Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 31, 2014

18th Sandhill Crane Festival November 7 to 9

The 2014  Sandhill Crane Festival is at Hutchins Street Square in Lodi, CA on November 7 ,8 and 9. The festival includes tours, workshops and presentations. Check the schedule for tour times and availability, as some tours fill before the Festival starts. You can register for tours either online or by mail. A complete list of tours is available online.

For more information, schedule and registration contact:go to website at or call (800) 581-6150 or email

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 31, 2014

November 2014 Bay Area Birding Field Trips

Birding Field Trips and Walks with Bay Area Audubon and other birding groups:

  • San Francisco Botanical Garden (First Sunday bird walk) Sunday, November 2, 8 – 10:30 am
  • Arrowhead Marsh, Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Thursday, November 6, 2014, 9:00 am -11:30 am
  • Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Park, Berkeley, (1st Friday bird walk) Friday, November 7, 2014, 8:30 am- 10:30 am
  • Biking and Birding in Marin, Corte Madera, Marin County Saturday, November 8, 9:30 a. m.- ~12:30 p.m
  • Berkeley Municipal Pier, foot of University Avenue (2nd Friday bird walk) November 14, 2014, 8:30 am – 10:30 am
  • Aquatic Park and Waterfront, San Francisco Saturday, November 15, 10 – 11:30 am
  • Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco (Third Sunday bird walk) Sunday, November 16, 8 – 10 am
  • Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland (Third Wednesday bird walk) Wednesday November 19, 2014, 8:30am – 10:00am.  
  • Corona Heights, San Francisco (Third Friday bird walk) Friday, November 21, 8 – 10 a.m.
  • North Beach/Telegraph, San Francisco Sunday, November 23, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. 
  • Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland Wednesday, November 26, 9:30 a.m. – noon
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Garretson Point to Arrowhead Marsh and back Sunday, November 30, 9:00 am- 12:30 pm
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Garretson Point to Arrowhead Marsh and back Sunday, November 30, 9:00 am- 12:30 pm

for more information on above walks go to Upcoming Field Trips | Golden Gate Audubon Society

Click read more to see more trips

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 30, 2014

LA County Arboretum Fall Color 10/30/14

California Fall  has a new report for the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Patchy – 10 – 50% –  a third of the way to peak, moving it from Just Starting to Patchy. ….it’s hard to determine how the fall color will develop though,…., “If brown is a fall color then it should be spectacular.”  The LA County Arboretum is a great place to see lots of trees at different stages of color change and is often the last reporting area of fall color in California.

See photo at California Fall Color » Blog Archive LA County Arboretums Fall Color Starts to Brighten.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 30, 2014

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 10/30/14

Eastern Region 9 – National Forests  has a new fall color report for 10/30/14 for the following states:

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin

Color is winding down around the Region, though you can still catch some beautiful colors in the southern tier on the Mark Twain, Hoosier and Shawnee National Forests. Though this will be the last fall color update for the 2014 season, please stay tuned to the R9 website for winter recreation information. There are several fun activities to do in the Eastern Region after the leaves have fallen and the snow begins to blanket the trees.


There is still a lot of mixed color across the landscape of the Shawnee National Forest, with some trees showing their autumn foliage and others still green. The maples, sycamore and elm have turned into a blend of orange, yellow and red. Always the last to change will be the wide variety of oak tree species, transforming into deep reds and burnt orange. Currently leaf change is at about 70 percent, with peak colors predicted around November 1.


The northern district of the Hoosier National Forest has lost most of its fall color. The southern district is at about 75 percent and quickly waning.


The Ottawa National Forest’s fall color season has all but come and gone. One may come upon some occasional color, but recent strong winds caused most of the leaves to fall. However, just because the leaves are gone, doesn’t mean the Ottawa shuts down. We are currently in ruffed grouse season and archery deer season, with rifle deer season to begin shortly. If you’d like a late fall/early winter adventure, plan your trip to the Ottawa and continue to explore the great outdoors!


