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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 10, 2014

North Carolina Fall Color Update 9/9/14

Appalachian State University has a Leaf Color Report for 9/9/14

Not much has changed from last week.  Most trees are still predominantly green.  Buckeyes are starting to lose their leaves, but then, they always lose their leaves earlier than most other trees (it’s in their DNA to do so!). Burning bushes continue to redden ahead of schedule, sort of botanical slow burn.  Should be great when they reach their peak red color in a few weeks!  The main items of interest right now in the woods are the various native wildflowers that are reaching their peak now.  These include a variety of asters, such as New York aster, as well as a large number of species of goldenrods.  Joe-Pye weeds are conspicuous on the landscape, along with ironweed, with its very deep purple flowers.  White snakeroots are dominating right now, especially along wood’s edges and in the interior of forests.  Their white flowers stand out against their large, deep green leaves.  This plant produces a toxin and if cows consume the plants, it can make their milk poisonous.  In fact, it is thought that Abraham Lincoln’s mother died from ingesting milk poisoned in this way.  See my Facebook page for an album of pictures of these wildflowers.

Read More…

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 9, 2014

Protection Sought For Pacific Northwest Whales, Salmon, Shorebirds

Press Release Center for Biological Diversity

Lawsuit Launched to Protect Northwest’s Whales, Salmon, Shorebirds From
Unprecedented Spike in Oil Shipments by Rail and Barge

PORTLAND, Ore.— Amid a spike in oil shipments by rail and barge in the Pacific Northwest from near zero to millions of gallons a week, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Columbia Gorge today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency for failing to update oil-spill response plans and ensure endangered species won’t be harmed by actions taken in response to oil spills.

The agencies have failed to update the “Northwest Area Contingency Plan,” aimed at dealing with spill emergencies, in response to the exponential jump in oil shipments along the region’s waterways. They need to examine how responding to a spill from this increased oil traffic would affect endangered species of salmon, whales, turtles and shorebirds.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 8, 2014

Photographs Of September Colors In The Botanical Garden

September color in the Regional Parks Botanic Garden isn’t just foliage, it is also late season flowers and berries. Most surprising was finding a Western Azalea in bloom in September. Birds and lizards were also active today. Although I was mostly photographing flowers and foliage, I did identify 11 species of birds and heard or saw a few I didn’t get to ID.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 8, 2014

California Blue Whale Population Is Back Up

The population of Blue Whales living off the California coast has made a significant comeback. The LA Times reports

A new analysis suggests that there are as many blue whales living off the coast of California as there were before humans started hunting them to near extinction 110 years ago.Today, there are roughly 2,200 blue whales who range from Mexico in the south to Alaska in the north. In the 1930s, that number was closer to 750.

Read Story at Blue whales of California are back to historical levels, study finds – LA Times.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 8, 2014

Great Smoky Mts. Wildflower Update 9/5/14

Great Smoky Mountains Association has a new wildflower report for September 5:

Trillium Gap From Roaring Forks Motor Trail to Trillium Gap – White Top Aster, White Snakeroot, Goldenrod Erect, Pink Turtlehead, Sweet White Violets 2, Pale Jewelweed, Black Cohosh and Filmy Angelica.

Brushy Mountain B-E – Mountain Myrtle, Black Cohosh, White Snakeroot, White Top Aster, Pale Jewelweed, Rosebay Rhododendron 1, Rattlesnake Plantain 2, Pink Turtlehead nice, Pinesap 2, Hearts-a-bustin and Cardinal Flower 1.

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

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 8, 2014

Yosemite Fire Updates 9/8/14

Most recent update this morning: Yosemite wildfire nearly quadruples in size – Yahoo News.

YubaNets incident page for the Meadow Fire can be found here.

Yosemite National Park‘s latest report from yesterday:

September 7  A wildfire that started early this afternoon in Yosemite National Park in Yosemite National Park has grown to approximately 700 acres. The Meadow Fire originated in Yosemite’s backcountry wilderness, east of Half Dome and Little Yosemite Valley, at approximately noon today. Approximately 100 hikers were evacuated from the top of Half Dome, Little Yosemite Valley, and surrounding trails, via helicopter. There are no reported injuries or structures affected by the wildfire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Throughout the afternoon, 7 helicopters, an airplane, and ground crews worked to extinguish the fire. The area, at 7,000 feet in elevation, features rugged terrain. Ground access requires a several mile hike to the area affected by the fire. Yosemite National Park firefighters are working with fire crews from Cal Fire, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, Mariposa County Fire, California Highway Patrol, and U.S. Forest Service. There are over 100 firefighters dedicated to the fire, with more resources en route.

