Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 20, 2018

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Recognized Dark-Sky Park

Anza- Borrego News Release

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Recognized as an International Dark-Sky Park

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California State Parks proudly announces the designation of Anza- Borrego Desert State Park (Anza-Borrego) as an International Dark-Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

Located on the eastern side of San Diego County, with portions extending east into Imperial County and north into Riverside County, Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California. Five hundred miles of dirt road, 12 wilderness areas and many miles of hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the California Desert.

“This is exciting news for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to be recognized as a dark-sky park,” said Acting District Superintendent Norbert Ruhmke. “We made improvements to our light fixtures not only to better protect the wildlife, but also for our visitors to enjoy the beauty the desert has to offer at night.”

Long considered a premier site for stargazing, Anza-Borrego offers regular night sky interpretive programming. Monthly stargazing and moon-watching programs give visitors opportunities to learn about features of the night sky, the importance of darkness, and the steps the park is taking to protect dark skies. In recent years, Anza-Borrego has retrofitted light fixtures and replaced bright white lights with more dark-sky friendly amber lights. The new light fixtures create less light pollution, and have a smaller negative effect on wildlife.

Anza-Borrego’s commitment to protecting and interpreting its dark night skies was a factor in IDA’s official designation as a dark-sky park. The designation as a “Silver-Tier” park recognizes the very dark skies over most of the park, while acknowledging the presence of relatively small domes of light pollution near the horizon, from the surrounding urban areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and El Centro.

 

Read More…

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 19, 2018

A New Major Threat To U.S. National Parks

The NY Times reports on a deceptive piece of legislation whose main intent is not to created park land but to take away protections from the National Parks

Members of Utah’s congressional caucus, not content with eviscerating two national monuments in the state, have unleashed a new assault on public lands, proposing legislation that hides an agenda of deregulation behind the shield of the National Park Service and the beloved park system it oversees.

Read article at A Trojan Horse Threatens the Nation’s Parks – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 19, 2018

2018 Is Year Of The Bird

From Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Welcome to the Year of the Bird

We’ve joined with National Geographic, National Audubon Society, BirdLife International, and more than 100 organizations to declare 2018 the Year of the Bird. Coinciding with the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s ratification, it’s a great moment to pledge to do one thing per month to help birds. To kick off the year, we’ve collected six resolutions to help you #BirdYourWorld in 2018.

Why Birds Matter. That’s the topic of a National Geographic article by novelist and birder Jonathan Franzen. He joined Cornell Lab director John Fitzpatrick and Audubon’s David O’Neill for a conversation with NPR’s OnPoint radio show. Listen here.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2018

Waterbird Festival 1/27/18

Waterbird Festival
January 27th, 2018
Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary
10:00 AM to 3:30PM
Celebrate scaups, scoters, cormorants and more at the Waterbird Festival. Join us for naturalist-led bird walks, exclusive field trips, and fun bird-themed activities. Bring a pair of binoculars or use our spotting scopes to see the waterbirds that call Richardson Bay home.

There’s so much to see and do at the festival.  Check out the events below and RSVP today!

Review the event schedule below and then click here to register.

Off-Site

7:30 to 9:00 AMMorning Bird Walk with Rich Cimino
Piper Park in Larkspur, Limited Space Available

9:00 to 11:00 AM –  Bird Walk with Golden Gate Audubon Society
Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, Limited Space Available

10:30 to 1:30 PMBoat Trip in Richardson Bay with Outer Limits
Limited Space Available, $55 per person

At Richardson Bay Audubon Center – 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM

10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

  • Spotting Scopes on Lyford Porch
  •  Lyford House Open House
  • Art Exhibition in Lyford House

10:00 AM to 2:00 PM – Waterbird and Gull Identification with Peter Pyle Workshop
Limited Space Available, $20 per person

10:30 to 11:30 AM – Audubon Staff Led Bird Walks
Limited Space Available

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM – Birding Basics Class (Family and Youth Friendly) with Rich Cimino
Limited Space Available

Beginning at 11:00 AM Food truck, beer garden, and bluegrass music from Blue Summit!

