Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 22, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park May Gain 32,00 Acres

KCET’s SoCal Wanderer reports Joshua Tree National Park may gain 32,000 new acres. Read story at Joshua Tree Possibly Adding 32,000 Acres | National Parks | SoCal Wanderer | KCET


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 22, 2015

Virginia Golf & Housing Development Threatens Thousands of Eagles

The Washington Post reported on the approval of a golf and housing development near the Rappahannock River in Federicksburg, Virginia that will threaten  habitat used by tens of thousands of eagles. Read story at Eagle ‘hot spot’ in Virginia could be replaced by a golf course and resort – The Washington Post.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 21, 2015

Carson Pass Wildflowers 7/21/15

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Group had the following new report for Carson Pass

Meiss Meadows may be as good as I’ve ever seen it. Tho corn-lilies are always common here, there were more than I’ve ever experienced. We did a loop: Carson Pass to Showers Lake return to Carson Pass via xcountry route over Meiss Ridge.
Today we were going to do a larger loop, but got stopped by aforementioned storm. The flowers from Woods to Lake Winnemucca were ‘normal’ good, which means very good, tho less lupine than I remember from past, and far more queen-ann’s lace.  We took a xcountry route up to the saddle at the base of Round Top. Stunning. And the flowers on the saddle were mind-blowing amazing. In addition, thank to the storm, we had fantastic views of thunderheads over Tahoe.

We think we say between 80 – 90 individual species of flowers in just 5 hours today. Magnificent.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 21, 2015

Impact Of Drought On Pacific Flyway Birds

Audublog has a story on the  major impact the drought has had on migrating ducks, geese and swans swans along the Packfic Flyway. The drought has dried up California wetlands and insects, fish and plants that are food sources for the birds are greatly depleted.

Read story at Drought hitting Pacific Flyway birds hard.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 20, 2015

Temperature Change Results in Loss of Mexican Bird Diversity

ScienceDaily reports

A wide-ranging study of gains and losses of populations of bird species across Mexico in the 20th century shows shifts in temperature due to global climate change are the primary environmental influence on the distributions of bird species.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 19, 2015

Red Rock Canyon Open Space, CO Wildflowers 7/19/15

Lauren Staley reported on Red Rock Canyon Open Space in Colorado Springs.

Lots of pretty wildflowers, but I especially enjoyed seeing the Mariposa Lilies. Have posted photos on Flicker at:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 19, 2015

Where Are The World’s Best Birds?

Atlas Obscura says

Species for species, the French territory of New Caledonia, in the South Pacific, has the world’s best birds.

To crown the area with the best birds, first, we have to decide our criteria for what “the best birds” even are. First up: there must be several interesting bird species that occur nowhere else on Earth. Second: To be a “good” bird, a bird must have something superlative. It could be very large or very small, very bright, very loud, very smart, very weird, very cute, or very threatening

Read full article at The Elaborate Case for Where the Best Birds in the World Live | Atlas Obscura.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 18, 2015

Birding Eastshore State Park In Berkeley 7/18/15

Canadian Geese along Berkeley Bay Trail

Canada  Geese along Berkeley Bay Trail

As it is summer there is a lot less activity along the Bay Trail in Berkeley. It is a peaceful walk as there are usually only a few people on the trail. Twenty-one different species were seen with some small peeps unidentified that may have been Western Sandpipers.

Butterflies were active. There were Anise Swallowtails, Cabbage Whites, the tiny Western Pigmy Blue and a skipper that was probably a Fiery Skipper.

Surprisingly even with the drought many plants were in bloom both natives and aliens, especially ones that like disturbed places. We saw Yellow Lotus, Bristly Ox-tongue, Wild Radish, Wild Mustard, California Poppy, Zauschneria, Lizard Tail, Bush Monkeyflower, Evening Primrose, Buckwheat, Gumplant, Anise, Salt Bush, Yarrow, and Rosehips from roses that had gone to fruit. Shrubs seen included Coyote Bush,Willows, and Himalayan Blackberry.

See bird list at Eastshore SP-Berkeley Access 8/18/15

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 18, 2015

Climate Change Shrinking Bumblebees’ Range

The New York Times reports

Climate change has narrowed the range where bumblebees are found in North America and Europe in recent decades, according to a study published Thursday.

The paper, published in the journal Science, suggests that warming temperatures have caused bumblebee populations to retreat from the southern limits of their travels by as much as 190 miles since the 1970s.