Yosemite National Park remains open and all facilities within Yosemite Valley. Trails near the Half Dome area, the Little Yosemite Valley area a backcountry camping area near Half Dome, Merced Lake and Sunrise High Sierra Camps, Clouds Rest, and Echo Valley remain closed due to fire activity. All roads leading into Yosemite remain open as well.

Visitors are urged to check the park’s website to get updated information in the smoke impacts to Yosemite National Park. Updated information can be found at www.nps.gov/yose.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 8, 2014

Great Smoky Mts. Fall Color Update 9/7/14

Great Smoky Mountains Association has a fall color update for September 7:

This week’s warm, wet weather has slowed the march of fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountains. Still, sourwood trees on the drier slopes are showing some early pink and crimson colors. Witch-hobble leaves at the higher elevations are mostly burgundy now. Blackgum trees are just beginning to blush red. Fruits, such as the fuchsia seed pods of magnolia trees and oak acorns are now conspicuous

.By late September look for more color at the higher elevations as American beech and yellow birch trees transition to gold. Early changers at the lower elevations like sourwood, blackgum, dogwood, yellow buckeye, Virginia creeper, sumacs, and tuliptree should then be near peak. Parkwide, the peak of fall colors generally occurs between late October and early November. When the next cold snap arrives in a couple of days, we should have a better read on whether autumn will be early this year or not.

Follow Reports at  Fall Leaf Color Updates | Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 7, 2014

Little Yosemite Valley Fire Closes Trails

Yosemite National Park  reports

The Meadow Fire is burning in the greater Little Yosemite Valley area and is at 400 acres.All trails from the top of Nevada Fall to Merced Lake, including trails leading to that area, are closed. Additionally, the trail from Sunrise Lakes Trailhead to Sunrise Lakes and Sunrise Lakes High Sierra Camp, and the trails from the camp to the trail along the Merced River east of Little Yosemite Valley, are closed.Currently, four type 1 helicopters, three type 3 helicopters, three air tankers, one air attack, six hotshot crews, and other resources are assigned to the fire.

via  Meadow Fire – Yosemite National Park U.S. National Park Service.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 7, 2014

Super Full Moon Tomorrow Night September 9

September 9 is the final super full moon of 2014.  Wikipedia defines the super full moon as

A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 6, 2014

World Shorebirds Day At Eastshore State Park

Today I went birding at Eastshore State Park with friends to do a bird count for World Shorebirds Day. We went from Gilman Street to Virginia Street Extension to Marina Blvd.

Although we started about a half hour after high tide it was not a very busy day for shorebirds. We did see Spotted Sandpiper, Black Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover, Western Sandpiper, Willet and a Snow Egret. Highlights included watching Forster’s Terns and Brown Pelicans fishing and a Belted Kingfisher. Twenty-two bird species were seen in all. To see full list of birds seen go to Eastshore State Park Bird list 9/6/14.

Butterflies were limited to Cabbage White and one Anise Swallowtail. Gumplants are still in bloom.

If you wish to take part in World Shorebirds Day you can still post lists through tomorrow as well as learn more about World Shorebirds day at World Shorebirds Day.

Slideshow of Wildlife seen in the Berkeley section of Eastshore State Park over the last few years.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 6, 2014

Massive Iceland Seabird Decline

National Geographic reports on the massive population loss of Iceland’s seabird population.

Traditionally Iceland, has been a prime habitat for seabirds as it surrounded by the food-rich currents of Atlantic, Arctic, and polar waters. Its rocky coast, hillocky fields, and jutting sea cliffs are breeding grounds for 23 species of Atlantic seabirds, including large numbers of Atlantic puffins, black murres, razorbills, great skuas, northern fulmars, and black-legged kittiwakes.

However scientists are reporting

Alarmed scientists have returned from fieldwork throughout the North Atlantic with sobering descriptions of massive chick die-offs and colonies abandoned with eggs still in the nests.

