I'M TOO SPECIAL FOR THE RULES


click on photo to enlargeRecently, a BirdForum member posted a piece about some birder/photographers stressing birds so they could get shots. You can read her posts and all the comments here:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=162374
Her post reminded me that I meant to do some postings about the Special People I see so often. What I can't figure out is if they’re so special, why are there so many of them?
My first I'M TOO SPECIAL FOR THE RULES is dedicated to a spot a few miles from my parent’s house in Southern California. It’s called the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Reserve.
The place is an ecological reserve and it has a few rules. Two of those rules are no dogs (with or without a leash) and no bikes. Simple, eh.
click photo to enlargeThis person is obviously a Very Special Person. She has a bike AND a dog.
On November 29, 2009 I went to Bolsa Chica for a farewell birding day. Gene and I were due to leave on December 4th to return to Peregrine in Curacao. I can’t tell you how many SP were out that day. Some had their dogs running free, some were on trail bikes, some were letting their kids climb down the sides of the raised walkways.
The worst of the bunch were two photographers. I was walking along one of the new berms and looked down into a fenced off area. To be honest, I don’t know if where they were is part of the reserve or not but it was in an area marked Keep Out. I was looking at them and thinking that there were plenty of places to walk and take photos without going off road when I saw a coyote come through the scrub heading in their direction. After a few minutes they noticed it too. One of them went to one end of the scrubby area and the other went to the other end. The coyote was now in the scrub between them. Next, they left the path and crashed into the tall, dry scrub and set up huge cameras on tripods. I guess they weren’t getting enough action so they started moving toward each other and putting the squeeze on the coyote. What stupid idiots, I thought as I watched. Suddenly, another SP came walking along a ridge above them and his dog was running here, there and everywhere. I was sure the coyote was going to run up to the top of the ridge to escape the photographers and have a tangle with the dog. They wouldn’t have heard if I yelled at them and I stood frozen worried that the Lab was going to get a bit chewed up.
The red square and circle near the bottom of the photo are the photographers. The red circle on the ridge is the labrador. I don't know where the coyote is at this point.

Finally the dog and owner moved on, but another couple with a dog on a leash was now walking on the trail below where the photographers were. The dog looked like an ad for Haute Cuisine Coyote Appetizers and again I held my breath. Nothing happened. I don’t know where the coyote went but he was obviously wiley enough to get out without any confrontations. Why is it that Special People are so often also stupid people?
I hadn’t gotten 100 yards before I saw another person down in the low area carrying a big camera and tri-pod. He stode across an area without a path and climbed over the fence that was clearly marked with this:

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