Lake Cachuma

15 Feb

DSC08226Lake Cachuma is low this year, 52 feet below the high water mark the Sunday that we were there. The boardwalk/pontoon dock in the picture was extended the week before we came to the lake. Only this made it possible to reach the dropping waterline and dock the boats on the lake.

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DSC08237We came to the lake with our friends, Dede and Jon, to take the “Eagle Cruise.” It is relatively rare but you can spot eagles flying near the shoreline, nesting and hunting. We also saw rock wren, pelicans, cormorants, mallard ducks, coots and egrets while motoring the lake.

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DSC08231We were surprised by UCSB crew practicing on this, the nearest inland lake to their Isla Vista campus. From Santa Barbara, Lake Cachuma is just over the Santa Ynez mountains and through the Los Padres Forest. The lake is an entryway to the Santa Ynez Valley, bucolic horse and wine country.

DSC08268Our ranger guide, Liz, added enormously to the birding experience. Her expertise helped us spot what we might never have seen otherwise. She told us that the drought and the low lake level were actually conducive to seeing more birds this year. We were very lucky and spotted two eagles and an eagle nest on this trip.

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We had the good fortune to meet Ken at the boat dock. He runs the Lake Cachuma concession stand and is full of lore about the lake. Also, he has hand-fed a pair of scrub jays daily for a couple of years. Dede wanted to try her “grubby” hand at this and Dana caught this picture of her success.

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2 Responses to “Lake Cachuma”

  1. Paul Mabarrack February 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    Love your pics, and your narrative.

    • Jill February 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Thank you Paul. As you have been having unusually high temperatures in Australia, so California is having a 3-year (so far) drought. The lakes, trees and plants are showing the stress though it is still a Mediterranean climate and beautiful nonetheless…like Adelaide.

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