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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 31, 2014

Bigfoot, Yeti & Sasquatch Don’t Exist (at least so far)

Re/code reported on research that debunks sightings of Yeti, Bigfoort, Sasquatch and the Abominable Snowman. They reported

Reported sightings of Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch and the Abominable Snowman circle the globe, but Oxford researchers decided it was time to bring the science: They used RNA sequencing to identify the origin of 30 hair samples attributed to the perennial star of fuzzy photographs and found that — cue the sad trombone — they belonged to bears, horses, wolves, dogs and Paleolithic polar bears.

via Bigfoot Is Not Real, Says Science | Re/code.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 30, 2014

Birding Emeryville Shoreline and Marina 8/30/14

I was back at Emeryville Shoreline and Marina at high tide again today. There were more total birds than last time on the rocky shoreline, south of the road but less species (seventeen).  No Red-throated Loon or Common Murre.

There were two Black-crowned Night-herons. They were in a tree in the park east of the Marina, At first all we could tell was there a large bird with brown strips that we could only see its stomach up in a tree. Eventually two birds flew off, a juvenile and an adult Black-crowned Night-herons. The only butterfly seen today was a Fiery Skipper. Also seen were two harbor seals and ground squirrels.

 Emeryville Shoreline and Marina Bird List

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 30, 2014

September 2014 Bay Area Birding Field Trips

Golden Gate Audubon Field Trips

(for more information on each trip go to: Golden Gate Audubon Field Trips)

  • Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley, First Friday GGAS Birdwalk September 5, 2014, 8:30 – 10:30 am
  • Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland, Alameda County Saturday, September 6, 8:30 – 11:30 am
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden Sunday, September 7, 8 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Bayfront Park at the end of Tennent Avenue in Pinole, Contra Costa County. Friday, September 12, 2014, 8:30 -10:30 – Second Friday Birdwalk
  • Coastal San Francisco Saturday, September 13, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco Sunday September 14, 8 – 10 am
  • North Beach/Telegraph Hill and eBird Instruction, San Francisco Tuesday, September 16, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
  • Corona Heights, San Francisco Friday, September 19, 8 – 10 a.m.
  • Coyote Point, San Mateo County Saturday, Sept. 20, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • Aquatic Park and Waterfront, San Francisco Saturday, September 20, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Berkeley Waterfront and Bay – FAMILY BIRD WALK Sunday September 21, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Birds and Bats at Lake Chabot (East Bay) – FAMILY BIRD WALK  Tuesday September 23, 6 p.m
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline—Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland Wednesday, September 24, 9:00 am -11:30 am

September 2014 Bay Area Birding Field Trips with other Audubon and birding groups

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 29, 2014

Great Smoky Mountains Wildflower Updates 8/25/14

Great Smoky Mountains Association has new wildflower report  posted August 25.

Appalachian Trail From Dome  to Goshen Prong Trail Includes half mile traditional trail from dome parking lot to the A T.  -Wild Golden Glow, White Snake Root, Joe Pye Weed, Yarrow, Crimson Bee Balm, Heal All, Pale Jewelweed, White Clover, Red Clover, Ox Eye Daisy, Filmy Angelica, Love Vine, Bush Honeysuckle, Pink Turtlehead, Michaux’s Saxifrage, Early Goldenrod and Erect Goldenrod.

Goshen Prong B-E – White Snake Root, Pink Turtlehead, White Top Aster, Indian Pipe, Rattlesnake Plantain, Coreopsis, Filmy Angelica, Goldenrod Erect, Dark Jewelweed, Wild Golden Glow and Heal All.

Little River B to Goshen Prong – Asiatic Dayflower, White Top Aster, Heal All, Pale Jewelweed and White Snakeroot.Note:  Witch Hobble, Blue Berry and Red Maple leaves are changing to their autumn wardrobe in the mid and high elevations.

