Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2019

What the Government Shutdown Means for Bay Area Parks

Bay Nature reports

How the Government Shutdown is Bringing Out the Best in (most) People in Bay Area National Parks and Public Lands

The partial federal government shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history, has made life truly miserable for some people. But when it comes to parks and public lands, most of which in the Bay Area have remained open but unstaffed, the shutdown also provides a window into an eternal truth about life in the absence of authority: some people are really mindless jerks and many more people are not.

Read full article  Bay Nature: What the Government Shutdown Means for Bay Area Parks

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2019

The Supermoon Eclipse of January 20-21 

EarthSky reports

On January 20-21, be ready for a series of firsts. It’s the first full moon of 2019, and the first lunar eclipse of 2019 (and this is an eclipse-heavy year, with five eclipses, including two lunar eclipses in 2019; read more). Plus, it’s the year’s first supermoon, meaning the moon is nearly at its closest to Earth for this month, as the eclipse takes place.

And now … a single sad last thing. This will be the last total lunar eclipse to grace Earth’s sky until May 26, 2021.

Read more about the Lunda Eclipse  at  The supermoon eclipse of January 20-21 | Tonight | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2019

Saturn With No Rings?

The New York Times reported

Saturn’s icy rings are among the most iconic features in the solar system. But they’re raining so much water onto the planet that in 300 million years they could rain themselves nearly out of existence, leaving Saturn startlingly ringless.

Read Story at Saturn With No Rings? It Could Happen, and Sooner Than Astronomers Expected – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2019

Death Valley Status Update 1/16/19

Death Valley National Park announced today that some recently closed areas of the park will once again be accessible to visitors in the coming days. Some visitor services, including campgrounds and the Stovepipe Wells Contact Station, will also reopen using revenue generated by recreation fees. Visitors should go to the park website at nps.gov/deva while planning their trip to get the latest information on accessibility and available services.

Areas that have been recently closed but that are or will be accessible to park visitors include:

• Dantes View, Artists Drive, Natural Bridge, Harmony Borax Works and Mustard Canyon, Salt Creek, Keane Wonder Mine, Mesquite Sand Dunes, and Historic Stovepipe Wells Roads.

Read More…

ScienceDaily reports

New work shows for the first time just how widespread and deadly the threat of pathogens from restoration nurseries may be to natural forests. The team surveyed five native plant nurseries in Northern California and found that four harbored exotic, or non-native, Phytophthora pathogens. New management techniques, coupled with new methods for detecting pathogens, can help these nurseries limit the spread of exotic pathogens into the wild.

Read article at  Is habitat restoration actually killing plants in the California wildlands? Nursery-grown plants can harbor fungicide-resistant strains of disease-causing pathogens — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2019

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers: 1/15/19

Borrego Wildflowers reports

Bloom prediction, updated January 15 2018Indication are positive for a normal bloom in the months to come.
We still have a way above average bloom in the badlands and some other areas mentioned below.

Easy access flower sites:
Drive from Borrego Spring -> Salton sea on the S22. Start looking past the marked Palo Verde Wash but stay on the S22. The center is around Ella Wash, Arroyo Salado (camp) exit.
PLEASE DON’T STOP OR PARK ON THE ROAD.

 

North:
Along the Henderson Canyon Road hundreds of large Geraea canescens, Desert sunflower, some already in bloom. That said the number of plants might not be enough to give a good flower show.
Coyote Canyon: Fouquieria splendens | splendens Ocotillo in good bloom along the road.
Along the creek more than 50 plants are in bloom, like Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush, but further away from the creek the area is rather barren.
The area between Henderson Canyon road and Zero crossing looks promising as there is a lot of germination.
South:
The Canebrake area (Ironwood canyon, June Wash, Vallecito wash) a lot of plants are starting to bloom.
Most visible bloom: Abronia villosa villosa, Desert sand verbena.
East:
Along the S22 close to Arroyo Salado (camp), Ella Wash.

Confirmed germination:
Ocotillo Wells, Blow Sand Canyon, Cut Across Road, Military wash, 17 palms, Arroyo Salado (camp), east of Ella Wash, Palm Wash, Big Wash, Travertine Wash.
Palo Verde Wash, Smoketree Canyon.

San Felipe wash ‘road’ along East Butte, is one of the best spots right now, with hundreds of Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose in bloom.
Most visible bloom: Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose (hundreds), Abronia villosa villosa| Desert sand verbena.
Some Hesperocallis undulata, Desert lily are in bloom, with probably more to follow.
Rain effects are visible east of the line Thimble trail (S22) up to Ironwood resort (78).