Fall colors are at their peak throughout southern Missouri, where the Mark Twain National Forest’s 1.5 million acres are located. Color is intensifying in the southern areas of the Forest as poplars, hickories, redbuds and sycamore turn bright yellows, and sumac, dogwoods and poison ivy turn from red to burgundy. A little to the west, the hickories are fading and oaks are really starting to turn, along with the multicolored sweetgum. Black gum is a vivid crimson and pockets of sumac are still flashing rich burgundy color. Dogwoods are still showing beautiful red and burgundy colors and their bright red berries can still be seen. While the Ava and Willow areas are at their peak, Cassville is a week or two behind. Further south, colors in the Eleven Point area are at or just past peak. The hickory and gum have already peaked, and black and white oaks are approaching peak colors. If you’re coming for a last glimpse of color, some of the best routes for a scenic drive can be found on the map at:

West Virginia

Recent winds and rains have caused leaves to drop rapidly, and all six district offices on the Monongahela National Forest are declaring the 2014 fall color season to be at an end. Here’s to a wonderful rest of the year and a good 2015!


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 30, 2014

Arizona and New Mexico Fall Colors 10/30/14

Southwestern Region National Forests have the following new Fall Color Reports for 10/30/14


Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Fall colors are done for the season on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

Coconino National Forest

  • This report for the Coconino is from 10/16/2014.
  • Fall colors are at their peak in the high country around Flagstaff and along the Mogollon Rim.
  • Suggested sites near Flagstaff:
  • Hart Prairie (Accessed via Hwy. 180 and Forest Road (FR) 151 and/or FR 418, which also loops around the north end of the Peaks for a pretty view)
  • Lockett Meadow (Hwy. 89 north approx. 12 miles north of Flagstaff to FR 418/420 junction, then FR 552) The Inner Basin Trail is a good hike from here.
  • Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail/Kendrick Mountain Wilderness (via Hwy. 180 north of Flagstaff.
  • Suggested Drives on the Mogollon Rim District (north of Pine and Strawberry near Blue Ridge):
  • FR 321 aka “Dane Ridge” (Hwy. 87 to FR 95 next to the Mogollon Rim Ranger Station, right on FR 96, right on FR 321)
  • FR 300 aka “Rim Road” or “General Crook Trail” (Hwy. 87 or Hwy. 260 to FR 300, 2.5 miles east of Hwy. 260, 10 miles north of Strawberry)
  • Not too much has changed yet in the lower elevations around Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. Their fall colors tend to trail a week or two behind.
  • For more information click on the Coconino National Forest link above.
  Read More…
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 30, 2014

Shasta Cascade Fall Color 10/29/14

California Fall Color has and update for the Shasta Cascade Region. Report highlights below. See photos at California Fall Color » Blog Archive Peak of the Week: Plumas County – California Fall Color.

There’s lots of lovely color to be found in the forests, parks, towns and along the rivers and streams in other regions of the Shasta Cascade.

Shasta county (Patchy 10%-50%) - Yellow bigleaf maple and orange black oak are near peak at MacArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.  Elevations above 3,500’ are near the high end of patchy or nearing peak.  Elevations below 3,500’ (Anderson, Redding) have modest color change, mostly exotic trees in their urban forests.  Riparian forests along the Sacramento River are showing lime and yellow and will likely peak in mid November.

Butte County (Patchy 10%-50%) -  Urban parks surrounding Chico State University and in Bidwell Park are beginning to show vibrant lime and yellow, though the change in Chico, Oroville and Paradise is still developing. Poison oak is providing flashes of crimson in the woods.

Lassen County (Near Peak 50%-75%) – The Susanville area and Bizz Johnson trail are exploding with fall color.  Many of the area’s aspen, cottonwood, dogwood, black oak and bigleaf maple are near peak and should peak in the coming week or two.  Lassen Peak has received a dusting of snow, creating a beautiful backdrop for fall color in the national park.  GO NOW!