See older reports at Wildflower Updates | Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 29, 2014

World’s Rarest Bird Needs A New Place To Live

Madagascar Pochard, Captive Breeding Program, ...

Madagascar Pochard, Captive Breeding Program, Madagascar The Madagascar Pochard was considered extinct until 2006, when a few dozen birds were rediscovered on a remote volcanic lake in northern Madagascar. This is a first-year male, easily recognisable by its pale-blue iris. Swarowski 80 HD 30 X, Coolpix P5100 (Adapter DCB) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The BBC reported on the desperate plight of the world’s rarest bird, the Madagascar Pochard.  Habitat destruction due to deforestation, farming and fishing has reduced the wild Pochard bird population to 25. There is only one wetland where they are found. It is too deep for young to dive for food and 96% of the chicks die in two to three weeks.  If a new home is not found they may soon be extinct

Read more at:  BBC News – Madagascar pochard, world’s rarest bird, needs new home.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 28, 2014

Forest Service Decides To Log Rim Fire Area

The LA Times reported the National Forest Service decided to allow logging the “Ghost” trees from last summer’s Rim fire. The Forest Service is permitting  over 30,000 acres to be salvage-logged. This is in opposition to scientists and conservation groups who support allowing leaving the area to recover on its own and not disturbing the wildlife habitat. No logging will be done within Yosemite National Park

Read story at Rim fires ghost trees to be logged, U.S. Forest Service decides – LA Times.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 28, 2014

Rare California Wildflower Given Endangered Protections

KCET’s REWILD blog reports The Vandenberg Monkeyflower (Diplacus vandenbergensis) which is one of California’s rarest wildflowers is being given federal endangered species protections. It is an annual flowering herb found in just nine locations in Santa Barbara County. Extinction threats are competition from invasive plants, wildfire, and climate change. It is found in vegetated areas of loose, sandy soil on Burton Mesa near the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Read more at Rare Coastal Wildflower Added to Endangered List | Plants | ReWild | KCET


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 28, 2014

Early Eastern US Fall Color Reports

The New England Foliage Map – Yankee Foliage is showing signs of fall with leaves starting throughout  many areas in New England

Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color Leaf Report 2014 reported on August 27, 2014

 Some peeks of fall color are showing already not abnormal! Theres some spectulation that our cool periods in July and August could translate into earlier fall color than normal. But its too early to see if that happens, and much depends on weather during September.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 27, 2014

Twilight Tuesday At The UC Botanical Garden

Last night was Twilight Tuesday at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. A rare evening when the garden was open for members. We packed sandwiches and had a picnic dinner. Being in the garden in the evening the light is different and garden has a more serene feeling. Birds were active, fall colors are starting and flowers are still in bloom.  Bird List for UC Botanical Garden 8/27/14

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 27, 2014

Endangered Protections Sought For Monarchs After 90% Population Loss

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

After 90 Percent Decline, Federal Protection Sought for Monarch Butterfly

Genetically Engineered Crops Are Major Driver in Population Crash

WASHINGTON The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety as co-lead petitioners joined by the Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower filed a legal petition today to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies, which have declined by more than 90 percent in under 20 years. During the same period it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.

Monarch butterfly
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Tiago J. G. Fernandes. Photos are available for media use.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 27, 2014

Rare Blue Lobster Found

The Independent reported on the finding of a rare blue lobster found by a Maine lobsterman and his daughter. The lobster was sent to the Maine State Aquarium. Blue Lobsters are the result of a genetic defect and occur in one lobster out of two million.

Read story and see photo at: Rare blue lobster found off US coast – Americas – World – The Independent


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 27, 2014

Solving Mysteries Of Semipalmated Sandpiper Migration

Shorebird Science has an article about the use of geolocators to learn about the migratory routes of Semipalmated Sandpipers. They report that

Surveys conducted by the New Jersey Audubon Society have shown an 80% decline over the past 20 years in numbers within the core wintering range in northern South America. At the same time, data from the Arctic show that breeding populations are apparently stable at some sites, especially in the western part of the arctic breeding range in Alaska. We need to understand the migratory pathways of the species in order to know where the decline is occurring, and what can be done to reverse it. Light-level geolocators are a cutting edge technology and their use has helped revolutionize our understanding of shorebird migration, but they have never been used on Semipalmated Sandpipers before this project.

