Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 20, 2015

Southern Calif. Mountain Wildflowers 6/20/15

The Press Enterprise has an article on the wildflower bloom of the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains for June. Excerpts from the article

  • May weather that repeatedly dropped snow and rain in the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains preceded the attractive crop.
  • “It certainly made another profusion of flowers and extended our season,” said Scott Foster, a hardworking volunteer with the Idyllwild Nature Center.
  • Flowers thrive by trails this week. They stand out by roadways, too.
  • Fair warning, however. Unlike the blossoms below in the valleys and desert — which created broad swaths of color — mountain wildflowers are more like bright, scattered accents.
  • “Lots of lupine and firecracker penstemon. It looks like about six to eight yellow species, including golden yarrow and brittlebush. I even saw several patches of doddler.”
  • I witnessed a strong June bloom a week ago in Big Bear, where the forest shrubs and trees seemed extra green following May rain and snow, though the forest obviously remains dry. It’s unknown what impact this week’s Lake Fire had on them.
  • “It is absolutely spectacular.”

Read full article at BOB PRATTE: Mountain wildflowers follow majestic spring bloom: Blog: Bob Pratte.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 20, 2015

Oregon Wildflower Reports 6/19/15

Pacific Northwest Wildflower Bloom Reports has three detailed flowers  and fauna species reports for Central and Eastern Washington t

  • June 15, 2015: Mother Lode Mine Trail #808A & Lookout Mt. Trail #804 (Ochoco National Forest)
  • June 14, 2015: Road 3800-200 to Saddle East of Spanish Peak (Ochoco National Forest)
  • June 13, 2015: Roads 2630 & 2230 from Pisgah Meadows to Mount Pisgah Lookout (Ochoco National Forest)

Oregon Wildflowers has a report for Sucker Creek Trail in the Red Buttes Wilderness

  • Elevations of this wilderness hike in Josephine County range from 3,900 feet at the trailhead to 5,180 feet at the cirque lake. The gift here is delivered in stands of beargrass on the trail approaching the cirque lake and then at and around the lake. Among many other wildflower varieties, most at the upper elevations, are aster, columbine, lupine, paintbrush, thimbleberry, wild rose, and yellow blooms on the lake’s lily pads
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 20, 2015

Why lizards need elephants to survive?

Conservation Magazine writes about why lizards need elephants to survive?

Lizards, it turns out, rely on the debris created by elephants as they trample trees. Shards of wood and leaves haphazardly left behind by marching pachyderms provide good cover for a small lizard to escape the piercing talons of a hungry raptor. Kill the elephants, and the lizards could suffer.

Read full story at Why lizards need elephants to survive – Conservation.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 19, 2015

Desolation Wilderness Wildflowers 6/18/15

The Calphoto Where to Photograph in California has a new posting for Desolation Wilderness Wildflowers

Just came back from four-day backpack trip in Desolation Wilderness (just north of highway 50, west of South Tahoe) and I’d say that the flowers at that elevation (8000 feet) are just reaching prime. A vast array and variety are present. Tho I do not know specifics of other locations, seems to me that most likely other locations w/ similar elevation might also be blooming now.

See photo at Sierra Wildflower Report

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 19, 2015

Mount Rainier National Park Wildflowers 6/18/15

 Mount Rainier National Park has a new wildflower report for what is through  June 18, 2015

While blooming wildflowers fill your eyes with color, they can also tickle your nose with perfume. One flower noted for it’s sweet, heavy scent is Sitka Valerian (Valeriana sitchensis). A tall plant with square stems, Sitka Valerian flowers bob above the other meadow wildflowers, the breeze easily carrying their scent. Common is subalpine regions, they are currently blooming across the park.

Wildflower Reports

Tipsoo: (6/17) sitka valerian, arnica, magenta paintbrush, lupine, pasqueflower seedheads, sitka mountain ash, bistort, subalpine daisy, cinquefoil, buttercup, alpine speedwell, cusick’s speedwell, avalanche lily, glacier lily, smooth stem willowherb

Sunrise: (6/17) magenta paintbrush, phlox, cusick’s speedwell, cinquefoil, pasqueflower seedheads, slow jacob’s ladder, bluebell, pink mountain heather, lupine, harsh paintbrush, subalpine daisy, arnica

Sunrise Road: (6/17) thimbleberry, lupine, penstemon, paintbrush, sitka valerian, arnica, sitka mountain ash, yarrow, pink mountain heather, phlox, cinquefoil, columbine

