By Leslie Perkins
In last month’s article, Jay Wilson wrote that after more than nine years as the first executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation, he was retiring, and that I would be taking his place. I want to thank and recognize Jay for his years of excellent service to MTRP and to our community. His dedication and knowledge will be missed as he is a special person to us.
I am honored to be assuming this role and am excited to join the team of dedicated MTRP Foundation board members and staff, city staff, and volunteers. Mission Trails Regional Park has been a special place to me as a native San Diegan and to my husband Johnnie and son Lorne as San Carlos residents. I strongly believe in the importance of preserving the park as a regional destination and natural resource for our future generations.
Check out the calendar adjacent to this article for a complete listing of everything going on in the park through Sept. 20. Feel free to contact me regarding the MTRP Foundation at 619-582-4502 or LPerkins@mtrp.org. Hope to see you at the park!
The MTRP Foundation will have a big announcement on Aug. 29 that will allow all of you and your friends an opportunity to help with a funding opportunity to expand our education programs; and it will not involve asking you for money.
Linda Hawley’s Nature Adventures! classes for children 4 and up return to the Visitor Center in September. She delights children of all ages with the animated enthusiasm she brings to her entertaining two-hour programs.
Factual information is introduced about San Diego’s wild animals using songs, puppets, real pelts, replicated skills, scats, animal tracks, and taxidermy specimens. Each lesson is followed by children making a related take-home craft, and ends with an easy trail walk. Lessons about the Kumeyaay people and the flora of MTRP are included.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Classes are offered once a month on a Tuesday, 9:30–11:30 a.m. from September through May; and each class is a different topic. Each class is $10 and must be paid for in advance. It is $80 if all nine classes are paid for in advance, prior to the first class. Go to the Mission Trails home page (mtrp.org) and click on Nature Adventures! under “More News” for more information and registration forms.
Catching osprey at Lake Murray
—Photos and story by Trail Guide David Cooksy
As a landscape and wildlife photographer, it is important that I understand two important rules: (1) very little of nature or the environment is within my control (I take what is offered but must be ready for anything), and (2) nature photography is like fishing — some days you catch the limit and some days you go home empty handed.
In recent weeks, I have spent more time at Lake Murray photographing birds than I have hiking the solitary, dusty trails. Lake Murray offers a greater diversity and population of birds than any other water feature in Mission Trails.
While not uncommon to see my flashy favorite egrets, rare is getting up close and personal to an osprey (Pandion haliaetus). However, on a fine day walking around the lake I spied one of the resident Pandionidae, the feet-first plunging fish-hunter, perched on a low branch of a eucalyptus tree searching the water below for prey.
Like a fisherman casting into a pool of hungry bass, I sat on a log along the shoreline of Lake Murray for two hours taking over 1,000 exposures. The eagle-like bird clearly did not object to my presence; in fact, it turned to pose, fluttered its wings to briefly hover above the branch, offering seemingly endless opportunities for a creel of “keepers.”
As if sitting directly beneath this creature was not enough of a gift, the osprey then displayed an exhibition of its hunting skills — although what happened next was not the osprey’s best moment. It dropped from the tree directly into the water below, talons outstretched … and it missed! The osprey returned to the branch, shook itself like a wet dog on a rainy day and dove again — and missed again!
—Leslie Perkins is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation. Reach her at LPerkins@mtrp.org.