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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 24, 2014

Cape Hatteras Wildlife Win Court Battle

Audubon Magazine reports tha ta law limiting off-road vehicle ORV access to the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore will stay in place, due to a June ruling by the Eastern District Court of North Carolina.  The law which was designed to protect vulnerable wildlife  on the coast had been challenged by a group of ORV enthusiasts hoping to gain access to the beach.

Read story at Wildlife Advocates Score a Win at Cape Hatteras | Audubon Magazine.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 23, 2014

Over 400 New Bird Species!

Science Magazine reports that the first illustrated global bird classification revealed 426 new bird species. The classification is the result of subspecies being reevaluated and recognized as unique species. This includes 46 new species of parrots, 36 new hummingbirds, and 26 new owls.

Read full article at  First-ever illustrated global bird classification reveals 400 new species | Science/AAAS | News.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 23, 2014

Lawsuit Protect Yuma Clapper Rails From Desert Solar

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Lawsuit Launched to Protect Endangered California Birds From Large-scale Desert Solar Projects

BLYTHE, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior for failing to protect Yuma clapper rails, which are endangered marsh birds, from being killed or injured by large-scale solar projects in the California and Arizona deserts.

In less than a year, two Yuma clapper rails have died at industrial-scale solar projects built on known bird-migration corridors on public lands in the California desert. Only 440 to 968 of these birds remain along the lower Colorado River and the Salton Sea — areas where much of the industrial-scale solar development is occurring and more is proposed in Riverside and Imperial counties.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 22, 2014

Birding Albany Bulb & Mudflats 8/22/14

Today we went birding at the Albany Bulb and the south end of the Albany Mudflats.  The highlight was seeing two Red-necked Phalaropes riding the waves that were pointed out by friends who were birding the area, and an Osprey flying overhead. We identified bird 22 species and saw three butterfly species (Cabbage White, Anise Swallowtail and West Coast Lady).

Today”s bird list: Albany Bulb and Mudflats bird list 8/22/14

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 22, 2014

San Francisco Effort Stop Residential Bird-Window Collisions

Golden Gate  Audubon  has  a new blog post  Golden Gate Audubon Society » New SF program to prevent residential bird collisions about the San Francisco program to decrease  bird-window collisions in private residences.

  • The City Planning Department is sponsoring a new, voluntary Bird-Friendly Monitoring and Certification Program  that will: Recruit city residents to monitor the incidence of bird-window collisions around their home.
  • Help residents with large or hazardous windows to take steps to reduce the risk of collisions.

To learn more about the program go to http://goldengateaudubon.org/wp-content/uploads/SF-Bird-Friendly-Certification-1.pdf

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 22, 2014

2014 San Francisco Butterfly Count

Save Mount Sutro Forest reported on the 2014 S.F. Butterfly Count. The top three Butterflies were Cabbage White, Common Checkered Skipper and Common Buckeye. They reported

spotters found 24 species of butterfly, with 777 individual butterflies. They identified 734 by species a few could only be identified by family. This is slightly better than last year, though down from the boom years of 2011 and 2012. No rarities were spotted this year, but the Woodland Skipper made a reappearance from 2012.SF BUTTERFLY Count



See full report at San Francisco Butterflies – Count Results for 2014 | Save Mount Sutro Forest.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 21, 2014

Feds to Consider Translocating Bears to North Cascades National Park

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Feds to Consider Translocating Bears to North Cascades National Park

One Month After Center Files Petition to Expand Grizzly Bear Recovery Feds Take Action

WASHINGTON— The National Park Service this week took an important step toward recovering grizzly bears in the North Cascades in Washington state. The agency says it is beginning a three-year process to analyze options for boosting grizzly bear populations in the area, including the possibility of translocating bears and developing a viable population.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 21, 2014

Poaching Could Lead Extinction Africa Elephants In 100 Yrs.

BBC  reported on how poaching may lead to the extinction of Africa elephants. They reported

Africas elephants have reached a tipping point: more are being killed each year than are being born, a study suggests.Researchers believe that since 2010 an average of nearly 35,000 elephants have been killed annually on the continent.They warn that if the rate of poaching continues, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years.

Read story at: BBC News – Elephant poaching deaths reach tipping point in Africa.

Media Release American Bird Conservancy

Declining Warbler, 300+ Other Birds to Benefit from Ecuador Land Protection

Narupa Reserve Expansion Provides More Winter Habitat for Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler by Greg Lavaty

(Washington, D.C., August 6, 2014) The Cerulean Warbler—one of the Americas’ fastest-declining migratory birds—now has more protected wintering habitat in Ecuador, thanks to a cooperative effort by Fundación Jocotoco, American Bird Conservancy, March Conservation Fund, and World Land Trust that safeguards rain forest at elevations preferred by the species.