White River: (6/17) vanilla leaf, bunchberry, columbine, asters, thimbleberry, thistle, sitka mountain ash, lupine

SR410: (6/17) lupine, sitka valerian, paintbrush, arnica, bear grass, cow parsley, goat’s beard, columbine, thimbleberry, rosy spirea, sitka mountain ash, cow parsley, goat’s beard, penstemon, thistle

SR123: (6/17) arnica, tiger lily, columbine!, thimbleberry, goat’s beard, paintbrush, sitka valerian, lupine, subalpine daisy

Grove of the Patriarchs: (6/17) foam flower, pathfinder, starflower, thimbleberry, candyflower, self-heal, columbine, cow parsley, vanilla leaf, devil’s club, bunchberry

Ohanapecosh: (6/17) devil’s club, goat’s beard, foam flower, thimbleberry, twin flower

Stevens Canyon: (6/17) arnica, goat’s beard, paintbrush, tiger lily, columbine, fireweed, penstemon, thimbleberry, lupine, cow parsley, sitka valerian, rosy spirea, bear grass, subalpine daisy

Paradise-Longmire Road: (6/17) jeffrey’s shooting star, sitka valerian, lupine, thistle, cow parsley, bog orchid!, arnica, paintbrush, penstemon, goat’s beard

Paradise: (6/14) lupine, bistort, cusick’s speedwell, sitka valerian, sitka mountain ash, pink mountain heather, harsh paintbrush, subalpine daisy, cinquefoil, bear grass, jeffrey’s shooting star

Comet Falls/Mildred Point/Van Trump: (6/9) colubine, bluebells, queen’s cup, arnica, candyflower, sitka valerian, sitka mountain ash, elderberry, false solomon’s seal, star-flowered false solomon’s seal, violets; peak: avalanche lilies – very dense!

Reflection Lakes/High Lakes: (6/9) avalanche lily, shooting star, cinquefoil, lupine, columbine, bistort; early: pink mountain heather, sitka valerian, cliff penstemon, elephant head

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 19, 2015

Rocky Mt. Wildflowers: Roxborough State Park 6/18/15

Rocky Mt. Nature Photographer’s Wildflower Thread has a new report for

Roxborough State Park, especially the Mt Carpenter trail, has lots of wildflowers of many varieties.  Daisies, blue bells, penstemon and lots of other flowers.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 19, 2015

 Yosemite Wildflowers App

A great new wildflower App for Yosemite is available for iPhone, iPad, or Android. The app provides images, descriptions, and interesting information for 584 plants that grow in Yosemite National Park with 2,700 images and a new feature allows you to keep a list of favorites that you can share through Mail, Facebook. etc. The app doesn’t need an internet connection so it can be used even in the most remote areas of the park.  The app can be purchased for $7.99 from Amazon, Apple, and Google app stores.

Learn more at Yosemite Wildflowers App – Home.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 18, 2015

What’s The Difference Between Rabbits & Hares?

National Geographic wrote about the difference between rabbits and hares. They described hares as larger, having longer ears, and being less social than rabbits. Also hares live completely above ground, while rabbits have  burrows and warrens (system of interconnecting tunnels)

Read more at What’s the Difference Between Rabbits and Hares?.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 18, 2015

New Fund Buys Land To Protect Wildlife reported on the creation of a new fund can quickly buy land to protect wildlife habitat

The Quick Response Biodiversity Fund (QRBF), a new initiative whose goal is to rapidly respond to opportunities to purchase land in developing countries as a way to protect critical habitat for endangered and threatened species. The fund was launched in February by the New York-based Weeden Foundation and its grantee, the Vermont-based conservation group 1% For The Planet, which has built a network of more than 1,200 corporations that donate at least 1% of their sales to environmental causes.

Read full article at
New fund helps groups buy land quickly to protect threatened wildlife


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 17, 2015

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 6/17/15

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for June 17 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 | June 17, 2015

Pt. Reyes: Bull Pt. Wildflowers 6/16/15

The Marin County CNPS Facebook page has a report for Bull Point trail at Point Reyes:

Saw lots of large-flowered linanthus, Davy clarkia, baby stars, self heal, yellow tidy tips and SF owl’s clover.

see photos and older reports at  Marin Native Plants.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 17, 2015

Mount Rainier Wildflowers 6/12/15

Mount Rainier National Park report on wildflower bloom as of June 12, 2015
Though blooming weeks earlier than normal, Avalanche Lilies are in peak bloom right now. In some areas, they carpet the meadows in as much white as the snow they replace. Particularly good areas to find them are around Reflection Lakes and upper parts of the Comet Falls trail and Mildred Point.

