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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 24, 2014

Chattahoochee-Oconee Nat. Forest Fall Color 10/24/14

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest  has a new fall color report for October 24, 2014

Even though the stormy weather yesterday blew a lot of the early season color of the trees, it’s still early enough for more color to develop. It should be no surprise that at the higher elevations, where most of the color was developing, the weather was the worst. Lower elevations, especially in places sheltered from the winds, will likely provide good fall color in the coming days. Stay tuned for photos later in the week.

The forecast looks good for this weekend and into next week with sunny to partly cloudy days and cool temperatures. Just right for leaf peeping.

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.

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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.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

Arizona Fall Color 10/22/14

Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers 

The maples in West Fork of Oak Creek near Sedona are underway.  Judging from images seen on Facebook (I have not hiked in yet), this coming weekend should be good for colors. Evidently, there are only a few places along the creek where this summer’s Slide fire burned lightly.  There has been some silting from runoff in the Subway section. The aspens on the San Francisco Peaks are waning.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

Plumas County Fall Color Update 10/21/13

Awesome Autumn Plumas County Northern California has the following fall color report:

October 21, 2014

Historically, October 21 has been peak color throughout Plumas County, and this year is no exception. We’re declaring peak today. Some trees, of course, have shed all their leaves, but most are in full color. The rain yesterday washed everything clean and today the sky is clear blue.see photos and more reports at:  Awesome Autumn Plumas County Northern California.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

New York Fall Color 10/22/2014

Fall Foliage in New York | Autumn Leaves, Scenic Drive has a new report for the week of Oct. 22 to 28

Bright, Peak Foliage Reaching Lower Hudson Valley and Final Upstate Destinations

Look for the best colors this weekend in Westchester County and along Lake Ontario

This is the seventh 2014 FALL COLOR REPORT for New York State. Reports are obtained from field observers and reflect expected color conditions for the coming weekend. FALL COLOR REPORTS are issued every Wednesday afternoon.

Albany, N.Y. – Bright, peak foliage will be reaching its final destinations in upstate New York this weekend, according to observers for Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program. Look for peak color in the lower Hudson Valley and in areas along Lake Ontario.

In the Hudson ValleyWestchester County will be at peak this weekend with a bright mix of red, gold and orange leaves. Dutchess County will be just past peak, with some peak areas along the Hudson River. Look for bright yellow and gold leaves predominating, along with bursts of vivid orange and barn red. Orange County will see a mix of peak and past peak foliage this weekend with some brilliant shades or red, orange and yellow leaves.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 10/22/14

Eastern Region 9 – National Forests  has a new fall color report for 10/22/14 for the following states:

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


Autumn is one of the most popular seasons for visiting the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. Currently there is still a lot of mixed color across the landscape, with some trees showing their autumn foliage and others still green. Some of the early turning trees still holding a lot of color are the deep crimson leaves of the dogwood and sumac trees. While the treetops of 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 50%, with peak season likely to occur around November 1.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

Great Smoky Mts. Fall Color 10/21/14

Great Smoky Mt. National Park has a new Fall Color Report for  October21, 2014

Fall Color Report – October 21, 2014

Sweeping views of fall colors can now be seen throughout the park as we enter late October. Although last week‘s storms blew the leaves off most high elevations trees, as well as trees that were further along at middle and lower elevations, five days of nearly perfect autumn weather have brought an abundance of color to the park, especially at middle elevations.

Around Cades Cove, approximately 50% of the low elevation trees are still green, but as you look up at the surrounding peaks, color is fully developed above 3,500 feet. Here, sourwood, red maple, sugar maple and blueberry have vivid red foliage. Other foliage is pale yellow. We estimate that we’re at least a week away from full color development around the valley floor in the cove.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

Shasta Cascade Fall Color 10/22/14

California Fall Color has and update for the Shasta Cascade Region. Report highlights below. See photos at California Fall Color » Blog Archive Northeast Californias fall color moves from patchy to near peak.

Lassen County (Near Peak 50%-75%) Lassen County has begun to show vibrant yellows bigleaf maple and red dogwood. The Bizz Johnson trail is flanked with fall colors. GO NOW!