Read full story at Climate Change Is Shrinking Where Bumblebees Range, Researchers Find – The New York Times.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 17, 2015

Google Street View Now In California’s State Parks

KCET’s SoCal Wander reported that Google Street View has come to California’s State Park

California State Parks and Google Maps unveiled a project that allows folks to experience the images and sights of various hikes throughout California State Parks. Rather than fitting a 360-degree camera on top of a car, Google used Trekker, its camera that fits onto a wearable

Read story at  Google Street View Comes to California’s State Parks | State Park | SoCal Wanderer | KCET.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2015

Carson Pass Area Wildflower Update 7/16/15

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups had the following update on the Carson Pass area today

I found the meadow at the intersection of 89 and 88 to be beautiful. The trail up to Frog Lake was lovely, but not a lot of flowers and most were past prime. All I met that were coming down from Winnemuca said there were many more wildflowers up there

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2015

Rocky Mt. Wildflower Updates 7/16/15

The Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers have new wildflower updates:


I spent the last couple of days in the Crested Butte area.  I’ll echo what others have said, in that the area is at or near peak.

The meadow areas close to CB are starting to wither and not as good as a few days ago.  This is true for the bottom of Washington Gulch, although there are still lots of great comps to be had there.

Gothic is in full bloom with a great variety of flowers and plenty of them. This continues all the way up to where the road grade steepens where the flowers thin out.  At this elevation there are an abundance of buds formed and the appearance they will pop any day!

If you are planning on heading the CB this year, I’d say you better pack the bags and hit the road.

Gothic Rd, particularly Rustlers Gulch is outstanding.

See photos and older reports at Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2015

Birding Arrowhead Marsh 7/15/15

Yesterday I went on the Golden Gate Audubon Field trip to Arrowhead Marsh at Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline at low tide. The highlight of the morning was watching a number of Ridgway’s Rails who were walking around the mudflats relatively close to the group. Probably the best and longest views I have had of them. There were also a large number of shorebirds for so early in season including Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Black-bellied Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs , Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Marbled Godwit, and Least Sandpiper. The group saw a total of 39 species. Also seen were a Harbor Seal, Ray and Ground Squirrels.

Here are links to photos of the rails taken by one of the participants:

Click read more to see full bird list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2015

Mt. Rainier National Park Wildflowers 7/16/15

Mt. Rainier National Park reports currently blooming  on July 16, 2015:

Pink and yellow monkeyflower are thriving along many of the park’s streams and creeks, such as around Sluiskin Falls in Paradise. Pink monkeyflower (Mimulus lewisii), also know as Lewis monkeyflower, grows in dense clumps of stems and flowers. Stems are 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) tall with oval, toothed leaves. Similar in appearance, yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) is generally found at lower elevations than pink monkeyflower, which favors the subalpine regions of the park. Both are commonly found growing together along waterways in the park.

Wildflower Reports

  • Paradise: (7/12) Past peak, but best wildflowers to be found on west side of Panorama Point, upper Golden Gate, and the upper east side of the Skyline Trail.
    • Lower Paradise trails: Late summer-like conditions prevail with few flowers: False Hellebore, Gray’s Mountain Lovage, American Bistort, and Subalpine Daisy.
    • Deadhorse Creek and West Side of Skyline Trail: Very few flowers. All lupine have gone to seed. Few Pasqueflower Seedheads, Bistort.
    • West side of Panorama Point: A few nice areas on the climb up to Pan Point of Lupine, Paintbrush, Bistort, Pink Mountain Heather, and Phlox still in bloom.
    • Upper Skyline Trail: Alpine environment, realm of cushion plants: Alpine Lupine, Saxifrage, Golden Fleabane.
    • Upper East Side of Skyline Trail: Bistort, Lupine, Paintbrush, Pasqueflower Seedheads, Pink and White Mountain Heather still hanging on. Lewis (pink) Monkeyflower in wet areas.
    • Creek Crossing above Sluiskin Falls on Skyline Trail: Large area of Lewis (pink) Monkeyflower.
    • East Skyline Trail from Paradise Glacier Trail down to Lakes Trail: Bistort, patches of Lupine, Pasqueflower Seedheads, Sitka Valerian, Bracted Lousewart, Cascade Aster, Arrowleaf Groundsel.
    • Lower East Skyline Trail down to Myrtle Falls: Cascade Aster, Fireweed, and Cliff Paintbrush.
  • Sunrise: (7/12) peak: corn lily/false hellebore, rainiera, yarrow; past peak in general but better at higher elevations, like at Berkeley Park, Forest Lake, and Upper Palisades.
  • Bench & Snow Lake Trail: (7/6) peak: white rhododendron, gray’s lovage, yellow monkeyflower, lewis (pink) monkeyflower, corn lily; late/few: fireweed, scarlet paintbrush, mountain bog gentian.