11:00 AM to 2:00 PM – Exhibitors on Lyford Porch

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Bilingual (Spanish) Bird Walk with WildCare
Limited Space Available

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM — Nature Journaling with John Muir Laws
Limited Space Available

12:30 to 1:30 PM – Native Plant Nursery Work – Family-friendly and youth oriented

Festival Speaker Series – (Located in Blue Classroom)

1:00 – 1:40 PM Max Tarjan – Waterbird Program Director
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
Overview of SFBBO Waterbird Program
1:45 – 2:25 PM Heather Robinson – Scientist, Farallon Institute Seabird Monitoring on Alcatraz Island
2:30 – 3:15 PM Bob Lewis, Bay Area Birder and Lecturer Supper for Sandpipers – Where and How Shorebirds Dine
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2018

California Attorney General Confronts Offshore Drilling

The NY Times has an op-ed by the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra “Florida Isn’t the Only State That Will Be Hurt by Offshore Drilling” that discusses the Trump Administration’s decision to open up off shore drilling for oil and the arbitrary  exemption given to Florida

Read Full editorial at Florida Isn’t the Only State That Will Be Hurt by Offshore Drilling

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2018

Mass Resignation At U.S. National Park Service Advisory Board

NPR reports

Three-quarters of the seats on the U.S. National Park Service advisory board are vacant following a mass resignation Monday night, citing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s unwillingness to meet with them.

Nine of the panel’s 12 members, led by former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, handed in their resignations. The bipartisan panel was appointed by President Barack Obama and the terms of all members who quit were set to expire in May.

Read full article at Majority Of National Park Service Board Resigns, Citing Administration Indifference

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2018

2017 Backyard Bird Photo Contest Winners

See the winning  photos from the  2017 BAckyard Bird Photo Contest at 2017 Photo Contest Winners | GBBC

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2018

Birding Green Cay Wetlands 1/15/18

Yesterday I was in South Florida and went birding at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County. Green Cay Wetlands  is the old Green Cay Farm that was owned by Ted and Trudy Winsberg.  When the farms around them were being converted into housing developments they preferred to restore their land to open prairie with wetland similar to how it had been previous to farming.

There is a 1.5-mile elevated boardwalk through the wetland and a nature center.  It is an excellent area to see birds, alligators, turtles, and rabbits.  Here is the visitor’s center  Bird Checklist and Bird Counts links (which include monthly and often weekly bird counts starting on April 2007 and going through 2010).

I identified 24 bird species,  three Alligators and and several turtles

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Click read more to see bird list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2018

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 1/15/18

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for January 15, 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 | January 16, 2018

How Baby Owls Sleep Without Falling Out Of Trees

Audubon answers the question of “How Baby Owls Nap Without Falling From Their Trees” Find out at  How Baby Owls Nap Without Falling From Their Trees | Audubon

To better protect Muir Woods’ extraordinary natural resources and improve visitor experiences and safety, the National Park Service will require reservations for vehicle parking and shuttle seats, beginning Jan. 16, 2018.

A new reservation system—for parking and for seats on the Muir Woods Shuttle—will be in place starting Jan. 1, 2018 (see FAQs below). Beginning on Jan. 16, visitors who wish to park their private vehicle at Muir Woods or ride the shuttle will be required to have a reservation. Reservations can be made online or by phone starting Jan. 1. (visit gomuirwoods.com or call 1-800-410-2419).

Source: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. For more information go to NPS to Require Muir Woods Parking and Shuttle Reservations Starting Jan. 16

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2018

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 1/14/18

Homestead Valley Land Trust reports on January 14

NEW
– Fetid adder’s tongue, one of our most exotic blooms is showing its first flowers now.
– Green wattle acacia tree native to Australia is starting to bloom with its bright yellow puff flowers.

Forests
Starting
– Scotch broom, native to Western Europe, one of the most aggressive invaders of our meadows is blooming with its yellow pea flowers. Pull it before it goes to seed if you can.
– Tasmanian blue gum, is blooming white high in the huge eucalyptus trees.
– Coast live oak blooms with pink tassels.
– California bay laurel, our most common native tree’s blooms have a delicate vanilla scent.

See map and photos at Homestead Valley Land Trust

 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2018

Is Noise Pollution Giving Birds PTSD?

The Washington Post reports on the impact of noise pollution on birds

“Noise is causing birds to be in a situation where they’re chronically stressed . . . and that has really huge health consequences for birds and their offspring,” said Rob Guralnick, associate curator of biodiversity informatics at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

It would be a stretch to say noise hurts birds’ mental health — the animals have not been evaluated by an avian psychologist. But in a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Guralnick and his colleagues say there is a clear connection between noise pollution, abnormal levels of stress hormones, and lower survival rates. This is the first time that link has been established in a population of wild animals, they argue, and it should make us all think hard about what our ruckus is doing to the Earth.

