The LA Times reported that researches confirm that Ashy Storm-petrels are breeding on Catalina Island. Researchers believe there may up to 50 nests on the Catalina Island. There are only about 10,000 Ashy Storm-petrels in the world and they are listed as a California Bird Species of Special Concern. Their low population numbers and restricted range make them susceptible to chemical pollutants, oil spills and predation from ravens, rats and feral cats. Read story at Ashy storm-petrels breed at Santa Catalina Island – LA Times.
It could save a life
The Environmental News Network explains how putting stones in a bird bath is not just for aesthetics. The stones may help prevent a small young bird from drowning. Read more at: Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News: Stones in bird baths are a GOOD idea!.
The 10th Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival is September 25-28,2014
There are field trips, lectures, workshops, and talks. Field Trips include visits to the habitats of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Elkhorn Slough, and Pinnacles National Monument and Pelagic trips. Specially designed field trips will take participants to Big Sur to see California condors.
Featured speakers and workshop leaders:
Ken Kaufmann author, artist, naturalist, and conservationist Keynote Speaker
Brian Sullivan eBird–Innovating Citizen-Science, Big Data Research, and Bird Conservation
Dan Robinson The Ten Most Misidentified Birds in Monterey
For more information including schedule and registration go to: http://montereybaybirding.org
Register early as trips fill.
Blue Ridge Parkway Blog reports
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, Common Evening Primrose, Indian Plantain, Rattlesnake Weed, Fire Pink, Butterfly Milkweed, Yarrow, Elderberry, Foxglove Beardtongue, Daisy Fleabane, Oxeye Daisy, Purple Flowering Raspberries, White Milkweed, New Jersey Tea, Southern Arrowwood, and Queen Anne’s Lace are all expected to be blooming.
In North Carolina near Moses Cone, there are reports of blooming Rosebay Rhododendron, Black-Eyed Susan, Beebalm, Common Milkweed, Turk’s Cap Lily, Spotted Jewelweed, Tall Bellflower, Phlox, Yarrow, Daisy Fleabane, Red Clover, Coreopsis, and Oxeye Daisy.
The “Blooming Now” page of Regional Parks Botanic Garden’s website has been updated as 7/18/14
Summer months in the Regional Parks Botanic Garden are an excellent time to view the richness and diversity of California’s native buckwheats (Eriogonum species). Just as buckwheats can be found in almost every plant community throughout the state, they can be found in almost every section of the Garden. The dense assemblage of small flowers range in colors from creamy white to soft pink; bold reds or glowing yellows. Foliage size and color range from soft, grey oval leaves, to large, nearly white linear leaves, or tiny, green needlelike leaves. Buckwheats are not only revered for the ornamental significance, but also valued for the ability to provide sustenance for birds, bees and butterflies, and shelter for countless small animals.
Look for these buckwheats throughout the garden:
Santa Cruz Island buckwheat (E. arborescens)
Conejo buckwheat (E. crocatum)
Santa Catalina Island buckwheat (E. giganteum var. giganteum)
California buckwheat (E. fasciculatum)
Coast buckwheat (E. latifolium)
Parish’s buckwheat (Eriogonum parishii)
Sulfur flower buckwheat (E. umbellatum)
Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom update for July 22 at the Pine Ridge Association website. To see what is in bloom including photos of flowers in bloom go to: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.
New Colorado wildflower updates from the Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers Forum for 7/21/14
Shrine Ridge...The lupines and paintbrush are VERY abundant and extremely colorful. Wide variety of flowers from the trailhead to the top. I think its at or near peak, so Id get there by this weekend. And bring DEET…although it seems that the mosquitoes I encountered today didn’t let DEET stop them at all.
Porphyry Basin is crazy with paintbrush and yellow small flowers mixed in.
Yankee Boy was OK..not as abundant as I was hoping for.
See older reports at Photo Critique Forums.
press release Center for Biological Diversity
Bee-killing Pesticides Banned in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington
Wildlife Refuges by Fish and Wildlife Service
PORTLAND, Ore.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will phase out use of toxic bee-killing pesticides in national wildlife refuges in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington by January 2016. The agency’s decision this month to ban the pesticides comes in response to a legal petition filed by the Center for Food Safety and joined by the Center for Biological Diversity, demanding the Service ban the use of neonicotinoids in wildlife refuge farming operations across the country. The Fish and Wildlife Service is the first U.S. agency to restrict use of neonicotinoids — a class of pesticides implicated in pollinator losses around the world and banned by the European Union.