They trace the migratory path of one bird’s migratory route in detail to show what is being learned by the geolocators .

Read the full story at The Remarkable Odyssey of a Semipalmated Sandpiper | Shorebird Science.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 26, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflowers 8/25/14

Blue Ridge Parkways Journeys has a new wildflower report for late August

This time of year, visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway can expect to see many of the common summer varieties of our beautiful blooming flowers.

In Virginia at the north end of the Parkway, near Milepost 30, Queen Anne’s Lace, Spotted Knapweed, Black-Eyed Susan, Goldenrod, Ironweed, Yarrow, Common Fleabane, White Snakeroot, Pokeweed, Flower Spurge, Small Wood Sunflower, Red Clover, Jewelweed, Coreopsis, and Chicory are all blooming.

In North Carolina between Moses Cone and the Linn Cove Viaduct, there are reports of blooming Sourwood, Thinleaf Sunflower, Snakeroot, Beebalm, White Bergamot, Coneflower, Tall Bellflower, Queen Anne’s Lace, Red Clover, Daisy Fleabane, Yarrow, Large-flowered Coreopsis, Spotted Knapweed, Bull Thistle, and Phlox.

Further south, between Linville Falls and the Minerals Museum, there are blooming Black-Eyed Susan, Goldenrod, Joe Pye Weed, Foxglove, Jewelweed, Morning Glories, and Mullein.

Heading south on the Parkway from Asheville, we have blooms of Sourwood, Black-eyed Susan, Coreopsis, Heal-all, Joe Pye Weed, Jewelweed, Coneflower, White Snakeroot, Wideleaf Sunflower, Calico Aster, Evening Primrose, Mullein, and Goldenrod


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 26, 2014

Eastern Sierra Fall Color 8/26/14

Calphoto has an early eastern sierra fall color report

Rabbitbrush is starting to turn bright yellow. Willows turning yellow at about 8000 feet. Aspens still green.

Follow postings at Calphoto. (Must register to access site.)

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 26, 2014

San Gabriels Considered For National Monument Status

The LA Times reported that President Obama is considering a plan to designate the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument.

Read story at Obama weighs national monument status for San Gabriels – LA Times.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 26, 2014

Urban Bee Gardening App

Bay Nature has an article on a new iPad app. It if reference for tool to create  urban wild bee gardens. Bay Nature reports

new iPad app, Wild Bee Gardening, draws on the knowledge of native bee experts like Dr. Gordon Frankie and Dr. Claire Kremen of UC Berkeley, and Dr. Robin Thorpe of UC Davis, to bring native bee conservation and gardening into the digital realm. The app provides an extensive reference tool for city dwellers to create their own residential bee gardens and outlines the increasing necessity of supporting native bees and their pollinating services.

Read full article at Gardening for Wild Bees? Now Theres an App for That « Bay Nature.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 25, 2014

First Illustrated World Bird Checklist

I recently posted about the large number of new bird species: Over 400 New Bird Species! | Natural History Wanderings.

