Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 27, 2017

Lassen National Park Highway Now Open

Lassen Volcanic National Park  reports

The Lassen National Park Highway (the main road that travels north/south through the park) is now open to through vehicle traffic. Trails at high elevations of the park are still snow covered. #FindYourPark

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 27, 2017

California’s Most Ambitious Climate Plan

The New York Times reports on “How California Plans to Go Far Beyond Any Other State on Climate ”

Over the past decade, California has passed a sweeping set of climate laws to test a contentious theory: that it’s possible to cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond what any other state has done and still enjoy robust economic growth.

If California prevails, it could provide a model for other policy makers, even as President Trump scales back the federal government’s efforts on climate change. The state may also develop new technologies that the rest of the world can use to cut emissions.

Read full story at  How California Plans to Go Far Beyond Any Other State on Climate – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 26, 2017

Tahoe/Carson Pass Wildflowers 7/26/17

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups  (Calphoto) has a new report for the Tahoe/Carson Pass Area

just returned from a 6-day roadtrip checking out blooms around the Tahoe-Truckee area. Things are looking good around there, and in general, I’d say that the 7000-8000 ft elevation range is the sweet spot. Here are some specifics.

Meiss trail: Gorgeous with snowmelt, views, lupine, Monardella, sulfur buckwheat, mule’s ears, Calochortus, Castilleja, irises and more in the drylands, so very many things blooming in the meadows. The corn lilies on the way to Showers aren’t going off yet, but it will be stunning when they do.
Carson pass toward Winnemucca: Also lovely, with great views and some excellent patches of bloom, but earlier than Meiss and there’s still a fair amount of snow on the trail to navigate (not bad, but as the snow increased and flowers decreased I turned back, but do pay attention to the snow melt line, interesting things may be found.) The rangers estimate that the peak bloom around Carson pass will be in around 3 weeks. Also, do go to the Carson information station and ask for recommendations, they’re really nice and try to keep up with where the bloom is now.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 26, 2017

World Shorebirds Day 2017 Is Approaching

The Global Shorebird Counting Program is one of the key events of the World Shorebirds Day, an effort to raise awareness about the importance of regular bird monitoring/counting as the core element of protection of bird populations and habitat conservation.

Global Shorebird Counting will take place between 1-7 September 2017

Why counting shorebirds is so important?

Saving birds without knowing the actual number of individuals of a bird species living in the world is impossible. Population figures should not be guesses! Those are the facts, based on countings carried out by thousands of volunteers and professionals worldwide. The result is an exact population figure and trend, which is one of the fundamental elements to assess the legal protection status of any species. Still, the importance of bird monitoring (regular counting) is underrated and often ignored by many.

This program aims to give a picture of the power of field work, to help non-counters to improve their counting skills, and to increase the number of counters worldwide.

How to be a part of this popular program of the World Shorebirds Day?

  1. Think about where will you be on the Global Shorebird Counting weekend (dates in our blog);
  2. Add your location(s) on the Google Map, where you most probably would do counting and make your registration;
  3. Follow our blog to get notified about new announcements;
  4. Go counting shorebirds on the weekend of Global Shorebird Counting weekend;
  5. Submit your data to eBird (find related technical details here) or send directly us (this is a less preferred way).

Learn more at  World Shorebirds Day 2017 is approaching

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 25, 2017

New Wildflower Book for Nevada and Placer County

The second edition of WILDFLOWERS OF NEVADA AND PLACER COUNTIES, CALIFORNIA published by Redbud Chapter, California Native Plant Society is now out

The second edition of this versatile guide describes over 500 species of wildflowers found in Nevada and Placer Counties, a richly diverse region home to 38 percent of all plants known to grow wild in California—rendering the book useful well beyond county lines. The new edition includes an easy-to-use plant identification key, along with drawings of plant anatomy and icons for each plant family. Illustrated with over 600 color photographs, close-ups and landscapes, the book features habitat descriptions and tips on places to see bountiful wildflower displays. Useful to casual hikers and avid botanists alike. It is available at the CNPS store at



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 24, 2017

Why Woodpeckers Don’t Get Headaches

National Geographic has an article explaining Why Woodpeckers Don’t Get Headaches. Read about the physiological adaptations Woodpeckers have that allow them to peck without harming their brains or get headaches at Why Woodpeckers Don’t Get Headaches

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 23, 2017

Carson Pass Wildflowers 7/23/17

Carson Pass Information Station reports

After a slow start, now is the time to visit Carson Pass. No more snow on the trail issues, flowers are jumping out daily. It’s all good and ready to make your day better. See photo at Carson Pass Information Station.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 23, 2017

Chickens Smarter Than You Think

ScienceDaily reports on a review of studies on chicken intelligence, social development and emotions.