Ecuador’s Narupa Reserve now totals 1,871 acres, including a new 117-acre parcel within the reserve in addition to a recently acquired 90-acre adjacent property.

Situated in the province of Napo at elevations ranging from 3,300 to 5,250 feet, the reserve includes Andean foothill rain forest with a remarkable convergence of lowland and highland wildlife species. Narupa Reserve, which is named for an elegant species of palm, is in the buffer zone of the Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park and Antisana Ecological Reserve, which together protect 833,000 acres ranging from humid foothill forest to high Andean grasslands.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 19, 2014

2014 Yosemite National Park Butterfly Count

Yosemite National Park recently posted the results of their annual butterfly count. They found a total of 40 butterfly species composed of 680 individuals. The 3 most frequently detected butterflies were sandhill skipper 133 individuals, Shasta blue 102 individuals, and greenish blue 72 individuals. Of all the species detected, five were new species Becker’s white, sylvan hairstreak, reakirts blue, common wood-nymph, and common checkered-skipper never before observed during a Yosemite Butterfly Count.

See full article  Annual Yosemite National Park Butterfly Count – Yosemite National Park U.S. National Park Service.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 19, 2014

UK Pintail Duck Population Decreased 50% Since 2006

I recently wrote about the  Large Decline in UK Wading Birds.  Birdwatch Magazine reports that  Northern Pintail are Britain’s fastest-declining ducks  The numbers of wintering Northern Pintail  in the UK has declined by 60% since 2006. Read story at Pintail declining in Britain | News | Birdwatch Magazine.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 18, 2014

August Photos In The Botanic Garden

I was at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA today. It was one of those in between seasons times of the year. There is early foliage color, berries and late season flowers.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 18, 2014

Central Valley Birding Symposium Nov. 20 to 23, 2013

The 16th Annual Central Valley Birding Symposium is November 21 to 24, 2013.  It  will be held at the Stockton Hilton Hotel. It includes field trips, workshops and presentations. Keynote speakers are:

  • Ed Harper”A Passion for Shorebirds
  • Nat Seavy “From Flood to Drought: A Bird’s-Eye View of Water Management in the Central Valley
  • Joel Greenberg “The Ecoes of their Wings: The Life and Legacy of the Passenger Pigeon”

Registration is now open. Register early to get a better choice of programs. For more information and registration go to:  18th Annual Central Valley Birding Symposium – 2014

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 17, 2014

Photos From Eastshore State Park- Updated

Updated with bird list and slideshow corrected

Today we went birding in Eastshore State Park. We also saw a number of Butterflies, Wildflowers (native and exotic), a Black-tailed Hare and California Ground Squirrels. The best birds were the first Semi-palmated Plover of the Season, Forster’s Terns diving for fish, a White-tailed Kite on its usual tree in Berkeley Meadow and a pair of  Black Oystercatcher.  We identified 23 species plus swallows and a LBB (Little Brown Bird) we couldn’t ID. Eastshore State Park Bird List 8/17/14

We had good looks and photos of Buckeyes, Gray Hairstreaks, Anise Swallowtails, and Cabbage Whites. Flowers still in bloom included Fennel, Gumplant, California Poppy, Morning Glory, Lizard tail, Zauschneria, Buckwheat and Yarrow.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 17, 2014

Lassen Wildflower Update 8/17/14

Lassen Volcanic National Park  reports Lupine is in full bloom at Bumpass Hell

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 17, 2014

New California Fall Color Map

California Fall Color has a new interactive map that  provides a quick way to see where the color is changing in California and at what stage. This will be a most helpful tool in following California fall color this year.

Link to map California Fall Color Map


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 16, 2014

Birding Tilden Park: Volmer Peak & Seaview Trail

Today I went birding in the Volmer Peak area in Tilden Park in Berkeley.  It was different from the last two times I was up here as they were both on cold winter days (see related articles below). It started with the usual morning fog which burned off and turned into a sunny day that had most people in shirt sleeve by the end of the walk. We identified 34 species by sight and sound. We had about twenty-five people including two Golden Gate Audubon Instructors in addition to the trip leader.

A highlight was finding five warblers including Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler and Hermit Warbler. Also seen was a Lesser Goldfinch feeding a young bird.

We saw what was probably a female Pale Swallowtail but could have been a very light Western Tiger Swallowtail. Flowers were mostly dried up. There were good views of Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo.

To see today’s bird list go to: Volmer Peak Bird List 8/16/14.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 16, 2014

High Number Migratory Birds Predicted In California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is predicting a high number of migratory birds this fall  due to good habitat conditions in northern breeding grounds. BUT will we have enough water for them. Read news release below.

News Release California Department of Fish and Wildlife

State and Federal Wildlife Managers Preparing Habitat for Migrating Birds

Each year millions of birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway relying on a diverse string of habitats that stretch from Alaska and Canada to Central and South America. While the wetlands of the Central Valley provide less than 5 percent of the habitat historically available, they are critical as a feeding area during the migration and wintering of these birds. In following its mission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has responsibility to provide habitat for these migrating birds.

