John Wall’s Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore reports there are nice displays of Bush Lupines in the dunes at the Limantour Beach area at Pt. Reyes. See his photos at Point Reyes Blog: Lupinsanity at Limantour.
Point Reyes National Seashore Facebook page posted
Spring is sliding into summer; last of the wildflowers is typically the Butter Lupine at Tomales Point and the Lighthouse. Check weather at the coast before heading out via the park webcam – while it may be sunny at Bear Valley, the wind and fog often linger over the Inverness Ridge at the coastal areas.
See photo at Point Reyes National Seashore
USGS Release: Long-term Prognosis for Florida Manatees Improves
The risk of extinction for the endangered Florida manatee appears to be lower, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey led study.
Based on the data available in 2012, the long-term probability of the species surviving has increased compared to a 2007 analysis, as a result of higher aerial survey estimates of population size, improved methods of tracking survival rates, and better estimates of the availability of warm-water refuges.
Oregon Wildflowers has two reports for the Columbia River Gorge on 5/25/15
- Cape Horn During a brief visit I saw Delphinium nuttallii, Blue-eyed Mary, one of the cinquefoils (glandulosa?), a silene (douglasii?), and a penstemon (ovatus?) which is just starting to open.
- John B. Yeon State Park Very pleasant hike to Upper McCord Creek Falls. The vegetation on the lower slopes is mostly over, but the section along the cliff face was filled with CRG endemics. Cliff Paintbrush, Howell’s Daisy, Columbia Gorge Daisy, and Long-beard Hawkweed (in bud but should be blooming soon). Kittentails were in fruit. I also saw Goatsbeard, a couple of different Saxifrages, stickseed, Bolandra, tiger lily (near the trailhead), bronze bells, western solomon’s plume, Delphinium, Broad leaved stonecrop, mitrewort, Wallflower, small flowered alumroot, some of the smaller monkeyflowers, white shooting star (mostly past peak), a few remaining flowers of cliff penstemon, and a few flowers I have yet to ID.
Theodore Payne Wildflower Hotline has a new report for May 22 that includes
- Sequoia and King Canyon National Park
- Santa Monica Mountains
- Placerita Canyon Nature Center
- Elizabeth Learning Center
- Environmental Nature Center
- San Jacinto Mountains
- Bear Ridge Loop in Bear Canyon
- Casper ‘s Wilderness Park
- Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
See full report with photos at http://theodorepayne.org/hotline/2015/TPF_WildFlowerReport_May22-2015.pdf
Reveal reports on the killing of thousands of protected birds. Below are a few excerpts. Read full story at Shot and gassed: Thousands of protected birds killed annually | Reveal.
data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showing more than 300 species of migratory birds – from red-tailed hawks to American kestrels, turkey vultures to mallard ducks – have been killed legally across the United States since 2011 to protect a wide range of business activities and public facilities under what’s called the “depredation permit” program.
California, where American coots were killed by the thousands to protect golf course greens and fairways.
Ring Mountain is part of the Marin County Open Space District. It was mostly cloudy providing good light for flower photography, but fairly breezy so patience was required.
Ring Mt. is a habitat of mixed grassland and woodland as well as areas of serpentine rock. The plants are a mix of natives and aliens. Trees and Shrubs included Coast Live Oak, Monterey Pine, Toyon, Buckeye, Bay, Coyote Bush, Blue Elderberry, and Poison Oak. Lots of alien grasses.
The goal of today’s hike was to see Calochortus tiburonensis/Tiburon Mariposa Lily which is a rare and endangered plant that is endemic to Ring Mt. There were many other plants in bloom as well. There was a fair amount of bird song when we arrived and although I was able to identify a number of the birds by sound, I am sure I missed more than a few. By the time we were leaving the sun came out and the birds had quieted but the butterflies had started to fly.
The most frequently seen bird was Western Scrub Jay. The most abundant wildflower was Tarweed and the most common butterfly was Common Wood Nymph.
