Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 26, 2015

Desert Wildflower Reports 1/26/15

Desert Wildflower Reports – DesertUSA has several new wildflower reports

  • Anza Borrego – wash just west of the Palm Canyon Campground was showing Desert Lavender, lots of buds and it rained when I was there. Chuparosa was blooming with many buds also. Look for the Hummingbirds working both species. Costa’s and Anna’s both visited our feeder.
  • Death Valley –  This year looks spotty so far, also. Parts of southern Death Valley have so many green sprouts coming up that it looks like patches of grass. Around Furnace Creek, there are some sprouts, but nothing outrageous. By the east entrance of the park, prospects look grim. I don’t think that area got ANY rain during the last storm. Some rain is in the forecast for today.
  • San Marcos Pass Bridge on HWY 154 – Surprised to see a few shooting stars, some milkmaids, and the California bay laurel were blooming.
  • Yuma, Arizona  Some flowers showing at Betty’s Kitchen (BLM) which was open contrary to the BLM website. River Walk in town, West end at the Hummingbird Gardens was a real treat. Many planted species attracting Anna’s and Costa’s Hummingbirds. Several other bird species as well.

Raining in southern California and Arizona this could help get the 2015 wildflower season off to a good start

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 26, 2015

Record Killing Of S. African Rhinos

The Guardian  reported that in South Africa

A total of 1,215 rhinos were killed in 2014, statistics published by the environment ministry on Thursday showed, in what environmentalists said was now a “do or die situation”.

Read tory at  Record number of rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa in 2014 | Environment | The Guardian.

Today in a follow-up story they have an article Can anything stop the rhino poaching crisis? | Environment | The Guardian.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 25, 2015

Henry Coe Wildflower Report 1/24/15

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom update for 1/24/2015 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.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 25, 2015

Canadian Wolf Cull Not Saving Caribou

Nature News reports that the Canadian government's efforts to save a threatened caribou heard in Alberta by killing almost 1000 wolves has only limited benefits. The study cited reported that although the heard may not shrink further they will not increase in number. The caribou are a distinct population of the species Rangifer tarandus, which in Europe are called Reindeer.

Read the full story at Wolf cull will not save threatened Canadian caribou : Nature News & Comment


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 24, 2015

Another Snowy Owl Irruption

Many reports are coming in for Snowy Owls in the Great Lakes, Northeast and the Atlantic Coast. It looks like another banner year for the owls. Read about it at A Snowy Owl Sequel? | All About Birds.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 23, 2015

Henry Coe Wildflower Report 1/22/15

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom update for 1/22/2015 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.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 23, 2015

Larry Ellison To Fund California Wildlife Center

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Larry Ellison will help fund the establishment of  a wildlife breeding and rehabilitation center in Northern California. It will focus on helping endangered insects, reptiles and amphibians. The Chronicle reported

The Conservation Center for Wildlife Care that the Lawrence Ellison Foundation Ellison has promised to underwrite will treat all kinds of wild critters but its captive breeding program will be devoted to local species that typically don’t get much attention, including the San Francisco garter snake, the Pacific giant salamander and the vanishing Lange’s metalmark butterfly, Peninsula Humane Society President Ken White told the San Jose Mercury News

Read full story at Oracle’s Ellison to underwrite California wildlife center – SFGate.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 22, 2015

Black Diamond Wildflower Report 1/21/15

JB reports

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, past the Star Mine  Mount Diablo Manzanita,   Arctostaphylos auriculata is in full bloom.

Arctostaphylos auriculata is an endangered species of Arctostaphylos endemic to California, and limited in geography to the area surrounding Mount Diablo, in Contra Costa County.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 22, 2015

East Bay Bird Killing Incident Report 1/21/15

Below is an update on a spill of a substance that is killing birds  in San Francisco Bay from  California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention & Response

East Bay Bird Incident Fact Sheet

January 21, 2015 – East Bay Regional Park District personnel spotted stranded seabirds on the beaches in Hayward on Friday, January 16 in the afternoon. California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) activated and responded to the bird incident.

– By Saturday morning the following day, CDFW-OSPR investigators determined the substance was not a petroleum-based product.

– Recovery of dead birds will continue for several more days.