Check out Tom Chester bloom report

 

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2019

Redwoods National & State Parks Update

Redwood Parks reports

Working to keep your parks clean and safe! National Park Service officials are using Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds (aka, FLREA or rec fee funds) to immediately bring back park maintenance crews to clean restrooms and remove trash, increasing accessibility to the park for visitors while ensuring health and safety. Previously closed National Park Service bathrooms and day use areas will be cleaned and reopened during the week of January 13th with all bathrooms and day use areas reopened by January 19th.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2019

Prolific Bird Smuggler Arrested with 19 Rare Eggs at Heathrow Airport

The Telegraph reports

The self-proclaimed “Pablo Escobar of the falcon egg trade” is facing another lengthy jail sentence after being caught at Heathrow airport with a stash of 19 rare eggs strapped to his chest.

He had arrived in London from South Africa carrying two rare vulture eggs as well as others from rare and endangered birds of prey including vultures, eagles, hawks and kites, worth up to £100,000.

Read Story Prolific bird smuggler facing lengthy sentence after being caught with 19 rare eggs at Heathrow

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2019

Edgewood Park Update

Friends of Edgewood Park is not currently posting its usual What’s in Bloom feature on its website. I contacted them and they explained that they are currently updating their website and send me the following information

We have been going through an extensive process to update all the information on our website and have not yet tackled that particular feature. We hope to be adding something similar this spring.
In the meantime, we do have a photo database of Edgewood’s plants and flowers which includes bloom time information. You can find it at http://foew.org/photos/. To find out what might be blooming each month, choose the current month under flowering time, for instance, “From Jan. to Jan.” and then hit the light blue “Submit” button in the bar at the top of the page to see photos of all plants that tend to bloom within this timeframe.
You might also be interested in our upcoming events page, http://friendsofedgewood.org/events. This page lists upcoming walks which focus on a variety topics. We will have weekly docent-led wildflower walks starting again in mid-March through early June and specific dates and times will be posted here as well.

 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 1/11/19

Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association report

January 11, 2019
Bloom Prediction for 2019
Desert Research Botanist Kate Harper has been making field observations over the past weeks and has just issued her prediction for the 2019 bloom season. Please read her report in its entirety, but the bottom-line is that we are on track for a very good bloom this season with just a couple of weather conditions that could alter it.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park 2018-19 “Season” Bloom Analysis and Prediction
by Kate Harper
Desert Research Botanist
Rain Analysis Related to Blooming

We appear to be heading into a 2-pulse 2018-19 “Season”.

What has triggered the first pulse of blooming?

We had significant rain in spotty areas of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (the Park) on October 12, 2018. It was still hot in the Park, but it was cooling off from the peak summer heat. It appears that the temperature was still warm enough to trigger the germination of some monsoonal plants (summer storm triggering plants), and just cooled down enough to trigger the germination of some “spring” plants (calendar winter, but what we call in the desert spring).

So, right now, in mid-January 2019, we are having the beginning of a bloom! BUT, just in the spotty areas that received the thunderstorm rain on October 12, 2019. Unfortunately, none of the popular close-to-town flower field areas are included in this spotty early bloom.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2019

Government shutdown may snarl a 60-year study of wolves & moose 

The Salt Lake Tribune and Washington Post report on the how the government shutdown may interfere with the world’s longest continuous study of predators and their prey (wolves and moose). The shutdown will also interrupt relocating as many as 30 wolves to the Isle Royale National Park. Read article at  The shutdown may snarl a 60-year study of wolves and moose — the world’s longest predator-prey research – The Salt Lake Tribune

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 13, 2019

Lassen To Reopen Closed Areas

Lassen National Park announces

Lassen Volcanic National Park announced today that recently closed areas of the park will once again be accessible to visitors starting January 12, 2019. Some limited visitor services will be restored by using revenue generated by recreation fees.

Areas that have been recently closed but that will be accessible to park visitors include the Lassen National Park Road (Highway 89). The road will be intermittently plowed from the junction of Highway 36 to the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center on the south side of the park, and from Highway 44 to the Loomis Ranger Station on the north side of the park. However, road closures should be expected during the winter season due to strong winter storms with heavy snowfall in a mountain environment. Due to the lapse in funding, the park will not be able to communicate these intermittent closures and openings.

Outdoor areas of the park will remain accessible. However, all facilities will remain closed.