Chickens are not as clueless or ‘bird-brained’ as people believe them to be. They have distinct personalities and can outmaneuver one another. They know their place in the pecking order, and can reason by deduction, which is an ability that humans develop by the age of seven. Chicken intelligence is therefore unnecessarily underestimated and overshadowed by other avian groups.

Read article at  Think chicken: Think intelligent, caring and complex: Review looks at studies on chicken intelligence, social development and emotions — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 22, 2017

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 7/21/17

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for July 21, 2017 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 | July 22, 2017

Santa Monica Mts. Wildflowers 7/19/17

Santa Monica Mts. National Recreation Area has  a new wildflower report

Topanga Canyon State Park – Condo Canyon Trail

This is a portion of The Backbone Trail that begins at Old Topanga Rd. and climbs to the radio towers off Piuma Rd. We went very early in the morning to beat the heat but it was still fairly intense and we only climbed a mile or so.
The hike starts by crossing a nearly dry creek bed. We walked upstream and did find a few pools that were teeming with tadpoles. The areas around those pools are alive with multitudes of tiny hopping juvenile toads.
But back to the trail. It goes ever upwards through patches of forest and swathes of meadow. The good thing is that when you have had enough it is all downhill. Most flowers are finished blooming but there was still a fair amount of sticky madia, slender tarweed and cliff aster. There were a few purple clarkia, honeysuckle and wild roses. There was one patch of blooming narrow leaf milkweed.

See photos and older posts at What’s Blooming

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 22, 2017

World’s Tallest Tropical Trees Discovered In Borneo

National Geographic reports the discovery of the World’s Tallest Tropical Trees

Laser scanning in Borneo has revealed 50 trees that break previous records.

Read story at World’s Tallest Tropical Trees Discovered in Borneo

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 21, 2017

Highway 140 Has Reopened

Yosemite National Park  just announced

Highway 140 is now open from Merced to Yosemite.–Yosemite is open and all facilities and services that have opened for the season are operating, including all park entrances. People who are sensitive to smoke or suffer from respiratory problems are encouraged to minimize outdoor activities, as we are still receiving smoke from the fire.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 21, 2017

Sonora Pass Wildflowers 7/21/17

We drove over Sonora Pass as we were told Yosemite and Groveland were both very smokey.


The drive over Sonora Pass is very scenic. It included snowy mountain landscapes and many species of wildflowers in bloom. The best blooms were in the higher elevations over 8000 feet. Today’s iPhone photos

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Click read more to see today’s plant list

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 21, 2017

Eastern Sierra Wildflowers: McGee Creek 7/20/17

McGee Creek is a scenic high desert landscape. The area was very dry and most flowers are past peak.  The most dominant plant was Sulphur Buckwheat. There are still some late bloomers as well as the remains of a few early blooming plants. We still managed to find a good number of species. Today’s short iPhone slideshow.

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click read more to see plant list

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 21, 2017

Eastern Sierra Wildflowers: Rock Creek Trails 7/18/17

Rock Creek Trails and a bit of Rock Creek road

We hiked along Little Lakes Valley Trail and got as far as the end of Heart Lake. It was wetter than I have seen it on previous visits. The highlight was several meadows with displays of Shooting Star. Many flowers are in bloom. Some flowers seemed  to be blooming a little later than usual, while others were right on time.   The Rock Creek Wildflowers book by Cathy Rose and Stephen Ingram was very helpful.

On the way down we stopped at areas between 9500 and 9700 feet elevation on the north side of the road.  There were many Kelley’s Lilies and Rein Orchids. Also Lupine, Paintbrush, Western Columbine, Richardson’s Geranium.

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Click Read More for Detailed Plan List

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 21, 2017

Did You Know That Snakes Hunt In Groups?

We often think of animals like wolves hunting as a group but did you know snakes also can hunt in a pack. Read story at National Geographic  Snakes Gang Up to Hunt Prey—a First

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 20, 2017

 Cockroaches As Pollinators?

National Geographic reports on the surprising discovery (at least to most humans) that cockroaches may be pollinators

The cockroach Moluchia brevipennis, native to central Chile‘s scrublands, feeds on flower pollen—and may even pollinate plants.

Read article at This Cockroach May Pollinate Flowers—Extremely Rare Find

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 19, 2017

Good Nature and Science Reading

Are you looking for a good book to read about nature and science? The New York Times Book Review has a recent article on recommended non-fiction and fiction books on nature and science. It includes nature memoirs, natural histories, food chronicles and accounts of animals in the wild as well as many other types of environmental books. Check out the reading suggestions at  Dear Match Book: What Books Best Capture Science and Nature? – The New York Times.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 18, 2017

Pacific Northwest Wildflower Reports

Pacific Northwest Wildflowers has following new reports including detailed wildflower and animal lists.