See photos at Mt. Rainier National Park.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2015

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 7/15/15

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for July 15 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2015


eButterfly A new Resource for the Butterfly Enthusiast

Many of you are family with eBird, which a great resource for finding information about birds. Did you know there is also eButterfly

Overview of  eButterfly

A real-time, online checklist and photo storage program, e-Butterfly is providing a new way for the butterfly community to report, organize and access information about butterflies in North America. Launched in 2011, e-Butterfly provides rich data sources for basic information on butterfly abundance,  distribution, and phenology at a variety of spatial and temporal scales across North America.

e-Butterfly is maximizing the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of butterfly observations, photographs, and collections made each year by recreational and professional butterfly enthusiasts. With your help, we will amass one of the largest and fastest growing insect data resources to inform our understanding of ecological and agricultural systems in North America.

Through time, each participant, each observation, each checklist, and each verification builds the database. eButterfly then shares this treasure trove of butterfly data with a global community of citizen scientists, educators, lepidopterists, conservationists, and land managers. In time, this information will become the foundation for a better understanding of butterfly distribution and population trends across North America and beyond.

Tools and Data for Butterfly Enthusiasts

  • Track your butterfly sightings and locations
  • Organize, store and share your photos
  • Find butterflies you have never seen
  • Explore dynamic range maps
  • Share your sightings with others
  • Contribute to science and conservation

To learn more go to eButterfly

The Nature Conservancy recently reported on how marijuana farming is making the drought worse in a number ways and creating serious environmental damage.

  • Diverting water  from streams which reduces already low water levels threatens the survival of salmon, amphibians, and other animals.
  • Forest clearing, land terracing, and road construction often occur right next to streams and rivers and lead to erosion.
  • Pesticides and herbicides contaminate the water. Diesel often leaks from generators set up to pump water to plants, polluting streams and further stressing fish and amphibians

Read article at How Marijuana Farming is Worsening California’s Drought…And What We Can Do to Help – The Nature Conservancy, California.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 14, 2015

Oregon Wildflowers: Coffin Mt. 7/13/15

Oregon Wildflowers has a July 13, 2015 wildflower report for Coffin Mt. in the Western Cascades

Unlike last year there was really no beargrass blooming at all. However there were many large areas of Purple Fireweed which was in peak form and made the hike very enjoyable. Also blooming were Pearly Everlasting, White Yarrow, lavender aster and orange paintbrush.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 14, 2015

Sierra Wildflower Report: Tahoe Region 7/14/15

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups has the following wildflower report for the Tahoe Area

Truckee/Donner/Tahoe area, and boy are the wildflowers blooming there. Last week’s storms/rain/hail/snow (!) should help keep them going for a bit too. Here’s a bit of detail:
Lots of sulfur buckwheat along 80 as you reach the summit, along with other blooms.
Trails above Donner Lake starting at the Glacier Bay parking: covered in white ceanothus and a nice variety of other flowers, especially Monardella and yellow Asteraceae.
Lacey Meadow (near Webber Lake, off of 89): Lush with grasses and flowers, especially along the creek. As you walk down the trail, a tide of grasshoppers parts in front of you.

Meadows around Sagehen campground (probably other wet meadows too) are full of flowers, including Rein orchids, paintbrush, bistort, purple asters, corn lilies, lupine, monkshood, leopard lilies…

My class also hiked above Lake Tahoe, sorry I don’t remember the trail, but it wasn’t far from Incline Village. Here was also very colorful and diverse, with paintbrushes, asters, phlox, buckwheats, Penstemon, Monardella, Gilia…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 14, 2015

Rocky Mt. Wildflower Updates 7/14/15

The Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers have a  new wildflower update:

Location report from various locations visited in past six days.

Crested Butte area – as close to spectacular as you can get including Gothic Road, upper East River valley, Rustlers Gulch, Brush Creek Road, Kebler Pass road, Lake Irwin, Washington Gulch road and  Ohio Pass. sunflowers dominate but good populations of lupine, larkspur and Wueen Anne’s Lace. Are present.  Columbines good in upper valley, Washington Gulch and along Gothic Road.  Lots of sneeze weed present as well as scarlet Giuliani.  This is one of the best displays in the past 15 years.