Plumas County (Near Peak 50%-75%) If you plan to see Plumas County at peak, don’t wait much longer. Plumas is near peak with vibrant red and yellow scattered throughout the county.  Quincy is at peak. GO NOW!

Siskiyou County (Near Peak 50%-75%) With cooler weather descending into Northern California, Siskiyou County should also be at peak by Halloween.  The color is particularly impressive when set against the backdrop of snow-covered Mt. Shasta which received a few inches within the past week. GO NOW!

Shasta County (Patchy 10%-50%) Shasta County is seeing patches of red and orange throughout the county. Most trees are starting to change and, with cooler weather making its way in, they are expected to peak at the end of October. Most trees in the Anderson area are still green with patches of red and yellow.  Big changes are predicted in the next two weeks.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

S. Africa Starts Moving Rhinos To Safe Zones

Bloomberg reports

South Africa has started moving rhinos from areas of heavy poaching in the Kruger National Park to parts of the reserve where they can be protected to combat a surge in illegal killings of the endangered animals.

Read story at S. Africa Starts Moving Rhinos to Safe Zones to Cut Poaching – Bloomberg.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 22, 2014

New Tarantula Species Named For John Lennon

ScienceDaily reported on a tarantula being named after John Lennon

A newly described tarantula species from Western Brazilian Amazonia was named Bumba lennoni in honor of John Lennon, a founder member of the legendary band the Beatles. The new species is part of the tarantula family Theraphosidae which comprises the largest sized spider species in the world.

Read full story at John Lennon commemorated by naming a new tarantula species from South America after him — ScienceDaily


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 21, 2014

Mono County Fall Color 10/21/14

California Fall Color has a new fall color update for Mono County for 10/21/14

Lower Rock Creek Road (Near Peak – 50 – 75%) The lower trail is finally turning and should be close to peak this weekend.

Convict Lake (Peak to Past Peak) -Mammoth Lakes (Peak to Past Peak) – GO NOW!


June Lake Loop (Peak – 75 – 100%) - The June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158 is particularly beautiful from Gull Lake, “down canyon” to Grant Lake.  From the north end of the June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158,  Little Walker Lake is peaking at lake level, and should hold through the weekend. GO NOW!


Lee Vining Canyon (Peak – 75 – 100%) - Groves at the base of Tioga Pass Rd./Hwy. 120 just north of the US 395 junction in Lee Vining Canyon are just turning now while along Poole Plant Road, the color is peaking and again should be amazing this weekend, as well. GO NOW!

Lower Lundy Lake Road (Peak – 75 – 100%) Lower Lundy Lake Rd. is rich in color — definitely peaking. GO NOW!

Sonora Pass (Peak to Past Peak) Sonora Pass and Leavitt Meadows are also glowing, with some areas and stands past peak.

Walker River (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – The drive along the West Walker River in north county is becoming golden as the trees and willows along the shore get increasingly brighter.

Walker, Coleville, Topaz  (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Spots of bright yellow and lime are seen among the Antelope Valley’s stands of black cottonwood.

Monitor Pass (Past Peak) – YOU MISSED IT!

See photos at  California Fall Color » Blog Archive Californias hot fall color spot this week is June Lake.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 21, 2014

San Juan National Fall Color 10/21/14

San Juan National Forest  has a fall update report for 10/21/14

Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:
Durango to Purgatory – past peak
Molas Pass – past peak
Silverton/Red Mountain Pass – past peak
Pagosa –90% aspens high, 90% cottonwoods along river 
Dolores to Rico – 95% peaking
Mancos – 90% peaking

Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:
Wolf Creek Pass
North of Mancos.  Dolores river

Durango south to Aztec NM

Estimated Peak Viewing Period:
High elevation above 9,000 feet is mostly past peak. The slightly lower areas below 8000 Feet look good. Pagosa, Delores 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 21, 2014

Yosemite Fall Color 10/21/14

California Fall Color has a fall color report for Yosemite. Here are the highlights

Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park (Peak to Past Peak) - Aspen at the highest elevations have lost color, though those near 7.000′ still show yellow. Willows and shrubs are showing gold and crimson.

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park (Patchy – 10 – 50%) -Orange black oak, rose-colored dogwood, golden black cottonwoods and cadmium yellow bigleaf maple are only beginning to show their coming beauty. Look for Yosemite Valley to be lovely the last week of October and first two weeks of November (weather permitting).