– Next steps are to identify the substance, find out how much is still in the Bay and identify the source of the substance.

– The International Bird Rescue (IBR), a bird rehabilitation group located in Fairfield, have been the “boots in the mud” from the beginning and are the heroes in this rescue effort using their time, people and equipment.

– CDFW and IBR continue their investigation and rescue efforts.

– CDFW does not speculate on the nature of the unknown substance and waits for the results of scientific evidence.

Birds by the numbers:

321: birds admitted to IBR

274: remaining live birds and in the care of IBR

An accurate number of dead birds will be available by tomorrow at the end of the day.

– NGO and agencies involved in the response effort:

International Bird Rescue
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
East Bay Regional Park District
US Fish and Wildlife Service
National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Contact numbers:

Report impacted birds to: (510) 882-1882 or

Report an oil spill: 1-800-852-7550

– To donate to the International Bird Rescue to support them in their rehabilitation efforts go to or mail to:

International Bird Rescue
San Francisco Bay Center
4369 Cordelia Road
Fairfield, California 94534



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 22, 2015

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflower Update 1/20/15

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History association reports on January 20, 2015 for the Palm Canyon Trail

pretty colors are starting to appear along Borrego Palm Canyon trail — huge bushes of red chuparosa flowers, tall stands of desert lavender, and a few bright yellow brittlebush flowers.  There were some very happy bees buzzing around the flowers.  Lots of green plants hint at the possibility of more flowers to come.  It may be a good year for phacelia and rock daisies in this area. As of this morning (1/20), running water flowed over the small waterfalls near the first palm grove and almost to the trail crossing at the wash.

See more reports and photos at Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 22, 2015

900 Yellowstone Bison To Be Killed

Defenders of Wildlife Press Release from Jan. 15, 2015


Bison Slaughter Program Starts Today in Yellowstone: Quota Set at 900 Animals

Gardiner, Mont. – Yellowstone National Park has begun to round up and ship wild bison to slaughterhouses as they cross park boundaries in search of food at lower snow depths. Today, the National Park Service announced that round-ups have begun to take place and that bison will be transported to the Stephens Creek facility near the park’s north entrance and held until they are sent to slaughterhouses. This year’s killing program is slated to be the largest in seven years.

This capture and slaughter program, implemented by the National Park Service, is meant to keep the Yellowstone bison population below an arbitrary cap of 3,500, imposed decades ago as part of a settlement with the state of Montana for now discredited concerns over brucellosis and carrying capacity.

Findings from a poll conducted in late December show that 67 percent of Montanans support relocating Yellowstone bison to start herds in appropriate locations across the state. The poll also finds that 68 percent of Montanans view bison as wildlife and 72 percent believe bison should be managed like the state’s other wildlife species.

Governor Bullock and the National Park Service need to move quickly to bring bison management into the 21st century. They need to expand the tolerance zone around Yellowstone, finish their environmental assessment of the quarantine and relocation program and kick start plans to update the 14-year old Interagency Bison Management Plan, the document that sets guidelines for managing Yellowstone’s wild bison.

Jonathan Proctor, Defenders of Wildlife’s Program Director for the Rockies and Plains issued the following statement:

“Bison are wildlife and should be managed as such. Wholesale slaughter of these genetically valuable animals simply because they leave Yellowstone National Park looking for food is archaic and driven by policies that treat them like livestock. Rather than working towards Montanans’ goal of wild bison restoration, this shipment to slaughter program kills the bison that could, instead, be the beginnings of new restoration herds.”

“We’ve proved that bison restoration from Yellowstone to Montana’s public and tribal lands is viable, making this shipment to slaughter wasteful, unacceptable and unnecessary. Recent polls also clearly show that the majority of Montanans want wild bison restoration. So, why are the National Park Service and Montana’s Department of Livestock continuing to implement this unnecessary and expensive slaughter program? It’s a waste of taxpayer funds, and a waste of prized Yellowstone wild bison.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 21, 2015

Redwood Pk. Wildflower Update 1/19/15

JB reports on Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, CA

Our local [north end of French Trail, Redwood Park] Leatherwood started blooming last month.  Now, there’s a Silk Tassel putting on a show over it.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 21, 2015

Marin CNPS Wildflower Reports 1/21/15

The Marin Chapter of the CNPS had the following new wildflower reports on its site today

  • In China Camp State Park, near the Group Campground, they saw Umbellularia californica (California bay-laure), and Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. manzanita (common manzanita), many of which were a beautiful pink color.
  • At the Big Rock Trailhead, on Lucas Valley Rd, they saw Blennosperma nanum var. nanum (common Blennosperma), which is the featured Plant of the Month for January.
  • At a pull-out along Lucas Valley Rd, they saw Aristolochia californica (California pipevine), and Ribes californicumi (California gooseberry).

