What’s the Difference Between a Right-of-Way and an Easement?

If you’re a land owner, you need to know the difference between a right-of-way and an easement. They both create a right in somebody else’s property.

I’m not an attorney, but in layman’s terms here’s how I’d describe an easement and right-of-way.

An easement is a form of right-of-way and it provides perpetual access to your property. An easement runs with the land and, once made a matter of record, will show up as part of your property on a title report. An easement is a type of right-of-way.

On the other hand, a right-of-way can be created as a temporary or periodic type of access created by a license to pass or some other form of permission. A right-of-way may not provide all the legal rights that you need to perform some activities and may not be as valuable as an easement. Unfortunately, an easement may also come with qualifications.

That’s why access issues are very complex and if you have any question about the legality of access to your land, you should consult with an attorney and get your rights clarified and recorded.

When rights are not clearly documented, your behavior and the behavior of past owners may be an important contributing factor to your ability to access your land, so learn how to behave and protect your rights.

Unfortunately for many, establishing and documenting rights in a complex legal case can be cost prohibitive. If an owner cannot afford to defend a legal right, it’s almost as bad as not having it at all.

Pigs on the Rise

Looks like two seasons of good grass have caused feral pig numbers to climb. Here’s a few pig photos fom last weekend.

How many pigs do you see? Click to enlarge.

I’d say there are about ten pigs in this photo. The young pigs are hard to see because of their spots, and also due to the mud on them. When it’s hot they like to take mud baths in the ponds.

Later in the day, I got a close-up photo of a red colored piglet at another pond.

Isn’t he cute? Mud-faced piggy.

It’s time for action. We can’t let them get out of control.


Cats and Dogs

Sometimes dogs and cats get along, but only when they get to know each other at an early age. This fearless tom cat named Spike was friendly to my old hunting partner Valentine.

Dogs and cats were created to be different. Lola likes our two Siamese cats, but they hate her. She tries to play and all they want to do is run away or scratch her eyeballs out.

Lola thinks just about everything is her friend, but that doesn’t stop her from chasing it when he runs or retrieving it after its dead.

Here’s one that didn’t get away from Lola.

I’ve huned enough with Lola to know when something is up.

Last week we were hiking in familiar territory. We took a lesser-used ridge, with no trail, down a hill. It was only about 200 yards between trails, but as soon as we left the beaten path, Lola became animated. she put her nose to the ground and then jerked her head up as if expecting to see something, but nothing was there.

Not wanting her to get carried away, I gave her a soft comeon and she turned in the direction I was heading, but then she gained speed and before I knew it she was face to face with, and five yards from, a full-grown bobcat.

This cat was similar in size to the one Lola discovered.

The cat stood as tall as possible and Lola let out a sound that can only be described as hounddoggish. The cat tried to high-five Lola and they broke off. The cat jumped off a steep bank and my hollering stopped Lola from following.

For the rest of the hike, I could tell Lola was a bit off her game. I think she felt like a baseball player after taking a fat pitch. She’d liked to have had the opportunity over again.

No labs around this house.

Archery Opener More for the Birds than Bucks

This buck watched as I drove by. He was about 50 yards off the road and was one of five encountered.

On the way to my deer stand, I passed this buck bedded beside the road. This was the closest I came to a buck on Saturday, but I did get some good bird photos, so here they are.

Approaching my tree stand, I pair of bandtail pigeons lifted off from an elderberry tree. I hoped that they would return and present a photo opportunity.

Later I was granted my wish and the two birds landed not more than twelve feet from me and sat there for an hour.

But first a Stellar jay dropped in on me and began to squawk. (You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.)

Stellar jay in flight

The femail pigeon showed off the band for which they are named.

Harsh Reality

Ground squirrels are a key component of the grassland ecosystem.

The three-foot rattlesnake crawled out from under the  brush-covered rock pile where it had spent the night digesting the carcass a young California ground squirrel. Adult squirrels are difficult prey for the snake, but springtime produces young squirrels, not wise to the dangers of the grassland.The air was cool, but the rays of the morning sun inviting, as the snake stretched out into a position which allowed it to achieve maximum exposure to the heat source.

From its perch atop a blue oak, the red-tailed hawk spied the movement in the grass. With a hop upward and a 30 yard glide to the ground, it talons reached for the snake which was unable to retreat quickly enough to avoid disaster. The redtail climbed into the sky, holding the dangling reptile. The bird flew across the deep canyon, the snake hanging conspicuously, until it reached a spot where it felt safe enough to finish its meal.

While perching on a large boulder, the predator bird strattled the snake and ripped the still-live quarry apart – eating until it could hold no more.

Hen merganzers often have large broods. They cruise the lake shallows feeding on minnows and insects.

The hen merganzer led her brood down the estuary towards the lake below. Like a drill Sargent at the parade grounds, she uttered guttural sounds as the young birds chased minnows in the shallows. Suddenly her sounds became more agitated and the brood immediately sped to her side. Several of the small birds climbed on her back and the others crowded against her side. The group swam down stream at full speed with a roostertail wake behind them.

A bald eagle dropped from the sky, dive bombing the group and the hen dove beneath the cold waters to avoid death. The young birds scattered, but a second eagle appeared and then a third,  hovering and circling the brood like a flock of seagulls on a school of herring.

The mother merganzer surfaced for air, but she was no match for the attacking eagles. The white-headed monster from the sky had her it his grasp and in no time was carrying her limp body off for a meal. The other two eagles continued to harass the young merganzers until they each had one of their own with the other members of the brood were left to fend for themselves. In only a couple of minutes, the peaceful morning search for pond smelt had turned into a massacre.

Bald eagles are common around lakes and streams where they often feed on fish and waterfowl

The blacktail doe called softly to it fawns, which climbed to their feet to join her. Immediately they began to nurse eagerly. The mother let the young deer have their way for a moment and then turned to lead them onward. In the dwindling light, they approached a county road. The doe stopped for a moment before climbing down the steep embankment. The fawns were not far behind her.

Reaching the road, they began to cross. The sound of an approaching auto caused her to quicken her pace.

The driver of the auto was caught by surprise when she spotted the fawns directly in front of her, standing as still as statues, eyes reflecting the light from her headlights.

Swerving quickly, she momentarily lost control of the vehicle as it slammed into the hind quarters of the doe, which took one final bound and disappeared into a thicket of ceanothus.

The two fawns walked across the road and up to the dying doe. They hesitated and then laid down beside her still-warm body one last time.