See full post and photos at California Fall Color » Blog Archive Yosemite’s famed sugar maple and the high country are now past peak


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 21, 2014

Asheville NC Fall Color Leaf 10/21/14

Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color Leaf Report 2014 reports for October 21, 2014

Heavy rain and high winds last week took a beating on many leaves that had already changed color in the highest elevations. However, most of the greener leaves survived and will be turning quickly this week under lots of sun. The best color now is in elevations 3,000-4,000 feet.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 21, 2014

National Park Fees Going Up

National Parks Traveler reports

There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future…It very likely will be a bit more costly to enter Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Acadia, Shenandoah and the other 126 units that charge entrance fees by the time the National Park Services centennial arrives in 2016, and you also should brace for slightly higher fees to camp, shower, paddle, and participate in boat and cave tours.

Read story at: National Parks | National Parks Traveler.

YubaNet reports on Yosmite rate increases:

Yosemite National Park is proposing to increase entrance fees into the park. The single vehicle entrance fee would change from $20 to $30 for a seven day pass. The park’s annual pass would increase from $40 to $60. The current rate of $10 per individual or motorcycle would increase to $15 for an individual and $25 per motorcycle. Interagency Passes, which are honored at all federally managed land units, are not affected by the proposed fee increase and will remain at $80 for the regular pass, $10 for the Senior Pass and free for the Access and Military passes

Read full story at YubaNet Yosemite National Park Proposes Entrance Fee and Campground Fee Increase.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

Assorted California Fall Color Reports 10/20/14

California Fall Color has a number of new fall color reports from all over the state. Here are the highlights

The Redwood Highway (Peak – 75 – 100%) - We’re asking North Coast spotters to confirm this report by sending photos.

Redwood National and State Parks (Past Peak) – YOU MISSED IT!

Lake Gregory (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Oaks and other deciduous trees surrounding the lake have been slowly developing their color since first reported on Oct. 5.  Unlike higher elevations in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Gregory has not neared peak and will continue to develop color in coming weeks.

Lake Hemet (Just Starting – 0 – 10%) - A report from Lake Hemet states that little color has yet developed in the San Jacinto Mountains.  On the basis of that report, we’ve downgraded the San Jacintos and ranges to the south, to Just Starting.

The Eastern Sierra that this weekend was glorious, though he worries that wind predicted for tomorrow will strip what little is left in Bishop Creek Canyon.

the area around Aspendell is both at peak and past peak, though on the main road through Aspendell there’s still green among the aspen, meaning that color change will continue to develop for a week or two.

It’s a mix of patchy color with yellow, orange and leafless stands.  The color is lasting a week longer than usual.  “Even around the tiny burg of South Fork Bishop Creek there are pockets of bright yellow aspen with this photo taken about a mile up the road.” If you’re in the area, GO NOW!  As, Monday’s wind will likely strip what color remains.

See photos and full reports at California Fall Color

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

Plumas County Fall Color Update 10/20/14

Awesome Autumn Plumas County Northern California has the following fall color report:

The drive from Quincy to La Porte is both an adventure and a beautiful fall foliage trip with plenty of species to see at peak now. Many thanks to Suzi for sharing. Her report:

You’ll want to start off this trip getting out to enjoy a “celebrity tree,” the centuries old English maple at the beginning of the drive. The orangeish/pinkish leaves were at peak when we toured and hopefully it’s good now as well!

Definitely get off the main road and go down the first dirt road to the right. (Just before a hairpin left turn.) There’s lots of Big leaf maple in stunning yellow, along with dogwood, which was in varying stages of red. Continuing on the main road, you’ll come to the Middle Fork Feather River and again, get out and gaze along the riverbanks.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

North Carolina Fall Color 10/19/14

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

Fall Color Report for Week of October 19, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP).  We took the BRP from there to Asheville, about 71 miles of driving.  Prior to that, as we headed along I-40 through the Asheville area down to Exit 20, it was apparent that the trees were still developing their color –we saw a lot of green, although the upper elevations had some color on them.  However, this drive never has great color, since it’s lower in elevation than other areas, and there is a preponderance of tulip poplars (yellow/brown) and oaks (brown, burnt yellow, rust red).

