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The oak titmouse

The tiny, gray-brown oak titmouse is as plain and drab as a bird can be. Were it not for its distinctive crest, one might easily dismiss this species as uninteresting. Looks can be deceiving, though: it is lion-hearted when defending its territory.

If a squirrel, snake, or even a much larger bird approaches a nest, multiple titmice may gang up against the predator. Dive-bombing, or even pecking, they will harass the interloper incessantly, all the while making a commotion heard throughout the trees until the intruder decamps.

Other birds may join the fray, such as the Anna’s hummingbird and ruby-crowned kinglet I observed one morning as a couple of titmice vociferously protested the presence of a house wren in their tree.

Oak titmice are quite common here in YLP. Nesting in tree cavities, their diet consists largely of insects. They will, however, happily empty your bird feeder of sunflower seeds and cache them away for a rainy day.

Being unremarkable in size and color, titmice blend into their surroundings. You most likely will hear them, if you see them at all. Interestingly, the male titmouse has a repertoire upwards of 12 calls or songs. Occasionally, when I hear a vocalization I don’t recognize, I will forage excitedly though the brush looking for a “new” bird, only to discover a diminutive titmouse belting out another song.

Keep your eyes and ears tuned. This little bird is worth a second look.

Keep birding….
Robert Groos

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The oak titmouse in YLP

Mountain lion sightings

In the past two weeks there have been two mountain lion sightings.  One around the clubhouse lake trails and one on Titan Drive.  Use caution when walking pets, especially the smaller ones and make sure they are on a leash at all times.  Do not allow your pet to roam without keeping a visual on them.   Below is information from the Fish and Wildlife website at:  https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Lion.  

Posted March 8 on Facebook by Cale Lopez: “Heads up… just spotted a young mountain lion in our backyard (near the clubhouse).”

New Equestrian Center chair

This month we say farewell to Sharra Kelley as she relocates. We thank her for her service as chair of the Equestrian Center Committee.

Now in that position, we welcome Sarah Jackson.  Sarah and her husband, Ethan Jackson (you may have seen him at previous Town Hall events in uniform, representing our local California Highway Patrol) moved to Yosemite Lakes Park in October from the Wishon/Bass Lake area.  They chose to move their family to YLP for the Equestrian Center and Rivergold School, and have been enjoying the community here.

Sarah recently resigned from CHP after 10 years to care for their four children.  Prior to serving as a CHP officer, Sarah was a cost accountant for Flory Industries in Salida, and an editor for the American University of the Caribbean.  You might see Sarah at the barn, riding her palomino mare, Vitesse (pronouced Vee-TESS, after the Bugatti) with her 4-year-old daughter and her pony, Morning Glory.  Sarah has been barrel racing since she was 7 years old, and still competes today.

Let’s welcome the Jackson family to YLP and Sarah to the chair position on the Equestrian Committee!

Back row left to right: Ethan, Sarah, Brett (22), Promise (15). Front row: Kelly (4), Seth (8)

February topics

Highlights of the Feb. 19 meetings of the YLOA and YSPUC Boards of Directors:

YLP will be replacing its eight public phone numbers with new numbers in the near future, General Manager Jonathan Penrose explained. After an exhaustive effort to keep the current numbers failed, management decided to make the changes in order to fix multiple problems with the aging Sierra Tel phone system. YLP residents will be getting more information on the new numbers and what happens when the old numbers are called.

General Manager Penrose’s monthly financial forecast is delayed until the end of the month because of absences in the accounting office last month. It was reported that YLOA’s finances are in good shape, but operating on a tight budget. The association’s financial reserves will be the topic of the third Town Hall scheduled for next Tuesday, and a budget workshop is planned for March.

At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, just before the Town Hall on financial reserves, Executive Chef David Pol will premiere the new pizza oven with a $9.95 pizza buffet.

Ken Sartain, chair of the Communications Committee, announced that YLP will take over maintenance of the big green-and-white wooden sign at Highway 41 and Yosemite Springs Parkway. In a deal with the owner of that parcel, YLOA will maintain the grounds around the sign. Plans are to paint it and make repairs and replace the “Real Estate — Sales” text at bottom with a left-pointing arrow and “Public Golf and Dining.”

The Engineering Committee announced that it had received bids for partial rebuilds of the horse stalls at the Equestrian Center, but recommended more research with the objective of completely replacing the stalls with all-steel construction.

The YLOA Board voted to approve:
• An updated code of conduct for directors
• An ethics policy for directors
• A packet to provide rules and guidelines for potential board candidates

The board also named an Election Committee for 2019 consisting of President Rebecca Brannon, Ken Sartain and Michelle Piotrowski, who are not up for re-election this year.

Return to sender!

YLOA members all have been sent an envelope labeled “Urgent-Please Return.”

Inside are four sheets — an explanatory letter from YLOA/YSPUC General Manager Jonathan Penrose, along with these forms:

• Member Contact Information
• Electronic Mail Consent Form
• YLOA Voting Proxy Form

Each are very important for different reasons, which are explained.

Please return according to the instructions at the bottom of each form.

Thank you for helping keep Yosemite Lakes Park a wonderful place to belong!