The suspected culprits are many. But the leading candidates are the array of profound changes under way in the world’s oceans—their climate, their chemistry, their food webs, their loads of pollutants

Read more at Iceland’s Seabird Colonies Are Vanishing, With “Massive” Chick Deaths

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 5, 2014

National Forest Fall Foliage Updates and Forecasts

Below are updates, forecast and information for fall foliage from various National Forest and other websites

Arizona  Sept. 5

Tonto National Forest There are currently no fall colors to report in Arizona. Fall colors typically begin mid to late September in the higher elevations of northern Arizona, with most of the peak viewing in early to mid October. The lower elevations usually peak in late October or early November and can continue through the month of November.

New Mexico Sept. 5

Fall colors typically begin mid to late September in the higher elevations of northern New Mexico, with most of the peak viewing in early to mid-October. The lower elevations usually peak in mid to late October and can continue into early November.

New Mexico and Arizona reports will be updated weekly starting September 26 at Region 3 – Recreation.

Coconino National Forest

By October each year, colors are usually in full splendor on the Coconino National Forest. Many of the trees in the higher elevations near Flagstaff are reach their prime in early October, but views are still beautiful throughout the season. The maples on the Mogollon Rim District are worth the visit, and the deciduous trees in Oak Creek Canyon and the Sedona area are spectacular

See more nearby areas at Coconino National Forest – Resource Management.

Vermont and New Hampshire

White Mt. and Green Mt. National Forests has started to turn. Follow their progress at New England Foliage Map – Yankee Foliage – Your Source for New England Fall Foliage.

Eastern National Forests

Our weekly fall color updates begin the week of September 15 at via Region 9 – Recreation. If you want to catch the peak colors, plan a trip in early October. Up north and out east, the maples will be beautiful reds and oranges, while the aspen, paper birch and tamarack will be golden. Down south in Missouri, there will be brilliant yellow hues in the hickories, and a variety of orange, yellow and red shades in the maples and ash trees. Throughout the Region, you will find amazing views from overlook areas or winding scenic byways.

You will also be able to find information on National Forest Fall Foliage at the following website: US Forest Service Fall Colors 2014


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 5, 2014

Lake Michigan Wind Development Threatens Protected Birds

Media Release American Bird Conservancy

Federally Protected Birds at Risk from Expansion of Wind Development Near Lake Michigan

The endangered Piping Plover is one of many federally protected bird species that are at risk from the proposed expansion of Heritage Sustainable Energy’s Garden Peninsula Wind Energy Project.

Two bird species federally listed as endangered, the Piping Plover and Kirtland’s Warbler, as well as many other federally protected birds are at risk from the proposed expansion of Heritage Sustainable Energy’s (HSE) Garden Peninsula Wind Energy Project near Lake Michigan, according to American Bird Conservancy (ABC).

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 5, 2014

First World Shorebirds Day 9/6/14

September 6, 2014 is the first World Shorebirds Day.  People can take part in the The Global Shorebird Counting Program. During the weekend of 6-7 September wildlife artists visit their favorite spots for sketching shorebirds and can have them posted at the World Shorebirds Site

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is the ‘Shorebird of the Year’. Fundraising efforts will focus on this species in peril.

Learn more at World Shorebirds Day | Official Website of the World Shorebirds Day.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 4, 2014

NC Fall Foliage Color 9/4/14

Romantic Ashville has a fall color update for September 4, 2014.

Some glimpses of fall color are showing already as typical! This week feels more like summer, complete with the thunderstorms. Little color change expected the next week. The weather during the last two weeks of September will certainly influence the progression of color

Follow reports at  Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color Leaf Report 2014.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 4, 2014

September 5, 2014 Is World Rhino Day

What is World Rhino Day?

World Rhino Day celebrates all five species of rhino: Black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.

When is World Rhino Day?

World Rhino Day is on September 22nd.

How did World Rhino Day get its start?

World Rhino Day was first announced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. The following year, World Rhino Day grew into an international success, encompassing both African and Asian rhino species, thanks to the efforts of two determined women …

What happened in 2011?

It all started with an email: In mid-2011, Lisa Jane of Chishakwe Ranch in Zimbabwe was planning ahead for World Rhino Day. She searched online for ideas and potential collaborators, and found Rhishja’s blog. Lisa Jane sent Rhishja an email, and the two found they shared a common goal of making World Rhino Day a day of celebration for all five rhino species. Meanwhile, the team at Rhino Africa prepared for their second World Rhino Day event in Cape Town, building on the success of South Africa’s popular 2010 campaign.