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

2014-15 The Wayne Roderick Lectures

The Wayne Roderick Lectures –  Winter 2014-2015

A popular series of free public lectures on a broad array of topics related to plants and natural history. Named in honor of its founder, the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series takes place on Saturday mornings from November through February at 10:30 a.m. in the Visitor Center of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. These illustrated presentations are enjoyable for beginners and professionals alike. All lectures are free and open to the public.

At the Regional Parks Botanic Garden   Shasta Rd, Berkeley, CA 94708
Saturday Mornings 10:30  Seating is limited!  Come Very Early and Save a Chair.
November 1, 2014 Flora ID Northwest: A new set of apps and computer programs for plant identification – interactive keys for both amateur and professional botanists Bruce Barnes
November 8, 2014 Highlights of Cook & Green Pass in the Siskiyou Mountains Ted Kipping
November 15, 2014 Natural History of Iceland Ron Felzer
November 22, 2014 A rose is still a rose, but is a monkeyflower still aMimulus? Where have all the monkeyflowers gone…findings from the lab and the field Naomi Fraga
November 29, 2014 Fall color in California wildlands Stew Winchester
December 6, 2014 Botanizing Baja California by mule: Adventures into remote regions of Baja California, including cowboy uses of indigenous plants Sula Vanderplank
December 13, 2014 The Mt. Diablo fire of 2013 and its bounty of flowers Steve Edwards
December 20, 2014 Steens Mountain Flora Dick O’Donnell
December 27, 2014 NO lecture – enjoy the holidays!
January 3, 2015 Continuing the Trillium search, and the last two National Parks Bob Case
January 10, 2015 Old growth rainforest of southeastern Alaska John Kipping
January 17, 2015 Euphorbia hunting in the Old World: From the Arabian Desert to the deserts and savannas of Africa Jeff Morawetz
January 24, 2015 Conserving Northwestern Baja California Alan Harper
January 31, 2015 Flora of the Islands of the Gulf of California, Mexico Ben Wilder
February 7, 2015 Images from Isla de Cedros, the floristic edge of California. A summer vacation on a desert island in Baja California during a record breaking drought Michael Uhler
February 14, 2015 Humboldt County and the great divorce Steve Edwards
February 21, 2015 The Flora of the Blue Mountains of Oregon Dick O’Donnell
February 28, 2015 Two completed projects: The checklist of the flora – and the rare, endangered, and endemic plants – of northwestern Baja California, Mexico Bart O’Brien


Map of regional parks botanic garden
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 19, 2014

Open Pipes Kill Birds

Media Release American Bird Conservancy – Home

New Study Says “Very Large” Number of Birds May Be Killed by Open Pipes on Western Landscape

Western Bluebirds and Nine Official State Birds among the Victims

(Washington, D.C., October 9, 2014) Open pipes, widely used for a variety of purposes across the western U.S. landscape, have been reported as a “potentially very large” source of bird mortality according toresearch by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The finding was part of a peer-reviewed study accepted for publication by the “Western North American Naturalist” and authored by Charles D. Hathcock and Jeanne M. Fair.

“Based on these preliminary findings … open bollards and pipes pose a potentially large-scale threat to birds, and research on the impacts of this threat, especially to cavity-nesting birds, should be encouraged and considered in management plans,” the scientists said.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 18, 2014

Birding Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary 10/18/14

No Ducks, Grebes or Geese but 100’s of shorebirds at Elsie Roemer today. Most abundant were Black-bellied Plovers, Sanderlings, Double-crested Cormorants, Marbled Godwits, Western Sandpipers, Western Gulls, and Least Sandpipers. Also seen in good number were  Snowy Egrets, Elegant Terns, Semipalmated Plovers, Dunlin, Willets and Long-billed Curlews. A total of twenty-one species were identified.  Elsie Roemer Bird List  10/18/14

Shorebirds in flight

Shorebirds in flight. Photo  by Sandy Steinman

Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is at the east end of Marsh Beach in the town of Alameda. It harbors aquatic birds and other salt marsh creatures. A good time to go is just after high tide as this is when many shorebirds come in to feed.

The name Black-bellied Plover can be deceptive this time of year as its belly is only black during the breeding season.

