when it indicates that Ozzie’s eye has provided the scene (in case you can’t tell just by looking).

Rogue-Siskiyou-3Flying at about 400 ft looking east toward the National Forest. Off in the direction of the wildfire we had last summer.

Rogue-Siskiyou-2-4This time of year, the sun comes up and hits that mist flowing up the valleys. A scene I can’t help but get lost in.

Rogue-Siskiyou-2-2Looking west toward the ocean from up our canyon. With a bit of patience (a quality I need to work on for 2018) and a clear day, perhaps we’ll see the ocean.

Rogue-Siskiyou-2The view more or less southward. See the lovely clearcuts? We are pretty much surrounded by tree farms…

Rogue-Siskiyou-0001 …until you head up the road along the creek and eventually end up in the Siskiyou National Forest.
Rogue-Siskiyou-2-3The bridge over the Rogue River just before it goes out to sea. Keep in mind that these are early attempts and we’re still figuring out settings.

Rogue-Siskiyou-A few days later, we’re getting the hang of it a bit better. This is Ozzie’s version of the area from the previous post taken with my camera. Wondering if perhaps we can catch the Super Moon. (Too late now. The weather hasn’t cooperated at all.) It’s a thrill to get to know the neighborhood from on high.

 

I try to keep it light on politics here, but today I received an email from a local politician with the following image referring to the wildfires I’ve mentioned previously:

fakenews

What’s wrong with this picture? I mentioned in the previous post that there’s some pretty hot talk about the aftermath of the wildfire which burned 7 homes, but no lives were lost. To me, the above provides a clear example of the sort of cognitive bias we see so much of today. There is no middle ground any more. The current issue is about salvage logging.

regeneration Some seem to think that we should just cut all the trees to prevent wildfires. What a concept! I didn’t exactly move here to gaze out at clearcuts all around. Seems there ought to be some middle ground here.

I found the above shot taken by our Public Radio News. It was taken at the recent burn area we couldn’t get into. It seems as though regeneration has already started. Yes, we all use wood products, but there are untold acres/miles of tree farms, or plantations as some call them.  It seems that the folks wanting to cut all the trees down feel justified because logging was once the major industry here. It’s far too easy to see this fire as an excuse to invade the few remaining wild places left in order to try to revive this crippled industry. They don’t seem to grasp that most of those logging jobs are gone because of the monster machines both in the woods and the sawmills, not to mention all the logs being shipped overseas. One machine replaces a dozen jobs out in the woods or the sawmills. Those machines also make it far more difficult for a forest to recover.  Salvage logging is exactly the wrong way to heal a post-fire landscape since it can often cause erosion that slides into rivers and damages fish habitat and water quality. Once the trees are gone, there’s not much left. It can be difficult, if not impossible for a forest to recover from the intense activity of a logging or salvage operation.

The folks wanting to do the salvage logging overlook tourism and fishing which drives the local economy these days. To quote Dellasala, Chief Scientist at the non-profit Geos Institute in Ashland (link to the full article):

“Fire doesn’t destroy ecosystems. It rejuvenates them,” he says. “It’s Nature’s phoenix, and ecosystems will literally rise from the ashes soon after the burn.”

“That [salvage logging] takes out the big live and dead trees that are essential to re-booting that ecosystem, damages soil, sends sediment into streams, killing off salmon spawning beds from the extensive road network,” he says, “That’s the real catastrophe. It’s not the forest fire.”

End of rant….

We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden: Or, Life in the Woods

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21 thoughts on “osprey eye

  1. Beautiful photography, despite the forest farms and clearcuts. It’s disturbing how often public safety (amongst many other excuses) is used to allow the destruction of forests. You also make a very good point about the difference between logging and wildfires with some points I hadn’t considered before. Thank you.

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    • It’s jolly good fun… the drone, not the rant so much! I’m a bit envious, too. I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet (actually fly it, that is!) The video and still shots Eric is coming back with are wonderful.

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  2. Ozzie’s images are heartbreakingly beautiful…and the later ones are just heartbreaking. I’ve heard the idea floated around that cutting down the trees would stop the fires. I’ve also heard it said that California would have enough water if it weren’t for the darned trees!!!!! It baffles me how people could be so uninformed. Haven’t they any intuitive sense at all??? When I was a little girl the redwood forest surrounded my little community was selectively harvested, leaving a healthy forest. Now, of course, the entire forest I played in is gone, paved over and, literally , turned into a parking lot. I”m glad I didn’t live there long enough to have to watch that happen. It sounds like there are at least some right-minded people in your area, willing to speak up for the trees. Long may the forests surrounding you stand.

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  3. The drone photos are fabulous! We had a drone until it got caught by the wind and disappeared 😦 You must have a powerful one to go up so high and not cut contact. We have wild fires all the time and the land recovers very quickly — here’s to the salvage loggers not getting their way over your beautiful land.

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    • Oh my! Losing the drone doesn’t bear thinking about. Eric has already flown it into fir branches (TWICE!), but so far it’s only produced minor scratches. He will be in deep doo-doo if he wrecks it! 😦 Like so much (too much) else, it seems to be all about the money and greed. We have folks fighting to preserve what’s left, but given the current administration, it’s an uphill struggle.

