Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 28, 2015

Glacier Point Road Opens Today

Yosemite National Park announced that Glacier Point Road will open today. The National Park Service announced yesterday:

March 27, 2015 – The Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park will open for the season to automobile traffic tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 6:00 a.m. All visitor services at Glacier Point will be fully operational. The Bridalveil Creek Campground will open within the next several weeks.

Visitors are urged to drive slowly and with caution, as wildlife may be present on or near the roadway.

The Tioga Road, the popular east-west crossing of the Sierra Nevada in the northern portion of Yosemite, remains closed at this time. Currently, there is no anticipated opening date for the Tioga Road.

For up to date, 24 hour road and weather information, please call 209-372-0200.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 28, 2015

Two New Pea Family Plants Discovered In S. Africa

ScienceDaily reports on the discovers of two new plants in South Africa Psoralea diturnerae and Psoralea  vanberkelae in South Africa

Amateur botanists in the Western Cape Province of South Africa have discovered two new species of beautiful blue-flowered legumes.

Read article at  Citizen scientists discover new plant species in the Cape Floral Kingdom — ScienceDaily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2015

Chimney Rock, Pt. Reyes Wildflowers & Birds 3/27/15

Today we were at Chimney Rock at Pt. Reyes National Seashore California. It was a foggy cloudy day in the 50’s with some wind. We walked about four miles from Parking lot to Chimney Rock to Elephant Seal Overlook to Lifeboat House and back.The habitat is mainly Grasslands, Ocean and Bay, Rocky Cliffs and Monterey Cypress.

It is peak wildflower season and many wildflowers are currently in bloom. There is also a fair amount of poison oak present in the grasslands. The most abundant bloom is as you get closer to the point. There are good blooms of Douglas Iris, Pussy Ears Star Tulip, Blue Violet, Seaside Daisy, Narrow-leaf Mule Ears, Coastal Wallflower and two species of Paintbrush

There is also a lot of bird activity most of it in the water. The most interesting bird observation was watching two Gulls, (probably Western) and a Double-crested Cormorant closing following (harassing?) a Brown Pelican who was fishing. There was a large raft of at least 50 Surf Scoters near the main Elephant Seal Beach. Surf Scoters were very much the dominant water bird today. There were also about 25 Brown Pelican and 35 Pelagic Cormorants on Chimney Rock today.

There are also numerous elephant seals on the beach below the elephant seal overlook but very few large males.

I will post photos in a few days. Click read more to see bird and plant list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2015

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 3/27/15

The Pine Ridge Association has a new Henry Coe wildflower update for 3/27/15 at Henry Coe Wildflowers


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2015

Anza- Borrego Wildflowers 3/26/15

Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association has the following new wildflower reports:

Culp Valley Campground lot of color at Culp Valley Campground area and along the California Riding Hiking Trail west from parking. area. Goldfields, Nolina, Wooly daisies, Whispering bells, Veatch’s blazing star, Hairy? lotus, Apricot Mallow, lots of Chia further up, Wishbone…and more species as well.

Grapevine area:   Hiking details 
This is our known area for flower fields and they didn’t disappoint us. The only bad thing happening is that the mesquite and catclaw are growing back from the 2012 fire. And you are guaranteed to return somewhat black as there is plenty of black stuff out there.

A couple of fields of Fremont’s monkeyflower, Mimulus fremontii Our favorite one Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes. Fields of Fremont pincushion, Chaenactis fremontii And best of all the only field we found anywhere in the park: White Tidy-tips, Layia glandulosa and Scalebud, Anisocoma acaulis.

We where a bit concerned as we didn’t see any flowers as we came down the PCT, we where after all still early. But they where just in hiding and as we came closer, there they where!

See more photos for Grapevine area in Anaza-Borrego at


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2015

Death Valley National Park Wildflower Report 3/27/15

Death Valley reported on their Facebook Page:

Wildflower Update

The show right now is at the mid-elevations. My hot spot of the week is the Salsbury Pass area on the Badwater Road. On a wildflower ranger program this past weekend, we encountered nearly 50 different species of wildflowers within just a few miles by making 2 stops, one on the east side and one on the west side of the pass. Entering the park from the east on Hwy. 190, you are greeted by some nice displays of Golden Evening Primrose, Globemallow, and Phacelia. As you approach the Badlands, look for Pygmy Cedar in bloom, luxuriant bushes of Rock Nettle blossoms, and the rounded perfection of Turtleback. Dante’s View Road is looking great, lots of Fremont Phacelia, Desert Dandelion, and Desert Gold Poppies. There is a lot blooming on the Daylight Pass Road. On Highway 190 just west of Emigrant Campground there are some nice patches of Golden Evening Primrose, Notch Leaf Phacelia, and Broad Flowered Gilia. Beavertail Cactus and Indigo Bush have started blooming in many locations throughout the park. The strikingly bizarre shapes of Desert Trumpet, crowned by an ethereal mist of unbelievably tiny yellow flowers, is sure to catch your eye. Look for them on the Scotty’s Castle Road and Highway 190 west of Stovepipe Wells. Speaking of Scotty’s Castle, Grapevine Canyon near Scotty’s Castle is decorated with the oranges and yellows of Primrose, Globemallow, and Desert Dandelion.
If you are going into the backcountry, Greenwater Road is fantastic, and so is Gold Valley. Since the cactus are blooming, Hole In The Wall Road should be pretty nice, too. Planning a hike to look at wildflowers? Give Virgin Spring Canyon a try. I’ve heard that both Fall Canyon and Mosaic are still pretty nice, too.
There are still some nice patches of gold north of Furnace Creek, but the lower elevation bloom is pretty much over. But don’t let anyone tell you there are no flowers in Death Valley.

If you are going into the backcountry, Greenwater Road is fantastic, and so is Gold Valley. Since the cactus are blooming, Hole In The Wall Road should be pretty nice, too. Planning a hike to look at wildflowers? Give Virgin Spring Canyon a try. I’ve heard that both Fall Canyon and Mosaic are still pretty nice, too.

There are still some nice patches of gold north of Furnace Creek, but the lower elevation bloom is pretty much over. But don’t let anyone tell you there are no flowers in Death Valley.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park Wildflowers 3/27/15

Joshua Tree National Park has a new wildflower bloom report at

Wildflower Viewing – Joshua Tree National Park (U.S. National Park Service).

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2015

Southern California Wildflower Reports 3/27/15

Theodore Payne Foundation has a new flower report for numerous southern California locations today at Wild Flower Hotline | Theodore Payne Foundation.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2015

Amazon Conservation Efforts Working

ScienceDaily reports

Large protected areas in the Xingu River Basin have helped shield an Amazonian watershed from the effects observed in its less-protected neighbor, the Araguaia-Tocantins, a study shows.

Read article on Conservation works: Forests for water in eastern Amazonia — ScienceDaily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 26, 2015

New Desert Wildflower Reports At DesertUSA

DesertUSA  has new wildflower reports today for Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico the following California locations:

  • Anza-Borrego
  • Death Valley
  • Red Rock Canyon State Park
  • other Southern California wildflower sites

See reports and photos at Desert Wildflower Reports – DesertUSA.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 26, 2015

Texas Wildflowers 3/26/15

Texas Wildflower Haven has new reports for Brenham area, San Antonio and south Texas and Hill Country. See these reports and older ones as well at Texas Wildflower Haven

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 26, 2015

Oregon Wildflower Updates 3/26/15

Oregon Wildflowers has two new updates

Silver Falls State Park 3/26/15 early spring wildflowers are in full bloom, including Oaks toothwort (Cardamine nuttallii), snow queen (Synthyris reniformis), and roundleaf violet (Viola orbiculata). Some flowers are blooming very early, such as red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), calypso orchid (Calypso bulbosa), salmonberry (Rubus spactabilis) and western trillium (Trillium ovatum). The wildflowers in the canyon are not yet as far along as those outside the canyon. The Rim trail would be one of the best trails to hike right now… lots of violets, snow queen, and trillium. There are even a few calypso orchids near the South Falls Lodge.

Shellburg Falls, Lyons, OR 3/25/15 We spotted blooming salmonberry, wild strawberry, wild cherry and apple trees, red-flowering currant, pacific bleeding hearts, yellow wood violets, white wood sorrel, trillium, and lots of unidentified little purple flowers, including some kind of purple, bell-shaped lily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 26, 2015

Plants Survive Mass Extinctions Better Than Animals

ScienceDaily reports in a recent article

At least five mass extinction events have profoundly changed the history of life on Earth. But a new study shows that plants have been very resilient to those events.

Read article at Plants survive better through mass extinctions than animals — ScienceDaily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 25, 2015

Memaloose Hills, Oregon Wildflowers 3/24/15

Oregon Wildflowers has a wildflower report for the Memaloose Hills

We walked from the overlook 1.1mile south. There were impressive carpets of Blue eyed Mary, Collinsia parviflora, everywhere. Balsamroot still has 2 weeks to go even tough there were some nice clumps. Lovely bunches of Naked Broomrape, Orobanche uniflora, was found 3/4 of the was up the trail. We saw 34 varieties of flowers.

See older reports at Oregon Wildflowers • Report Search Results.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 25, 2015

New Law Proposed Help Birds Harmed By MarineSpills

The San Francisco Chronicle reported

Two California senators, angered by the tepid reaction to a mystery goo that has killed hundreds of birds on San Francisco Bay, are introducing legislation Monday to close a loophole that effectively froze state funding and prevented a unified multiagency response to the crisis.

Sens. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, say SB718 would create a funding mechanism for the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife harmed by marine spills involving non-petroleum-based substances.

Read full Article and see photo slideshow at  After mystery spill ravaged bay, law pushed to galvanize response – SFGate.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 24, 2015

Texas Wildflower Reports

Texas Wildflower Haven has numerous reports from throughout the state including

  • Brenham
  • San Antonio and South Texas
  • Big Bend
  • Houston Area

See reports at Texas Wildflower Haven


Texas Wildflower Sightings reports

Garwood , TX I-10 West Bound from Weimar to Flatonia 201503-23
Plants Seen: Indian Paintbrush, Texas Bluebonnet
Some good Bluebonnets/paintbrush in many areas. Also saw a couple of good Verbena and Wine cups or Phlox displays after Flatonia.

Austin , TX Shady Hollow West Nature Preserve 2015-03-22
Plants Seen: Agarita, Bluebonnets, Dogwood, Verbena
Gorgeous and the bluebonnets are starting to pop.

Sealy , TX I-10W @ Pyka Rd, Sealy TX, Hwy 36 N 2015-03-21
Plants Seen: Bluebonnets, Texas Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush and Bluebonnets blooming. Bluebonnets plants are huge this year.

See photos and older reports at Texas Wildflower Sightings

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 24, 2015

Tejon Ranch Wildflower Update 3/23/15

submitted by Spencer Westbrook

Tejon Ranch Conservancy reports

Although we’ve seen some great color this year, continued warm temperatures are making for an extremely short season. It is likely that after this weekend (3/28, 3/29), we will have to cancel our remaining Wildflower Viewing Stations due to diminishing flower populations. We have seen the fields dwindle in extent, but there are still some great places that our docents have found.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 24, 2015

Plumas County Wildflowers 3/24/15

Plumas County Bloom Blog reports

What used to be called the Keddie Cascades Trail, together with the area’s many deer paths, has undergone a lot of revision recently, and there are now signs and maps galore. On Sunday, we began our hike at a trail head by the bridge over Spanish Creek on the Oakland Camp Road. It’s across the road from the popular swimming hole. We started off on what is called the Spanish Traverse. If we had stayed on this trail, I think we would have come out in the vicinity of the Keddie Cascades. But, we opted to head further up hill by taking what was called the Spanish Ridge loop.

Altogether we hiked close to five miles and found a surprising number of spring wildflowers blooming. There’s one purple species I haven’t yet identified, but it looks like it might be a Penstemon. Some of them were so fleshy and beautiful, they looked like they could have come as potted plants in a nursery, despite the very dry soil, or even apparent lack of soil. It’s obvious the area has been logged, probably several times, and much of it has inadequate soil fro growing trees. This, Manzanita, Black Oak, Buck Brush, and Silk Tassel Bush dominate the drier hills. At the highest point on the ridge trail there were abundant patches of Death Camas ( a lily) and Shooting Star. These areas were relatively flat and had a fair amount of soil consisting mostly of pine needles. We saw the early leaves of lots of species that haven’t bloomed yet and this promises an interesting spring. Among those is the Heart-leaf Milkweed pictured here. There were also lots of Lupine, Horkelia, Fennel, Pennyroyal, and various lilies.

via Bloom Blog Wildflowers in Plumas County Northern California.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 24, 2015

Army Corps Plans To Kill Oregon Cormorants

Audublog reports

It took the Army Corps of Engineers all of about two days to reject opposition and move forward with its plan to kill 11,000 cormorants and destroy 26,000 nests on East Sand Island in Oregon. The Audubon Society of Portland has already threatened to sue. We’ll be tracking this story closely in the next few days, as there are likely to be a lot of developments.

via Army Corps moving forward with plan to kill birds in Oregon, Portland Audubon threatens to sue.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2015

Anza- Borrego Wildflower Hikes 3/22/15 – Updated has several new wildflower hikes with descriptions and photos on their Facebook page including

  • Cup Valley Wilson Mountain Loop
  • Hornblende Canyon to Morteros
  • Butler Canyon- Hidden Spring-Rockhouse Canyon
  • Little Blair Valley Loop

Description of findings of  Cup Valley Wilson Mountain Loop mentioned above from Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association

We explored a part of Culp Valley we haven’t been before and we ended up far to the east in washes that eventually end up in the Glorietta Canyon.

A nice surprise to still find Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis everywhere, mixed with Narrowleaf goldenbush, Ericameria linearifolia they make it very yellow. Cleveland’s beardtongue, Penstemon clevelandii var. clevelandii and Parish’s purple nightshade, Solanum parishii along boulders. Desert globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rugosa are in the thousands, out there, some are already blooming.

We found our first ever Chinese Houses, Collinsia concolor, should be more out there. Veatch’s blazing star, Mentzelia veatchiana are hard to miss, they are everywhere It would be a bad hike if we wouldn’t find Hairy bush monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus var. pubescens and we found 8+ and they always grow in the most impossible places. This is Carla’s favorite. We where looking for Lemmon’s linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii before and found only a few now we found 100+ but only at one particular spot.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2015

Shrinking Habitats Adverse Effects On Ecosystems

ScienceDaily reports on a study that validates what many of us have already believed about the fragmenting and shrinking of habitat.

An extensive study of global habitat fragmentation — the division of habitats into smaller and more isolated patches — points to major trouble for a number of the world’s ecosystems and the plants and animals living in them.

Read story at  Shrinking habitats have adverse effects on world ecosystems — ScienceDaily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2015

Texas Wildflowers 3/22/15

Gary Regner Photography reports on March 22, 2015  Poteet/Somerset area south and east of San Antonio,TX

Spent another day exploring south and east of San Antonio. Best area by far was west of Poteet. FM 476, FM 1333, and FM 2504. Best route was FM 476 between Jct FM 2504 and Somerset. This area has literally miles and miles of fields of sandyland bluebonnets in full bloom that appear at peak now. Also mixed in was magenta phlox, groundsel, paintbrush and prickly poppies. The area around Floresville looked worse than earlier in the week, not sure if it was due to recent heavy rains or if the flowers are already on the decline. Passed through Seguin and travelled FM 467 south to FM 539 to Floresville, some wildflowers here and there and some fields but nothing great. Then travelled FM 536 west to US 281 south, then FM 1470 west to Poteet. Things get really nice around Poteet and to the west.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2015

San Francisco’s Native Bees Are Excellent Pollinators

Bay Nature reported on a study on the effectiveness of native bees as pollinators in San Francisco

a study that measured the pollination service of the city’s native bees. The study, published in January in the journal Urban Ecosystems, found that the native bee population, indeed, supplies “adequate pollination service” for the city’s agriculture, including parks and gardens.

The results are surprising since previous studies have found that urban environments have lower bee populations and fewer bee species than surrounding areas. Urban growers should take heart, as there are 150 native bee species in San Francisco, LeBuhn said.

“It is pretty clear that there is sufficient pollinator service for urban agriculture from native species alone,” LeBuhn said. “We don’t need to add honeybees to have pollination (in the city).”

Read full story at San Francisco’s Native Bees Do the Job Just Fine – Bay Nature.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2015

Death Valley Wildflowers 3/22/15

DesertUSA reports

Drove up to Wildrose from Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park on Saturday. Wildflowers below Emigrant Campground on CA 190 have dried out but there are a few interesting ones blooming on the first ten miles of the road to south to Wildrose.

Around Mile 9 on the Wildrose Road there is a stretch with clumps of Desert Indian Paintbrush, whose brilliant red flowers light up the otherwise tan vegetation. Closer to Wildrose Campground, big creamy colored tufts are those of California Buckwheat, but good luck finding a place off the narrow road to park to photograph them.

Back near the intersection with CA 190, yellow Brittlebrush line the highway, interspersed with a dozen small shrubs of deep purple flowering Indigo Bush. If you look closely around the road margin some belly plants like Rattlesnake Weed (White Margin Sandmat) make an appearance. In all not a whole lot of blooming wildflowers there, as compared to the Greenwater Valley, which we will revisit in a few days.

See photos at  Death Valley Wildflower Report – DesertUSA.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2015

Mt. Burdell Flowers, Birds & Photos 3/22/15

Today we went to Mt. Burdell to see flower bloom and birds. We went in the south side of Mt. Burdell entering from San Carlos Way and did a two mile cross country loop through Grasslands, Serpentine, and Oak Savannah. The most impressive plant was the large displays of Limnanthes douglasii var. douglasii / Douglas’s Meadowfoam up the hill and slightly to right of the entrance gate. Lots of bird activity and sound in the Oaks. Although I was unable to identify a number of the bird songs or calls, I was surprised by how many  birds I was able to identify by sound.

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Click Read more to see plant and bird lists

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2015

Oregon Wildflowers 3/21/15 -Updated

Oregon Wildflowers has five new wildflower reports

John B. Yeon State Park he Gorge Trail between Elowah and Wahclella Falls. Trillium and Red Flowering Currant were in bloom. Bleeding Heart and fringecup was also starting to show.

Memaloose Hills 3/21/15As with other locations in the eastern Gorge, the Northwestern Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) has started blooming, well ahead of schedule. I estimate that it will be at peak in 2-3 weeks. Also blooming are: profuse amounts of Large-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora), Gold Star Crocidium multicaule, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora), Upland Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis), Smooth Prairie Star(Lithophragma glabra), Northwestern Saxifrage (Saxifraga integrifolia), Miners Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata), Manroot (Marah oreganus), Ball-Head Waterleaf(Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii), Oaks Toothwort (Cardamine nuttallii var. nuttallii), Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), and a few remaining Grass Widows(Olsynium douglasii).

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2015

Cache Canyon, Bear Valley, Walker Ridge Wildflowers 3/20/15

submitted by Celia Zavatsky

Cache Canyon, Bear Valley, Walker Ridge Wildflowers

Cache Canyon is great now (March 19 and 20) along Hwy 16.  Highlights: thousands of Eschscholzia caespitosa (foothill poppy) cascading down the steep, south and west facing canyon walls like yellow-orange waterfalls; Clematis lasiantha (virgin’s bower) beginning to frost the top of practically every shrub on each side of the road and the shrubs and trees up the canyon walls;  Fraxinus dipetala (California ash) flowering in abundance with lush pendulous inflorescences.  All 3 were excellent on the 19th, and the next day were even better — the Clematis and Fraxinus were still on the way to peaking — the poppy cascades may be burning off very soon. Also just before getting to Cowboy Camp from the south on Hwy 16, on the east side of the road in the distance 3 or 4 large patches of blue close to the ground as if they were goldfield patches  — only they were brilliant, glowing blue! Probably Lupinus, but I never saw L bicolor (miniature lupine) look like that.
Bear Valley Rd: April flowers don’t realize it’s still March. The Layia (tidy tips) in and around the corrals are rapidly reaching their peak — notably more color today than yesterday. More color than usual along the road — even the Dudleya were about ready to flower. A couple of fresh dense cascades of Astragalus rattanii var jepsoniana (Jepson’s milk-vetch) looking big, fresh and happy. Intensely blue-purple Delphinium (probably royal larkspur) blooming at the beginning of the Valley (it was also blooming in abundance along parts of Hwy 16 in Cache Canyon). Fritillaria pluriflora (pink adobe lily) mostly gone over. Only a few fresh flowers here and there. My feeling is that they peaked last weekend. Not much happening quite yet on the part of the road going east-west; it may be drying out — only one plant of Platystemon californicus (cream cups) in bloom near the bridge at the edge of the creek. Did not go much beyond the bridge. By the way, a lot of Lupinus succulentus (arroyo lupine) was already beginning its bloom along the approach to the valley (it comprised the “giant wedding cake of lupines” I raved over last spring) — they may even peak in a few days to a week. Last spring it was at its best April 26-28.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2015

Pt. Reyes: Arch Rock Overlook Collapses – One Death

Point Reyes National Seashore reports

A portion of the Arch Rock overlook collapsed yesterday killing one person and injuring another. The area leading up to Arch Rock is closed for your safety. The land may still be unstable and further collapse or erosion could occur.  See photo at Point Reyes National Seashore Facebook page.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2015

Pollinating Birds and Mammals In Global Decline

 International Union for Conservation of Nature news release

Pollinating birds and mammals declining, reveals first global assessment of trends in the status of pollinators

According to a new study by IUCN and partners, the conservation status of pollinating bird and mammal species is deteriorating, with more species moving towards extinction than away from it.

On average, 2.4 bird and mammal pollinator species per year have moved one IUCN Red List category towards extinction in recent decades, representing a substantial increase in extinction risk across this set of species.

“Our study is the first global assessment of trends in pollinators,” says lead author Eugenie Regan of UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre. “It shows a worrying trend that may be impacting negatively on global pollination services, estimated to be worth more than US$215 billion.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 21, 2015

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Photos

Flower photos from today at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA

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