American Basin – very good and likely to peak in the next 7 – 10 days.  Huge variety of flowers.  Columbine very good in the talus field.  Lots of paintbrush and arnica at lower end with bluebells, larkspur and bitter cress abundant.  CAREFUL – there’s a cow moose and calf in the basin.  Calf very young, maybe 2 months old.

Governor Basin – just OK but only because I like Governor.  It might be as much as two weeks from peak.  Revenue Mining Co. Has resumed active mining in the basin with new equipment in place near where the historic Revenue once stood.  .he tunnel that existed from the original mine to the Yankee Boy Road level has been re-bored and a ten ton truck can now travel through the tunnel.  They are currently boring tunnels beneath Saint Sophia Ridge and extracting high grade “ruby silver”.

Silver Basin – looking good and should peak in next 7 – 10 day.  Lots of paintbrush and alpine sunflowers.  Both upper and lower lakes are full and discharging into Silver Creek.  Flowers are scarce around lower lake.  Bluebells and watercress are huge along banks of the creek where the waterfalls are located.  Should bloom I next 10 days +.

Yankee Boy – Very good with thick, full populations of just about everything.  Columbines very healthy with vibrant deep blues and purples.  The one will peak in the next 7 – 10 days.



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 14, 2015

70% Drop In Global Seabird Populations

ScienceDaily reports

The world's monitored seabird populations have dropped 70 percent since the 1950s, a stark indication that marine ecosystems are not doing well, new research indicates.

Read full story at Global trends show seabird populations dropped 70 percent since 1950s — ScienceDaily


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 13, 2015

Rocky Mt. Wildflower Updates 7/13/15

The Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers have a number of new wildflower updates:

7/13/15 Lots of wild rose along the road to Stillwater Reservoir.

7/13/15 Columbine field above the Bear River in the Stillwater area of the Flat Tops.

7/13/15 Paintbrush just getting started at Dumone Lake—it will be good here for the next two weeks.

7/13/5 Lupine and paintbrush near Heart Lake

7/13/5 Several places in Northwest Colorado are already showing that this could be a great year for wildflowers.  This past weekend I checked out the Deep Lake area south of the Flat Tops, Stillwater in the Flat Tops and Dumont Lake on Rabbit Ears Pass-–all with lots of color already and some reaching peak.   Colombines along the Coffee Pot Road.

7/12/15 I hiked to Chasm Lake yesterday. Numerous bunches of Columbines blanketed the talus slopes along the trail just before reaching Columbine Falls.  After seeing this display, there is no doubt about how the waterfall was named !

See photos and older reports at Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 13, 2015

Save The Endangered Minnesota Moose

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Moose in Midwest

Climate Change Driving Dramatic Declines in Moose Across Minnesota,
North Dakota, Michigan — Nearly 60 Percent Drop in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS— The Center for Biological Diversity and Honor the Earth today filed a legal petition seeking federal Endangered Species Act protection for a subspecies of moose found in the Midwest. Due to climate change, habitat degradation, disease and other factors, the moose population is in sharp decline, including a nearly 60 percent decrease in Minnesota in just 10 years.

Photo by Ryan Hagerty, USFWS. This photo is available for media use.

“If we don’t protect them, moose could be lost forever from the North Woods,” said Collette Adkins, a biologist and attorney who works in the Center’s Minneapolis office. “Growing up in Minnesota, I loved seeing moose during family vacations up North. It’s a tragedy that today kids like my own only know this symbol of the North Woods as stuffed toys in tourist gift shops.”

Today’s petition seeks Endangered Species Act protection for the United States’ population of the moose subspecies (Alces alces andersoni) found only in the Midwest. Specifically the petition includes moose in northeastern and northwestern Minnesota, northeastern North Dakota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Isle Royale, as well as a small, recently established population in Wisconsin.