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    • It’s an incredible toy. The camera could use some upgrade (strictly beyond our budget), but the ability to see the way a bird does is pretty thrilling! As for anxiety over losing it… that’s not the only hazard. Eric decided to try flying it into a grove of very tall fir trees- intentionally! He got a bit close to a trunk and started to back out (as you would in a car) but it turned out he was flying blind (the camera only points forward – while the drone can swing in any direction). That’s when he flew into a branch. Luckily it didn’t do any damage except for a minor scratch somewhere(?)

      Then I worry about drowning it while flying over water. I also worry about learning to fly it myself. It’s pretty sophisticated, but also complex. Eric has a great sense of orientation that I don’t… well except for that brush with the branch. 😀

      One cool thing was being able to fly closer to some buffleheads in the river and it didn’t seem to faze them a bit. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there’s no zoom lens (or maybe it’s just optical). Still… it’s pretty mind blowing to even dream of having something like this. Pretty amazing.

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  4. Your first attempts with the drone are very good indeed, but I do appreciate that you might want more practice. I know what it’s like when you have a new toy.

    I can’t comment on other countries because I don’t know the natural habitat and seasonal cycles, but…….

    Bushfires in my country of Australia were used by the Aborigines thousands of years ago as a natural way of clearing out dead trees or diseased flora and fauna. Many of our tree seed pods only open in the intense heat of a fire and by not allowing the natural cycle to occur, many trees/forests aren’t being regenerated and diseased wild animals are infecting healthy animals and over-population is also competing with farmers crops. There now needs to be humane culling of the diseased and elderly wildlife to keep numbers from competing with the limited vegetation. Secondly, wildlife are being killed or breed with feral pets that have escaped OR causing farmer’s crops to fail. Diseases are once more leading to extinction of some species. It’s only the work of wild life reserves and zoos etc that ensure near extinction doesn’t occur.

    I say let the natural cycle of sun, fire, rain and storms exist.

    Clearing burned out areas stops natural regeneration and the killing off of natural predators and food stocks causing wild species to die out, OR in some cases, plague proportions of non-indigenous species to occur.

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    • Thanks, Vicki. Part of the joy is in the learning (as long as we don’t get frustrated!)

      You and I are in agreement about the need to let nature do what it does. On the other hand, I can certainly sympathize with the angst that must occur if you watch your home burn down. I would dearly love to protect the swiftly disappearing wild places on our planet, but those in power don’t seem to have the same sentiments.

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  5. First, Gunta, I really like the photos you are taking with your drone. Looks like home to me. 🙂 Second, I am complete agreement on logging. There is more employment than ever in our section of Southern Oregon, but that doesn’t stop the logging interests from using the fires to justify their desire to clear-cut large sections of the forest, all in the name of protecting us from forest fire, of course. Most of the fires we had this year were very heathy fires, clearing out undergrowth and creating a healthier forest. Thanks for your comment. –Curt

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    • Thanks, Curt! The drone is sheer joy. I’m simply itching to get my hands on the controls, but ambivalent about dealing with the learning curve! Patience has never been my strong suit. Don’t we just live in heaven on earth right here?

      As for the salvage logging issue… it sickens me that we (as a species) seem intent on laying waste to every living thing on this planet. At the same time I realize that my fun (travel, drones, computers, cameras) inevitably adds to the trend. Talk about some major ambivalence!
      And thank you for the comment!

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      • It isn’t don’t log, so much, as it is log wisely. It’s the constant maximizing of profit to the detriment of everything else that gets us into so much trouble. Greed, Inc.
        As Pogo once noted, we are all part of the problem. 🙂 But modern technology is also bringing us wind and solar power plus vehicles that get incredible mileage. It also means we can work from home and telecommute for thousands of miles without having to fly. Plusses and minuses!
        One of our grandkids got a drone for Christmas. And I have the same itchy fingers that you do. 🙂 Mine would need to be crash proof. –Curt

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        • Yeah, it truly does seem to be all about maximizing profit. The- I’ve got mine and you can’t have ANY -syndrome! Sad to see us revert to the Robber Baron way of doing things again. On the other hand, I’ve been reading an interesting book: “Eco Barons” by Edward Humes about folks who are going about the business of doing what they can to offset the damage. Sadly it’s a bit outdated (published in 2009) so I’m not sure what has been cut off at the knees by the current culture of greed. Some of the stuff covered I’m at least marginally aware of, but didn’t realize the amazing things that Doug Tompkins was doing in Patagonia and elsewhere. Knew about the EV1 being sabotaged by our auto industry. I’d already seen a documentary about that one. Then there’s Galvin and Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity; the Burt’s Bees lady restoring the Maine Woods; Andy Frank designing great plugin cars; and on and on. It’s an uplifting read, with the bittersweet flavor of what we could currently be losing. It sure beats getting sucked into the current ‘fake news’!

          Eric has already crashed into some branches with the drone and it survived. He did learn that backing the drone out of a stand of trees is not a good idea with the camera facing forward. 😉

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          • Last but not least… like backing down your driveway without looking. 🙂
            We’ve made incredible progress over the years, Gunta, on both the human rights and environmental front. I headed up my first environmental organization in 1970 and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since… and it’s cleaner! 🙂 It’s just so damn frustrating to have to fight all of the way and then take three steps forward and one (or two steps) back, especially when so much is at stake. –Curt

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