See photos at Recent Wildflower Reports – CNPS Marin.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 21, 2015

Birding Wakodahatchee Wetlands 1/17/15 – Updated With photos

Updated with Photos

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This morning I went birding a  to Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Palm Beach County, Florida. Upon arrival we immediately saw a Roseate Spoonbill (my favorite bird of the day), several Egrets, a Black-crowned Night Heron, Blue Wing Teal) which are always a treat for this Californian) and Common Gallinule. There is a lot of bird activity this time of year here including many birds on nests. We saw twenty-one different bird species plus three alligators and at least three iguana. Here is today’s bird list: Wakodahatchee Wetlands Bird List 1/17/15.

Click read more to learn more about Wakodahatchee Wetlands.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 21, 2015

Overhunting Large Animals Devastates Trees

The National Science Foundation wrote about how the overhunting of large animals has a disastrous impact on trees. This leads to negative impacts on other plants and trees. They wrote

The elephant has long been an important spiritual, cultural and national symbol in Thailand. At the beginning of the 20th century, its numbers exceeded 100,000.

Today, those numbers have plunged to 2,000. Elephants, as well as other large, charismatic animals such as tigers, monkeys and civet cats, are under attack from hunters and poachers.

Overhunting of animals affects entire forest

While the loss of these animals is concerning for species conservation, now researchers at the University of Florida have shown that overhunting can have widespread effects on the forest itself.

Overhunting leads to the extinction of a dominant tree species, Miliusa horsfieldii, or the Miliusa beech, with likely cascading effects on other forest biota.

Read full story at – National Science Foundation NSF Discoveries – Fruits of the forest gone: Overhunting of large animals has catastrophic effects on trees – US National Science Foundation NSF.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 20, 2015

Anza-Borrego Updates 1/20/15 has posted recent trips for Culp Valley, Domelands and Palm Canyon showing some early wildflower blooms. See trip descriptions and photos at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 20, 2015

Henry Coe Wildflower Report 1/19/15

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom update for 1/19/2015 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.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 20, 2015

How Grazing Could Help California Native Plants

Grazing and exotic plants have often overwhelmed native species in California. However, selective grazing strategies may actually help native plants to recover. If successful this will not only benefit native plants but the many animal species dependent on them for survival.

Conservation Magazine reports on a study that shows how grazing can help native plants recover. By timing and regulating the intensity of grazing it may be possible to have a grazing strategy that reduces exotic annuals and allows native plants more time to grow and seed between grazing periods.

Read article at How grazing could restore California’s grasslands – Conservation.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 19, 2015

Wild pollinators At Risk From Diseased Commercial Bees

ScienceDaily reports

Viruses carried by commercial bees can jump to wild pollinator populations with potentially devastating effects. The researchers are calling for new measures to be introduced that will prevent the introduction of diseased pollinators into natural environments.

Read full story at  Wild pollinators at risk from diseased commercial species of bee — ScienceDaily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2015

Mystery Gunk Killing East Bay Birds

The S.F. Chronicle reported on an unknown substance killing East Bay waterbirds. They said

More than 70 birds along the East Bay shoreline have been grounded and incapacitated after becoming coated in a mystery substance over the weekend, with an additional dozen killed by the gray, sticky stuff, according to International Bird Rescue and state wildlife officials.

Dozens of birds — including surf scoters, buffleheads, goldeneyes and horned grebes — were found on land at Alameda’s Crab Cove, the San Leandro Marina and the Hayward shoreline Friday. Another dozen were found Saturday, along with a number of dead birds on both days.