Wildflower Reports

  • Comet Falls/Mildred Point/Van Trump: (6/9) colubine, bluebells, queen’s cup, arnica, candyflower, sitka valerian, sitka mountain ash, elderberry, false solomon’s seal, star-flowered false solomon’s seal, violets; peak: avalanche lilies – very dense!
  • Reflection Lakes/High Lakes: (6/9) avalanche lily, shooting star, cinquefoil, lupine, columbine, bistort; early: pink mountain heather, sitka valerian, cliff penstemon, elephant head
  • Paradise: (6/9) magenta paintbrush, Jeffrey’s shooting stars, cinquefoil, pasqueflower, glacier lilies, phlox, moss campion, speedwell; peak: avalanche lilies
  • Stevens Canyon: (6/3) sitka mountain ash, beargrass, paintbrush, cinquefoil, lupine, alpine aster, sitka valerian, thistle, penstemon, arnica; peak: avalanche lilies
  • Box Canyon: (6/3) vanilla leaf, devil’s club, trailing blackberry, cinquefoil, star-flowered false solomon’s seal, wild rose, avalanche lily, self-heal, beargrass; peak: rockslide larkspur, rusty saxifrage
  • Box Canyon to SR123: (6/3) lupine, penstemon, thimbleberry, paintbrush; peak: crimson columbine
  • White River: (6/3) sitka valerian, lupine, sitka mountain ash
  • Sunrise: (6/3) early: pasqueflower, phlox, magenta paintbrush

Originally posted on East Bay Chapter - California Native Plant Society Conservation:

The Oakland Zoo recently submitted a request to the City of Oakland for a permit to kill 57 heritage Oaks and other native trees in Knowland Park.  Many many more trees that don’t require a permit to kill will be taken out, and the Zoo acknowledges 481 could be impacted during the construction of the Zoo’s proposed expansion development in the highlands of Knowland Park.

Please join us in writing a formal letter protesting the issuance of this permit. The citizens of Oakland must speak out to make sure that the publicly funded Oakland Zoo is not allowed to destroy these native heritage trees on public park land. These trees make up part of Oakland’s natural heritage and indeed lend their name to the city itself.

The Friends of Knowland Park have made it easy to let your concern be heard by sending the one click letter available at this link:

Thank you…

View original 3 more words

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 17, 2015

Roadside Verges Are Major UK Wildflower Site

The BBC reported on how road side verges in Britain contain over 700 species of wildflowers, which is almost half of the native flora of the UK. the verges are critical habitat as many wildflower meadows have been converted to farmland. However about ten percent of these plants are at risk of extinction at least in part due to the verges being cut too early in the plants’ life cycles. Read more at  Roadside verges ‘last refuge for wild flowers’ – BBC News.

Red elderberry/Sambucus racemosa

Red elderberry/Sambucus racemosa

On the second day of the Trees and Shrubs workshop we went to Samuel P. Taylor State Park and Pt. Reyes. At Samuel P. Taylor we were in a Redwood Forest with many other trees and shrubs present. There were also a number of wildflowers still in bloom as well as some forest birds that could be heard more than seen.

At Pt. Reyes we hiked out and back along the Bay View Trail and the out and back on the road north of parking lot by Bay View Trail. The habitat is Bishop Pine Forest and mixed woodland.

To see report for the first day of the workshop go to Mitchell Canyon, Mt. Diablo: Trees, Shrubs, Birds & Wildflowers 6/13/15

Click read more to see species list Samuel P. Taylor and Pt. Reyes

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 16, 2015

Chimpanzees Gain Broader Endangered Protection

Center for Biological Diversity Press Release

Chimpanzees Gain Broader Endangered Species Act Protection

New Rule Extends Endangered Status to Animals in Captivity

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it will start classifying all chimpanzees, both wild and captive, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Photo courtesy Flickr/Buffa. Photos are available for media use.

The new rule extends greater protection to captive chimpanzees by changing their protective status from “threatened” to “endangered” — the same status of chimpanzees in the wild. The new designation, which will be published on June 16,  will bring additional restrictions on commercial activities and will ensure humane treatment for captive chimps.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 15, 2015

Logging Industry Lawsuit Thrown Out

EarthJustice Press Release

Logging Industry Lawsuit Demanding Aggressive Cutting Thrown Out By Federal Court

Washington, D.C. — A logging industry lawsuit that sought to force the Bureau of Land Management to increase logging on public lands in southwest Oregon was thrown out today by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling vacates a 2013 decision that would have forced the Bureau of Land Management to sell timber even when those sales would have harmed salmon and had detrimental impacts on water quality and recreation.