Black-bellied Plover in winter plumage

Black-bellied Plover in winter plumage. Photo by Sandy Steinman

A question that came up today was what is the source of the name semipalmated. I found the answer in article Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus — Eastside Audubon.  I discovered that  “two partially webbed toes which gives our species its name semipalmatus, half palmed, from Latin semi, half and palma, the palm” (Holloway)

We also were wondering about the name Double-crested Cormorant. According to Wikipedia:

The double-crested cormorant was described by Rene Primevere Lesson in 1831. Its scientific name is derived from the Greek words φαλακρος phalakros, “bald” and κοραξ korax, “crow” or “raven”, and the Latin auritus, “eared”, referring to its nuptial crests. Its common name refers to the same nuptial crests.

via Double-crested cormorant – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



Double-crested Cormorant in breeding showing white nuptial crests. Photo from Wikipedia






Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 18, 2014

2014 Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks October 20 to 21

In 2014, the Orionid meter shower should peak between October 20 – 21. The best time for viewing the Orionid meteor shower  is between midnight (1 a.m. daylight time) and dawn no matter what time zone you’re in. An almost new Moon will make it easy to view the shower for both Northern and Southern Hemisphere observers. Halley’s comet causes the Orionid meteor shower. It is called Orionids because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the constellation Orion.

Learn more at; via Dark night for watching Orionid meteors on October 21-22 | Tonight | EarthSky.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 17, 2014

Plumas County Fall Color 10/17/14

Plumas County’ Awesome Autumn  reports

10/17/14 The last rain storm decreased the showy leaves in the Lakes Basin area near Graeagle but still some color on the Silver Lake Trail. Take the lakes basin campground entrance and follow the sign for trails. Its still a great hike in the fall air.

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

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 17, 2014

How Bird Droppings Led To Marine Nat. Monument

National Geographic  has a story on how bird droppings led to the  Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The demand for bird droppings for use as fertilizer led to the U.S. taking possession of these remote islands in the 19th century. The recent expansion of the Marine National monument increase its size by over six times its previous size to 490,0000 square miles.

Read the story at Bird Droppings Led to U.S. Possession of Newly Protected Pacific Islands.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

New England Fall Color Update 10/16/14

The Yankee Foliage map shows that Northern Maine and New Hampshire as well as all of Vermont are now past peak. Southern New Hampshire, and Maine  and much of Massachusetts are now at peak with Connecticut mostly at moderate fall color. See map and photo links at Yankee Foliage

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

Coconino National Forest Fall color 10/15/14

Coconino National Forest has a new fall color report 10/15/14

Fall colors are at their peak in the high country around Flagstaff and along the Mogollon Rim!

Suggested Sites

Flagstaff Ranger District:  

  • Hart Prairie (Accessed via Highway 180 and Forest Service Road 151 and/or FSR 418, which also loops around the north end of the Peaks for a pretty view)
  • Aspen Loop Trail (Via Hwy 180 and Snowbowl Road) or the AZ Trail that stretches from the Aspen Loop Trail north through Hart Prairie
  • Lockett Meadow (Via Hwy 89, then Forest Road 552). Check out the link for Lockett Meadow Campground for exact directions.
  • Around the Peaks Loop Scenic Drive
  • Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail and Kendrick Mountain Wilderness

Mogollon Rim Ranger District (north of Pine and Strawberry near Blue Ridge):

  • Forest Road 321 also known as “Dane Ridge” (Hwy 87 to FSR 95 next to the Mogollon Rim Ranger Station, right on FSR 96, right on FSR 321)
  • Forest Road 300, also known as “Rim Road” or “General Crook Trail” (Hwy 87 or Hwy 260 to FSR 300, 2.5 miles east of Hwy 260, 10 miles north of Strawberry)
  • Cabin Loop Trail

Red Rock Ranger District (around Sedona):

No fall colors yet – perhaps in a week or two.

Note: While Oak Creek Canyon and West Fork Oak Creek are popular locations near Sedona to see fall colors, they’re not the only places to visit and parking is very limited! There are plenty of other equally goreous leaf-peeping locations including hikes along Casner CanyonAllen’s Bend Trail by Oak Creek, and Girdner Trail along Dry Creek west of Sedona. The Crescent Moon and Chavez Crossing areas are also wonderful!


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