Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 24, 2016

Eastern National Forest Fall Colors 9/22/16

Eastern Regional National Forests have the following fall color reports for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania,


Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Just the tips of some leaves are starting to sprout color at Midewin; however, New England Aster is in bloom this week! When other prairie plants may brown and fade this time of year, New England Aster is full of color and life. The blooming period spans a full two months wowing us with gorgeous lavender blooms well into early fall. With approximately 34 miles of hiking trails, 22 of which make way for bicyclists and equestrians, there are many fun ways to enjoy fall colors on the Midewin!


Hoosier National Forest

Though, some subtle changes are occurring with walnut trees and buckeyes beginning to lose leaves, the Hoosier is still very green and will remain so for a few weeks. There may not be substantial change yet, but fall is in the air!

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 24, 2016

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Fall Plant Sale Saturday October 1

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Fall Plant Sale
Saturday, October 1, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Friends members only 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.)

Fall is the best time to plant many California natives. Choose from a huge selection of California native plants at the annual fall sale to benefit the Garden.

The list of plants for sale will be published approximately a week before the sale on the Friends website,; expert advice on plant selection and cultivation will be available from garden staff, docents, and volunteers on the day of the sale. Along with familiar favorites, the RPBG sale offers unusual plants that are not available anywhere else.

For the best selection, arrive early. Join the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden—membership grants you admission to the sale at 9 a.m., an hour before everyone else. If you don’t have time to join the Friends beforehand, you can join at the sale starting at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the sale, October 1.

The Regional Parks Botanic Garden is located at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive (closed October 31 – March 31 each year) within Tilden Regional Park in the hills above Berkeley, California.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 23, 2016

A Good Day At Pt. Reyes

Actually, I have never had a bad day at Pt. Reyes but today was exceptional. While birding Abbott’s Lagoon we saw a Virginia Rail, American Bittern and Osprey. We also saw two Bobcats, Brush Rabbit, and Deer. The birding consisted of 22 species identified and some unidentified distant gulls and ducks. Most waterbirds are still absent. Flowers in bloom included Seaside Dandelion, Gum Plant, Beach Suncups, Brass Buttons, California Poppies, Sea Rocket, Wild Heliotrope, Yellow Lotus, Hedge Nettle, and Coyote Bush. The only butterflies were an Orange Sulphur and Cabbage White.

As we drove to Tomales Pt. we had good views of Tule Elk and a Coyote.

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To see today’s Bird List click read more

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 23, 2016

Southern Utah Fall Color 9/23/16

Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau has a new fall color report for 9/23/16

High Elevation – Alpine
Brian Head, Cedar Breaks and Panguitch Lake
Percent of Change:  PEAK

Color Report: Our local leaf peeper, Mike Saemisch, updated us on the effects of the storm that came through the area last night.  The wind had more effect than the snow. The high-elevation is still peaking with color for at least another week. Some of the earliest color has been blown off the trees, however, the trees that had not yet reached peak are still fine and looking better everyday.

Mid Elevation – Sub-Alpine
Parowan Canyon and Cedar Canyon Area
Percent of Change: MODERATE

Color Report:Reports are saying that there is still plenty of green in the mid elevation but there are wonderful pockets of brilliant reds, glowing yellows and stunning oranges, however, there is quite a bit of green waiting to turn. If the weather continues the gradual cooling then we can Be aware that there is still plenty of green left in most of the mid-elevation so continue checking back for updates.

Low Elevation – High Valley
Percent of Change:LOW
Color Report:The leaves in the lower elevations tend to start changing colors around mid to late October. Be sure to check in often to check the status of our golden yellows, bright oranges and fiery reds as the temperatures cool and the leaves change.



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 23, 2016

Rio Grande National Forest Fall Color 9/21/16

Rio Grande National Forest reports

Divide District  Color change is about 80 % in the Creede area 60% in the lower elevations. This coming weekend should be peak for driving the byways.

See photos at


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 23, 2016

Superior National Forest Fall Color 9/20/16

Superior National Forest has a new fall color report for 9/23/16

Fall sped up considerably over the past few days.  We have advanced from 10% to somewhere between 25% and 40% across the Forest, with some areas reporting 75%.  The North Shore of Lake Superior is still as low as 10%, with the higher percentages in the inland areas.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 23, 2016

San Juan National Forest 9/22/16

San Juan National Forest  reports

Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:
Durango to Purgatory – 20%
Molas Pass – 25%
Silverton/Red Mtn Pass – 45%
Pagosa – 20% up high
Dolores to Lizard Head Pass – 30% oak good, aspen starting to show
Mancos/La Platas – 35% starting to show up high
San Jun Skyway- 35% good oakbrush around Ouray

Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas: aspens at treeline oakbrush on the hillsides

Estimated Peak Viewing Period: This coming weekend into next week…

Viewing Suggestions / Tips: Oakbrush on the hill sides at lower elevation is turning fast. Plan on higher elevations still this week for aspen.

Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:
Oak Brush, then Aspen, then Cottonwoods.

For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact:

San Juan Public Lands Center, Durango (970) 247-4874

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 23, 2016

Wildlife Agency Still Killing Millions Of Animals

The New York Times has an opinion piece discussing how the Wildlife Services agency still kills millions of birds based on faulty research. The article states

Of the roughly 100 studies surveyed, only two met the “gold standard” for scientific evidence. That is, they conducted randomized controlled trials and took precautions to avoid bias. Each found that nonlethal methods (like guard dogs, fences and warning flags) could be effective at deterring predators.

Read story at America’s Wildlife Body Count – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 22, 2016

Hawaiian Honeycreeper Proposed For Endangered Protection

 Center for Biological Diversity New Release

Iconic Hawaiian Bird Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection

HONOLULU— In response to a 2010 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed protection for the ‘i‘iwi as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This bird, a bright-scarlet, nectar-feeding Hawaiian honeycreeper, was once widespread across all of the main Hawaiian Islands, but is now primarily found at higher elevations on East Maui and the island of Hawaii. The number one threat facing the species is climate change, which is driving the spread of highly lethal mosquito-borne diseases.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2016

Birding Pt. Isabel 9/21/16

I went birding to at Pt. Isabel Regional Shoreline. t was sunny, breezy with temperature in the 60’s.We walked about 5.0 miles during low tide and saw 28 different bird species.

The shorebirds were most dominant. Most have returned. Willets and Marbled Godwits were most abundant. The waterbirds were scarce except for the Mallards. Only a few passerines were around and there was a noticeable absence of sparrows and blackbirds.


A number of Monarchs and Cabbage White Butterflies were seen. Most interesting native flower was the Zauschneria.  Click readmore to see today’s bird list

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2016

Fall Colors in Mono County 9/21/16

Fall Colors in Mono County – Mono County Tourism and Film Commission report below. See photos at California’s Eastern Sierra. Sagehen Meadow may be the best spot right now.

 This week the fall colors in Mono County are progressing right on schedule! While the majority of areas are still mostly green, patiently waiting their turn, other areas like Sagehen Summit, Virginia Lakes, and Rock Creek have kicked it up a notch and warrant the “Go Now!” alert! Hikers should focus their energy on the Hilton Lakes, Parker Lake, and Virginia Lakes trails.


Monitor Pass – 10-50%
Mill Canyon/Golden Gate Mine Road – 0-10%
Walker Canyon – 0-10%
Towns of Walker & Coleville – 0%
Sonora Pass – 10-50%


Twin Lakes –  0-10%
Virginia Lakes – 50-75% Go Now! These high elevation areas are filling in with brilliant yellows and a few oranges. Take the Dunderberg Meadow Road towards Green Creek for wonderful red groves in Cinnamon Meadow. Swing by the Virginia Lakes Resort for breakfast or lunch after you enjoy the colorful drive.
Conway Summit – 10-50%
Green Creek – 10-50%
Summers Meadow – 0-10%


Tioga Pass & Lee Vining Canyon – 0-10%
Lundy Lake & Canyon – 0-10%


Sagehen Meadow – 75-100% GO NOW! If the sprawling groves of brilliant orange aspens weren’t enough reason to go, the views of Banner Peak and the Sierra Nevada, as well as Mono Lake, are well worth the drive! Stop at the Mono Mills Historic Site on the way out or back for a picnic, and, of course, the South Tufa Reserve to walk the out-of-this-world shores of Mono Lake.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2016

Appalachian Fall Color 9/21/16

Appalachian State University reports

The weather in the mountains has been above normal in temperature and below normal in terms of rainfall. The NC Climate Office predicts drought will develop throughout the mountains this fall, especially near the Georgia border: (…/expert_as…/season_drought.png). The higher temperatures could slightly delay the onset of fall colors, but only by a few days, so I don’t think you’ll have to change your plans if you’ve already decided on which weekend or weekday that you’ll be coming up to the mountains. However, the drought could have more dramatic impacts, especially on the quality of the display.

Already, I’m seeing tulip poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera) trees losing massive amounts of their inner leaves, which are turning yellow and are then followed quickly by a blackening (caused most likely by oxidation byproducts, like when an apple turns brown after you bite into it). In years with adequate rainfall, tulip poplars hold on to their leaves later into the season, and near the end of a fall color season, stand as grand, yellow beacons against a gray, leafless hillside. But this year, I’m afraid that display may not come to be.

