Here's some more video from my session with Coral feeding at coral honeysuckle; yesterday I was not able to get any video, because Fred was not perching much, and Coral, though feeding regularly got a lot of interruptions (eg from displaying bumble bees), as did I. These new vids are all in 4X slo mo, partly because one can see better what's going on, and partly because the original clips were very short. Because there seems to be very little going on in the soundtrack, I've added music in some cases. See if your can recognize the composers!
Continuing with my analysis of the lawsuit, we saw in the last 2 posts that the foundation of the suit is the statement in para 10 that bird sanctuaries are prohibited under the relevant zoning, which only allows construction of a single family residence, and uses accessory thereto. The lawsuit also says, in para 33, that the Plaintiffs have written to the Town requesting enforcement of the prohibition but the Town has not yet instituted action.
This is why paras 1-3 of the Complaint insist on the fact that the Plaintiffs are "resident taxpayers of the Town" and "owners of real property in the Town, which at first I thought puzzling and even misleading (because Fred and Debra Terry have no residence at their property close to the sanctuary, but live elsewhere in Riverhead, a fact that to a great extent insulates from the activities at the sanctuary). However it is literally true that the Terrys are both resident taxpayers and owners of real property in the Town (to wit, their undeveloped lot near the sanctuary). The point then of paras 1-3 is to give the Plaintiffs "standing": they do have a legal right, if the Town should fail to enforce the supposed prohibition (presumably because they now believe that it does not), to try to establish that a bird sanctuary is indeed prohibited. As already noted, if this action succeeds it would have nationwide impact on all backyard birding.
Now we come to the NoV. Without the NoV (and probably with it too) the Plaintiffs and their lawyer would have great difficulty in proving that a backyard bird sanctuary, in the sense commonly understood, is prohibited by residential zoning, in Riverhead and by implication possibly throughout the US. But the NoV provides a figleaf of support for this extraordinary claim. It asserts that a violation was observed aug 5 2013 (the day of the Newsday article) by the Code Enforcement Officer , Ralph Downs, although it apparently took until december 19 for him to realize this.
However this figleaf is pitifully thin. First, in emails to me the Town Attorney has assured me that the Town will take no further action in this matter. Second, the Town Attorney has been publicly quoted that he will take no further action. Thirdly, the NoV itself does not show there is a violation: it merely expresses the opinion of Mr Downs that a hummingbird sanctuary "open to the public by appointment or otherwise" is prohibited.
It's unfortunate that the punctuation is ambiguous (the same sentence has a missing parenthesis closure). It could mean that a hummingbird sanctuary that is open to the public (whether by appointment or not) is prohibited, or it could mean that it's prohibited whether or not it's open to the public. The difference is large. The same haziness affects the Compliant: in para 10 it's asserted that a bird sanctuary is prohibited, without any qualification, but in para 30 the qualification "open to the public" is added. One gains the impression that they are out to get me, and precision be damned.
But doubtless my adversaries will vigorously waive this figleaf. I've tried quite hard to get a Town official to formally rescind the NoV, and I'm still trying. I might have some definite news fairly soon.