Lynx Edicíons and BirdLife International have published the first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World that is the information source about the new species.  The Illustrated Checklist uses new criteria and recognised 462 new species which were previously treated as ‘races’ of other forms. The new total of 4,549 non-passerines implies that earlier classifications have undersold avian diversity at the species level by as much as 10%. Read more at: BirdLife and Lynx publish first ever illustrated world bird checklist | BirdLife.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 25, 2014

Lake Lagunitas Wildflower Report 8/22/14

Recent Wildflower Reports – CNPS Marin has a new wildflower report for Lake Lagunitas

 even though plants were going to seed, some were still in flower including the following.Heterotheca sessiliflora ssp. bolanderi Bolanders golden-aster, Holocarpha virgata ssp. virgata wand tarplant, Perideridia gairdneri ssp. gairdneri Gairdners yampah.They also saw a fine Quercus kelloggii black oak with acorns, and coming back along the Fairfax-Bolinas Road, the Stephanomeria virgata ssp. pleurocarpa was in flower.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 25, 2014

Great Smoky Mountains Wildflower Updates 8/22/14

Great Smoky Mountains Association has new wildflower reports:

Middle Prong B-E – White Top Aster, Pale Jewelweed, Heal All, Love Vine and Yellow Wood Sorrell.

Greenbrier Ridge B-E – Doll Eyes berries, White Top Aster, Wood Nettle, Love Vine, White Snakeroot, Pale Jewelweed, Crimson Bee Balm, Wild Golden Glow, Joe Pye Weed, Golden Rod Erect and Indian Pipe 1.

See older reports at Wildflower Updates | Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 25, 2014

U.S. Government Weakens Endangered Species Act

The New York Times has an opinion piece an how the federal government now has a new interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that significants weakens its ability to protect endangered species. Under the new interpretation

The law’s protections, for practical purposes, will be applied only if a species is at risk of extinction in a vital read, significant portion of its range where its loss would put the entire species at risk of extinction. And the concept of range no longer takes into account its historical distribution but defines the concept in terms of where the species is found now.

This means that as long as a small, geographically isolated population remains viable, it won’t matter if the animal or plant in question has disappeared across the vast swath of its former habitat. It won’t qualify for protection.

This interpretation threatens to reduce the Endangered Species Act to a mechanism that merely preserves representatives of a species, like curating rare pieces in a museum.

Read full article at:  Conservation, or Curation? – NYTimes.com.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 25, 2014

All Penguin Species At Risk Of Habitat Loss

YubaNet reported a study published by the British Antarctic Survey that found all penguin species are at risk due to habitat destruction. There have been major population declines of many penguin species in the last two decades. The article reports

scientists recommend the adoption of measures to mitigate against a range of effects including; food scarcity (where fisheries compete for the same resources), being caught in fishing nets, oil pollution and climate change. This could include the establishment of marine protected areas, although the authors acknowledge this might not always be practical. A number of other ecologically based management methods could also be implemented.

Read full article at YubaNet Study: All penguin species at continuing risk from habitat degradation

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 24, 2014

Birding & Photos Emeryville Shoreline 8/24/14

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Today we went birding along the Emeryville Shoreline. We went along the shoreline from the police station to Chinese restaurant, along the point and by the Marina.

Our primary goals was to see what birds might be along the rocky shoreline south of the road where birds like to “hang out” during high tide. We saw a large number of Willets, about a dozen Marbled Godwits”, at least three Whimbrel and no “peeps”. Later in the year the numbers of birds and species will no doubt increase.

Highlights of the day were seeing a Common Murre, Red-throated Loon and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. All are considered rare for this site at this time of year according to eBird. We also saw a group of nine Black Oystercatchers out on the end of a pier at the Marina. (We have seen them there before but in smaller numbers).

The total number of species identified was twenty-two which was more than we expected. To see today’s list go to Bird List for Emeryville Shoreline 8/24/14

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 24, 2014

Free National Park Entrance Tomorrow 8/25/14

Monday August 25, 2014  National Park entrance fees are waived in honor of  the National Park Service’s birthday. The Park Service turns 98 years old.