Read more at Appalachian Fall Color

See photos at…/fol…/0BxpSVO5IUz-EU1lNUHVzZEdtMDA

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2016

New York Fall Color 9/22/16

New York Fall Foliage reports

The beautiful colors of autumn continue to gradually emerge across New York State, according to observers for Empire State Development’s I Love New York program.

In the Adirondacks, in the Tupper Lake and Mt. Arab areas, expect just-beginning to near-midpoint conditions with about 30 percent change by the weekend. Spotters there note predominant colors of brass, copper, saffron, maize, goldenrod, burgundy, cranberry and a burst of cerise from the soft maples, and are optimistic that the areas’ warm, sunny days and cool nights will be the prime catalyst for a spectacular, long, foliage season.


Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2016

Eastern Sierra Fall Color: Bishop Creek 9/21/16

Parcher’s Resort report below. See photos at

Bishop Creek Canyon Fall Color Report

Overall Conditions Above 8500ft Elevation
Near Peak (50% – 75%)

The color has really come on since last week in the higher elevations with many of the popular fall color areas quickly nearing peak fall color. There are still plenty of areas and groves that are mostly green, but we’re certainly in the “Go Now!” zone with enough spectacular color to keep most photographers entertained. We have a bit of wind forecasted to come through this week but only time will tell if there is any affect on the color.

Overall Conditions Between 7500ft & 8500ft Elevation
Just Starting (0% – 10%)

Slightly more yellow is popping off lower down in the canyon but overall, things are still just starting down there.

Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Weir Pond (9650ft)

The canyon wall above the pond is mostly yellow now and a few of the aspen around the shoreline are now showing excellent color as well. We’re not quite to peak yet as many of the lower lying aspen are still a mix of green and yellow but things are currently gorgeous.

Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Sabrina Campground Area (9000ft)

The aspen along Hwy 168 are going off in a big way right now and are at or near peak. There’s still lots of green within the campground itself and along the stream, hence my “near peak” rating.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2016

Mammoth Lakes Fall Color Guide

There is a free fall color pocket guide for the Mammoth Lakes area available on line at Mammoth Lakes Fall Color Guide.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2016

California Sea Otter Population At Record High Number

The Mercury News reports

In a historic rebound, California sea otters, the frolicking ocean ambassadors of Monterey Bay and Big Sur, have reached their highest population level since 1982, when federal and state officials first began keeping track.

Read story at  California sea otter population reaches record high number

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 20, 2016

Middle Martis Creek Fall Color 9/20/16

California Fall Color reports on the way to north Tahoe what he found

the cabin beside Middle Martis Creek along CA-267, between Northstar and Brockway Summit. The aspen here have something for everyone, from deep green, to lime, to yellow to orange, to past peak.

There’s a lot of green in the woods, but also plenty of color to brighten the scene. This location should continue to provide color for at least two weeks.  There’s so much range of change that it’s difficult to rate it.

GO NOW! Near Peak (50-75%) – The Cabin at Middle Martis Creek, Truckee

See photo at Hwy 267 – Something for Everyone

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 20, 2016

Superior National Forest Fall Color 9/20/16

Superior National Forest has a new fall color report for 9/20/16

Fall is creeping forward at about 5% of peak.  Moose maple, hazel, bush honeysuckle, wild sarsaparilla, and large leafed asters are all changing color in the understory.  Most canopy trees are still green, with a few branches or leaves colored.  High winds with a small craft advisory, and a thunderstorm took down many of the colored leaves this past weekend, but there are lots of green leaves left which are starting to change rapidly.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 20, 2016

New England Fall Foliage 9/20/16

The New England Today fall color map’s view  of live foliage reports from across New England currently shows most of Maine and all of New Hampshire and Massachusetts have started to turn as well a about half of Vermont. All are early and pre-peak. See map at Live Fall Foliage Map. You can click on individual counties to see reports and photos.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 20, 2016

Lake Sabrina Fall Color 9/19/16

Lake Sabrina  Boat Landing reports

The trees are turning quick, lots of yellow, oranges and reds showing

See photos at This Week’s Report

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 20, 2016

Humans Have Destroyed A Tenth Of Earth’s Wilderness In 25 years

The Guardian reports

Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue, according to an authoritative new study.

Researchers found a vast area the size of two Alaskas – 3.3m square kilometres – had been tarnished by human activities between 1993 and today, which experts said was a “shockingly bad” and “profoundly large number”.

Read full story at Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s wilderness in 25 years – study | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 19, 2016

Virginia Lakes Fall Color 9/19/16


Mono County Tourism – California’s Eastern Sierra reports on its Facebook page

GO NOW! Virginia Lakes Road and Dunderberg Meadow Road are approaching peak colors!