Read full story at Some birds are so stressed by noise pollution it looks like they have PTSD – The Washington Post

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 13, 2018

Old-growth Forests May Protect Some Bird Species From Warming Climate

Oregon State University News Release

Complex, old-growth forests may protect some bird species in a warming climate

Old forests that contain large trees and a diversity of tree sizes and species may offer refuge to some types of birds facing threats in a warming climate, scientists have found.

In a paper published today in Diversity and Distributions, a professional journal, researchers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University reported that the more sensitive a bird species is to rising temperatures during the breeding season, the more likely it is to be affected by being near old-growth forest.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2018

Anza-Borrego $10 Day Use Fee

If you are going to Anza-Borrego this year be aware there is now  a$10 day use fee on Friday through Sunday and holidays

California State Parks began collecting day use fees at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitor center  on November 3, 2017. Day Use fee is $10 per vehicle and will be collected on Fridays through Sundays and holidays. The day use fee ticket is valid at any State Park in the Colorado Desert District or the State Park System  for the date of purchase.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2018

Free Admission To Redwood Parks – 2nd Saturday Every Month In 2018

Save The Redwoods announces

Check out this great opportunity for the upcoming weekend and every second Saturday in 2018! #Stand4Redwoods#FreeRedwoodsDays

Happy Birthday to us – we’re turning 100 this year! To celebrate a century of saving California’s iconic redwood forest, the League and #CAStateParks are offering free day-use admission to more than 40 redwood state parks on the 2nd Saturday of each month in 2018. Get your free pass for this Sat., January 13 and take a #Stand4Redwoods! http://www.FreeRedwoodsDays.org#FreeRedwoodsDays

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2018

Feds Move to Strip Lynx of Endangered Species Act Protections

WildEarth Guardians News Release

Feds Move to Strip Lynx of Endangered Species Act Protections

 

MISSOULA, Mont. — Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its intent to begin the process to remove Endangered Species Act protections for imperiled Canada lynx in the contiguous U.S. This move by one of the most anti-wildlife, anti-science, climate-denying administrations in American history shows a vicious indifference toward this iconic North American big cat’s continued existence in the lower 48 states. Stripping protections would be extremely risky for the survival of Canada lynx in the contiguous U.S. in the face of ongoing and emerging threats. Scientists estimate the lynx population across the lower 48 states at a perilously low 2,000 individuals.

The species and its habitat are threatened by climate change, logging, development, motorized access and trapping, which disturb and fragment the snow cat’s habitat. Canada lynx rely heavily on snowshoe hare, and like their preferred prey, are specially adapted to living in mature boreal forests with dense cover and deep snowpack.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2018

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 1/10/18

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for January 10, 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 | January 11, 2018

Endangered Species Act Success Story

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Endangered Species Act Success: Oregon Fish Recovered, Proposed for Delisting

PORTLAND, Ore.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed removing Endangered Species Act protections from the Foskett speckled dace, a rare Oregon fish that has recovered with protection under the Act.

“The Endangered Species Act has saved Oregon’s unique Foskett speckled dace, just like it saved the bald eagle and hundreds of other species across the country,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’m thrilled this little fish will be around for future generations, and I plan to go see it myself as soon as I can.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 10, 2018

Death Valley Rainfall

Death Valley National Park reports

this weekend was the only rain we’ve gotten since July.
Altogether we’ve gotten .54 in in the last 2 days. This is very late rain, which means the flower forecast is not good 😦
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 10, 2018

Anza-Borrego Rain Totals 1/9/18

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports on Jan. 9, 2018 Rain in Borrego Springs


The winter storm that brought heavy rainfall to the coastal areas and mountains has also given Borrego Springs the first rain of the winter season.  Rainfall in January and February is the main driver of spring flowers.

According to data from the ABDSP weather station https://wrcc.dri.edu/weather/ucab.html  .94 inches of rain were recorded in the past 24 hours.  That’s a good January rainfall for Borrego Springs.

For comparison, the same weather station recorded a total of 2.53 inches of rain during all of January 2017 and another 1.99 inches in February of 2017.  The flower season cannot be predicted from one rainfall, but the rain during the last 24 hours was a good start to the winter season.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 10, 2018

Snowy Owl Classified Vulnerable For First time

Birdlife reports

One of the more eye-catching updates in the 2017 IUCN Red List paints a worrying picture for one of the world’s most familiar species. The Snowy Owl, an Arctic-nesting species with a range that spans the northern hemisphere, has been classed as Vulnerable for the first time.

