Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 24, 2018

Eriogonum (Buckwheat) Society Annual Meeting 6/14 to 6/18

The Eriogonum Society announces

Our annual meeting is a month out.  Following is the somewhat confirmed agenda for the meeting.  The website, https://eriogonum.org will be updated as new details become available.  Consider registering now for this exciting event.  Dr. Reveal had RSABG included as one of his five top locations for hosting the Eriogonum Society meeting.

Thursday (14 June) – Registration and Board meeting – East Class Room.  5:00 reception, Johnson’s Oval at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) .

Friday (15 June) – all day at RSABG East Classroom with two half day Eriogonum identification workshop, tours of the RSABG facilities and collections (library, herbarium, grounds, seed storage facility, and plant nursery), a catered dinner, and a talk by Nick Jensen on buckwheats of Tejon Ranch.  .

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 24, 2018

How to Tell a Raven From a Crow

Audubon has an article that tells How to Tell a Raven From a Crow

These two species, Common Ravens and American Crows, overlap widely throughout North America, and they look quite similar. But with a bit of practice, you can tell them apart.

See article at  How to Tell a Raven From a Crow | Audubon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 23, 2018

Birds’ Feathers Reveal Their Winter Diet

ScienceDaily discusses an article from the American Ornithological Society Publications Office

Influences outside the breeding season matter a lot for the population health of migratory birds, but it’s tough to track what happens once species scatter for the winter. A study now tries a new approach for determining what birds called bobolinks eat after they head south for the winter — analyzing the carbon compounds in their plumage, which are determined by the types of plants the birds consume during their winter molt.

Read full article  Birds’ feathers reveal their winter diet — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 23, 2018

Wildflowers Around California 5/23/18

The Marin CNPS has new a reports with photos

  • Roys Redwoods Open Space Preserve and adjacent area in Marin County yesterday.
  • hiked over 20 miles of trail this weekend and saw a great variety of wildflowers around White Hill, San Geronimo ridge, pine mountain and Kent lake area. Chinese houses, gentian, star flower, red delphinium, larkspur, yellow and orange monkeyflower, more columbine than I’ve ever seen, clarkia everywhere, lupine, and spotted coralroot, different manzanitas, ceanothus, mariposa lily, violet, roses, chaparral pea is in peak bloom, something that looks like a Western azalea (do those grow out here?), Deathcamas, mules ears, Berries, goldfields, poppies, graceful clarkia, several other purple clarkia with varying purple edges etc. I also saw two gopher snakes, a garter snake, a few large alligator lizards, at least 6 or 7 types of butterflies and heard a few hermit thrushes, saw spotted towhees and chestnut backed chickadees.

Botanical Wanderings – California has new posts and photos

  • California Poppies are in full bloom at Topaz Lake right now! 5/18
  • Saturday 5/19/18. San Jacinto Mountains. Ca State Hwy 74, Morris Ranch Rd and a little bit from the Cedar Springs Trail. Near Lake Hemet.
  • From last week at the San Elijo Lagoon

Black Oak Naturalist report below. Photos at http://blackoaknaturalist.blogspot.se/2018/05/more-orchids.html

  • As we went searching for orchids on Sunday, especially the Mountain Lady’s Slipper, we were treated to others such as the Spotted Coralroot (above and below). Later, at another location near Quincy, we saw that a good crop of Stream Orchids is on the way.  Their young leaves were nearly totally hidden among the sedges, ruches, and grasses by a very small stream that eventually flows into Greenhorn Creek.  In another couple of weeks, they should be blooming, too.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 23, 2018

Butterfly Summit Saturday, May 26

2nd annual Butterfly Summit on Saturday, May 26 from 10 am to 4 pm at the nursery! Last year’s Summit was such a fantastic meeting of the minds that we’re ready to do it again!

Join us and several of the Bay Area’s leading butterfly experts to find out what we can do to help struggling butterfly populations in the Bay Area, including gardening for native species, creating butterfly corridors and preserving habitat.