Click Read more for Bird, Plant and Butterfly Lists
Texas Wildflower Haven report for W G Jones State Park just off of I45 along FM1488
It has been less than a year since they did a controlled burn and the pine trunks are still very dark bur the grasses and coreopsis are doing very well
Oregon Wildflowers report for Horse Rock Ridge
Blooming in the forest: Fairyslipper (Calypso bulbosa) which begins immediately after the fence – slightly past peak but there are plenty which still look good, Oregon Wood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana), Woods Strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Western Starflower (Trientalis latifolia), many more Yellowleaf Iris (Iris chrysophylla) than two weeks ago, Long-Tailed Ginger (Asarum caudatum), and Salal (Gaultheria shallon) just starting.
The meadows and hillsides are still covered with profuse amounts of Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis) and Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), as well as many others including: Rosy Plectritis (Plectritis congesta), Menzies’ Larkspur (Delphinium menziesii), White-Top Clover (Trifolium variegatum), Olympic Onion (Allium crenulatum), Meadow Death Camas (Zigadenus venenosus), Spring Gold (Lomatium utriculatum), Harsh Paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), Annual Agoseris (Agoseris heterophylla), Blue Flax (Linum lewisii), Slender Sandwort (Minuartia tenella), Narrowleaf Paintbrush (Castilleja attenuata), Cut-leaf Daisy (Erigeron compositus), Oregon Sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), Nuttall’s Saxifrage (Saxifraga nuttallii), and Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana).
There are a number of Yellowleaf Iris (Iris chrysophylla) to your left as you enter the meadow.
Tolmie’s Cat’s Ears (Calochortus tolmiei), and Slender Clarkia (Clarkia gracilis) are just starting.
Both Oregon Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum) and Henderson’s Shooting Star (Dodecatheon hendersonii) are well past peak, though there are a few still hanging on.
The Sacramento Bee reported
The Assembly on Friday passed a bill to bar California retailers from selling products containing tiny plastic beads which currently are embedded in many exfoliating creams and scrubs.Microbeads have gained attention as a significant source of pollution as they have appeared in the bodies of fish and other wildlife that ingest the orbs after they have flowed down drains and into lakes, rivers and oceans.
Read full story at California ban on microbeads in cosmetics advances | The Sacramento Bee.
Read even more on microbeads at Fighting Pollution From Microbeads Used in Soaps and Creams – NYTimes.com.
Thanks to the Every Kid in a Park initiative, all 4th graders and their families will be invited to visit our country’s outdoor treasures and historic sites anytime they like during the 2015-2016 school year…free of charge!
Read more and sign up at Every Kid in a Park Signup | National Park Foundation
Pacific Northwest Wildflowers has detailed plant, bird and animal list for Klickitat Wildlife Area: Eastern Columbia River Gorge Wildflower Bloom: May 22, 2015.
Texas Wildflower Sightings reports that at Shady Hollow West Nature Preserve
The bluebonnets and indian paintbrush may be gone, but everything else is blooming! Beebalm, Indian Blanket, Mexican Hat Plant, Purple Prairie Verbena, Texas Prickly Pear, Texas Rock Rose, Texas Thistle, White Prickly Poppy
See photos at Wildflower Sightings at Shady Hollow West Nature Preserve.
The Plumas County Bloom Blog predicts
the current rainy spell will produce a great June for wildflower watching.
See photos and more posts at Bloom Blog.
The Santa Barbara Edhat reports
“The meadow has several species that will carry over into the summer, but if you want to experience the full effect of many species of California native wildflowers all blooming at once, you had better get here soon!” according to Bruce Reed, Horticulturist for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
See photos and read story at Peak Wildflowers Now at the Botanic Garden – Santa Barbara News – Edhat.
Press Release Center for Biological Diversity
New Obama Administration Policy Will Make It Harder for Species to Get Endangered Species Protection Needed to Avoid Extinction
Policy Would Hamstring Citizen Petitions for Species’ Protection, Cutting Public Out of Endangered Species Management
PORTLAND, Ore.— The Obama administration proposed new regulations today that would place crippling burdens on citizens filing petitions to protect species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, ultimately making it more difficult for imperiled species to get lifesaving protections. Specifically the proposed regulations bar petitions for more than one species and require petitioners to provide advance notice of the petition to all states in the range of the species; to append any information from states to the petition itself; and to certify that all relevant information has been provided in the petition.