Read More…

The Washington Post  reports

Park officials say the protected trees have been cut down by visitors to make roads.

Read story at Joshua Tree National Park battles vandalism during government shutdown – The Washington Post

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2019

Birding Eastshore State Park – Berkeley 1/12/19

Today we went birding at McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in Berkeley, CA. We walked between North Cove and Sea Breeze, along Virginia Annex, and around eastern end of meadow   We identified 31 species today. The seasonal ponds in the meadow were very minimal.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click read more to see bird list.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2019

Death Valley Status Update

Death Valley National Park status during lapse in appropriations:

Most of the park remains accessible to the public. Visitor services (including restrooms and trash removal) are limited due to the lapse in federal appropriations. All normal park rules and regulations still apply and violators will be cited.

Privately-operated resorts (The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Resort, and Panamint Springs Resort) are fully operational.

The following facilities are open due to donations from The Oasis at Death Valley, Death Valley Natural History Association, and Stovepipe Wells Resort: Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Stovepipe Wells Campground, and restrooms at the east entrance, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, and Badwater.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2019

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Reopens

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks  announcement

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced today that the recently closed parks will once again be accessible to visitors starting January 11, 2019. Some visitor services, including campgrounds and entrance stations, will reopen using revenue generated by recreation fees.

Read More…

National Parks Conservation Association News Release

This action blatantly disregards the fundamental duties of park staff who have dedicated their careers to ensuring our nation’s most precious natural and historic places are enjoyed not only today, but for years to come.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2019

How Climate Change Affects Breeding Birds

ScienceDaily reports

Climate change affects breeding birds

Seed-eaters particularly vulnerable to temperature shifts

The breeding seasons of wild house finches are shifting due to climate change, a Washington State University researcher has found.

Read article at  Climate change affects breeding birds: Seed-eaters particularly vulnerable to temperature shifts — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 10, 2019

Interior Restaffs Some Wildlife Refuges During Shutdown 

NPR

Just days after announcing that some furloughed staff will be returning to clean up trash-riddled national parks during the government shutdown, the Trump administration is making a similar move at dozens of wildlife refuges around the country.

The plans, which have not been publicly announced, would restaff 38 wildlife refuges around the country for roughly 30 days.

Read full article at  Interior Restaffs Some Wildlife Refuges During Shutdown : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 10, 2019

Madagascar pochard: World’s rarest bird gets new home 

The BBC  reports

The rarest bird in the world – a species of duck called the Madagascar pochard – has been given a new home in time for the new year.

An international team of researchers released 21 of the birds at a lake in the north of Madagascar.

Read story at  Madagascar pochard: World’s rarest bird gets new home – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2019

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers: 1/8/19

Borrego Wildflowers reports

Indication are positive for a below or normal bloom in the months to come.
We still have a way above average bloom in the badlands and some other areas mentioned below.

North:
Along the Henderson Canyon Road hundreds of large Geraea canescens, Desert sunflower, some already in bloom. That said the number of plants might not be enough to give a good flower show.
Coyote Canyon: Fouquieria splendens | splendens Ocotillo in good bloom along the road.
Along the creek more than 50 plants are in bloom, like Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush, but further away from the creek the area is rather barren.
The area between Henderson Canyon road and Zero crossing looks promising as there is a lot of germination.
South:
The Canebrake area (Ironwood canyon, June Wash, Vallecito wash) a lot of plants are starting to bloom.
Most visible bloom: Abronia villosa villosa, Desert sand verbena.
East:

Confirmed germination:
Ocotillo Wells, Blow Sand Canyon, Cut Across Road, Military wash, 17 palms, Arroyo Salado (camp), east of Ella Wash, Palm Wash, Big Wash, Travertine Wash.
Palo Verde Wash, Smoketree Canyon.

San Felipe wash ‘road’ along East Butte, is one of the best spots right now, with hundreds of Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose in bloom.
Most visible bloom: Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose (hundreds), Abronia villosa villosa| Desert sand verbena.
Some Hesperocallis undulata, Desert lily are in bloom, with probably more to follow.
Rain effects are visible east of the line Thimble trail (S22) up to Ironwood resort (78).

Check out Tom Chester bloom report

UC Davis reports on research that

details what plants proved most attractive to honey bees, wild bees and other pollinators, as well as what drew such natural enemies as predators and parasitic wasps.