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 30, 2014

North Carolina Fall Color Leaf Report 10/30/14

Romantic Asheville  has a fall color report for 10/30/2014

Old man winter makes an early visit on Saturday with snow showers over much of the mountains. At the higher elevations above 3,000 feet, it will be cold enough for the snow to stick with several inches expected in the highest peaks, including sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. So parts of the Parkway (especially the Craggy Gardens and Mt Mitchell area) may close if roads become slick. The best fall color now is in lower elevations and valleys. Best bet for color is in the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock area.

See photo links at  Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color Leaf Report 2014.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 30, 2014

New York Fall Color 10/29/2014

Fall Foliage in New York | Autumn Leaves, Scenic Drive has a new report for the week of Oct. 29

Albany, N.Y. – Bright, beautiful peak foliage is expected to arrive on Long Island this weekend, with areas of near peak foliage in New York City, according to observers for Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program.

Peak foliage is expected across most of Long Island this weekend according to I LOVE NEW YORK foliage spotters. In Suffolk County, leaf peepers reporting from the East End expect peak foliage with more than 60 percent color change and bright orange, yellow, red, purple, and still many green leaves. Spotters based in Melville also expect areas of peak and near peak foliage across western Suffolk County and Nassau County this weekend, with bright orange, yellow, red, purple, and green leaves. Some nice color has been noted along the Northern State Parkway between exits 25 and 29, with very tall trees on the roadsides giving a canyon-wall type effect with a surrounding ‘sea’ of color.

In New York City look for near peak foliage  with 50 percent or more color change, depending on the area, and shades of yellow leaves of average brilliance, along with orange and deep red leaves in some neighborhoods.

All other regions of the state are now past peak.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 29, 2014

Good News for the Richmond Bay Trail

The Richmond Bay Trail is one of my favorite local places to hike. I recently received an email about two positive items for the  Bay Trail in Richmond!
On October 21, the Richmond City Council approved funding and awarded W.R. Forde Associates a contract to build the Bay Trail section planned along Garrard Blvd. near the Natatorium (the Plunge) between Cutting Blvd. and the Ferry Point tunnel. This $335,000 project will add six-foot wide bike lanes between Cutting Blvd. and Richmond Ave. while widening the sidewalk along the Plunge to provide an off road Class I trail to be shared by pedestrians and bicyclists. Handsome landscaping, new street trees and way finding signs also are included. The project is funded by grants from the Association of Bay Area Governments Bay Trail Project, California Coastal Conservancy, Point Richmond Gateway Foundation and TRAC supplemented with funds the City received to compensate for loss of shoreline recreation caused by the Cosco Busan oil spill.
On October 22, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission awarded TRAC its 2014 Excellence in Motion Public Service Award for working with many stakeholders in “helping to develop the longest single segment of the Bay Trail, which includes 32 miles completed with 10 more miles planned along the Richmond Bay front”.   Other awardees at the ceremony included the Fourth Bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, the Devil’s Slide Tunnel Project & Trail, and Congressman George Miller, so TRAC was in great company. CLICK HERE to view the two-minute video about TRAC produced by MTC and presented during the award ceremony.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 28, 2014

Southern California Fall Color 10/28/14

California Fall Color has a new fall color report for Southern California

Mt. Laguna Near Peak – 50 – 75% – Drought and bark beetles have damaged the trees.  The color is not the brilliance it had last autumn.

Idyllwild Peak – 75 – 100% – Beautiful color in and around Idyllwild is nearly past peak. GO NOW!

Lake Hemet Near Peak – 50 – 75% – Camp beside the lake surrounded by intense fall color.  Very few people and developing color that should be good for the next couple of weeks weather permitting.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 28, 2014

Southern Utah 10/28/14

Fall Color Report | Scenic Southern Utah has a new fall color report

High Elevation – Alpine Brian Head, Cedar Breaks andPanguitch LakePercent of Change: PAST PEAK

Color Report: Reports are coming in that the majority of the leaves in the high elevation are gone. See you again next year.

Mid Elevation – Sub-Alpine Parowan Canyon and Cedar Canyon AreaPercent of Change: PAST PEAK

Color Report: The majority of the leaves in the mid elevation are gone, be sure to check back next year for up-to-date color changing status.