Read story and see photos at  Mystery gunk kills East Bay birds – SFGate.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2015

Drought Reduces Birds Nesting Success

Press Release Point Blue

Drought Causes Birds to Nest Later, Reducing Nesting Success

Future of Desert Birds in Question

Tucson, Ariz.—A recent study suggests drought conditions are delaying nesting by two weeks or more for some Sonoran Desert bird species, such as Black-tailed Gnatcatchers and Verdins.

Despite recent rainfall, drought conditions persist in much of the southwestern U.S.  Drought negatively impacts, many wildlife species, making it harder to maintain their numbers, even when adapted to a dry environment.

Newly published research from Point Blue Conservation Science (Point Blue) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) finds that increased drought frequency in southwestern North America results in increased instances of delayed nesting.  This delay can push the start of nesting back by several weeks in severe drought.  This, in turn, makes it harder for many Sonoran Desert bird species to successfully produce young that year, as they are more vulnerable to nest predators and parasites.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2015

Tourism Brings Disease Threat To Antarctica Penguins

Environmental News Network reports

scientists are raising concerns about how exposure to us could increase their risk of contracting infectious diseases.

Scientists and disease experts believe the immune systems of penguins, and other species in the region, are less able to deal with pathogens that are commonplace in the rest of the world because they’ve been isolated for so long with few visitors.

Read story at  Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News: Penguins Affected by Tourism in Antarctica.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2015

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction

New York Times Science reported on ocean life facing mass extinction risk today. They reported

A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.

Read full story at  Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says –

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2015

Mass Die-offs Rise For Birds, Fish & Marine Invertebrates

ScienceDaily reports

An analysis of 727 studies reveals that there have been more instances of rapid, catastrophic animal die-offs over the past 75 years. These mass kills appear to have hit birds, fish and marine invertebrates harder than other species.

Read full article at Rise in mass die-offs seen among birds, fish and marine invertebrates — ScienceDaily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2015

Henry Coe Wildflower Report 1/15/15

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom update for 1/15/2015 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.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2015

Final 2014 Oakland Christmas Bird Count Results

The Golden Gate Birder reported on the final results of the 2014 Oakland Christmas Bird Count. Highlights reported were

A record-high 257 field observers, together with a dozen feeder watchers, detected 180 species, two more than our recent average, and three fewer than our record high. Our total of 98,920 individual birds was some 3,000 higher than our recent average.

Read full article at Final results from the 2014 Oakland CBC | Golden Gate Audubon Society.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2015

High Number UK Flower Blooms

BBC Science reports on what botanists found on the annual hunt for plants in flower on New Year’s Day.

They say according to textbooks there should be between 20 and 30 species in flower. This year there were 368 in bloom.

Read story at  BBC News – Unusual number of UK flowers bloom.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2015

National Parks Free Entrance On January 19, 2015

Press Release National Park Service

Free Entrance to all National Parks on January 19

Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a visit to a Park

WASHINGTON – All national parks across the country will waive their entrance fees on Monday, January 19 to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“We honor Dr. King and the tremendous impact of his life and teachings on the world,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “He moved hearts and minds through his words and actions. And his vision continues to inspire us to make positive changes in our communities.”

Visit Dr. King’s birthplace, home, church, and grave at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia; walk in his footsteps on the 54-mile long Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama where he led the 1965 Voting Rights March; and stand where he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Other national parks that commemorate the Civil Rights Movement include Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in  Arkansas, Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Monument in California, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2015

Bird Feeding Frenzy At Richardson Bay

Audublog reports the first big herring run and bird feeding frenzy in San Francisco Bay is now happening at Richardson Bay. Read story at First big herring run in San Francisco Bay creates feeding (and birding) frenzy

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2015

Jepson Prairie Wildflower Observations 1/14/15

Solano Land Trust reports on Jepson Prairie.

Little in the way of blooms but a lot of ‘little plants’ growing.

Plants sprouting include Docecatheon, Plagiobothrys, Blennosperma, Stipa, Pleuropogon and Eryngium. Also observed a large flock of gulls, a few pelicans, curlew, grebe, Canada geese and swans settled on Olcott Playa. Photographs will be posted soon.

Olcott and Round Pond are essentially full.

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