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falcon or raptor issues at Williamson?
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crackrn


Jun 10, 2005, 1:31 PM
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falcon or raptor issues at Williamson?  (North_America: United_States: California: Los_Angeles_County: Williamson_Rock)
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Mike and I were climbing at Williamson yesterday, both of us were going to do Being There (5 star 5.7...how can you resist?). I got to the top of the first pitch and was starting to set up to bring Mike up and I started getting divebombed by what looked like a falcon or some other bird of prey. She (I'm guessing) came so close I could feel the wind of her passing and it was nonstop, screeching the whole time. Needless to say, I did NOT bring Mike up, and rappelled as fast as possible to get away from a very annoyed/scared bird.

My assumption is that I was entirely too close for comfort to this bird's nest and she was making her displeasure quite plain. So, my question is, (and I did a google search but didn't see anything pertinent) have there been issues with nesting falcons at Williamson and if so, where can we check in the future?

Or, alternatively, does everyone who climbs there get the same experience and I was just a big wussy? :lol:


tchamber


Jun 10, 2005, 1:36 PM
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Re: falcon or raptor issues at Williamson? [In reply to]
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Wow, I wasn't aware of any bird issues at Williamson.

All the more encouragement to make sure that you are "safe" at all times though, you just never know what's going to happen.

Glad to hear you made it out okay.


chanceboarder


Jun 10, 2005, 2:07 PM
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Re: falcon or raptor issues at Williamson? [In reply to]
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wow...thats pretty crazy. i've never heard of birds being an issue there. you're probably right though and you were just too close for comfort to a nest. wear a helmet next time and bring some food for it next time and maybe it will leave you alone :wink:


jt512


Jun 10, 2005, 2:18 PM
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Re: falcon or raptor issues at Williamson? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Mike and I were climbing at Williamson yesterday, both of us were going to do Being There (5 star 5.7...how can you resist?). I got to the top of the first pitch and was starting to set up to bring Mike up and I started getting divebombed by what looked like a falcon or some other bird of prey. She (I'm guessing) came so close I could feel the wind of her passing and it was nonstop, screeching the whole time. Needless to say, I did NOT bring Mike up, and rappelled as fast as possible to get away from a very annoyed/scared bird.

My assumption is that I was entirely too close for comfort to this bird's nest and she was making her displeasure quite plain. So, my question is, (and I did a google search but didn't see anything pertinent) have there been issues with nesting falcons at Williamson and if so, where can we check in the future?

Or, alternatively, does everyone who climbs there get the same experience and I was just a big wussy? :lol:

There is an urgent access issue at Williamson involving raptors. The Forest Service recently became aware of the falcons in the vicinity of Eagle's Roost Buttress. The Forest is already considering closing Williamson due to its being a possible habitat for an endangered frog species. Even before the Forest Service learned about the falcons, Williamson was under imminent threat of closure. The falcons make it even more likely that we will lose access to the area. If we want any hope of Williamson remaining open, we must be on our best behavior.

Do not climb on Eagle's Roost Buttress, including Being There, during falcon nesting season (now).

-Jay


snoangel


Jun 10, 2005, 2:27 PM
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I've had birds fly very close to me while on Being There, but they've never been threatening. Glad to hear you ended up ok.


chanceboarder


Jun 10, 2005, 2:41 PM
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i haven't been up to williamson yet this season so maybe this has been done but has anyone thought to maybe write up a little thing regarding these issues and posting it at the trail heads? might help to get the word out and help keep access open.


crackrn


Jun 10, 2005, 2:41 PM
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Oh, good, Jay, I was hoping you would know...I saw you have done much of the updating on the route database.

I feel bad for doing that climb now. I'm surprised I hadn't heard about the issue here before though. I've been to other places that had info all over the web, posted on trees, bulletin boards, etc. about what areas were closed due to falcon nesting. It never even entered my mind that there was an issue here.