See photos at Mono County Tourism – California’s Eastern Sierra

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 19, 2016

Coconino National Forest Fall Color 9/18/16

 Coconino National Forest  reports

The fall color season for the Flagstaff is just beginning in the higher elevations around Mt. Elden and the San Francisco Peaks. There are just a few small spots of strong color in Lockett Meadow, Inner Basin, and around the north side of the Peaks in the area of Bear Jaw, Reese, and Abineau canyons. There is nearly no color around Hart Prairie, Snowbowl, and the western slopes of the Peaks.

The best color is on Mount Elden along Elden Lookout Road and the slopes below the lookout tower. Color progress is approximately a week earlier than last year. Recommended trails for viewing fall color on Mount Elden:

Watch for the latest fall color photos on our Fall Colors album on Flickr and updates @CoconinoNF on Twitter.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 19, 2016

Rio Grande National Forest Fall Color 9/19/16

Rio Grande National Forest reports

Divide District  is about 50 % in the Creede area 20% in the lower elevations.

See photos at


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 19, 2016

Tahoe Area Fall Color 9/18/16

California Fall Color reports

 “In general, color extent varies considerably based on elevation. It is largely ‘just starting’ at lake level, but has progressed to ‘near peak’ in some higher elevations along the rim.”

Just Starting (0-10%) Lake Tahoe Lake Level (6,200 ft). Color is just beginning along the lake itself. Aspens are turning lime green, cottonwoods are getting some patches of yellow.

Patchy (10-50%) Lake Tahoe Mountainsides (6,200-7,000 ft).Color is beginning in patches in the aspen groves on the mountainsides along/near the Lake. 

Near Peak (50-75%) Specific Lake Tahoe Rim locations (7,000+ ft).Although still patchy in some places, some groves have really taken off and are near peak. This is especially true of the oft-visited grove on CA Hwy 267 near Brockway Summit. Portions of the grove are fully yellow, and the trees are dropping leaves. Will likely reach peak within the week.

See photos at Tahoe Ranges from Just Starting to Near Peak

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 19, 2016

Bay Area Fall Color

Today KQED Arts published an article on  Bay Area Fall Foliage: Where to See Seasonal Shades in the Bay Area .  It includes two of my photos as well as mentioning Natural History Wanderings.

Warning: this post includes shameless self-promotion

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 19, 2016

Sonoma Pass Fall Color 9/17/16


California Fall Color reports

The Leavitt Lake turn off, which at the center of the show, there. There are isolated patches of color near the summit, though he reports most of the pass is still lime green and just turning yellow.

Patchy (10-50%) Sonora Pass, Leavitt Lake Turnoff.

See photo at Sonora Pass Glitters

The Guardian reports

A Spanish wetland home to 2,000 species of wildlife – including around 6 million migratory birds – is on track to join a Unesco world heritage danger list, according to a new report.

Doñana is an Andalusian reserve of sand dunes, shallow streams and lagoons, stretching for 540 square kilometres (209 square miles) where flamingoes feed and wild horses and Iberian lynx still roam.

But the Doñana region is said to have lost 80% of its natural water supplies due to marsh drainage, intensive agriculture, and water pollution from the mining industry.

Read full story at Spain could be first EU country with national park listed as ‘in danger’ | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 18, 2016

 Bishop Creek Fall Color 9/17/16

California Fall Color reports

Bishop Creek …Quaking aspen are close to peaking, but not yet

Lake Sabrina was closest …of any location in the Eastern Sierra.

Aspen stands across from Bishop Creek Lodge are mostly wearing kelly green, though splashes of yellow are painting high areas of the canyon.

Of course, that can change rapidly.  Last year, areas of Bishop Creek Canyon went from Just Starting to Peak in a week, and it peaked prior to the first day of autumn (this coming Thursday).

So, anything can happen this week.

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Lake Sabrina and areas above 9,500′.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Bishop Creek Canyon (Below 9,500′)

See photos and full report at Bishop Creek: Close, But No Cigar

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

White Fringeless Orchid Gains Endangered Species Act Protection in Six Southeastern States

‘Monkey-face’ Flower Protected After 41 Years on Waiting List

WASHINGTON— Under an agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, a 2-foot-tall orchid hanging on in small populations in six southeastern states was protected today under the Endangered Species Act. The white fringeless orchid, sometimes also called a monkey-face orchid, has already been wiped out in North Carolina is known to survive at only 34 sites in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. The rare orchid’s flower, which resembles a monkey’s face, was first identified as being in need of federal protection in 1975.

Read More…

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