Low Elevation – High Valley Cedar City andKolob Canyons AreaPercent of Change: MODERATE

Color Report: Reports are coming in that the leaves throughout Cedar City and Parowan and changing and in Kolob Canyons that are just beginning to change, they are still predicting that the leave in the low elevations will really start to change the last week in October. However please check back in for regular updates.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 28, 2014

Vandal Defacing National Parks With Graffiti

 National Park Service Press Release

Vandalism reported in 10 national parks of the West

Incidents illustrated on social media

WASHINGTON: The National Park Service is investigating reports of vandalism in at
least 10 national parks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Utah.

While we can’t discuss details of a case under investigation, we take the issue of
vandalism seriously. National parks exist to preserve and protect our nation’s natural,
cultural and historic heritage for both current and future generations. Vandalism is a
violation of the law and it also damages and sometimes destroys often irreplaceable
treasures that belong to all Americans.

There are forums for artistic expression in national parks because national parks inspire
artistic creativity. These images are outside that forum and outside the law.

Background: Vandalism, as described in the Code of Federal Regulations, 36 CFR 2.31
(a)(3):Destroying, injuring, defacing, or damaging property or real property.

Parks affected: Yosemite National Park, California; Death Valley National Park,
California; Crater Lake National Park, Oregon; Zion National Park and Canyonlands
National Park,bothin Utah. We are awaiting confirmation in Grand Canyon National
Park, Arizona;Sequoia KingsCanyon National Park and Joshua Tree National Park,
both in California;Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado; Bryce National Park, Utah.


Recent article on incidents Graffiti in the national parks isn’t art: it’s a narcissistic crime against us all |The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 28, 2014

Mono County Fall Color 10/27/14

California Fall Color has a new report for Mono County Fall Color. Go website to see photos

Lower Rock Creek Rd Peak – 75 – 100% – Drive about 2.5 miles down Lower Rock Creek Rd. to the first major pull-out west side of the road,  park and then cross the road to hike back up the trail.  Aspens along the beautiful rushing creek are at peak now.  GO NOW

Mammoth Lakes Peak to Past Peak – Sections of Mammoth Creek Rd. off Old Mammoth Road in Mammoth Lakes still offer brilliant red and orange on the trees.

June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158  Past Peak – Even though the June Lake Loop moves to being past peak, a few stands remain vibrant, particularly around Gull Lake, at the base of June Mountain and just north of Silver Lake. YOU MISSED IT!

Lee Vining Canyon Peak to Past Peak – The lower section of Tioga Pass Rd. and Lee Vining Canyon are peaking beautifully, with some trees definitely past peak. GO NOW!

Conway Summit, Green Creek Road and Twin Lakes Past Peak – Again, though spots of color appear in the groves surrounding Bridgeport, comparative photos now show the haunting contrast between most of the trees that are completely bare and those few with bright patches of color still on them.  Overall, it’s past peak and one good gust from being stripped.  YOU MISSED IT!

West Walker River and Walker/Coleville Peak – 75 – 100% – Grand cottonwood flanking the northern stretch of US 395 and along the West Walker River are bright yellow at peak. GO NOW!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

Fall Leaves Photo

Fall Leaves in My Backyard

Fall Leaves in My Yard

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

North Carolina Fall Color 10/26/14

Department of Biology | Appalachian State University has a new detailed fall color report for North Carolina

Fall foliage color is still there to see in the Boone area, but the quality is quite different now.  We have mostly yellow leaves (tulip poplars, ashes, a few birch, white oaks, magnolias, and especially beech now), but they are accented by the very deep, rust red color of the oaks (black, red and scarlet).  A few red and sugar maples are still showing nicely, but the peak of bright red has passed.   However, I find these colors are still worth viewing!

There is good color developing from 3,000′ and down, so if you drive the Parkway, you’ll see nice color off of the overlooks.  The Parkway from U.S. 421 north was quite nice yesterday, with mostly yellow/brown and rust red from the oaks.  A drive on this portion of the Parkway will probably still be nice this weekend and into the coming week.  A stop at Cascades picnic area and falls is something you should consider.  It’s an easy and short hike to the falls, and the views from the picnic area are really nice now.