Read more at Snowy Owl faces frosty future: classed as Vulnerable for the first time | BirdLife

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2018

Blake Garden Photos

 

Today I went to Blake Garden to do photography. I decided to work more on composition and less on closeups so I did something unusual. I did not use my macro lens at all. However, I couldn’t resist one closeup when I saw the raindrops a flowers

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Blake Garden is in Kensington and is relatively unknown as it is only open to the public on weekdays. To learn more about Blake Garden read my posting A Secret Garden – Blake

 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2018

Desert Rain Update 1/9/18

DesertUSA has the following reports today from the recent rains

A few wildflowers are starting to bloom in Anza Borrego. Rain is falling in Southern California, Arizona and other part of the desert today.

Anza-Borrego – the rain is falling in the Anza Borrego desert today. There are still some wildflowers bloomingin Coyote Canyon and other places that got rain in Sep 2017. The rain today should help start this years wildflower bloom.

Death Valley- Locally heavy rainfall may cause Flash Flooding in parts of Death Valley National Park on Tuesday…
A band of heavy rainfall is expected to bring the potential for flash flooding to Death Valley National Park today. Rainfall amounts of one half inch to one inch are expected.
…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING…
 –
Southern California 
– It is finally raining in Southern California, looks like 2 inches in some areas.

Lake Meade NRA –Lots of snow in the park today, Arches has become a winter wonderland.
See photo at: https://www.desertusa.com/wildflo/nv.html#ixzz53jnggsEm

Phoenix area and Northern AZ.:S Some rain is falling it the Phoenix area.

 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2018

East Bay Bird Photos

I put together a YouTube slideshow of bird photos of birds found along the East Bay shoreline trails.

You can see it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST9akhFQs20

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2018

Using eBird Mobile: Beginning & Advanced Use

If you have never used or are curious about eBird check out these links. Even if you are an eBird user  you may not be using it as effectively or as effortless as you can.

Want to keep track of your sightings on eBird, but don’t have the time to enter them on the computer after birding? No worries—eBird Mobile makes it easy to record the birds you see in the field, and seamlessly link these observations with eBird—a global online database of bird records used by hundreds of thousands of birders around the world. This free resource makes it easy to keep track of what you see, while making your data openly available for scientific research, education, and conservation. eBird Mobile is the only app that passes information directly from iOS and Android devices to your eBird account on the web. It should be easy to use (we think so!), and this guide can help with any additional questions

Also check out eBird Mobile FAQs to learn more about
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 8, 2018

California Can Probably Stop Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

The LA Times reports on several strong legal tools California has that can block the Trump plan to open up offshore drilling near California. Here are a few excerpts

The first hurdle for the Trump plan is a period of public comment and an extensive environmental review under federal law, which opponents can use to challenge the proposal as ecologically harmful.

In California, the state coastal commission also has the authority to review activities in federal waters to ensure they are consistent with the state’s coastal management plans.

And California has another weapon: State Lands Commission jurisdiction over tidelands and waters that extend roughly three miles offshore.

That gives the commission the ability to stop the construction of pipelines that are the most economical way of transporting oil and gas from offshore rigs to land.

 

Read full article Trump’s plan to open California coastal waters to new oil and gas drilling probably won’t go very far – LA Times

I was at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden today in Tilden Park in Berkeley for my first of the season wildflower photography. As expected the highlight was the manzanitas. Also of interest are the snowberries and silk-tassels.

You can see larger, better quality photos on Flickr at Manzanita Season. Click the box with the little arrow near the top right of the Flickr page for slideshow.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2018

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 1/6/18

Homestead Valley Land Trust reports on January 6

NEW
– Scotch broom, native to Western Europe, one of the most aggressive invaders of our meadows is blooming with its yellow pea flowers. Pull it before it goes to seed if you can.
– Tasmanian blue gum, is blooming white high in the huge eucalyptus trees.
– Coast live oak blooms with pink tassels.
– California bay laurel, our most common native tree’s blooms have a delicate vanilla scent.

See map and photos at Homestead Valley Land Trust

 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2018

11th Annual Galt Winter Bird Festival 1/10/18

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