“These regulations are a lousy solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act already has a lengthy comment process that gives states ample opportunity for input. All these regulations would do is cut the public out of endangered species management and burden an already overburdened process for species to get the protection they need to avoid extinction.”
The Endangered Species Act expressly allows citizens to petition for protection of species and a majority of the more than 1,500 species awarded protection received it following a petition. The filing of a petition triggers what is supposed to be a two-year process, including three public comment periods, but that has on average has taken more than a decade to complete. These delays have led to a backlog of hundreds of species needing protection — a backlog that has been in place for decades. Delays in protection of species have real consequences, with more than 40 species having gone extinct so far while waiting for protection.
“This boneheaded new policy is the exact opposite of what’s needed to ensure that plants and animals get timely protection under the Endangered Species Act,” said Greenwald. “There has been a backlog of hundreds of species needing protection for decades, yet the Obama administration is placing additional burdens on the process for identifying species in need.”
The new requirements would discourage citizens from filing petitions, extend process times once petitions are filed, and invite litigation challenging petition determinations from states hostile to protection of wildlife. Requiring petitions to cover only one species would also dramatically decrease efficiency and runs directly counter to a longstanding policy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to move protection in multi-species packages, precisely for efficiency purposes.
Today’s proposal is one of several policies put forward by the administration that seek to limit the scope of the Endangered Species Act, solidifying the administration’s reputation as no friend of wildlife or the environment. Other administration policies limit protections for endangered species critical habitat, limit which species get protection in the first place and give federal agencies carte blanche to harm endangered species through the cumulative impacts of multiple actions.
“Endangered species management under the Obama administration unfortunately looks a lot like it did under the Bush administration,” said Greenwald. “With a growing human footprint, use of ever more dangerous pesticides and other pollutants and climate change, endangered species need more funding and stronger protections — not policies that cater to the unfounded concerns of state agencies and industries opposed to endangered species protections in the first place.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Oregon Wildflowers reports
Phantom Bridge Trail Near Detroit – Perhaps a dozen wildflowers in bloom on this hike, elevation range of 4,000 to 4,570 feet, but especially hundreds of avalanche lilies. A profusion of red paintbrush in the last half mile approaching Phantom Bridge. A few of the many rhododendrons had buds, and a couple of bushes had started to bloom. Some past-their-peak trilliums and bleeding hearts.
Silver Falls State Park – Many flowers are blooming along the Canyon Trail, including false Solomon’s seal, star-flowered false Solomon’s seal, clasping twisted-stalk, Smith’s fairybells, inside-out flower, rosy plectritis, orange honeysuckle, Columbia windflower, small-flowered buttercup, small-flowered blue-eyed Mary, chickweed monkeyflower, thimbleberry, red columbine, wild ginger, baldhip rose, Scouler’s corydalis, and impressive displays of Columbian larkspur at Double Falls and Lower South Falls.
Press Release Center for Biological Diversity
Pipeline Owner in Santa Barbara Oil Spill Has Had 175 Spill Incidents Since 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— The company that owns the pipeline involved in Tuesday’s major oil spill in Santa Barbara has had 175 incidents (mostly oil spills) nationwide since 2006, including 11 in California, according to a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of federal documents.
The Federal Government has announced its plans to protect pollinators and their habitat. Although the plan has been applauded by the The Xerces Society White House Releases Historic Strategy to Protect Pollinators and Their Habitat.
It was criticized by Center for Biological Diversity White House Report Lacks Key Actions to Save Bees, Other Pollinators. and other enviromental groups. See article at Pollinator Politics: Environmentalists Criticize Obama Plan To Save Bees : The Salt : NPR.