Butterflies in urban and suburban areas are now almost entirely dependent on us gardeners. If we want to foster and encourage them, we need to provide the necessary larval and adult resources – and those vary from region to region! Come learn which plants are most likely to attract and sustain butterflies in your area – and how to plant a seasonal succession of blooms. Free and open to all ages! Bring your questions!

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS! star
SATURDAY, MAY 26 10AM-4PM

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 22, 2018

Hungry Valley/ Tejon Pass Wildflowers 5/20/18

Hungry Valley OHV has a new wildflower report for 5/20/18

The best of the wildflowers are along the main roads of the park. The purple lupine and yellow sunflower-like balsam root are blooming along Spaghetti Pass and giving some color to the arid landscape. Poppies are blooming around Edison Campground and the scarlet bugler near the entrance of Smith Forks is adding a bright red splash to the area. Some new flowers were seen this week such as butterfly Mariposa lilies, Grinnell’s penstemon, sage thistle, larkspur, and cobwebby thistle, but they are scattered throughout the park and you will have to hunt for them!

Drive along Maxey Road towards the Oak Woodland Natural Preserve, between the Tataviam exit and the Oak Woodland Trailhead, and you may get a chance to see some of the butterfly Mariposa lilies along the mountain side of the road! These Mariposa lilies bloom in a variety of colors and there is a nice display next to the road. A few of the tall, stately prickly poppies can also be seen in the area, sporting their large white blooms that look like fried eggs! If you are up for a hike to the Oak Grove, you may find the Grinnell’s penstemon that is blooming off of the left fork near the huge oak grandmother tree.

Another side trip to see some unusual flowers sporting their beautiful bloom is off Schmidt Ranch Road between Maxey and Jack Rabbit; on the mountain side of the road there is an area with a large patch of lavender sage thistle.

Though the flowers are sparse, there is still an incredible variety blooming in the yucca flats area between Lane Ranch Campground and Aliklik Campground. Some larkspurs were spotted there this past week, and the yucca are continuing to sprout new buds. This is also a great place to see the beavertail cactus blooming. Wander around this area for some amazing photo opportunities.

The cobwebby thistle is a new bloom seen this week in the south end of the park between Lane Ranch Campground and the south entrance. Look for the tall thistle with the bright pink flowers.

There are still poppies, beavertail cactus, and scarlet buglers scattered throughout the park. The grasslands Wildflower Loop is still worth the drive, though the wildflowers are fading and are mostly congregated in the one area along Powerline between Stipa and Condor trails.

Many of these are two-wheel drive dirt roads; still, you may need high clearance. The roads are narrow, so take advantage of turnouts to allow traffic to pass. Please do not park on any vegetation or block the roads while viewing the flowers. Also, please remember that all plants (and animals) are protected at Hungry Valley, so don’t pick any wildflowers!

Some of the larger bushes are also in bloom around the park; look for the pale purple flowers on the yerba santa, the bright yellow goldenbush, and the white flowers on the elderberry bushes. Though many of the flowers are fading, there are still plenty to see. Plan your visit to Hungry Valley now!

Download the wildflower map for the self-guided tour, or you can go by the entrance station and pick up a wildflower map along with a wildflower guide. Just ask! Please remember that there is a $5 entrance fee for the park.

The warm weather that is bringing out the flowers is also bringing out the snakes. Rattlesnakes are venomous and dangerous, but rarely deadly. Though not normally aggressive, they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. Please use caution while hiking through the grassy areas looking for flowers, and watch where you are walking.

See photos at Hungry Valley OHV

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 22, 2018

Plumas County Wildflowers 5/21/18

Wildflowers in Plumas County, CA reports

The waterfall at Misery Bar, Feather River Canyon. This is a great little stop half way down the canyon, and Spring is the best time with more flow and flowers.

See photos at https://www.facebook.com/FeatherRiverWildflowers/?hc_ref=ARSvh3OIcwE4IE5tZ4tp9aV-7UDU85jRpePM4Xx2xTCxzOdKd5ZWabnSpVx_u2_cYBo

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 22, 2018

California Summer Wildflower Hotspots

Here is a list with links I have compiled of California Summer Wildflower Hotspots. Each link brings you a previously published post on Natural History Wanderings that includes a list of resources for each location.