Because habitat conditions on the northern breeding grounds have been good, a higher number of migratory birds have been reported across the Pacific Flyway. The fall migration into California is anticipated to result in numbers like those seen in the 1970s, when record numbers of birds made their way to the state’s wetlands areas. As California endures one of the worst droughts in recorded history, managers of state, federal and privately owned wildlife areas have been coordinating operational planning and the potential impacts of drought on the coming waves of migratory birds that depend on California habitats. To support these birds during their long migration, these efforts will greatly improve our ability to maximize habitat and food resources over the fall and winter with reduced water supplies.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 15, 2014

Large Habitat Protection Proposed For Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

546,335 Acres in 9 Western States Proposed as Protected Critical Habitat for Yellow-billed Cuckoos

Protection Will Benefit Rare Songbird and Health of Rivers in
Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect more than a half-million acres of critical habitat across the West for the yellow-billed cuckoo, a songbird that lives along rivers and streams. The bird was proposed for Endangered Species Act protection in October 2013 as part of a 2011 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed protection decisions for 757 imperiled species nationwide. Today’s proposal would protect 546,335 acres of streamside habitat in nine western states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Yellow-billed cuckoo
Photo courtesy Flickr Commons/Seabamirum. This photo is available for media use.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 15, 2014

Fall Color Locations, Reports and Photo Tips

This is an increase in activity in the Natural History Wanderings Fall Foliage section in the last week.  In preparation for fall color I have reviewed the fall foliage section on Natural History Wanderings and removed bad links and add a few new ones. The fall color section includes, fall color reports, where to go to see fall color and tips on photographing fall color.

I did leave some national forest links on that are not now active as they usually start to have reports as the fall color season progresses. The Fall Color Section has the following subsections:

Nationwide Fall Foliage - Links to Reports and Locations
California Fall Foliage – Links to Reports and Locations
Colorado Fall Foliage – Links to Reports, Locations and Drives
Canadian Fall Foliage - Links to Reports and Drives
Fall Foliage Articles – Articles and webcams on U.S. Locations and Drives
Photo Tips for Fall Foliage – Articles on Photographing Fall Foliage

If you are aware of any additions or bad links please send a comment and let me know.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 14, 2014

Arizona Wildflower Report 8/14/14

Wild in Arizona has a new wildflower update

Wildflowers on the North Rim are OK in De Montte Park now. Good monsoon blooms along the Wahalla Plateau. But the best color now is in ” The Basin” 4 miles in on the Point Sublime road. Good color around the San Francisco Peaks and Mormon Lake.

See photo and older reports at Wild in Arizona.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 14, 2014

Conservation Groups Sue To Protect Wolverines

A follow-up to yesterday’s article

Press Release WildEarth Guardians

Broad Alliance of Conservationists to Sue Feds Over Wolverine

Withdrawal of Proposed Endangered Species Listing Smacks of Political Interference

MISSOULA, MONT. — Bowing to political pressure, today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) formally withdrew its proposal to list wolverines under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), despite the species’ small population and serious threats to its continued existence. Only 250 to 300 wolverines call the contiguous U.S. home, living in small populations scattered across the West. Scientists unanimously acknowledge the greatest threat to the species’ survival in the U.S. is habitat loss resulting from climate change.

Following the Service’s announcement, the Western Environmental Law Center, on behalf of a coalition of thirteen conservation organizations, formally notified the Service they will sue to challenge the flawed wolverine listing decision.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 14, 2014

Lawsuit To Reinstate Sperm Whale Protections

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Lawsuit Launched to Reinstate Protections for Endangered Sperm Whales
Threatened by California Drift Gillnet Fishery

SAN FRANCISCO— Conservation groups today announced plans to file a lawsuit to reinstate rules designed to protect endangered sperm whales from deadly, mile-long drift gillnets in ocean waters off California. The National Marine Fisheries Service let temporary regulations expire on Aug. 6 without issuing permanent conservation measures to protect sperm whales. Those temporary regulations required a federally certified observer to be on board vessels that would be fishing in waters deeper than 2,000 meters — offshore areas that are most likely to have sperm whales. The rules also required the closure of the fishery if one sperm whale was seriously injured or killed. Without these protections, the National Marine Fisheries Service is letting the fishery operate in clear violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 13, 2014

Rock Creek Wildflower Update 8/13/14

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups reports

Rock Creek there are still some good wildflowers to be seen at this late date.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 13, 2014

Feds Refuse Wolverine Protection

Press Release Wildearth Guardians

Fish and Wildlife Service Plays Politics With Wolverine Survival

Conservation Groups Decry Withdrawal of Proposed Endangered Species Act Listing 

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 12, 2014

Great Smoky Mts. Wildflower Updates 8/11/14

Great Smoky Mts. Association has a new wildflower report for August 11

Metcalf Bottoms Trail B-E – Tick Trefoil, Heal All and Flowering Spurge.

