Guadalupe ag fields - IMPORTANT INFO


Cher Hollingworth
 

I was assigned Jack O'Connell Park & all of Guadalupe  for the SM/Guad CBC.
The manager of the WTP  told me to drive up to the west entrance to do the wastewater treatment plant (he would see the car & open the gate).

I assigned two people to look at the ag fields at the end of the road, but told them to stay on the WTP side of the road.
Later, it was discovered that the farmer/rancher came up to those people with a lot cursing and threatened them.
The person with a camera was threatened with confiscation of that camera.    (So she did not get the photo of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
for the count).   I was told that during the tirade, there was mention of a "skinny dog" and "you are ruining my livelihood".
We were "trespassing on private property" apparently.    They walked back to the park.

I went back there yesterday.    With no workers observed in the area, I had no camera or scope, and my binoculars were hidden inside my jacket.
I slowly walked up to the WTP gate, like I was watched the baby goats, not being a birder.
In no time at all, a tractor came up behind me.   That occupant said that it was a private road that belonged to Willy and I needed to leave now.
And that the City of Guadalupe had no easement to use that road...so it was not the WTP driveway.

Assuming that this is true and not fiction:
Once in a while bird reports come from that area.    I was asked to check it for the SM CBC.   It seems like if there is an eBird Location
for this spot, it needs to be removed from anyone's view;  and no county bird reports about it should be publicized.

Cher Hollingworth 
Lompoc


Jamie Chavez
 

sbcobirders,

It is a long standing issue that this road is private and birders are not welcomed. Years ago I visited the City of Guadalupe offices to inquire about the status of the road since many of us were being chased away after a period of tolerance and was told that the road is indeed private and the City of Guadalupe DID/DOES have an easement to use the road to enter the wastewater treatment facility through the gate located on that side. The pasture has historical birding significance as we all know but consider it closed to the public for birding. This includes the road u to the gate. If the City of Guadalupe wastewater plant operators or manager granted access to their facility then there is nothing the rancher can do to prevent birding from inside the gate but this assumes a request to enter has been arranged and one can drive into the facility through the gate. There is an eBird Hotspot for the pasture that says "restricted access" because things were different decades ago but this really means no birding there without authorization (which will never happen). Birders should be aware of the situation here and limit birding to Jack O'Connell Park and the berm looking into the sewage plant. Do not walk up to the gate under any circumstances.

Jamie M. Chavez
Santa Maria, CA

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

On Monday, January 3rd, 2022 at 3:15 PM, Cher Hollingworth via groups.io <hollingw@...> wrote:
I was assigned Jack O'Connell Park & all of Guadalupe  for the SM/Guad CBC.
The manager of the WTP  told me to drive up to the west entrance to do the wastewater treatment plant (he would see the car & open the gate).

I assigned two people to look at the ag fields at the end of the road, but told them to stay on the WTP side of the road.
Later, it was discovered that the farmer/rancher came up to those people with a lot cursing and threatened them.
The person with a camera was threatened with confiscation of that camera.    (So she did not get the photo of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
for the count).   I was told that during the tirade, there was mention of a "skinny dog" and "you are ruining my livelihood".
We were "trespassing on private property" apparently.    They walked back to the park.

I went back there yesterday.    With no workers observed in the area, I had no camera or scope, and my binoculars were hidden inside my jacket.
I slowly walked up to the WTP gate, like I was watched the baby goats, not being a birder.
In no time at all, a tractor came up behind me.   That occupant said that it was a private road that belonged to Willy and I needed to leave now.
And that the City of Guadalupe had no easement to use that road...so it was not the WTP driveway.

Assuming that this is true and not fiction:
Once in a while bird reports come from that area.    I was asked to check it for the SM CBC.   It seems like if there is an eBird Location
for this spot, it needs to be removed from anyone's view;  and no county bird reports about it should be publicized.

Cher Hollingworth 
Lompoc


--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA


Wes Fritz
 

Hi all,

Cher is mostly right and she just reported what she experienced.