Read story at UC Davis Research: What Are the Best Native Plants to Attract Pollinators and Natural Enemies? – Entomology & Nematology News – ANR Blogs

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 8, 2019

California Monarch Butterfly Population Declines 86 Percent

The San Francisco Chronicle reports

In 1981 the Xerces Society, a nonprofit environmental organization that focuses on invertebrate conservation, counted more than 1 million western monarchs wintering in California.

The group’s most recent count, over Thanksgiving weekend, recorded less than 30,000 butterflies — an 86-percent decline since 2017 alone.

Researchers with the group called the number “disturbingly low” and potentially “catastrophic,” in a statement.

Read Full story at  Study: Number of monarch butterflies in California declined by 86 percent in one year – SFGate

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

Shutdown Closes Muir Woods as of Today

The Mercury News reports

Beginning Monday, the nearly 3,000 daily visitors will find no bathrooms, no gift shop, no open visitor facilities at all in the park. Some staff will be on site providing “essential services to ensure facilities are protected and (to) enforce federal law and policy,” said a statement by Charles Strickfaden, a spokesman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which oversees a number of national parks and historic sites around the Bay Area..

“That will not change,” Strickfaden said. “Visitors should continue to anticipate (that) closure and parking violations that endanger park resources or other visitors will be enforced.”

Similar agreements with concessionaires are keeping Alcatraz Island and Stinson Beach open during the shutdown, but the same wasn’t true for Point Reyes National Seashore, where visitor centers are closed, along with some restrooms, and trash collection has stopped.

Read full story at  Muir Woods girds for shutdown on Monday

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

Volunteer To Clean Up National Parks

 republished from   Alt National Park Service

National Volunteer Action Needed:
The administration’s latest shutdown plan to use entrance fees to clean up our parks will dig our parks into an even bigger financial hole. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, entrance fees are supposed to be funneled towards long-term projects to enhance the visitor experience, not day-to-day functioning. Our parks are currently a mess! We need you to help us clean them up. We are declaring this week a National Park Clean Up Week. If you want to join in every evening this week meet at your closest national park and help us collect trash. In comments below post which national park you are willing to help at (try to connect with others and make a team of volunteers). It’s time to help protect and save our national parks! It’s a shame that the GOP is playing politics while our parks are being destroyed! The picture below is of volunteers who are helping keep Yosemite National Park clean amid the government shutdown. Please message Alt National Park Service your clean up pictures and we will share them.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 1/6/19

Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association report

January 6, 2019- More rain and winter flowers
More rain in Borrego Springs last night and continued cool temperatures are keeping ample moisture in the soil, exactly what is needed for an excellent flower bloom this spring.  It also appears that we are seeing a normal cycle of winter storms moving through the area on a 10-14 day baises. That’s more good news.

The main bloom will be in springtime, whenever daily temperatures start to reach into the high 70s and 80s on a consistent basis.  But the rain is already giving us unusual winter blooms in some areas, with scattered patches of flowers being reported in various locations.

See photos of early blooms at https://www.abdnha.org/pages/03flora/reports/current.htm

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

National Parks To Increase Staff During Shutdown

 Alt National Park Service reports

NPS is planning to dip into entrance fees to expand operations as the partial government shutdown stretches into a third week. There was an order Saturday allowing managers to bring on staff to patrol open parks, clean bathrooms, and collect trash. The move comes after several deaths in accidents at the understaffed parks since the shutdown began. One death at Yosemite National Park went unreported for at least a week. It’s a shame that the GOP was willing to risk the American public’s safety for politics. Only after several deaths is the GOP listening that NPS employees are essential! You can’t leave the parks open without staff!

Read related National Park Service News Release at https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/updatelapse.htm

Read NPR Story at National Park Service Expands Operations During Government Shutdown which further explains limits and details of expanded park operation.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 6, 2019

Early Mt. Burdell Bloom 1/4/18

Marin Native Plants has an early season posting for Mt. Burdell with photos showing Common Manzanita, California Poppies and Milkmaids starting to bloom.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 6, 2019

Why can’t we feel Earth’s spin?

EarthSky answers the question “Why can’t we feel Earth’s spin?”

Earth spins on its axis once in every 24-hour day. At Earth’s equator, the speed of Earth’s spin is about 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 km per hour). The day-night has carried you around in a grand circle under the stars every day of your life, and yet you don’t feel Earth spinning. Why not? It’s because you and everything else – including Earth’s oceans and atmosphere – are spinning along with the Earth at the same constant speed.

Read more at Why can’t we feel Earth’s spin? | Earth | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2019

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 1/5/19

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for January 5, 2019 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

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