Read More…

I just completed a two day field workshop on trees and shrubs of the Bay Area through the UC- Berkeley Jepson Herbarium. The first day of the class took place in Mitchell Canyon at Mt. Diablo State Park. We hiked out and back Mitchell Canyon Trail from parking lot and Visitor Center about six miles round trip.

Although I have been there twice in recent months today was quite different. The emphasis was on identifying trees and shrubs. Wildflower season is winding down and only a few plants are still in bloom. There was less bird activity than when I was here with the Master Birding Class on May 9 as we didn’t start until 10 and it was later in the day. I also suspect some of the birds may have left for the season. The birding, flowers in bloom and butterfly lists are only from my observations as the rest of the group focused mainly on trees and shrubs.

Click read more to see the species lists

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 15, 2015

Giant Purple Slugs On East Bay Beaches

The San Francisco Chronicle reports

A giant purple blob from the sea — a slug — is invading East Bay beaches and waterways this summer, and some experts say it may be caused by warmer temperatures near coastal waters.

These California sea hares are harmless plant eaters. But their big size and unusual abundance this year is turning heads at the shorelines in the cities of Crab Cove in Alameda and Miller Knox Regional Park in Richmond, as well as Lake Merritt in Oakland and Tomales Bay in Marin County

Read story at  Giant purple sea slugs slime San Francisco Bay Area beaches – SFGate.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 14, 2015

Rocky Mt. Wildflower Updates 6/14/15

The Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers have the following new wildflower updates

I just returned from atop the Paria Plateau.  Prickly pear are profuse and prime with pink and magenta blooms.  Lots of white primrose.  The yellow mule ear flowers are slightly past peak with many frazzled and few buds.  If one were to target the mule ear bloom at SCB and WP, I would say the first week of June would be a good time frame.  Clear skies and climbing temps this coming week might do them in although the sand is moist from recent rains.  The plateau sure looks green for this time in June.

Lumpy Ridge loop.  Usually Cow Creek meadows get crispy quickly, but it was looking good.  Mostly small-petaled flowers (delphiniums, a few lupine, wild roses, arnica, astragalus, white & yellow daisies, alpine bluebells — all the usual suspects) plus larger ones of Boulder raspberry, RM iris and these guys.

And a quick tour of RMNP.  Iris are coming along nicely.  Lots of elk.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 14, 2015

Java Sparrows ‘Drum’ To their Songs

ScienceDaily reports

Male Java sparrows may coordinate their bill-clicking sounds with the notes of their song. Birds may communicate using both vocalizations and movement, as for instance occurs during courtship displays, but scientists’ understanding of how they coordinate their movements with the sounds they produce is limited. To further investigate birds’ communicative and musical abilities, the authors of this study looked into the vocalizations and bill sounds associated with singing in the Java sparrow, a song bird.

Read full story at Male Java sparrows may ‘drum’ to their songs — ScienceDaily.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 13, 2015

Pacific Fisher Recommended For CA Endangered Protections

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Pacific Fisher Recommended for California Endangered Species Act Protection

Rare Forest Carnivore Decimated by Logging Now Also Poisoned by Marijuana Growers

SAN FRANCISCO— In response to a petition and lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife today recommended state Endangered Species Act protection for the fisher in the southern Sierra Nevada portion of its range.

Photo courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This photo is available for media use.

Though this cat-like member of the weasel family was once wide-ranging, today only two naturally occurring fisher populations survive — one in the southern Sierra and another in Northern California. The department did not recommend protecting the fisher’s northern population. The state Fish and Game Commission will vote in August on whether to finalize protection for one or both populations.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 12, 2015

Yosemite National Wildflowers 6/12/15

Yosemite National Park reports

Meadows in Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy have come to life with the bloom of many species of wildflower.