So, way back in the days when it was cool to bird out there. It became a “ Ebird Hotspot” this brought all kinds of birders to this location. We all know that some birders/photographers will go too far and this is what happened.
  Birders cars started blocking the road, some standing in front of the gate blocking their work flow. Trespassing, loitering among other things we do. 
  But, the biggest issue that happened was when some out of town birders showed up and they complained to the authorities that Will had too many dogs and they were barking. So what! He had about 10 dogs that barked, none of our business. But some birders reported this “dog problem”, and now we as locals can not bird our own patch.

Oh, by the way, Santa Maria Sewage is closed to birding too.

Happy New Year and Good birding 

Wes Fritz
805 895 0685
wes-fritz@...
Solvang CA

On Jan 3, 2022, at 3:15 PM, Cher Hollingworth via groups.io <hollingw@...> wrote:


I was assigned Jack O'Connell Park & all of Guadalupe  for the SM/Guad CBC.
The manager of the WTP  told me to drive up to the west entrance to do the wastewater treatment plant (he would see the car & open the gate).

I assigned two people to look at the ag fields at the end of the road, but told them to stay on the WTP side of the road.
Later, it was discovered that the farmer/rancher came up to those people with a lot cursing and threatened them.
The person with a camera was threatened with confiscation of that camera.    (So she did not get the photo of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
for the count).   I was told that during the tirade, there was mention of a "skinny dog" and "you are ruining my livelihood".
We were "trespassing on private property" apparently.    They walked back to the park.

I went back there yesterday.    With no workers observed in the area, I had no camera or scope, and my binoculars were hidden inside my jacket.
I slowly walked up to the WTP gate, like I was watched the baby goats, not being a birder.
In no time at all, a tractor came up behind me.   That occupant said that it was a private road that belonged to Willy and I needed to leave now.
And that the City of Guadalupe had no easement to use that road...so it was not the WTP driveway.

Assuming that this is true and not fiction:
Once in a while bird reports come from that area.    I was asked to check it for the SM CBC.   It seems like if there is an eBird Location
for this spot, it needs to be removed from anyone's view;  and no county bird reports about it should be publicized.

Cher Hollingworth 
Lompoc


Nick Lethaby
 

The farmer there is a total nut job.

Nick Lethaby, Goleta, CA

On Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 5:15 PM Cher Hollingworth via groups.io <hollingw=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:
I was assigned Jack O'Connell Park & all of Guadalupe  for the SM/Guad CBC.
The manager of the WTP  told me to drive up to the west entrance to do the wastewater treatment plant (he would see the car & open the gate).

I assigned two people to look at the ag fields at the end of the road, but told them to stay on the WTP side of the road.
Later, it was discovered that the farmer/rancher came up to those people with a lot cursing and threatened them.
The person with a camera was threatened with confiscation of that camera.    (So she did not get the photo of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
for the count).   I was told that during the tirade, there was mention of a "skinny dog" and "you are ruining my livelihood".
We were "trespassing on private property" apparently.    They walked back to the park.

I went back there yesterday.    With no workers observed in the area, I had no camera or scope, and my binoculars were hidden inside my jacket.
I slowly walked up to the WTP gate, like I was watched the baby goats, not being a birder.
In no time at all, a tractor came up behind me.   That occupant said that it was a private road that belonged to Willy and I needed to leave now.
And that the City of Guadalupe had no easement to use that road...so it was not the WTP driveway.

Assuming that this is true and not fiction:
Once in a while bird reports come from that area.    I was asked to check it for the SM CBC.   It seems like if there is an eBird Location
for this spot, it needs to be removed from anyone's view;  and no county bird reports about it should be publicized.

Cher Hollingworth 
Lompoc


--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA


Florence Sanchez
 

Dear Cher,

I had the unfortunate experience of encountering that same angry individual on my last trip to Jack O'Connell Park several months ago.  I was still on park property when he drove by, saw my scope, stopped and told me very loudly that I hope I realized the "any further was private property"  and I was "NOT allowed to go there."  I told him I had no plans to do so but he continued his tirade before driving off.  As he was a large individual more than twice my weight, I chose not to chance checking the ag fields in the future and have not been back.

Now the question remains, does he really have authority over the entrance road?  I don't think he owns the ag fields, just the cattle fields beyond.  When I have been on the actual agfield road that runs along the north fence separating the fields from the cattle pastures, I've encountered trucks, tractors and various farm personnel without incident.  Most of the individuals have been very friendly.