Read more at U.S. National Park Service Its our birthday!.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 24, 2014

California Earthquake

3:20 am this morning I felt an earthquake. I live in Berkeley about 25 miles from the epicenter of the quake. It had a rolling quality and didn’t feel very strong compared to some quakes based in Berkeley that were only 4.0 so I didn’t think it was that strong. An hour later I got up, looked on the internet and was surprised to find that it was a 6.0 quake with some injuries and damage. There are many stories about the quake on the web so I won’t repeat information about the damage and injuries. What you may not have seen is which fault it actually was (not yet absolutely clear yet) and what causes a quake. You can read about that at What Caused California’s Napa Valley Earthquake? Faults Explained

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 24, 2014

Nature Blog Network: A Eulogy

I have recently been unable to get on the Nature Blog Network. I did some research and found out that the site is permanently down. It was killed by Spam registrations. The 10,000 Birds blog reported

The bad guys have won. Our decrepit toplist software, which just didn’t keep up with the times, couldn’t hold up under the assault of literally thousands of spam registrations. At first we couldn’t approve new members. Now we can’t even log in. Worst of all, the toplist isn’t showing up. The damage is, as far as I can tell, irreparable.

As a result, I’ll be pulling the plug on the Nature Blog Network and taking the whole thing down.

Read full story at: 10,000 Birds | Nature Blog Network: A Eulogy.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 24, 2014

Washington Using HelicoptersTo Kill Wolves

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Washington Department of Wildlife Secretly Sends Aerial Gunners for Wolf Pack

Agency Sends Helicopter to Gun Down Huckleberry Pack Despite Assurances to
Rely on Nonlethal Means to Curb Loss of Livestock

OLYMPIA, Wash.— Conservation groups learned today that the Washington Department of Wildlife has abandoned nonlethal measures to deter further loss of sheep and instead use a helicopter to gun down members of the Huckleberry wolf pack. The groups learned that the department was unsuccessful today, but plans to return at first light Sunday in southeast Stevens County.

Huckleberry pack pups
Photo of Huckleberry pack pups courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“The department’s secretive weekend assault on this endangered wolf pack goes beyond the pale,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s unconscionable that a public agency would take action to kill an endangered species without notifying the public. These wolves belong to the public and decisions about whether they live or die ought to be made in the clear light of day.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 24, 2014

Cape Hatteras Wildlife Win Court Battle

Audubon Magazine reports tha ta law limiting off-road vehicle ORV access to the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore will stay in place, due to a June ruling by the Eastern District Court of North Carolina.  The law which was designed to protect vulnerable wildlife  on the coast had been challenged by a group of ORV enthusiasts hoping to gain access to the beach.

Read story at Wildlife Advocates Score a Win at Cape Hatteras | Audubon Magazine.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 23, 2014

Over 400 New Bird Species!

Science Magazine reports that the first illustrated global bird classification revealed 426 new bird species. The classification is the result of subspecies being reevaluated and recognized as unique species. This includes 46 new species of parrots, 36 new hummingbirds, and 26 new owls.

Read full article at  First-ever illustrated global bird classification reveals 400 new species | Science/AAAS | News.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 23, 2014

Lawsuit Protect Yuma Clapper Rails From Desert Solar

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Lawsuit Launched to Protect Endangered California Birds From Large-scale Desert Solar Projects

BLYTHE, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior for failing to protect Yuma clapper rails, which are endangered marsh birds, from being killed or injured by large-scale solar projects in the California and Arizona deserts.

In less than a year, two Yuma clapper rails have died at industrial-scale solar projects built on known bird-migration corridors on public lands in the California desert. Only 440 to 968 of these birds remain along the lower Colorado River and the Salton Sea — areas where much of the industrial-scale solar development is occurring and more is proposed in Riverside and Imperial counties.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 22, 2014

Birding Albany Bulb & Mudflats 8/22/14

Today we went birding at the Albany Bulb and the south end of the Albany Mudflats.  The highlight was seeing two Red-necked Phalaropes riding the waves that were pointed out by friends who were birding the area, and an Osprey flying overhead. We identified bird 22 species and saw three butterfly species (Cabbage White, Anise Swallowtail and West Coast Lady).

Today”s bird list: Albany Bulb and Mudflats bird list 8/22/14

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