Main Ranch, Santa Cruz Island

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Main Ranch, Santa Cruz Island


1898 Santa Cruz Island: “... The main ranch or Laplaya [La Playa is at Prisoners' Harbor] is situated in a pleasant valley three miles north of Prisoners ’ Harbor, being connected with it by a wagon road along the bottom of the creek. The buildings face a magnificent range of volcanic mountains which are broken and rugged in the extreme. At this place birds were more numerous than at any other spot on the island. Here in the creek bottom were groves of very fine live oaks with a small stream of water running through them, and many birds came down from the almost perpendicular hillsides to feed and drink here. Back of the buildings a range of impenetrable chaparral extended for miles, with here and there a trail cut through for driving sheep. This range is so steep and brushy that even with twenty experienced vaqueros only about one-half of the sheep occupying it are ever shorn and there are thousands of these animals roaming around with one, two or three years’ fleeces on their backs, their long tails flapping behind them as they run, in a most comical manner. In this chaparral birds were very scarce, but along the edges were many Jays and a few Bush Tits, Dusky Warblers, Western Chipping Sparrows and Oregon ? Towhees, these latter so wild as to be unapproachable. Among the live oaks, however, birds were numerous and an early morning tramp with a good deal of patience thrown in would generally be rewarded, though a dozen birds actually in ones ’ hand by ten o'clock would be a pretty fair record, as it was not only difficult to get shots at what one wanted but also frequently more difficult to retrieve the game...”
Mailliard, Jos., Spring Notes on the Birds of Santa Cruz Island, Cal., April,1898 The Condor 1(1):41-45, April 1899