In the months that followed, the teams worked together to make World Rhino Day 2011 an international success, both online and offline. World Rhino Day has since grown into a global phenomenon, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organizations, businesses, and concerned individuals from nearly every corner of the world!

Is there a theme for World Rhino Day?

Yes! “Five Rhino Species Forever” celebrates both the African and Asian rhino species. In addition, World Rhino Day is an opportunity to highlight efforts to debunk the myths and diminish the demand for rhino horn.

Is there more than one event on World Rhino Day?

Yes! We believe that World Rhino Day is a success because it provides the opportunity for cause-related organizations, NGOs, zoos, and members of the public to celebrate World Rhino Day in their own unique ways. These activities varied from one participant to the next. Donors and partners are able to contribute to the organizations and initiatives of their choosing. Peaceful demonstrations, classroom projects, fundraising dinners, auctions and poster displays are just a few examples.

for more information go to  WORLD RHINO DAY

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 3, 2014

Eastern Sierra Fall Color Bishop Creek Canyon 9/3/14

PARCHERS RESORT just posted it first fall color report of the season

Historically there hasn’t been much to report this early in the fall however this season has been surprising on many levels, including an early start to the autumn colors. While the majority of the aspen and willow are still a deep dark green, many of the trees have started turning with some brilliant yellow and a touch of orange already showing around the canyon. With a 3rd year of drought in the high country, it’s impossible to predict when the peak color will show, but with higher than average precipitation during the summer months, we’re hopeful that the fall color, despite an early start, will offer spectacular photographic opportunities throughout September and into early or mid October.

 0 – 15% – Weir Pond 9650ft One of the most scenic locations in the Bishop Creek Canyon is Weir Pond. We’re used to seeing some of the first color of the season here but for whatever reason, there isn’t much happening yet, somewhat of a surprise given the color developing down canyon. A few select branches are in full color but the aspen around the pond and on the mountain above the pond to the west are still mostly green.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 3, 2014

Great Smoky Mts. Fall Color Forecast 9/4/2014

Great Smoky Mountains Association has the following fall color forecast

Witch hobble has turned a rich crimson hue at the higher elevations. Its bright red berries are also quite conspicuous. The very earliest yellow birch trees are also beginning to change, as are some pin cherry leaves all at the highest elevations. In the valleys, a few dogwood and sourwood trees are reddening, as is poison ivy and Virginia creeper. Spicebush is sporting red berries. If the forecast of warm, wet weather proves true, there likely won’t be any significant change of fall color this week.

via Fall Leaf Color Updates | Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 3, 2014

Superior National Forest Fall Color Report 9/4/14

Superior National Forest has its first fall color report today (9/4/2014)

Fall colors have begun!  It is very spotty still, but there are some nice yellows in the understory and a few maples that are ahead of the crowd and are turning.  Asters and other flowers carpet the forest floor.  For downloadable maps of the fall color tours, choose from the options below:

To see downloadable maps for fall color tours go to Superior National Forest – Recreation.

Sandy Steinman:

A detailed update on the Oakland Zoo’s attempt to expand the zoo into Knowland Park, which would the damage habitat of rare and threatened species.

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

Knowland Park, East Bay Express photo: Bert Johnson

Today’s East Bay Express featured an article that investigates the history and current state of the Oakland Zoo’s proposed expansion into Oakland’s Knowland Park (part of our “Foothills of South Oakland” BPPA). It is an in-depth story that was well researched. Please check out the article and share it with your friends via email and social media:

East Bay Express Article: Zoo Gone Wild

View original

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 3, 2014

50th Anniversary Of Wilderness Act

Press Release Defenders of Wildlife

Remembering the Wild: America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act

WASHINGTON – Today, September 3rd, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. In 1964, Congress enacted a law “to establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people.” For the past 50 years, the Wilderness Act has legally protected “area[s] where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 3, 2014

Magpie Thieves Get A Reprieve

The BBC reports researchers have proven that Magpies have been falsely accused of stealing shiny objects. The experiments found that contrary to the popular myth of being thieves the Magpies were actually nervous around a whole array of shiny objects.