Elsewhere in this area, the majority of trees have dropped their leaves at the high elevations, but the beech/oak combination still provides a nice color combination on the hills.  Asheville should be peaking in this coming week, and Chimney Rock and other areas at that elevation are also getting better and better.

The weather reports look good for this week until about Tuesday, when there could be a chance of rain.  Otherwise, mild temperatures, and blue skies and great leaf looking!  Cheers!

 To See Pictures, visit the Fall Color Guy’s Facebook page!


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

Plumas County Fall Color 10/24/14

Awesome Autumn Fall Color Reports Plumas County Northern California has new photos at the website. Here are the highlights of the most recent report

The oak trees were probably as good as they ever get in three locations:

  • From N Valley Rd, out of Greenville, looking across Indian Valley to the hillside on the west side of Hwy 89
  • Heading south on Hwy 89 between Crescent Mills and the 70/89 junction
  • Looking north from Bucks Lake Rd west of Quincy, across the valley

See older reports at  Awesome Autumn Fall Color Reports Plumas County Northern California.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

San Juan National Forest Fall Color 10/27/14

San Juan National Forest has a new fall color update 10/27/14

Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:

  • Durango to Purgatory – past peak
  • Molas Pass – past peak
  • Silverton/Red Mountain Pass – past peak
  • Pagosa –past peak
  • Dolores to Rico – past peak
  • Mancos – past peak

Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:

  • San Juan River
  • Dolores river
  • Durango south to Aztec NM

Estimated Peak Viewing Period:

  • Elevation above 7,000 feet is mostly past peak.
  • The slightly lower areas below 7,000 ft look good. 

Viewing Suggestions / Tips: Many areas still holding spots of good color and great weather this week.

Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:Willows and cottonwoods along the rivers.

For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact: San Juan Public Lands Center, Durango (970) 247-4874


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

North Carolina Fall Color Leaf Report 10/27/14

Romantic Asheville  has a fall color report for 10/27/2014

October 27, 2014 Update: This is the last week of fall color for most of the mountains. The best color now is in lower elevations and valleys. Peak color in the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock area will be later this week into early next week. While many sections of the Parkway are past peak, the views into the valleys are grand. 

See photo links at  Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color Leaf Report 2014.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

Yosemite Fall Color and More 10/26/14

Yosemite Nature Notes Blog reported on 10/26/14

Foliage color in the Valley is quite nice now, with parts of Southside Drive being a bright corridor of yellow maples. Even the dogwoods are as much yellow as pink. Wherever you find it, Dogbane outshines everything in pure canary yellow.Vernal Fall trickles and at the normally lowest flow of the year, the Merced is running about 1/3 of average for this date. Lessingia blooms can still be found, some Madea still in blossom at Cascades, and theres at least one azalea flowering at Yosemite Lodge. Varied thrushes have appeared early and are relatively numerous. Bucks are at their biggest and in their most aggressive season; give them respectful space.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

Chattahoochee-Oconee Nat. Forest Fall Color Peaking 10/27/14

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest  has a new fall color report for October 27, 2014

Mild weather early this week will contribute to color development with a chance of showers on Wednesday as a cold front moves through north Georgia. Once the weather clears, highs are forecast to be in the 60s with lows dipping into the 30s, making for an authentic feeling fall color watching experience. Now is the time to see fall color in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Continue to monitor the weather so you’ll know when to make that drive into the mountains. Remember to check the Brasstown Bald webcams so see just what the conditions are in this part of the forest. Lately it’s become obvious the color is moving into the mid and lower elevations. Depending on the weather, we could still have a week or two of nice fall color. Come and get it while you can!The main observation deck gives you the full 360 degree view from Georgia’s highest mountain.

Here are some suggestions for driving tours through the mountains this fall.

  • Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway
  • U.S. Highway 76 between Blairsville and Clayton
  • State Highway 197 between Clarksville and U.S. Highway 76. Very pastoral and scenic.

Other good drives will be along Georgia Highway 52 anywhere between Chatsworth and Dahlonega.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

Assorted California Fall Color Reports Updated 10/27/14

California Fall Color posted a number of new fall color reports for California today. Here are the highlights. To see the full reports and photos go to California Fall Color.

The Redwood Highway – US 101 (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Color is spotty along the highway with the best color showing between Ukiah and Willits. The color was beautiful, though spotty along US 101.  Best color is seen between Willits and Ukiah, near the highway, but it is patchy.  Brilliant yellow, chartreuse, orange and lime are seen in the bigleaf maple, black oak and wild cucumber.

Lone Pine (US 395) – (Peak to Past Peak) – Stands of color are seen high up in the Eastern Sierra.
Aspendell, Bishop Creek Canyon (Peak to Past Peak) – Brilliant color continues to survive, despite winds above 20 mph.

Patchy – Sacramento County (10 – 50%) – Cottonwood and sycamore are showing lime, yellow and chartreuse throughout Sacramento County.  Still, way short of nearing peak, though lovely none the less.

Hot Springs Mt. black oaks are a lot further along than he thought they’d be. There’s a large mixed forest of oaks and pine on Hot Springs Mountain that are near peak.

Laguna Mountains, the higher elevations as patchy.

Palomar Mountain and Julian are also patchy.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 27, 2014

Maybe Dolphins Aren’t So Much Smarter

NPR reported that maybe Dolphins are not that much smarter or different from other articles. They cite examples of other animals that do similar behaviors. Read story at Dolphins: Adorable, Playful, Not As Smart As You Might Think : NPR.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 26, 2014

Zion Fall Color 10/26/14

Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers has the following fall color report for Zion for 10/25-26

Explored the east side / Checkerboard Mesa region. Bushes along dry stream and iconic Cottonwoods seem just past peak – the Cottonwoods are yellow and if you work an angle they look great, but I have seen better. Some vibrant red Bigtooth Maples east of the short tunnel though you might have to do a short hike to find them. Light greens around the lower areas of the Virgin River Canyon. Second hand reports of the Virgin River canyon suggest not much color through Big Bend – but could be great next weekend. I get the sense that this may be a late season.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 26, 2014

The First Species To Have Sex

The first species to have sex was a fish about 385 million years ago.  BBC Science and Environment reported

An international team of researchers says a fish called Microbrachius dicki is the first-known animal to stop reproducing by spawning and instead mate by having sex.

The primitive bony fish, which was about 8cm long, lived in ancient lakes about 385 million years ago in what is now Scotland.

Read story at BBC News – Ancient Scottish fish first to have sex.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 25, 2014

Two Butterflies Gain Endangered Species Act Protection

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Two Prairie Butterflies Gain Endangered Species Act Protection in
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Dakotas

MINNEAPOLIS— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected two rare prairie butterflies under the Endangered Species Act. Protection for the Dakota skipper results from a landmark 2011 settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed protection decisions for 757imperiled plants and animals across the country. The Service added the Poweshiek skipperling to the listing rule because it is highly endangered and shares habitat with the skipper. Both of the inch-long, brown-and-orange butterflies were once found in eight states in the Midwest and Great Lakes region but declined due to loss of native prairie habitat.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 24, 2014

Night Light Threatens Seabirds Too

Conservation Magazine reports how night lights are a serious threat to seabirds. Birds attracted to the lights are at risk of being run over by cars. The article states

As a group, seabirds are at the greatest risk of all birds, and the petrels are at the greatest risk of all seabirds. That’s why it’s so worrisome that shearwaters and storm-petrels can be so severely impacted by artificial lights. These are nocturnally active species during breeding season, and fledglings leave the nest only at night. They didn’t evolve to account for our lights. “Worldwide, thousands of birds are attracted to lights every year during their first fledges from their nests to the open ocean, a phenomenon called fallout,” explains Australian researcher Airam Rodriguez in a recent paper in the journal PLOS ONE. “Some fledglings may actually reach the ocean successfully but are attracted by the coastal lighting back onto the land. Fledglings are vulnerable to injury or death by collisions with human infrastructure and once grounded, to predation or become road casualties.”