National Geographic published an opinion article by Kenneth Brower on why the US Forest Service’s plan to do “salvage logging” in the Rim fire area is a bad idea. He expressed concerns about the habitat damage to flora and fauna from logging burned areas. He also raises the concern of that the Forest Service has tried to limit challenges to logging fire areas. He points out that
Salvage logging is a suspect concept in the West, and litigation and public opposition have slowed these projects in the past. The Forest Service, having learned from this experience, shortened the public comment period on Rim fire salvage to just 30 days.
Read full article at Opinion: Don’t Log Burned Forests—Let Nature Heal Them.
Today I went up to Blake Garden in Kensington, CA . It the official (but not lived in) home of the UC President. It was a bright overcast day and the light was ideal for flower photography, however the breeze was less cooperative. If you are looking for a place to visit and see or photograph flowers with few visitors check out this garden. It is only open Monday to Friday and closed weekends. To learn more about Blake Garden read the posting A Secret Garden – Blake
- Photos: What’s Happening In My Garden (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
Taiwan Today reported that an all-time high of 17 new bird species observed in Taiwan this year. New species include the common house martin, Hainan blue flycatcher, long-tailed duck, olive-backed sunbird and Pallas’s rosefinch and pied cuckoo.
Read more in Taiwan Today Record 17 new birds found in Taiwan this year
Two recent reports from the Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers
Odgen, Utah area July 20. The flowers up top near Ben Lomond Peak taking the road up from Mantua are peak. Those near Powder basin are just past peak and withering from the heat and dryness.
Crested Butte Colorado area July 18. Good lupine stands along Gothic Road. Also the meadows around Lake Irwin were looking good yesterday morning. I’d say just past peak, but still plenty to see and photograph.
See photos and older wildflower reports at: Photo Critique Forums.
Yosemite Nature Notes Blog reports
Flowers look great at 7-9000′ now: Senecio, lupine, Aster, Pentstemon, Epilobium, Delphinium and more are adding color to the quiet aridity.
Press Release Center for Biological Diversity
Nevada Butterfly Gains 5,561 Acres of Protected Habitat Under Endangered Species Act
LAS VEGAS— Following an agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed decisions for protection of 757 imperiled species across the country, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect 5,561 acres of critical habitat for the Mount Charleston blue butterfly in Clark County, Nev. The butterfly, found only in the Spring Mountains outside Las Vegas and nowhere else on Earth, was protected under the Endangered Species last September.
The Sacramento Bee reported that there is a pair of nesting Bald Eagles on San Clemente Island for the first time in more than 50 years,This means bald eagles have now re-established territories on five of the eight Channel islands. It is predicted that they will return to all eight islands within a few years. Bald eagles had disappeared from the Channel Islands during the 1960′s primarily due to DDT use. The Eagles initial return was assisted by a captive breeding period which has now been discontinued as the eagles are successfully breeding on their own. Read story at: Bald eagles expand territory in California islands – Environment – The Sacramento Bee.
Phys.org reports that studies on climate change reveal precipitation is much more likely than to influence population trends of North American Birds. The study found that for many species precipitation had a much more significant impact on long-term survival of many bird species.
News Release University of Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. – During the 2011 and 2012 migration seasons, University of Missouri researchers monitored mallard ducks with new remote satellite tracking technology, marking the first time ducks have been tracked closely during the entirety of their migration from Canada to the American Midwest and back. The research revealed that mallards use public and private wetland conservation areas extensively as they travel hundreds of miles across the continent. Dylan Kesler, an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at MU, says these findings illustrate the importance of maintaining protected wetland areas.
“We have lost nearly 90 percent of wetland areas in Missouri in the last century and 50 percent of wetlands across the country since the early 1800s,” Kesler said. “This loss has affected migratory bird populations and migration timing and routes. Our research shows the importance of these wetland areas to maintain healthy populations of migratory birds and other species, especially in an age of budget cuts for government programs protecting these few remaining wetland areas. If we don’t maintain these wildlife preserves it will put dozens, if not hundreds, of wildlife species in danger.”
Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers has the following report for the Aspen area
Aspen is looking good, should only improve in the next 2-3 weeks. Independence Pass had lots of Old Man of the Mountain/Hymenoxys grandiflora (& tons of people), too.
See photos and more reports at: Photo Critique Forums.
- Colorado Wildflowers: Mayflower Gulch & Shrine Pass 7/17/14 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Colorado Wildflower Update 7/14/14 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Colorado Wildflower Update 7/11/14 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Colorado Wildflower Update 7/12/14 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
Press Release Center for Biological Diversity
Lawsuit Launched to Halt Destruction of 14,000 Acres of Condor Habitat at Tejon Ranch
SAN FRANCISCO— Condor advocates, conservationists and American Indians this week notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service they intend to sue over the agency’s approval of a “habitat conservation plan” that will destroy 14,000 acres of designated critical habitat for the California condor, one of the world’s most endangered birds. The habitat is entirely located on Tejon Ranch, north of Los Angeles, and will be destroyed by the development of the proposed Tejon Mountain Village resort project. Tejon Ranch encompasses some of the most important and essential foraging habitat for condors, much of it protected since 1977.