Oregon Wildflowers has a report for the Ochoco Mountains (Big Summit Prairie)
One of the best wildflower areas in Central Oregon. Many past peak and near peak species. Numerous Paintbrush (castlleja) and Owl Clover (orthocarpus barbatus), Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Wyethia Helianthoides, Penstemon, Buckwheat (eriogonum nudum), Larkspur, Bistort, Old Man’s Beard (geum triflorum), Blue Camas, Death Camus, Stonecrop, Blue Bells, Grass Widow (sisyrinchium), Wild Flag Iris, Frasera Abicaulis, Shooting Star, Prairie Star, Large Flowered Brodiaea (triteleia grandiflora), and much more. New to us this visit: Marsh Yellowcress (rorippa palustris), Modoc Hawksbeard (crepis modocensis)
European Union Press Release
State of Nature: Largest ever assessment draws a mixed picture for Europe’s habitats and species
Brussels, 20 May 2015
The Commission has adopted a new report providing the most comprehensive picture yet on the ‘State of Nature in the EU’. The findings show that the majority of birds have a secure status, and some species and habitats are doing better. Targeted conservation actions have brought successes, but a much greater effort is required for the situation to improve significantly.
Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “This report is significant and timely. While it shows a mixed picture overall, it clearly demonstrates that efforts to improve vulnerable ecosystems can be highly effective. It also underlines the scale of the challenges that remain. We have to rise to those challenges, as the health of our nature is linked to the health of Europe’s people, and to our economy.”
The L.A. Times reported
A clean-up operation was beginning Wednesday after a ruptured pipeline near Santa Barbara leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil Tuesday.
Officials were still trying to assess the environmental damage of the spill, which sent oil onto beaches.
“It is horrible,” said Brett Connors, 35, a producer from Santa Monica who said he spotted sea lions swimming in the oil slick. “You want to jump in there and save them.”
Read the full story at LA Times – Officials assess damage from large Santa Barbara oil spill.
KCET’s Socal Wander Blog has a recent post listing 9 of San Diego County’s Best Coastal Hikes. They listed
- Border Field State Park
- Sunset Cliffs
- Pacific Beach to Mission Beach
- La Jolla Cove
- Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and State Beach
- Torrey Pines to La Jolla Shores
- South Carlsbad to San Elijo
- San Elijo Lagoon
- San Clemente Beach to San Onofre
See hike descriptions and details at 9 of San Diego County’s Best Coastal Hikes | Hiking | SoCal Wanderer | KCET.
Oregon Wildflowers Reports
Our group of 4 hiked up to Angels Rest and across to Wahkeena Falls. We counted some 85 flowers. The larkspur was still lovely and so impressive. Vanilla leaf, starry solomon seal, Oregon flags, western white anemone,Oregon anemone, bunchberry, false lily of the valley,etc. Go this week to enjoy the huge area of larkspur.
This Wednesday, May 20 the PBS show Nature is showing “The Sagebrush Sea”, a documentary shot, edited, and produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s multimedia team. The film focuses on wildlife and conservation in the threatened sagebrush region that covers 250,000 square miles of North America. Watch the trailer at Sagebrush Sea Trailer. Check your local PBS station for broadcast time. Learn more at The Sagebrush Sea.
If you missed it you can watch it online at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365475128/
The Guardian reports
One in three European birds is endangered, according to a leaked version of the most comprehensive study of Europe’s wildlife and natural habitats ever produced.
The EU State of Nature report, seen by the Guardian, paints a picture of dramatic decline among once common avian species such as the skylark and turtle dove mainly as a result of agricultural pressures, and also warns that ecosystems are struggling to cope with the impact of human activity.
Yesterday I spent 5:20 AM – 10:00 AM at Muir Woods National Monument to listen to the “Dawn Chorus” as part of the Master Birding Class. We started before sunrise. It was shady and cool in 40’s most of morning. We walked both in and near Muir Woods.
I mostly heard but also saw 33 species. Several group members observed a chipmunk raiding a Pacific Wren nest and take five young and the adult wrens’ response. We had a good look at a Pileated Woodpecker at the top of a Snag. We also heard a Spotted Owl when first started.
There were a fair number of plants in bloom with most prolific being Cow Parsnip, Blue Elderberry, Red Clintonia and Star Flower.
See complete bird and plant lists by clicking read more
The San Francisco Bay Osprey Days will take place at the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve. It includes guided hikes, presenters, boat trips, fish tacos, art and photography show. Look for details in late May. For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoBayOspreyDays