Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 26, 2015

Silk Road Wildflower Slideshow – May 1

Friday, May 1 Chris Gardner will be giving an informal lunch-time talk and slideshow at Jepson Herbarium weekly botany lunch on

Flora of the Silk Road: assembling an illustrated Flora

The Botany Lunch meets Fridays at noon during the academic year. Talks are in 1002 Valley Life Sciences Building (entrance in small corridor by north entrance on ground floor) at the University of California in Berkeley

Chris and his wife Başak organize and lead a wide range of botanical, garden and photographic tours both in Turkey and around the world. They have been our guides on a number of our favorite natural history trips.

To learn more about Chris and Başak click read more

Read More…

Science Daily reports

Of the 201 bird and mammal species that call northwest Alaska’s arctic and subarctic region their home, 195 of them — or, roughly, 97 percent — could experience some form of habitat loss or gain stemming from climate change, a new study has found.

Read full story at 97% of Northwest Alaska bird, mammal species could experience habitat change from warming climate — ScienceDaily


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 25, 2015

Southern California Wildflower Report 4/24/15

Theodore Payne Wildflower Hotline has a new report for April 24 that includes

  • Descanso Gardens
  • Griffith Park
  • Placerita Canyon Nature Center
  • Elizabeth Learning Center
  • Environmental Nature Center
  • Pum Reserve
  • San Jacinto Mountains
  • Joshua Tree National Park

See full report with photos at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 25, 2015

Pacific Northwest Wildflowers 4/24/15

Pacific Northwest Wildflowers two new detailed wildflower reports for the Columbia River Gorge

April 24, 2015: Margerum Ranch (Columbia Land Trust Property)

April 22, 2015: Trails to Elowah and McCord Creek Falls, John B. Yeon State Park

Oregon Wildflowers has the following new posts

Rogue River, OR 04/22/2015 Trillium – a few open but many just budding On BLM land above East Evans Creek

Silver Falls Sate Park 4/21/15 Many of the woodland wildflowers are in full bloom, including western trillium, Calypso orchid, Oregon oxalis, Western wood anemone, and smooth yellow violet. Many of the riparian areas along Silver Creek are also blooming, with flowers including Smith’s fairybells, Scouler’s corydalis, Pacific bleeding heart, chickweed monkeyflower, small-flowered blue-eyed Mary, large-leaved avens, and clasping twisting stalk.

Metals River, OR 4/20/15  Lower Bridge north to Candle Creek. Hydrophyllum Capitatum (ballhead waterleaf), Purple and White Larkspur, Woodland Star, Miner’s Lettuce, Puccoon, Smoothstem Fireweed, Pioneer Violet, Nine Leaf Desert Parsley, Piper’s Anemone, Rockcress, Brown’s Peony in bud, Fritillaria atropupurea in bud.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 25, 2015

Economic Value of Common Birds

ScienceDaily reports

A new study tries to determine what economic value residents in two comparable cities place on having birds in their backyards and parks. Researchers compared two types of common birds — finches and corvids — in both cities, asking residents how much they would pay to conserve the species and what they spend, if anything, on bird food. In Seattle, that value of enjoying common birds is about $120 million annually and in Berlin, $70 million.

Read more at Common birds bring economic vitality to cities — ScienceDaily


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 24, 2015

Joshua Tree Wildflowers 4/24/15

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 24, 2015

Texas Hill Country Wildflower 4 /24/15

 Gary Regner Photography has aHill Country update for April 22, 2015

Spring has entered its second phase in the Hill Country with wildflowers transitioning from blues to reds, golds and yellows. Unlike the average season we had for bluebonnets, it appears this will be an exceptional year for late spring wildflowers. Firewheels, bitterweed and Engelman daisies are in full bloom lining the sides of roads and spilling into fields and pastures. Some of the best displays are in northern Llano county.

> TX 29 between Buchanan Dam and Llano – Abundant firewheels, greenthread, bitterweed and Engelmann daisies line the road and spill over into fields, many of which are heavily covered in wildflowers. Rating: 4-5

> TX 71 northwest of Llano – Firewheels, greenthread, bitterweed and Engelmann daisies line the road and spill over into fields, many of which are heavily covered in wildflowers. The most I’ve ever seen along this route. Rating: 4-5

> FM 1431 between Marble Falls and Granite Shoals – Bitterweed in this area is forming massive displays, some fields are covered solid and many are multi-acre. Rating: 4-5

> FM 2342 / Park Road 4 between FM 1431 and TX 29 (Inks Lake State Park) – Lots of wildflowers in bloom: firewheels, greenthread, wild onions, and bull nettle as well as some lingering bluebonnets and paintbrush. Rating: 2-4

See photo links and older reports at  Texas Wildflower and Bluebonnet Sightings Report : Texas Wildflower Hot Spots and Pictures by Gary Regner Photography.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 24, 2015

2015 Bird LA Day May 2

May 2 is Bird LA Day. Angelenos will celebrate the birds of LA in a unique way – with the first Bird LA Day. The day will include more than 30 events throughout the region, all unified through social media (#birdladay). From Debs Park to downtown to the beach to the San Fernando Valley to South LA and Long Beach — there will be events for every level of birder ranging from the uninitiated to the serious and sophisticated. Events will include birding walks, talks, tours, and other activities in virtually every corner of the county.

For a complete listing of events, visit:



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 23, 2015

Arches National Park Wildflowers 4/23/15

DesertUSA reports onApril 23 2015  for Arches National Park

Cactus are already blooming in Moab, so they’ll be bursting into color up at the park’s elevations over the next few weeks. Get your macros ready!


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 23, 2015

Big Bend Wildflowers 4/23/15

DesertUSA reports that

Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Experience an incredible Earth Day and today in Big Bend with this year’s stunning and rare wildflower explosion! Rainbow cactus (Echinocereus dasyacanthus) normally bloom yellow but occasionally will exhibit pink or orange coloration. These alternate shades are due to these individuals being backcrosses of a hybrid with the Claret Cup cactus

See photos at  Desert Wildflower Reports for Texas.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 23, 2015

How Climate Affects Biodiversity

News Release AlphaGalileo

Important study of how climate affects biodiversity

A key question in the climate debate is how the occurrence and distribution of species is affected by climate change. But without information about natural variation in species abundance it is hard to answer. In a major study, published today in the leading scientific journal Current Biology, researchers can now for the first time give us a detailed picture of natural variation.

The impact of climate change on species occurrence and distribution is a central issue in the climate debate, since human influence on the climate risks posing threats to biodiversity. But until now methods for investigating how natural climate variation in the past has affected the abundance of species have been lacking.

Now, for the first time, Krystyna Nadachowska-Brzyska and Hans Ellegren of Uppsala University’s Evolutionary Biology Centre in collaboration with researchers at the Beijing Genomics Institute, have managed to clarify the issue in detail by analysing the whole genome of some 40 bird species. By studying the genetic variation of DNA molecules, they have succeeded in estimating how common these species were at various points in time, from several million years ago to historical times.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 23, 2015

Columbia River Gorge Wildflowers 4/20/15 – Updated

Pacific Northwest Wildflowers has two detailed flower and animal sighting reports for the Columbia River Gorge:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 23, 2015

Save The Frogs Day April 25, 2015

In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of amphibians, the scientific community has declared Saturday April 25th, 2015 the 7th Annual ‘Save The Frogs Day’. On this day we encourage the appreciation and celebration of amphibians by people from all walks of life. Only a small proportion of the public is aware that frogs are disappearing, and amphibian conservation efforts will not be successful with an un-informed public. Our goal is to make the amphibian extinction crisis common knowledge, and Save The Frogs Day is our best way to make this happen!

To learn more and find local events go to: Save The Frogs Day – April 25, 2015.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 22, 2015

Arizona Wildflower Report 4/22/15

Wild in Arizona reports

the Marble Canyon area last Wednesday through Monday to chase what they had referred to as a “bloom of a decade.”  They were spot on!  Although the weather was a bit unsettled last week (stormy and windy), the flowers absolutely did not disappoint!

Extensive fields of full desert globemallow and prickly pear cactus are peaking right now south of Highway 89A near the Soap Creek and Badger Creek overlooks (several gates into BLM land provide access – 2WD high-clearance recommended for these roads).  New flowers like Prince’s plume, sego lilies, banana yuccas, and scorpionweed are starting to pop up as well in varying quantities.  With a little dab of rain, even more flowers will start to show in the next week or so.  Although I didn’t have time to scout, the locals suggested the bloom could extend as far west as House Rock Valley Road.

We also meandered upstream along the Paria River from the Lees Ferry area in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, where we spotted multiple species of prickly pear in full bloom (with ample buds still waiting to pop), globemallow, banana yucca, and more during our easy hike.

See photos at  Wild in Arizona.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 22, 2015

Feds Backtrack On Protecting Bi-state Sage Grouse

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Feds Backtrack on Protecting Bi-state Sage Grouse

RENO, Nev.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today abandoned its plan to give Endangered Species Act protection to Mono Basin sage grouse, a small and isolated population of prairie birds in Nevada and California that remain under threat from grazing, habitat loss and mining development. The agency’s decision ignores scientific recommendations for reversing the birds’ steep decline and relies on unproven conservation agreements with state and local communities.

The Mono Basin greater sage grouse population, located in eastern California and western Nevada and also known as the “bi-state” population, is fragmented and geographically isolated from all other greater sage grouse populations.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 22, 2015

Preserving Cuba’s Wildlife

The New York Times had a recent op-ed article on how Cuba’s isolation from the U.S. has helped preserve it more thickly forested areas and resulted in it being less polluted than other Carribean Islands. One of the challenges of a loosening or U.S. restrictions will be preserving Cuba’s wild areas and wildlife. Cuba has over 300 bird species including the world’s smallest bird the Bee Hummingbird, a pygmy owl and one of the world’s smallest frogs. The two Castro brothers have protected large areas of the island by establishing government-run parks. Read article at Cuba’s Wildlife on Notice –

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 21, 2015

Mines Road Wildflowers 4/21/15

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups has the following report for Mines Road from Livermore to the top of Mt.  Hamilton.

We’ve seen blazing stars along this road in past years but never this many!
We saw scarlet delphinium in two places. Many purple delphiniums in the fields (no trespassing!) and on the right-of-way.We didn’t see mariposa lilies in the fields as we have in past years.
Along Mines Road, look for shady areas where there are a variety of flowers in bloom. Golden lupine a few miles south of the junction with the Del Valle Road were an unexpected treat.

Be sure to respect the neighboring fences and private lands when photographing in this area.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 21, 2015

Texas Wildflower Updates 3/20/15

Texas WildflowerHaven reports “Hill Country is On Fire”

I traveled back fro Ennis through the northern parts of the Hill Country along RR-580, 501, Texas SH-71 and Texas SH-16.  The trip took me over 10 hours and I spent a good portion of that time traveling from Bend, Texas to Llano.  The roadsides and fields are filling up with a mixture of blooms, including firewheels, Engelmann daisies, blue curls, greenthread, bitterweed  prairie and Texas paintbrush, lazy daisies, and what I think is a species of bladderpod. There is also some bluebonnets still in bloom, most are past peak, but here and there are some patches still looking very nice.

See photos and full report at Hill Country is On Fire – Texas – WildflowerHaven Community.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 21, 2015

Lyrid Meteor Shower April 16 to 25, Peak April 22 to 23

EarthSky reports

The annual Lyrid meteor shower is active each year from about April 16 to 25. The peak of this shower – which tends to come in a burst and usually lasts for less than a day – will fall on the morning of April 22 or 23, with the nod going to the later date. The greatest number of meteors should fall during the few hours before dawn on either date. In 2015, a waxing crescent moon will set in the evening on the days around the Lyrids’ peak, leaving a dark for watching meteors.

Read more Everything you need to know: Lyrid meteor shower | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 21, 2015

Lawsuit To Stop Killing 10,000 Cormorants

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Lawsuit Filed to Stop Cormorant Slaughter by Federal Agencies

Thousands of Native Birds Blamed for Salmon Declines Caused By Corps’ Mismanagement of Hydropower System

PORTLAND, Ore.— Five conservation and animal welfare organizations initiated a lawsuit today against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to stop the slaughter of thousands of double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River basin. The lawsuit asserts that the federal agencies are scapegoating the native birds for salmon declines when the real threat is mismanagement of the federal hydropower system. Unless stopped, the agencies will kill more than 15 percent of all double-crested cormorants west of the Rocky Mountains.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 21, 2015

Home Garden Plant Choice Plays Large Role In Native Bird Diversity

ScienceDaily reports

The landscaping plants chosen by residents for their yards plays a much greater role in the diversity of native birds in suburban neighborhoods than do the surrounding parks, forest preserves, or streetside trees, say biologists.

Read article at Make your home a home for the birds — ScienceDaily


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 20, 2015

Nevada County Scotch Broom Challenge

The Fire Safety Council of Nevada County, CA reports on how to participate in efforts to reduce the invasive and flammable Scotch Broom.

The Scotch Broom Challenge was created in 2007 to address the spread of this highly flammable and invasive plant in our community. The Scotch Broom Challenge started with just a few sites in Nevada County. In the spring of 2013 over 250 volunteers took the Scotch Broom Challenge and pulled broom at 21 sites throughout Nevada County and Placer County.

This year local groups and agencies are once again teaming up to pull Scotch broom at the sites listed below and we are looking for volunteers from the community who want to come out and join us. No experience is necessary and we provide the equipment and supplies.

see details at Fire Safe Council of Nevada County :: Scotch Broom Challenge Dates.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 20, 2015

Most Humpback Whales May Be Removed Endangered List

The Los Angeles times reports that most humpback whales may be removed from the endangered species list. Read story

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 20, 2015

San Antonio Valley Wildflowers 4/18/15

south-bay-birds – Yahoo Groups has a report that includes wildflowers for San Antonio Valley

Now is a lovely time if you like wildflowers. Near the Arnold Ranch along Arroyo Bayo were beautiful stands of blazing stars among more common spring flowers. The southern San Antonio Valley was spectacular with poppies, goldfields, various lupines, and owls clover. On the drive down to Livermore there were large fields of tidy tips along the road in Alameda County.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 20, 2015

Clear Lake Heron Festival May 2 to 3, 2015

The Clear Lake Heron Festival is Saturday  May 2-3

Thanks to the dedication of several Redbud Audubon Society members, and enough rain this winter to bring the level of Clear Lake high enough for boat navigation, the popular Heron Days event is once again being planned. Heron Days will take place on May 2 and 3 with the first day of pontoon boat rides leaving from Lakeside County Park near Kelseyville and the second day leaving from Redbud Park in the City of Clearlake. Registration information will be up soon on this website.

The event will feature only pontoon boat rides once again, no craft or informational booths. On Saturday, the boats will venture along the shoreline of Clear Lake to the Corinthian Bay area and Long Tule Point. On Sunday, boats will leave from Redbud Park and head down Cache Creek and into Anderson Marsh. Viewers are likely to see nesting Great Blue Herons along with a variety of other waterfowl and songbirds, including Western and Clark’s Grebes.


  • Saturday, May 2, 2015  Lakeside County Park Lakeport
  • Sunday, May 3, 2015  Redbud Park  City of Clearlake

Presented by: Redbud Audubon Society, Inc.

Contact Us: Phone: (707) 263-8030



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 19, 2015

Attempts To Repeal California Ban On Lead Ammunition Fails

California Audubon reported that efforts to repeals California’s ban on lead ammunition have failed. Read story at Effort to repeal landmark 2013 lead ammunition law quietly fizzles.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 19, 2015

Jepson Prairie Wildflowers & Animals 4/18/15

Flickr: Discussing 2015 hikes. in Solano Land Trust has an update on Jepson Prairie wildflowers and animals

found some tadpole shrimp and clam shrimp, along with the normal cast of characters. We found no salamanders. There were some gold nuggets right down by the presentation area near the playa. Buck Pasture was abloom with wonderful displays of goldfields, breathtaking downinga, large expanses of wooly marbles, yarrow, quaking grass, coyote thistle, brodiaea, hyacinth, and a few mimulus and navarretia. The scene looks more those like late April or early May, so I am concerned that things will dry up very quickly. Lots of solitary bees working the goldfields.

If you get a chance, check out North most corner of the docent triangle where the road crosses the railroad tracks (just west of the road). This always has a lot of late moisture, and the downinga were visible from the road.

Bird life included avocets, stilts, Canada geese, egrets, herons, killdeer, white pelican flyover, savannah sparrows, meadowlarks, red wing blackbirds, and some small sandpipers that I could not identify. There is an active nest of ravens in the tower in the east pool of Olcott.

See older posts at  Flickr: Discussing 2015 hikes. in Solano Land Trust.

Press Release Environmental Protection Information Center

Fish and Wildlife Service finds Northern Spotted Owl May be Endangered

Arcata, CA: Today, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service issued a positive initial 90-day finding on an EPIC petition to reclassify the iconic northern spotted owl from a “threatened” to an “endangered” species under the Endangered Species Act. The positive 90-day finding on EPIC’s petition to reclassify the northern spotted owl demonstrates that sufficient evidence exists that existing conservation measures have not been enough to protect and recover the owl, and that additional, more stringent and immediate measures are necessary to achieve this goal.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 18, 2015

Ennis, Texas Wildflowers 4/17/15

Texas Wildflower Haven reports on the Ennis area on 4/17/15

Overall from what I saw today (4/17/2015) the Ennis area is below average. I made a very quick drive through and covered most of the main areas, but did not travel all routes. I would contact the folks at the Ennis Visitor Bluebonnet Trails for a more complete update.

These are the areas I covered:

FM-1182 and 1181:  A few fields lightly dusted with bluebonnets.  One or two large stretches at times.

FM-85: Same as above, but with one moderately covered bluebonnet field

Mach RD field: lightly covered with blooms at best.

Field across from Mach RD field: some nice large areas.

FM-660: Large paintbrush field – dramatic enough to cause a near accident with cars stopping suddenly in the actual roadway. NO Wildflower is worth an accident!

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 18, 2015

South Texas Wildflower Report 4/17/15

Gary Regner Photography has a South Texas Wildflower update for April 17, 2015

Although bluebonnets are largely gone, there are plenty of other wildflowers now in bloom. The second half of spring usually brings a wide variety of colors to the landscape and this year is no disappointment. I viewed dozens of species in bloom, several of which I’m still trying to identify. I wasn’t able to get many pictures on Friday due to heavy thunderstorms along my route. I was actually forced to pull over three times the rain was so heavy. The roadsides were either flooded or had deep mud, so I couldn’t stop for fear of getting stuck. This is also the heart of the Eagle Ford oil boom. Oil industry traffic is very heavy, mainly large, impatient speeding trucks, so extreme caution is warranted in this area. Roads are also in poor condition from overuse, so they are rough and riddled with potholes.

> TX 46 between New Braunfels and Seguin – Mostly farmland, but also several large, heavily covered fields of evening primrose. Rating: 3-4

> Alt 90 between Seguin and Belmont – Lots of different wildflowers in bloom, mainly roadsides, but also some fields with moderate coverage: paintbrush, Engelmann daisies, prickly poppies, bull nettle, bluebonnets and herbertia. Rating: 2-4

> IH 37 between Corpus Christi and Three Rivers – Tons of wildflowers mostly along the highway: Engelmann daisies, Texas thistle, firewheels, winecups, paintbrush, beebalm, prickly pear cacti, coreopsis, greenthread, fleabane, flax, prickly poppies, sunflowers, skeleton weed, verbena and clasping-leaf coneflowers. Rating: 3-4

> TX 72 between Three Rivers and Tilden – tons of Texas thistle and sunflowers, many large heavily covered fields. Rating: 3-5

> TX 97 between TX 72 and FM 1582 – This area is heavily covered with Texas thistle and gumweed. In areas coverage extends as far as you can see. Rating: 4-5

> FM 1582 between TX 72 and TX 85 – Acres and acres are carpeted with dyssodia, gumweed and small white flowers (possibly fleabane or lazy daisies), also abundant Texas thistle and Engelmann daisies. Rating: 3-5

> FM 1582 between TX 85 and Pearsall – Acres and acres are carpeted with wildflowers including: gumweed, dyssodia, fleabane, firewheels, Texas thistle, winecups and many more. Unfortunately there is no paved shoulder and the sides of the road are deep mud right now, so there is no place to pull over. Rating: 4-5

> IH 35 between Pearsall and Devine, and Devine area – Many wildflowers in bloom along the road and fields including: Engelmann daisies, firewheels, Texas thistle, basketflower, greenthread, pincushion daisies, fleabane, lazy daisies, sunflowers, prickly poppies, phlox and beebalm. Paintbrush and bluebonnets are hanging on in some areas, but well past peak. Rating: 3-5


see photo links and older reports at  Texas Wildflower and Bluebonnet Sightings Report : Texas Wildflower Hot Spots and Pictures by Gary Regner Photography.

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