July 14, 2017: East Point via FS Road 2630 at the top of the Mount Pisgah ridgeline (Ochoco National Forest)

July 13, 2017: Rock Creek via the Ochoco Mountain Trail #823 hiking north from the trailhead on Road 38. (Ochoco National Forest)

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 18, 2017

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 7/17/17

Homestead Valley Land Trust reports on June 23

– Coast tarweed, a tall native tarweed with the typical resinous coating is blooming yellow along Pixie Trail and in sunny meadows.
– Kellogg yampah’s white umbels are blooming tall above the grasses in meadows. This was an important staple crop of Native Americans who ate the nut like root.
– Roughleaf aster is blooming in the forest along the Eagle Trail.

– Rosilla with its tall yellow flower and backward facing petals is blooming beside the creek that pasess the Ridgewood Rock.
– Toyon, a small tree, is blooming white in the forests.
– California spikenard, one of the largest herbaceous plants in North America, grows to 3-9′ each season. Its white firework-shaped flowers are blooming now along creeks in the forests.
– Silverleaf cotoneaster, native to China, a large shrub with white flowers that will become bright red berries is blooming at forest edges.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 18, 2017

How Coyotes Thrive in Southern California? 

The Orange County Register reports on a study exploring how coyote survive and thrive in Southern California. Read story at  How do coyotes thrive in Southern California? Scientists dissect 200-plus carcasses to find clues – Orange County Register

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 17, 2017

Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake Wildflowers 

Wildflower Hikes and More has a new posting describing a wildflower hike from Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake. It includes a trail description, wildflower list, photos and maps at Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake for Wildflowers – Wildflower Hikes and More.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 17, 2017

California Projected to Get Wetter Through This Century

University of California Riverside News Release

California Projected to Get Wetter Through This Century

UC Riverside researchers analyze 38 climate models and project California will get on average 12 percent more precipitation through 2100

Under business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, climate models predict California will get warmer during the rest of the century and most also predict the state will get drier.

But, new research, published todayin the journal Nature Communications, predicts that California will actually get wetter. The scientists from the University of California, Riverside predict the state will get an average of 12 percent more precipitation through the end of this century, compared to the last 20 years of last century.

The researchers found different rates of precipitation increase for northern, central and southern California. Northern California, which they define as starting just north of Santa Rosa, would increase 14.1 percent. Central California, which starts just south of San Luis Opispo, would go up 15.2 percent. Southern California would actually decrease 3.3 percent.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 17, 2017

Eastern Sierra Wildflowers: Bishop Creek 7/17/17

Today was spent exploring wildflowers along Bishop Creek in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. We drove from 395 to South Lake (approx. 22 miles). The Wildflowers don’t start to appear until about 11 miles and the best flowers along the road were during the last few miles.

The highlight was a very short hike we did through a wildflower “garden”, which was a short spur to left of the main trail just above the parking area. This was probably the most flowery area we have seen during this trip. There were lots of Kelley’s Lily, Monkshood, Red Paintbrush, Western Columbine, Sierra Rein-Orchid,  and Arrow-leafed Groundsel. Other flowers in this area included Green Rein Orchid, Fireweed, Slender Cinquefoil, Shooting Star, Sierra Columbine and Swamp Onion.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2017

Pt. Reyes Wildflowers: Bull Point 7/15/17

The Marin County CNPS Facebook page has photos from wildflowers seen at Bull Point at Pt. Reyes this week at  Marin Native Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2017

White Mountain Wildflowers 7/16/17

Today was spent on White Mountain on the unpaved road between the Schulman Grove and White Mt. Trailhead.  The Road to Patriarch Grove is blocked by snow. You can walk out but we opted to pass as many of the flowers we normally see there were along the road.

Most impressive was an area about two and half miles above Schulman Grover where there were thousands of a small Alpine Paintbrush and farther along there was a seep that had Scented Shooting Star/ Primula fragrans. There were large numbers of Wyoming Paintbrush, Coville’s Phlox and Lupine along the road. Also good specimens of Scarlet Penstemon.

Flowers identified included Wyoming Paintbrush, at least two Lupines, Prickly Phlox, Coyote Mint, Hawksbeard, Golden Flower, Scarlet Penstemon, Showy Penstemon, Whorled Penstemon, Pussy Toes, Ruby Buckwheat, Flax, Alpine Paintbrush,  Pinzl’s Fleabane/Erigeron clokeyi var. pinzliae, Shooting Stars, Dwarf Lewesia/ Lewesia pygmacea, Toad Lily/ Monti chamissoi, a Cinquefoil, an Ivesia, a Draba,  Hymenoxys lemmonii or H. copperi, a very tiny Locoweed/Astragalus kentrophyta and a very tiny yellow monkeyflower/Erythranthe suksdorfii.