Read full Story at  Seabirds fly toward the light, get run over by cars – Conservation.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 23, 2014

Arizona and New Mexico Fall Colors 10/23/14

Southwestern Region National Forests have the following new Fall Color Reports for 10/23/14


Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

On the Black Mesa Ranger District the Mogollon Rim has peaked for fall colorregarding the aspen trees and they are starting to lose their leaves. The aspen trees at the lower elevations still have beautiful color and are perfect for photo opportunities.  The oak and willow trees also offer a splendid variety for fall color.Recommended viewing routes are located on Hwy. 260 between Heber-Overgaard and Payson at mile post 282. Turn north toward Woods Canyon Lake onto Forest Road (FR) 300. To see willow and oak trees travel down scenic FR 86 from Heber to Black Canyon Lake. Be sure to check out the Mogollon Rim Visitor’s center for a majestic view onto the Tonto National Forest.

Be sure to bring a camera to capture the scenic views. Remember to dress appropriately to weather conditions and to wear proper footgear if planning a hike. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated! Schedule viewing on clear days during optimal sunlight from 8am-4pm and make sure to stay on the trail. If you pack it in, pack it out!

Read More…
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 23, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color 10/16/14

 Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors Tracker has the following quick summary update for 10/23/14

Past Peak (but offering long-range views of valleys below)

  • Southern region of the Blue Ridge Parkway below Mt Pisgah.
  • Mt Mitchell and Graggy Gardens area from around Little Switzerland to just north of Asheville.
  • Boone / Blowing Rock area including Price Lake and Moses Cone Manor.
  • Most elevations above 4500′.

At Peak ( 75% & up ) <= This weekend’s best outlook

  • Most of the Parkway in Virginia (an hour or two drive will offer significant fall color)
  • Boone / Blowing Rock area travelling north into Virginia.
  • Linn Cove Viaduct / Grandfather Mountain south to Crabtree Falls
  • North of Asheville to Craggy Gardens / South of Asheville to Mt Pisgah
  • Most elevations in the range from 2500′ to 3750′.

Near Peak, but very colorful ( 60% to 75% )

  • Roanoke & James River Areas
  • Most elevations in the range from 1750′ to 2500′.

Patchy, but not green (  10% – 50% )

  • Long range views off the eastern and western escarpment.

See full Report at  Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors Tracker.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 23, 2014

San Juan National Forest Fall Color 10/23/14

San Juan National Forest has a new fall color report for 10/23/14

Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:
Durango to Purgatory – past peak
Molas Pass – past peak
Silverton/Red Mountain Pass – past peak
Pagosa –past peak, 90% cottonwoods along river 
Dolores to Rico – past peak
Mancos – 90% peaking

Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:
Wolf Creek Pass, San Juan River
North of Mancos.  Dolores river
Durango south to Aztec NM

Estimated Peak Viewing Period:
High elevation above 8,000 feet is mostly past peak.
The slightly lower areas below 8,000 ft look good.  Pagosa, Dolores, Mancos changing fast.

Viewing Suggestions / Tips:
Many areas still holding good color and great weather this week.

Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:
Aspens, oakbrush.  Willows and cottonwoods along the rivers.

For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact:
San Juan Public Lands Center, Durango (970) 247-4874

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

Zion Fall Color 10/22/14

Niebrugge Images — Photo blog featuring Ron Niebrugge’s outdoor, travel and nature photos has a fall color report for Zion National Park

at about 6,500 feet. This elevation is at peak right now! Much of this trail is above 7,500 feet, and those colors are past, and most on the ground. In the valley floor, colors are just beginning to change. I would say at the Temple of Sinawava, maybe 20% of the leaves are now yellow, with a bit less further down the valley. The next few weeks should be great.

See photo and full post at:  Zion Fall Color Update.

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