Since Being There is such a popular climb, there should be a way to let people know otherwise this could become a serious access issue. I know, the old "personal responsibility" argument rears it's ugly head but barring that...:lol:


crackrn


Jun 10, 2005, 2:51 PM
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Chanceboarder...you posted while I was writing. I agree, I think most of us would avoid the area if we knew we were supposed to. Even going to the Forest Services' website and doing a search didn't yield anything substantive and I knew what I was looking for.


higs


Jun 10, 2005, 3:07 PM
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I was out at Williamson last Wednesday climbing at the London Wall and witnessed a peregrine shrieking and dive-bombing a couple that was on top of "Being There". From what I hear there is a nest with hatchlings just left of the top of Being There. Supposedly, when you are at the anchors you can actually see them. Hopefully, the falcon will not abandon her nest.

The Forest Service and some biologists have recently been down to Williamson to check the impact of us climbers on the area. Like Jay said, please be on your best behavior.

Don't come down the scree slope--use the trail from the parking lot.

Hopefully there won't be any access problems.

--Trent


pbjosh


Jun 10, 2005, 3:21 PM
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Has anyone thought about posting a note at the base of Eagle's Roost Buttress asking climbers to avoid climbing on those routes? Either something hanging from one of the lower bolts there, or perhaps a piece of wood w/ laminated paper sign attached propped against the very toe of the buttress there, where you can't miss seeing it?

I was planning on heading to Williamson this weekend, I can make a sign and post it... anyone disagree w/ this idea?


jt512


Jun 10, 2005, 3:50 PM
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In reply to:
Has anyone thought about posting a note at the base of Eagle's Roost Buttress asking climbers to avoid climbing on those routes? Either something hanging from one of the lower bolts there, or perhaps a piece of wood w/ laminated paper sign attached propped against the very toe of the buttress there, where you can't miss seeing it?

I was planning on heading to Williamson this weekend, I can make a sign and post it... anyone disagree w/ this idea?

That would be great, Josh.

-Jay


blouderk2


Jun 10, 2005, 3:55 PM
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My buddies were about to climb Being There but when they got to the bottom of the climb their was a note saying "Do not climb here Falcons nesting". Did someone remove the note? They turned around once they saw the note.


higs


Jun 10, 2005, 4:00 PM
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blouderk2:
I think the Forest Service removed that sign. I know for sure that they removed one sign at the bottom of climb.

--Trent


blouderk2


Jun 10, 2005, 4:16 PM
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Ah I see. Thanks higs


crackrn


Jun 10, 2005, 5:20 PM
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Huh. I wonder why. Signage would seem to be appropriate. I don't think it's unwarranted, Josh. Seems like a good idea to me.


crackrn


Jun 10, 2005, 5:21 PM
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Huh. I wonder why. Signage would seem to be appropriate. I don't think it's unwarranted, Josh. Seems like a good idea to me.


pbjosh


Jun 10, 2005, 5:34 PM
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I will print and have laminated some signs this evening, and post them tomorrow.

I think now is a great time to raise awareness of the fragility of access at Williamson Rock and work to get folks cooperation and good behaviour, rather than simply hope for the best.


pbjosh


Jun 10, 2005, 5:40 PM
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I also added a note to the main Williamson page and the Eagle's Roost Buttress page on this site, FYI.


pbjosh


Jun 10, 2005, 5:49 PM
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Heh one last comment, from the geek / nature boy in me:

Falcons are technically raptors. Raptors include hawks, harriers, falcons, kites, kestrels, owls, eagles and osprey. Vultures, condors, crows, ravens, etc, are not raptors. Basically if it's got sharp / hooked talons, a hooked beak, and hunts live prey, it's a raptor.


therelic


Jun 10, 2005, 6:14 PM
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Ah yes, the dive bombing peregrines, what fun. Sounds like you have a nest which probably has some young in it. It also sounds like you people have a positive attitude towards the site. However, beware of the uninformed forest biologist or uninformed district ranger.

In Oregon we climbers had a situation where the land managers thought climbers were the scourge of the earth and only destroyed public lands. After going to several meetings with forest supervisors, district rangers and biologist it was obvious that the land managers did not understand climbers. Slowly we climbers have been able to educate several land managers so they now understand that climbers are not all bad and that most of us are even environmentally aware. Like you folks we want to climb and are willing to go out of our way to have as small of a negative impact on the environment as possible.