USGS Press Release
Observing Polar Bears from Space
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Monitoring wildlife in the Arctic is difficult. Study areas are cold, barren and often inaccessible. For decades scientists have struggled to study animals, like polar bears, which live in these remote areas. Now researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey have begun testing a new, yet counterintuitive solution – rather then get close to the animals, monitor them from afar. Scientists have started using satellites to observe, count and track polar bears. USGS scientists and their Canadian collaborators have begun analyzing high-resolution satellite images from a part of the Canadian High Arctic to determine the feasibility of using satellites to study polar bear populations.
The UK big butterfly count is a nationwide survey that helps assess the health of the environment. It will take place from Saturday 19 July – Sunday 10 August 2014.
Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.The count aids in identifying trends in species that will help plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.
To take part simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright preferably sunny weather during the big butterfly count. For more information and to learn how to take part go to big butterfly count.
Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers has a new wildflower report for Mayflower Gulch and Shrine Pass, Colorado:
Hiked Mayflower Gulch today and afterward drove Shrine Pass. Both are great right now…Mayflower especially past the cabins above treeline, and Shrine is hot with all colors of paintbrush, with many more about to bloom any day now.
See more reports at: Photo Critique Forums.
The blackoaknaturalist has photos of and reports of wildflowers blooming along the Tahoe Rim Tail near Barker Pass. Flowers in bloom include Mule’s Ears, Leichtlin’s Mariposa Lily, Scarlet Gilia, Onions, Pussypaws, Wallflowers, Spotted Coral Root, Larkspur, Onion and Forget-me-nots. See posts and photos at blackoaknaturalist.
I have created a flickr album of thirteen photos from several days in England in late May 2014. Mainly from Hidcote Garden, but also a few photos from Latkill Dale in the Peak District and Sutton Bonington Spinney & Meadows Nature Reserve. To see the slideshow go to: Hidcote Garden Plus
Best viewed in full screen by clicking the icon in the bottom left of the slideshow screen.
Lassen Dark Sky Festival
Friday, August 1 through Sunday, August 3, 2014
Join park rangers, astronomers, and planetary geologists in celebrating all that is out of this world during Lassen’s Dark Sky Festival. Special programs, presentations, hikes, and Junior Ranger Night Explorer activities will be offered during the festival. View photos from the 2013 Dark Sky Festival on Flickr or a video about the festival on YouTube.
New! The 2014 Dark Sky Festival Brochure/Schedule is now available:
- Nightly constellation tours and stargazing
- Astronomy activities including guided hikes, solar scope viewing, Junior Ranger Astronomy, and hands-on activities
- Discussions and demonstrations by National Park Dark Sky rangers, NASA, International Dark Sky Association, Astronomical Society of Nevada, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
Oregon Wildflowers has a new report for Coffin Mt. for 7/12/14
A profusion of bear grass! Visit http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19500 for photos.
See more reports at Oregon Wildflowers Reports
The LA Times recently wrote about development near the Grand Canyon that would greatly alter views, dramatically change the visitor experience and threaten the limited water supplies. Proposed developments include restaurants, hotels, homes, commercial space and even a gondola to the bottom of the canyon in areas near the national park. Read more at National Park Service calls development plans a threat to Grand Canyon – LA Times.
The Amphibian Survival Alliance blog reported on the work of conservationists from the San Francisco Zoo, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory and San Francisco State University to reintroduce the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog. The blog post pointed out
Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs were once the most common animal along the shores of the hundreds of lakes in the Sierra Nevada range. The Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog lives in California’s mountain lakes and wet meadows between just below 4000 feet and over 12,000 feet in elevation. In order to persist, the species requires permanent water, that doesn’t freeze completely in the winter. They also need their mountain homes to be free of introduced predators, like trout. Unfortunately, for the frog, trout were stocked in a large portion of the lakes in the high Sierra and as a result, many frog populations were eliminated. If that wasn’t bad enough, the species is also highly susceptible to the amphibian chytrid fungus. This disease has wreaked havoc with amphibian populations around the world, driving many to extinction. The double blow was too much for the frogs to survive and the species has dwindled to less than 5 percent of its former distribution. It is believed that by the late 1970s, mountain yellow legged frogs were gone from much of the Tahoe Basin. Last week’s release means that a major player in the Sierra ecosystem has returned, after a decades long absence.