You might also find these two collections helpful:

If you are heading further north towards Oregon and Washington check out this list of resources Wildflower Hunting in Washington and Oregon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 22, 2018

How Old Cell Phones Can Help Save the Rain Forest

National Geographic report on how donating old cell phones can help save the rain forests

Between 50 and 90 percent of the logging that happens in the world’s rain forests is illegal, according to White, yet detecting chainsaws and other sounds related to that activity can be tough, because the air is already filled with the cacophony of nature.

So he has developed a system in which he rigs a cell phone to stay charged by solar cells, attaches an extra microphone, and listens. From there, the device can detect the sounds of chainsaws nearly a mile away. (His group has details about how to donate your phone here.)

And believe it or not, cell phone reception often isn’t bad in the rain forest.

Learn more including how to donate your old phone at  Your Old Cell Phone Can Help Save the Rain Forest

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 21, 2018

Mt. Rainier Wildflowers 5/17/18

Mt. Rainier National Park reports

Wildflower Reports

  • Nisqually Entrance to Longmire (5/17) – vanilla leaf (at entrance), trillium, coltsfoot (late), skunk cabbage, kinnikinick, stream violet, round violet, salmonberry, Calypso orchid, big-leaved sandwort, holly-leaved Oregon-grape (at Longmire)
  • White River Road (5/16) – trillium, yellow violets
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 21, 2018

Wildflowers Around California 5/20/18

The Marin CNPS has new a reports with photos

  •  White Hill, San Geronimo ridge, pine mountain and Kent lake area. Chinese houses, gentian, star flower, red delphinium, larkspur, yellow and orange monkeyflower, more columbine than I’ve ever seen, clarkia everywhere, lupine, and spotted coralroot, different manzanitas, ceanothus, mariposa lily, violet, roses, chaparral pea is in peak bloom, something that looks like a Western azalea (do those grow out here?), Deathcamas, mules ears, Berries, goldfields, poppies, graceful clarkia, several other purple clarkia with varying purple edges etc.

Botanical Wanderings – California has new posts and photos

  • Little Black Mountain to Jenner. Sonoma County
  • Temescal Creek Preserve and South Rim areas of the San Diego River Park.

California Wildflower Report a new report with photos

  • Santa Rita Hills
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 21, 2018

Righty Blue whales Sometimes Act Like Lefties

ScienceDaily reports

To support their hulking bodies, blue whales use various acrobatic maneuvers to scoop up many individually tiny prey, filtering the water back out through massive baleen plates. In most cases, the whales roll to the right as they capture their prey, just as most people are right-handed. But, researchers now show that the whales shift directions and roll left when performing 360° barrel rolls in shallow water.

Read story at Righty blue whales sometimes act like lefties, study finds — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 20, 2018

Plumas County Wildflowers 5/19/18

Joe Willis reported on his blackoaknaturalist blog that in China Camp he has found Mountain Lady’s Slipper as well as an abundance of blooming False Solomon’s Seal, several Spotted Coralroots, and a few other species of spring wildflowers.

See photos and older posts at blackoaknaturalist

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 20, 2018

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 5/19/18

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for May 19, 2018 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 20, 2018

As Climate Warms Bears Hibernate Less

The New York Times  has an article that discusses how bears are hibernating less due to warming  temperatures and the problems this is creating

But as climate change leads to warmer winters, later falls and earlier springs — which can disrupt both food supplies and biological rhythms — American black bears are changing their hibernation routines, scientists say. In some cases, bears are not hibernating at all, staying awake all winter. In others, bears are waking from their slumber too early.