Today’s iPhone slideshow

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Also seen were Mt. Bluebirds, Mt. Chickadees, Ravens and Clark’s Nutcrackers.

Butterflies included Painted Lady,  Mourning Cloak Butterfly and unidentified blues.

Near the trailhead  were a number of Marmots.

Many  of the flowers are small “belly flowers”. They are easy to miss if you don’t look carefully.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 16, 2017

Are You Getting Too Close To A Bird Nest?

Audubon reports

Know When Birds Think You’re Too Close to Their Nests There are a variety of behaviors birds display when they feel threatened. Understanding them will make you a more responsible birder.

Read article at: Birdist Rule #28: Know When Birds Think You’re Too Close to Their Nests | Audubon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 15, 2017

Rock Creek Road Wildflowers 7/15/17

Today we drove along Rock Creek Road in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. There is much in bloom at the higher elevations.

There were the Prickly Poppies  that started just under a mile up the road. There were less than previous years.

At about a mile and half there was Angelica and Southern Mt. Misery in bloom and Wild Currants in fruit.

At about 2 two  and half miles there is a hillside with a tapestry of high desert shrubs  and Sulphur Buckwheat.

The best flowers start at about five and half miles up and over 8500 feet elevation

There were many flowers were along the roadside in the wet spots. Flowers appearing included Yellow Monkeyflower, Kelly’s Lily, White Rein Orchids, Rangers Buttons, Monkshood, Single Stemmed Groundsel, a Cinquefoil, Swamp Onion, Fireweed, a Willow Herb, Buckwheats, Yarrow, Lupines, Paintbrush, Richardson’s Geranium, Scarlet Gilia, Western Columbine, Meadow Rue, Arrow-Leaf Grounsdsel, and Wild Rose.

Although there were flowers at the highest elevations above the 9000 foot mark the flowers didn’t seem to be fully out yet.

The trail at the end of the road is very popular. Every possible parking spot within  a mile of the trailhead was taken. If you want to hike the trail it would be best to go up early and do it on a weekday.

After Rock Creek Rd. we drove along 395 and saw some nice roadside displays. We checked out Smokey the Bear Flat but it was more sparse than usual. The main flower in bloom there is a small lupine.

Today’s iPhone photo slideshow:

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 15, 2017

San Francisco Orchid Society Summer Show & Sale 7/22-23/17

The San Francisco Orchid Society Summer Show and Sale
Orchids in the Park – July 22-23, 2017
At the SF County Fair Building  (Hall of Flowers)
1199 9th Ave. (9th Ave. & Lincoln Way)
in Golden Gate Park,  San Francisco, CA 94122
Admission $5, Seniors $4, under 16 free

Buy Tickets Online at:

Come see thousands of beautiful and unusual orchids from around the world for sale and on display! You will find orchids of all kinds, colors, shapes, and fragrances. Some smell like chocolate, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, or roses, and can last for weeks or months. Please come and enjoy their beauty and fragrance! Many orchids are suitable for indoors or outdoors, and from warm to cool.
You will find orchids you can grow in your area, plus supplies and books. Expert growers at the show can advise you how to successfully grow the best orchids for your conditions. There will also be orchid companion plants such as bromeliads, succulents, carnivorous plants, and other exotic plants.

Speakers on both days will lead you from A to Z on how to grow your favorite orchids. The Orchid Doctor will be there to answer your questions.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 14, 2017

Yosemite High Country Wildflowers 7/14/17

Today we did a wildflower workshop with the Mono Lake Committee. Highlights were seeing displays that occurred just this year due to the heavy precipitation in a couple of relatively unknown places. Also explored Nanavut Trail just east of Yosemite for the first time, where we saw quite a bit of Red Mountain Heather and  then checked out some of the wildflowers in Lundy Canyon.

The first large display was Soft Arnica/Arnica mollis which was on Oil Plant road. Oil Plant road is about three miles south of Lee Vining. We drove in .7 of a mile and then walked down the left fork of a dirt road a short way and came to the displays.

The second  large display was Seep Spring or Common  Monkeyflower/Erythranthe guttata  which was formerly Mimulus guttatus, which was found about 1.5 miles out Horse Meadow Rd. Horse Meadows Rd. is also known as route 1N16 and is off of 395 about 1.2 miles south of  Highway 120 West.

A quick slideshow of some iPhone photos from today

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Click Read more to see plant lists from today.

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