In my area climbers inform the land managers of new peregrine sites and a couple of us lucky ones, myself and Greg Orton, there may be others, get to work directly with the biologist who is responsible for banding the birds. Which is what I was doing this morning 150' off the deck roped in on a scary 5.12 slab of not so welded tuff. And yes, you could say the birds were anxious.

Because many of us climbers sit and watch peregrine sites combined with the banding the land managers are starting to see climbers as a resource rather than a nuisance. At my local crag for the past three years I have been collecting lichens, mosses, liverworts, etc then passing the samples on to the forest botanist for identification. By doing this we climbers are also giving the land managers their first look at what is really living on these cliffs. The botanist I give the samples to is ecstatic as she has worked for the forest for 30 years and thought she would never know what plants lived on these cliffs. And of course when I put in a route it doesn't go near an endangered or rare plant, I know it and the forest supervisor knows it.

Perhaps you have a local climbing coalition in the Williamson area. You might be able to meet with and work with the land managers so they see you as a resource like they do in my area. The last thing you want the land managers to do is shut down your climbing area because of a couple of birds who can co-exist with climbers if the climbers are thoughtful. The same goes for the frogs. I have worked with the Declining Amphibian Population Task Force and am aware of the concerns biologists have related to herps. You can assist with this monitoring also all while not degrading the frogs habitat and still keep your climbing. Good luck.

Bill


crackrn


Jun 10, 2005, 6:26 PM
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In reply to:
I also added a note to the main Williamson page and the Eagle's Roost Buttress page on this site, FYI.

Good on you, Josh.
And, I WAS right about falcons being raptors, whew. I thought they were but was too lazy to check before posting...


climb2005


Jun 13, 2005, 5:33 PM
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This is the first I've heard about Williamson Rock being "under imminent threat of closure". How would someone find out more about this? I checked the Access Fund and Forest Service websites and didn't see anything about Willy.


jt512


Jun 13, 2005, 6:14 PM
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In reply to:
This is the first I've heard about Williamson Rock being "under imminent threat of closure". How would someone find out more about this? I checked the Access Fund and Forest Service websites and didn't see anything about Willy.

Yesterday I spoke with a one of the climbers who has been working closely with the Forest Service to resolve the potential access-threatening issues at Wmson. The impression that I got from him is that behinds-the-scenes discussions between the Forest Service and representatives of the local climbing community, which have been going on for some time, will likely be successful in preserving access at Wmson. The Forest Sevice's studies have concluded that Williamson is not a habitat for any endangered species, except for a plant, which may necessitate minor alterations to the approach, nothing more. Consequently, I suspect that the best thing for the rest of us to do is to be low key by letting these discussions quietly continue, and to be on our best behavior at the crag. Respect the voluntary closure of Eagle's Roost Buttress, use the approved climber's trail (from the paved parking lot) rather than sliding down scree slopes, pack out all trash, etc.

-Jay


cracknut


Jun 13, 2005, 6:17 PM
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Wow! Who would have expected to find a nesting raptor at a place called Eagles Roost. :shock:


fredbob


Jun 23, 2005, 6:50 PM
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There are ongoing discussion between local climbers and the Forest Service regarding Williamson access and one threatened species (a plant found on the scree slopes) and an endangered frog (upstream from the rock).

Right now, the FS is studying various trail options and may be working with a trail designer to make some improvements to the short trail. There are also some discussions about perhaps providing some composting toilets near the base of the crag.

It looks as though local climbers will need raise significant amounts of money to help fund these initiatives if they end up being approved by the FS. Right now there is a need to pay for travel expenses for Mark Hesse from the Rocky Mountain Institute to study the current trail system.

It would be great if some of the active locals could volunteer to organize themselves to deal with these issues and perhaps form a non-profit to raise funds for trail and toilet improvements.

If anyone has an interest, please feel free to email me rk.vogel@verizon.net (I don't log on often and probably won't get pm right away).

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