Moose declines are particularly severe in Minnesota, with only an estimated 3,500 moose surviving there today. Scientists have warned the animals will be nearly extirpated from Minnesota within five years if the trend is not reversed; they are already almost gone from northwestern Minnesota.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 12, 2015

Botanic Garden Flowers, Birds & Photos 7/12/15

The Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park in Berkeley still has many flowers in bloom. What was especially impressive today were the Lilies. It is also a good place for woodland birds. See bird list at ebird. Also seen were Pipevine Swallowtails.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 12, 2015

Carson Pass Wildflowers 7/11/15

Report and photos submitted by Bruce Beyaert

Carson Pass area this past week. The slopes are green and rampant with flowering plants now between Carson Pass and Kirkwood where we rented a condo for a week. It’s  absolutely amazing, including virtually all of the corn lillies blooming and Swertia plants blooming in abundance like we’ve never seen. It may be due to summer afternoon rains or low snow pack or ??. At any rate, the Sierra plants have no idea that we humans consider this to be a drought.

Here are suggstions for great flower displays:

1. Kirkwood Scout’s Route to Upper Corral Meadow Trail and return via Lower Corral Meadow Trail
2. Schneider’s Camp to Meiss Ridge and north along ridge for Tahoe view
3. Wood’s Lake to Lake Winnemucca.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 12, 2015

World Listening Day 2015 Is July 18

You are invited to participate in World Listening Day 2015, an annual global event held on July 18. The purposes of World Listening Day are to:

  • Celebrate the listening practices of the world and the ecology of its acoustic environments;
  • Raise awareness about the growing number of individual and group efforts that creatively explore Acoustic Ecology based on the pioneering efforts of the World Soundscape Project, World Forum for Acoustic EcologyLa Semaine du SonDeep Listening Institute, among many others;
  • Design and implement educational initiatives that explore these concepts and practices.

Learn more at World Listening Day 2015: H2O | The World Listening Project.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 11, 2015

Lassen Park Wildflowers 7/11/15

Lassen Volcanic National Park reports

The Corn Lilies are in full bloom around Crumbaugh Lake.

See photos at  Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 11, 2015

Here’s How You Can Help Support The Richmond Bay Trail

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Governments are requesting comments on their proposal to add Bay Area Toll Authority’s Richmond/San Rafael (RSR) Bridge Access Improvement Project to Plan Bay Area with funding from toll bridge revenues. This project includes a critical section of the Point Molate Bay Trail, as well as a two-way, barrier-separated bicyclist and pedestrian Bay Trail on the top deck of the bridge.
The City of Richmond and East Bay Regional Park District are partnering to design and build 2.5 miles of Bay Trail north of the RSR bridge to access Point Molate Beach Park and the entire shoreline of former Point Molate Naval Fuel Depot. However, the I-580 corridor blocks pedestrian access to the northern side of I-580, and bicycle access is possible only by riding on the shoulders and sharply curving exit ramps of the freeway where an motorist killed one bicyclist and left another paralyzed. The RSR Bridge Access Improvement Project is critical for eliminating this dangerous situation by completing the Point Molate Bay Trail section between Marine Street and the Stenmark Drive exit on the northern side of the I-580 corridor. 
Please CLICK HERE to visit TRAC’s website where you may very easily send an email of support to MTC ( Comments must be received no later than Monday, July 20.
More information is available on MTC’s webpage , including a link to the Project Fact Sheet.
TRAC greatly appreciates your support!
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 11, 2015

Strong El Nino Very Likely

The San Jose Mercury News reports

As Pacific Ocean temperatures continue to warm and trade winds shift, federal scientists now say that the El Niño weather event that’s emerging could be one of the strongest on record.

With California desperate for relief from its punishing four-year drought, the trend is significantly increasing the chances that storms will drench the state this winter, according to a new report released by federal scientists Thursday. And scientists say the conditions are lining up in ways not seen since the winter of 1997-98, when downpours filled reservoirs and sent rivers raging during the last major El Niño.

The chances are now “greater than 90 percent” that El Niño conditions that began in March will remain through this winter, according to the monthly El Niño report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Read full story at El Niño weather event is biggest since 1997, may trigger soaking winter storms.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 11, 2015

Predicting Avian Fatalities From Wind Turbines

News Release USGS

Power of Prediction: Avian Fatalities at Wind Facilities

The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has released a study that will enable ecologists, managers, policy makers, and industry to predict the bird fatalities at a wind facility prior to it being constructed.

The study examined golden eagles as a case study because they are susceptible to collisions with wind turbines in part because of their soaring and hunting behavior.

Bird fatalities due to collisions with rotating turbine blades are a leading concern for wildlife and wind facility managers. This new model builds upon previous approaches by directly acknowledging uncertainty inherent in predicting these fatalities. Furthermore, the computer code provided makes it possible for other researchers and managers to readily apply the model to their own data.

Read More…

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