Whether or not the City of Guadalupe has an easement to use the entrance road is something that should be pursued with the City, as I doubt this person is the final authority.  (I can't for the life of me see any other way to get into the sewage treatment plant.)

But Cher's suggestion that, at least for the time being, this location should be removed as an eBird hot spot and all reports kept from public view, should be implemented.  It's the safest course to follow considering the type of individual we are dealing with.  Jamie's note clarifies the situation but out of town birders may not know the story and the various conditions applying to where one can go and where one cannot.

Florence Sanchez

On Monday, January 3, 2022, 03:15:20 PM PST, Cher Hollingworth via groups.io <hollingw@...> wrote:


I was assigned Jack O'Connell Park & all of Guadalupe  for the SM/Guad CBC.
The manager of the WTP  told me to drive up to the west entrance to do the wastewater treatment plant (he would see the car & open the gate).

I assigned two people to look at the ag fields at the end of the road, but told them to stay on the WTP side of the road.
Later, it was discovered that the farmer/rancher came up to those people with a lot cursing and threatened them.
The person with a camera was threatened with confiscation of that camera.    (So she did not get the photo of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
for the count).   I was told that during the tirade, there was mention of a "skinny dog" and "you are ruining my livelihood".
We were "trespassing on private property" apparently.    They walked back to the park.

I went back there yesterday.    With no workers observed in the area, I had no camera or scope, and my binoculars were hidden inside my jacket.
I slowly walked up to the WTP gate, like I was watched the baby goats, not being a birder.
In no time at all, a tractor came up behind me.   That occupant said that it was a private road that belonged to Willy and I needed to leave now.
And that the City of Guadalupe had no easement to use that road...so it was not the WTP driveway.

Assuming that this is true and not fiction:
Once in a while bird reports come from that area.    I was asked to check it for the SM CBC.   It seems like if there is an eBird Location
for this spot, it needs to be removed from anyone's view;  and no county bird reports about it should be publicized.

Cher Hollingworth 
Lompoc


John Deacon
 

Okay, I'll add my 2-3 cents to this discussion.  I believe that the pasture area, that is such a good birding spot, is where "clean" water from the treatment plant can legally be spread.  So, the spreading area is not part of the WTP.  I believe that the water is sold for some small amount to the farmer.  That is unfortunate because in the old days, this was an awesome birding spot.  

The good news is that the head of the Santa Maria Water Treatment, who was so welcoming there, is now the head of Public Works at Guadalupe.  I believe that there is an alternate entrance into the WTP that we may be able to use in certain circumstances such as CBCs.  There may be a good observation point for the pasture from inside the WTP.  I'll get in touch with Shannon to discuss this approach.  

Regarding the easement, I have some experience with this, not legal, but operational.  Easements are granted for specific purposes.  As such, if we don't have actual WTP business, the farmer is probably within his rights to deny us passage across his land. 

I'll call Shannon next week and find out if we can work out an access plan for the WTP that allows us to avoid confrontations with the farmer.  I'll let the group know what I find out.

John Deacon
iseekbirds@...


-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Lethaby <nlethaby@...>
To: Cher Hollingworth <hollingw@...>
Cc: Sbcobirding <sbcobirding@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jan 3, 2022 3:44 pm
Subject: Re: [sbcobirding] Guadalupe ag fields - IMPORTANT INFO

The farmer there is a total nut job.

Nick Lethaby, Goleta, CA

On Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 5:15 PM Cher Hollingworth via groups.io <hollingw=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:
I was assigned Jack O'Connell Park & all of Guadalupe  for the SM/Guad CBC.
The manager of the WTP  told me to drive up to the west entrance to do the wastewater treatment plant (he would see the car & open the gate).

I assigned two people to look at the ag fields at the end of the road, but told them to stay on the WTP side of the road.
Later, it was discovered that the farmer/rancher came up to those people with a lot cursing and threatened them.
The person with a camera was threatened with confiscation of that camera.    (So she did not get the photo of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
for the count).   I was told that during the tirade, there was mention of a "skinny dog" and "you are ruining my livelihood".
We were "trespassing on private property" apparently.    They walked back to the park.