Read full story at  As Winter Warms, Bears Can’t Sleep. And They’re Getting Into Trouble. – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 19, 2018

Early Season Mono County Wildflowers 5/18/18

Mono County Tourism reports

  • California Poppies are in full bloom at Topaz Lake right now! – May 18
  • Paintbrush is starting to bloom up McGee Canyon! – May 14
  • First wildflowers at Lower Rock Creek – May 13
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 19, 2018

Southern California Wildflower Summary 5/18/18

Theodore Payne has posted a new report 5/18/18 with photos for Southern California. See a pdf of the full report at Theodore Payne. It includes:

  • Garden at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley
  • Bureau of Land Management’s Scenic Byway, which goes between HWY178 and the summit of Nine mile Canyon
  • Hungry Valley SRA
  • Stunt High Trail at Stunt Ranch/Cold Creek Preserve in the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont
  • San Jacinto Mountains near Garner Valley
  • Newport Beach area, The Environmental Nature Center
  • Habitat Gardens at Elizabeth Learning Center

Native Plant & Wildflower Events in Southern California

  • Southern California Montane Botanic Garden
    The Wildlands Conservancy, Oak Glen Preserve, 39611 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399. Now through May! https://www.facebook.com/OakGlenPreserve/
  • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (rsabg.org)
    The California Butterfly Pavilion during garden hours. See all Events at rsabg.org.
  • Los Angeles County Natural History Museum
    SATURDAY STROLLS IN THE NATURE GARDENS
    Sat. April 14 (second Saturdays, Feb.-July, 2018)
    9:30-11 am
    The theme will be plant selection and appreciation with an emphasis on attracting garden wildlife. Free with Museum entrance. Register via 213-763- 3499 Nature Gardens Director, Carol Bornstein, will lead walks with a view to plant selection and wildlife attraction.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 19, 2018

Oregon Wildflowers 5/16/2018

Oregon Wildflowers  has a new report for Silver Star Mountain

Bear grass starting to bloom lower elevation, not yet boooming near 4000’. Some lupines and penstemon starting. In full bloom: avalanche/glacier lily, saskatoon, some type of deep violet vetch/pea, yellow violets, kinnikinnik, paintbrush, oregon grape, vanilla leaf, oregon iris, salmonberry, bleeding heart, rhododendron, columbian windflower, nuttall’s toothwort, trillium, oregon anemone, woodland strawberry, hooker’s fairybells, camas, false solomon’s seal, star flowered solomon’s seal, b

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 19, 2018

Wintering Yellow Warblers Choose Agriculture Over Forest

ScienceDaily reports

Effective conservation for long-distance migrants requires knowing what’s going on with them year-round — not just when they’re in North America during the breeding season. A new study uncovers yellow warblers’ surprising habitat preferences in their winter home in Mexico and raises questions about what their use of agricultural habitat could mean for their future.

Read article at  Wintering warblers choose agriculture over forest — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 18, 2018

Wildflowers Around California 5/18/18

The Marin CNPS has new reports and photos for

  • Mt. Burdell Open Space Preserve in Marin yesterday.
  • Sonoma Regional Park near Glen Ellen:

Botanical Wanderings – California has new posts and photos for

  • ModiniMayacamas, a Preserve of AudubonCanyonRanch (www.egret.org) in the mountains of n.e. SonomaCounty
  • Garner Valley and Ribbonwood, San Jacinto Mountains
  • Greenhorn mountains at just below 4000 ft
  • Piute mountains at about 4000 ft
  • Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve
  • Salt Point State Park, at Gerstle Cove
  • Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 18, 2018

Sugarloaf State Park Wildflowers

note: This post refers to how the flowers were a week ago.

Submitted by Sara Silver

For great wildflowers especially in Fire areas where the blooms are unusually dense, Sugarloaf State Park is my recommendation.
My last visit was over a week ago but it’s probably still worth a visit.
Yes, the grasses are very tall and almost overwhelming but you can find clear areas that are populated with hundreds of fairy lanterns, blue eyed grass, irises, vetch, clarkia, lupine, poppies, checkerbloom; the grass is also very colorful und hypnotically beautiful.
Also, there are healthy gardens of flowers completely enclosed beneath the fields of grasses, perhaps enough sun is getting in to the blooms because the grass is so tall (5+feet in some places)?

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 18, 2018

In Cities, Wildlife Evolves Astonishingly Fast

National Geographic reports

Animals, plants, and insects adapt to the extreme urban environment—and even to specific subway lines.

…where animals as diverse as blackbirds and bobcats are adapting to their new surroundings, with startling results.

Read  Cities Are Affecting Evolution as Many Species Adapt to Urban Living

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2018

Lassen Park Highway Opens To Traffic 5/27/18

Lassen’s road crew and Cal Trans cleared the last section of snow on the park highway yesterday! With snow clearing complete, Hike and Bike the Highway will occur Saturday, 5/26 and the highway will open to through traffic on Sunday, 5/27 (dates may change if conditions warrant). In the meantime, crews will be busy installing signage, sweeping the road, and preparing facilities. Three cheers to our road crew team and Cal Trans for their assistance with snow clearing this season

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2018

Marin & Sonoma Counties Wildflowers 5/17/18

The Marin CNPS Facebook page has a  new postings of wildflowers in bloom at

  • Sonoma Regional Park near Glen Ellen: At first I saw only weeds like milk thistle on somewhat bare, burnt ground. Then I came to an area filled with C. luteus and another hillside covered in probably hundreds of purple Delphiniums, unfortunately they were still competing with the European grasses that had also rebounded. Other flowers were Linanthus (baby stars), Triphysaria (butter and eggs) and B.elegans (almost sure) – harvest brodiaea. Also  mallow
  • species seen on Mt. Burdell Open Space Preserve in Marin yesterday.
  • Taylor Mt. Regional Park, near Santa Rosa, has a very good display of flowers on the Todd Creek Trail. I saw a number of Triteleia/Brodiaea: laxa (lots), hyacinthina, harvest (elegans or coronaria) also some blue dicks, goldfields and a few other species. Sorry, no photos – I left my camera in the car as the wind was blowing hard. I came to see fire flowers and this area had not burned so I moved on. Staff told me that Annadel has good flowers around the lake, but suggested Sonoma Regional Park near Glen Ellen.

See these postings, photos  and others at Marin Native Plants Public Group | Facebook

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2018

Tioga Road (Highway 120 East) Opens May 21

Yosemite National Park News Release

Yosemite National Park Announces that Tioga Road (Highway 120 East) will open for the season to all vehicular traffic on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 9:00 am.

There will be limited services available along Tioga Road. All campgrounds along Tioga Road remain closed. There is no anticipated opening date for the Tuolumne Meadows store and the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. There is no gasoline available along Tioga Road. The closest gas station is located at Crane Flat.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2018

Global Big Day Birders Tally A Record 6,906 Species

BirdWatching magazine reports

On May 5, Global Big Day birders tallied nearly 7 out of 10 species known to exist on the planet. That works out to record-shattering results: more than 6,900 bird species recorded by more than 28,000 participants.

Read full story at  Global Big Day birders tally a record 6,906 species — BirdWatching

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2018

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 5/16/18

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for May 16, 2018 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2018

American Pikas Tolerate Climate Change Better Than Expected

ScienceDaily  reports

The American pika, a relative of rabbits, occupies rocky environments in the mountains of western Northern America. It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature and thus were at risk of running out of space at the tops of mountains as temperatures rise due to climate change. But is there more to the story?

Read full story at American pikas tolerate climate change better than expected — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 16, 2018

Sequoia and Kings Canyon Yuccas Blooming 5/15/18

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks report

The spectacular foothill yuccas are in bloom now. It takes about 4-7 years for a plant to reach maturity and bloom. Producing this large flowering stalk can take 2-3 weeks. This is the last hurrah for the plant – it dies after it finishes blooming. Sometimes it sprouts clones from its base as another way of producing a new plant. The park protects important low elevation habitats for a variety of foothill plants and animals.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 16, 2018

Sonoma County Wildflowers 5/15/18

submitted by Timothy Boomer

Sugarstick, Pacific coralroot, and many more flowers are blooming in Sonoma county. Directions, photos, and general musings about non-photosynthesizing plants may be found at wildmacro.com/blog

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