See photos on the Yosemite Facebook page of Lupines, Lady Slipper Orchids, Lupine, Penstemon, Milkweed, Monkeyflowers and more.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 12, 2015

Oregon Wildflowers: Pamela Lake & Mill Creek 6/11/15

Oregon Wildflowers has a report for Pamela Lake and Mill Creek

This is a Mt. Jefferson Wilderness trail with elevations ranging from 3,100 feet at the trailhead to 3,890 feet at Pamelia Lake to approximately 4,200 feet where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Milk Creek. The story here is rhododendrons — only a few blossoms in the first mile from the trailhead, but a good number blooming at Pamelia Lake, at least on the lake’s northwest corner. Also many blooming bunchberry flowers on the trail to the lake. Beyond the lake, closer to Milk Creek, some columbine, paintbrush, thimbleberry, bleeding heart, vanilla leaf and what appeared to be mountain strawberry.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 12, 2015

China’ s Vision Of A Network Of National Parks

The New York Times reported on China’s plan to develop 450 sites as part of a national park program to preserve its natural treasures. Like the U.S. they are struggling with balancing protecting natural spaces while sharing them with the public. Not unlike the U.S. conservation efforts have been in conflict with moneymaking ventures by concessionaires.  Read story at With U.S. as a Model, China Envisions Network of National Parks –

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 11, 2015

L.A. Won’t Use Mojave Desert Solar Plant

The LA Times reported

The city of Los Angeles has dropped plans to buy electricity from a controversial solar plant proposed for the Mojave Desert, delivering a serious blow to the most environmentally sensitive renewable energy project in the state.

City officials said Thursday that the Soda Mountain Solar Project would be too damaging to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises and other wildlife near the site along Interstate 15, just south of Baker and less than a mile from the Mojave National Preserve.

Read full story at  L.A. won’t buy power from Mojave Desert solar plant, after all – LA Times.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 11, 2015

El Nino Very Likely

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center reports

There is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere fall 2015, and around an 85% chance it will last through the 2015-16 winter.

Read full Prediction at Climate Prediction Center: ENSO Diagnostic Discussion.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 11, 2015

Humboldt’s Lily

Humboldt's lily/Lilium humboldtii

Humboldt’s lily/Lilium humboldtii

After over four years the Humboldt’s Lilies in our garden have become well established. The plants were started from seed. They were chosen because they grow in dry shade, handle clay soil and look pretty good too. This is only the second time they have flowered.

From Wikipedia:

Lilium humboldtii (Humboldt’s lily) is a species of lily native to the US State of California and the Mexican State of Baja California. It is named after naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. It is native to the South High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, south Outer South Coast Ranges, and the Santa Monica Mountains and others in Southern California, growing at elevations from 600 metres (2,000 ft) to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft).

Lilium humboldtii grows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, with flowers that are maroon-spotted, golden-orange with dark red splotches, with orange to brown stamens. The plant flowers in June, with flowers growing in a pyramidal inflorescence. The flowers are on stout stems, which are sometimes brown-purple. The subrhizomatous bulb is large, with yellowish-white scales, and grows very deep in the soil. The leaves grow in whorls, and are undulate, shiny, and oblanceolate. It is summer-deciduous, dying back after flowering in mid- to late summer.

Lilium humboldtii subsp. humboldtii – central California
Lilium humboldtii subsp. ocellatum – southern California, Baja California
Both subspecies are on the California Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California and described as “fairly endangered in California”.

Lilium humboldtii is sold as a garden bulb. It prefers dry summer dormancy, with no water after blooming, good drainage, and part shade. It was one of the parents, along with Lilium pardalinum, that produced the Bellingham hybrid lilies, which eventually resulted in the popular ‘Shuksan’ and ‘Star of Oregon’ lilies.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 11, 2015

Robin Voted UK’s Favorite Bird

The European Robin has been overwhelmingly  voted the UK’s favorite bird. It received 34% of 224,000 votes

A BBC article on the winning bird’s aggressive behavior including an interesting quote from David Lindo

attention has been drawn to its fiercely territorial reputation.

“Despite being a seemingly friendly bird, the robin is hugely territorial and very defensive of its territory and I presume that reflects us as an island nation that we will stand our ground,” said naturalist David Lindo, who organised the ballot.

Read full story  Who, what, why: How aggressive are robins? – BBC News.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 11, 2015

Lawsuit To Oppose California Fracking

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Groups Oppose Plan to Open Million Acres of Federal Property in California to Drilling and Fracking

Bureau of Land Management Failed to Consider Threats of Fracking to Air, Water and Wildlife

LOS ANGELES— A lawsuit filed today by environmental organizations seeks to block a federal plan to open up more than a million acres of public land and mineral rights in central California to drilling and fracking. Earthjustice filed the suit against the Bureau of Land Management in the Central District of California, Western Division, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres ForestWatch.

Read More…

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