I went back there yesterday.    With no workers observed in the area, I had no camera or scope, and my binoculars were hidden inside my jacket.
I slowly walked up to the WTP gate, like I was watched the baby goats, not being a birder.
In no time at all, a tractor came up behind me.   That occupant said that it was a private road that belonged to Willy and I needed to leave now.
And that the City of Guadalupe had no easement to use that road...so it was not the WTP driveway.

Assuming that this is true and not fiction:
Once in a while bird reports come from that area.    I was asked to check it for the SM CBC.   It seems like if there is an eBird Location
for this spot, it needs to be removed from anyone's view;  and no county bird reports about it should be publicized.

Cher Hollingworth 
Lompoc

--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

--
John Deacon
Orcutt


Wim van Dam
 

Regarding the status of this location as the eBird hotspot "Guadalupe Pasture (restricted access)"

It's not possible to hide a hotspot, and we should not want to remove this hotspot as that would destroy a lot of data. The qualifier "restricted access" is the right one as it is also used for locations such as those on Vandenberg Spaceforce Base where you can't go birding unless you have explicit permission. As a result I'm keeping the Hotspot as it is. 

Thanks
Wim

On Mon, Jan 3, 2022 at 5:05 PM John Deacon via groups.io <iseekbirds=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:
Okay, I'll add my 2-3 cents to this discussion.  I believe that the pasture area, that is such a good birding spot, is where "clean" water from the treatment plant can legally be spread.  So, the spreading area is not part of the WTP.  I believe that the water is sold for some small amount to the farmer.  That is unfortunate because in the old days, this was an awesome birding spot.  

The good news is that the head of the Santa Maria Water Treatment, who was so welcoming there, is now the head of Public Works at Guadalupe.  I believe that there is an alternate entrance into the WTP that we may be able to use in certain circumstances such as CBCs.  There may be a good observation point for the pasture from inside the WTP.  I'll get in touch with Shannon to discuss this approach.  

Regarding the easement, I have some experience with this, not legal, but operational.  Easements are granted for specific purposes.  As such, if we don't have actual WTP business, the farmer is probably within his rights to deny us passage across his land. 

I'll call Shannon next week and find out if we can work out an access plan for the WTP that allows us to avoid confrontations with the farmer.  I'll let the group know what I find out.

John Deacon


-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Lethaby <nlethaby@...>
To: Cher Hollingworth <hollingw@...>
Cc: Sbcobirding <sbcobirding@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jan 3, 2022 3:44 pm
Subject: Re: [sbcobirding] Guadalupe ag fields - IMPORTANT INFO

The farmer there is a total nut job.

Nick Lethaby, Goleta, CA

On Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 5:15 PM Cher Hollingworth via groups.io <hollingw=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:
I was assigned Jack O'Connell Park & all of Guadalupe  for the SM/Guad CBC.
The manager of the WTP  told me to drive up to the west entrance to do the wastewater treatment plant (he would see the car & open the gate).

I assigned two people to look at the ag fields at the end of the road, but told them to stay on the WTP side of the road.
Later, it was discovered that the farmer/rancher came up to those people with a lot cursing and threatened them.
The person with a camera was threatened with confiscation of that camera.    (So she did not get the photo of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
for the count).   I was told that during the tirade, there was mention of a "skinny dog" and "you are ruining my livelihood".
We were "trespassing on private property" apparently.    They walked back to the park.

I went back there yesterday.    With no workers observed in the area, I had no camera or scope, and my binoculars were hidden inside my jacket.
I slowly walked up to the WTP gate, like I was watched the baby goats, not being a birder.
In no time at all, a tractor came up behind me.   That occupant said that it was a private road that belonged to Willy and I needed to leave now.
And that the City of Guadalupe had no easement to use that road...so it was not the WTP driveway.

Assuming that this is true and not fiction:
Once in a while bird reports come from that area.    I was asked to check it for the SM CBC.   It seems like if there is an eBird Location
for this spot, it needs to be removed from anyone's view;  and no county bird reports about it should be publicized.

Cher Hollingworth 
Lompoc

--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

--
John Deacon
Orcutt


--
Wim van Dam (Solvang, CA)
SBCO #391: Island Scrub-Jay