Walker Sisters Cabin Trail  B-E – Tick Trefoil, Cardinal Flower just started blooming, Coreopsis, Dark Jewelweed, Heal All, Thimbleweed, Southern Harebell, Red Clover, Rattlesnake Plantain and Flowering Spurge.Little Brier Gap Trail B-E – Heal All, Reclining Saint Andrews Cross, Tick Trefoil and Yellow Fringed Orchid.

Little Greenbrier Trail B-E – Tick Trefoil, Coreopsis, Reclining Saint Andrews Cross, Wood Nettle, Basil Bee Balm, Smooth Phlox, Rosebay Rhododendron 1, Pale Jewelweed, False Fox Glove, Turk Cap Lily 1, Partridge Pea, Southern Harebell, Curtiss Milkwort, Star Grass, Erect Golden Rod Just starting to bloom, Sweet Golden Rod just staring to bloom and Yellow Fringed Orchid 11.

Wear Gap Road Boundary to Little River – Heal All, Wild Potato Vine, Tick Trefoil, Mountain Mint, Cardinal Flower just starting to bloom, Black Eyed Susan outstanding blooms – at peak, Dark Jewelweed, Smooth Phlox, Red Clover, Flowering Spurge, Joe Pie Weed, Partridge Pea, Horse Nettle, Asiatic Dayflower, Yellow Wood Sorrell, Wild Sensitive Plant, Thimbleweed and Hairy Milk Pea.

See older reports at:  Wildflower Updates | Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 12, 2014

Hurricanes Threaten Migrating Birds

 Media Release American Bird Conservancy

Hurricanes Present Another Threat to Birds Before and During Fall Migration

(Washington, D.C., August 8, 2014) Hurricanes Iselle, Julio, and Arthur are the first of what likely will be more powerful late summer and early fall severe storms that billions of birds may face as they wind up their breeding seasons and prepare for perilous migrations that can involve travelling thousands of miles to wintering grounds south of the U.S.

“While human safety is always the primary concern, with hurricanes, the impact such storms bring can be deadly for birds as well. Depending on circumstances, whole colonies of young birds may be wiped out — a whole breeding season gone. Parents tending young may stay with a nest and perish rather than abandon it for safer grounds. Nature can be brutal,” says Dr. George Wallace, Vice President for the Oceans and Islands Division at American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the nation’s leading bird conservation groups.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 11, 2014

Photos From UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden

I spent a couple of hours photographing in the UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden today. There are still flowers in bloom. There are also birds, butterflies, lizards and dragonflies and damselflies to be seen.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 11, 2014

More On Development Threats To Grand Canyon

The NY Times has and opinion piece on two threats to the Grand Canyon. There proposals to build 2,200 homes and three million square feet of commercial space that will include shops and hotels, a spa and a dude ranch Tusayan, which is less than two miles from the Park’s entrance and a proposed 1.4-mile tramway that would go down 3,200 feet directly into the canyon along with elevated walkway, a restaurant and an amphitheater.( I wrote about this last month Grand Canyon Threatened With Destructive Development | Natural History Wanderings.) Besides totally changing the character of the visitor experience and making the area more of a theme park it the development would need  new wells would deplete the aquifer that drives many of the springs deep inside the canyon. Water is already in short supply in the area. Read article at Two Development Projects Threaten the Grand Canyon – NYTimes.com.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 10, 2014

Birds, Butterflies and Flowers of the Bay Trail 8/10/14


Fennel/ Foeniculum vulgare

Foeniculum vulgare

Today we walked the Richmond Bay Trail between Pt. Isabel and Shimada Friendship Park.We started just after high tide and the birds were scarce at first. This is the slow time of the year for birds. It did pick up as the day went on and we had twenty-two species. The highlight was seeing a Western Kingbird. Our first sighting ever on this trail. I have now have a lifetime total of 99 species on this trail. Other highlights were two Black Oystercatchers, Caspian Tern, and my first summer sighting of a Spotted Sandpiper in the Bay Area. Today’s bird list: Bird list for Richmond Bay Trail 8/10/14

Butterflies seen were Anise Swallowtail,Common Checkered Skipper and Cabbage White. The most abundant plant in flower was Fennel/Foeniculum vulgare, an alien plant that naturalizes in disturbed areas and provides habitat for the native Anise Butterfly. There are many plantings of native and noon-native plants along the trail. Natives in bloom were Gumplant, California Poppy, Seaside Daisy, Yarrow, California Fuchsia (Zaushneria), and Matilija. Poppy.



Common Checkered Skipper (male)

Common Checkered Skipper (male)

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