Read more BBC News – Magpies dont steal shiny objects.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 2, 2014

Early Eastern Sierra Fall Color 9/1/14

California Fall Color California Fall Color has an early season report for the eastern Sierra. Here are the highights

Rock Creek.just starting first hints of color are gracing the aspen of Mono County. Rock Creek is a perennial season leader in this part of the Eastern Sierra.  Though, as of Labor Day Sept. 1, just a few trees around the Rock Creek Lake area 9800′ were showing patches of color.

Along the Little Lakes Valley trail at the end of Rock Creek Road, the lake grass is a gorgeous blend of lime green and gold, and some hardy wildflowers are still hanging on to summer — the contrast with the reddening underbrush is delightful.

McGee Creek Canyon, McGee Creek Canyon and Devils Postpile are also reported to be starting to change, again at 0-10%.

See photos and more information at California Fall Color California Fall Color.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 2, 2014

Fall Calendar Marin County Walks & Activities

Marin County Parks have published their fall schedule of events. It includes naturalist-led hikes, volunteer days, family walks and ranger-led activities. See schedule at Marin County Fall Schedule

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 2, 2014

Great Smoky Wildflower Update 9/1/14

Great Smoky Mountains Association has a new wildflower updated for 9/1/14

Jakes Creek B-E – Wild Golden Glow, White Top Aster many, Asiatic Dayflower, Smooth Phlox, Pale Jewelweed many, Dark Jewelweed, White Snake Root, Golden Rod Erect, Black Eyed Susan, Doll Eyes Berries, Heal All and Rattlesnake Plantain.

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

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 2, 2014

More Marine Protected Areas Needed

Press Release Wildlife Conservation Society

Study Finds Current Marine Protected Area Networks Inadequate For Protecting Threatened Fish And Ocean Ecology

New York (August 28, 2014)—A new study reports that an expansion of marine protected areas is needed to protect fish species that perform key ecological functions. According to investigators from the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations, previous efforts at protecting fish have focused on saving the largest numbers of species, often at the expense of those species that provide key and difficult-to-replace ecological functions.

Many vital ecological functions of ocean ecology are performed by fish species that also are food for millions of people. This study uncovers a significant problem: the world’s most ecologically valuable fish communities are currently vulnerable and are being missed by the world’s current network of marine protected areas. If these tropical fish populations and the ecological services that they provide are to be ensured, say the authors, then the world’s existing marine protected area network must be expanded. The paper appears in the current online edition of Ecology Letters.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 1, 2014

Birding Eastshore State Park 9/1/14

Today I went birding in Eastshore State Park in Berkeley shortly after low tide. I hoped I might get lucky and see the Wandering Tattlers that have been spotted over the last several days but no success.

I did a quick stop to check out the area near the Seabreeze Cafe on the way out and then walked from Marina Blvd along the Virginia St. Extension to the Bay Trail and north along the Bay Trail to Gilman Street and back.  No unusual birds today. The best sightings were a Spotted Sandpiper, a Pelagic Cormorant, a Brown Pelican and two Black Oystercatchers. I saw twenty different birds. I was unable to identify the Terns and Grebes (Western and/or Clark’s) to species  as they were to far away to get definite ID’s (at least for me). I did see a harbor seal and Cabbage White and Common Buckeye Butterflies.

Today’ s Bird list: Eastshore State Park Bird List 9/1/14

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 1, 2014

Lassen Early Fall Color 9/1/14

Lassen Volcanic National Park reports

September 1, queue fall colors! Rabbit brush is in bloom, mountain alder is turning golden, and fir cones decorate tree tops.

See photos at:  Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 1, 2014

Edgewood Park September Wildflowers

Friends of Edgewood Park have updated its website to show what plants are typically blooming in September. There are 1113 images. Explore plant locations, plant species, which plant blooms when, and answers to a host of other questions at  What’s Blooming This Month »       Friends of Edgewood.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 1, 2014

International Vulture Awareness Day 9/5/14

The first Saturday in September each year is International Vulture Awareness

Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas that they occur. Populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction.

The International Vulture Awareness Day has grown from Vulture Awareness Days run by the Birds of Prey Programme in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.

It is now recognised that a co-ordinated international day will publicise the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlight the important work being carried out by the world’s vulture conservationists.

On the first Saturday in September, the aim is for each participating organisation to carry out their own activities that highlight vulture conservation and awareness. This website, established in July 2009, provides a central place for all participants to outline these activities and see the extent of vulture conservation across the world.

To learn more go to International Vulture Awareness Day, Saturday 6th September 2014.

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