Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 14, 2018

How Climate Change Will Radically Impact Yellowstone

The New York Times reports

Over the next few decades of climate change, the country’s first national park will quite likely see increased fire, less forest, expanding grasslands, shallower, warmer waterways, and more invasive plants — all of which may alter how, and how many, animals move through the landscape. Ecosystems are always in flux, but climate change is transforming habitats so quickly that many plants and animals may not be able to adapt well or at all.

Read story and see excellent photography at  Your Children’s Yellowstone Will Be Radically Different – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 13, 2018

Anza-Borrego Desert Winter Wildflowers Observations

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers has posted several winter wildflower bloom reports as well as reporting some winter rains at Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers: Species in bloom

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 13, 2018

2018 Christmas Bird County

Audubon’s 119th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted between the dates of Friday, December 14, 2018 through Saturday, January 5, 2019.  Please note that Sunday, January 6, 2019 is not included in the 119th CBC period.

A map view of the circles expected to be included in the 119th CBC can be found here. If you’re interested in participating next season, check out the map to find a count near you; more circles will be added as they are approved. Green and yellow circles are open for new participants, and red circles are full.

For more information and to participate go to 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 13, 2018

2019 Chico Snow Goose Festival Jan. 23-27

This action-packed 5-day event celebrates the remarkable journey of millions of waterfowl and raptors along the Pacific Flyway that call the Northern Sacramento Valley their home during the winter months. Includes Field Trips, Workshops and Exhibits.

Highlight include:

Farallon Islands: A Mecca for Birds and Birders, by Naturalist & Birding Guide David Wimpfheimer, keynote speaker at Saturday’s “Gathering of Wings” Banquet & Silent Auction

Remarkable Lives: The Intertwined Worlds of Birds and Humans, exhibit opening Thursday, January 24at the Valene L. Smith Museum of AnthropologyCSUC

2018Audubon Photography Awards traveling exhibit, featuring 12 spectacular bird photographs, on display at the “Snow Goose Festival Wildlife Art Exhibit”, Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA), January 24 – 27

David Wimpfheimer A resident of Point Reyes since the early ’80s, David will outline some of the factors that result in the dramatic diversity of the migratory and breeding birds in his lively presentation, “Point Reyes and the Farallon Islands: A Mecca for Birds and Birders.” He will examine trends and changes and share stories of special birds that have been seen over the decades.

If you have any questions, you can reach us at, or by calling the Festival Office at 530-592-9092.

For Registration, schedule and more information go to:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 12, 2018

L.A. County Approves Development That Threatens Animals & Wildlife

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

L.A. County Approves City-sized Development in High Fire Area

LOS ANGELES— The L.A. County Board of Supervisors today voted 4-1 in favor of the controversial Centennial development, with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl casting the lone no vote. Supervisors Barger, Hahn, Solis and Ridley-Thomas voted to approve.

Proposed for the northern edge of L.A. County in an area subject to high wildfire risk, Centennial would spread over 6,700 acres (the equivalent of about 5,000 football fields).

The development would destroy a large portion of the Antelope Valley Wildlands, which contain some of the most beautiful wildflower fields left in California. Rare wildlife like the San Joaquin kit fox and California condor would lose their homes.

Read More…

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Radical Proposal Would Disproportionally Harm Western United States, Putting Over 75 Endangered Species on Fast Track to Extinction

WASHINGTON— A Trump administration proposal today to radically slash Clean Water Act protections would free industry to dump toxic waste into streams across the United States and allow the destruction of millions of acres of wetlands critical to endangered wildlife.

By limiting protections only to wetlands and streams that are “physically and meaningfully connected” to larger navigable bodies of water, the proposal would virtually eliminate the Clean Water Act’s protections across the arid West, from West Texas to Southern California, including most of New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

An initial analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity estimates that today’s proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would cut Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands across 3,000-plus watersheds in the western United States. The plan could accelerate the extinction of more than 75 endangered species, from steelhead trout to California tiger salamanders.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 11, 2018

Tejon Ranch Co. Kicks out CNPS & Rancho Anna Bot. Garden

The LA Times reported on blocking  a botanist, the CNPS (California Native Plant Society & Rancho Anna Botanical Garden. from having access. This is due to their opposition of development plans that will have a  negative impact on rare native bunch grasses and wildflowers.

Tejon Ranch Co. has blacklisted a botanical group from visiting its environmental conservancy in what opponents say is a bid to stifle criticism.

Read story at  A botanist criticized Tejon Ranch. So he got kicked out — along with 10,000 of his friends – Los Angeles Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 10, 2018

Free Hiking Guide to Peninsula and South Bay Trails

A get a free seasonal guide to Peninsula and South Bay regional trails

Know when and where to go, each month of the year! The Hiking Calendar includes:

  • Descriptions and tips for visiting the best trails each season
  • Interactive trail routes on Google maps
  • Other fun events and celebratory days to keep in mind

Get free guide Hiking Calendar from POST – A Seasonal Guide to Six Regional Trails in the Bay Area

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 9, 2018

Birding Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary 12/9/18

Today I went birding at Elsie Roemer starting just after high tide. Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is at the east end of Marsh Beach in the town of Alameda. It is one of the best places to see large numbers of shorebirds. It was overcast most of the day with sun coming out just before we left. Temperature was in the 50’s. Winds were slight.

We identified 30 species today. There were very large numbers of shorebirds today including Black-bellied Plovers, Willets, Marbled Godwits, Dunlin and Western Sandpipers.

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Click Read more to see today’s bird list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 9, 2018

Tejon Ranch Development Stopped In Kern County

Center for Biological Diversity News Release posted on 12/7/18

Judge Orders Kern County to Rescind Approvals for Grapevine Development

Court Says Kern County Must Consider Air Pollution, Health Impacts

A judge today ruled that Kern County must rescind its approvals for Tejon Ranch Company’s proposed 8,000-acre Grapevine development, which would destroy wildlife habitat and greatly increase car traffic on local highways.

The county’s environmental review of the massive project was flawed, the court ruled, because it potentially underestimated its environmental and public-health impacts. Judge Kenneth Twisselman II sided with the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety in finding that county officials could not keep approvals in place while conducting additional environmental analysis.

“The ruling halts this destructive project and forces county officials to fully analyze the pollution risks of adding tens of thousands of cars to local freeways,” said J.P. Rose, a staff attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Kern County residents deserve to truly understand how Grapevine would damage air quality and public health. The county needs to fix these problems, not sweep them under the rug.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 8, 2018

2018 Geminid Meteor Shower Visible 12/7 to 12l16; Peaks 12/14

EarthSky reports

The Geminid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 14 December 2018. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 7 December to 16 December.

The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 100 per hour (ZHR). However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower

The Moon will be 7 days old at the time of peak activity, presenting significant interference in the early evening sky.

Read more at Geminid meteor shower –

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 7, 2018

Recommending Plants To Attract Pollinators 

Science Daily reports

Pollinating insects are integral to the health of all terrestrial ecosystems and agriculture worldwide. As homeowners attempt to conserve pollinators through horticulture practices, they often seek the advice and guidance of horticulture retail employees regarding what plants they can successfully include on their properties to maximize their intended benefit to pollinators as well as to their home ecosystems.

Read article at   Recommending plants to benefit and attract pollinators — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 6, 2018

Special Channel Island Lecture Dec. 13

Channel Island National Park News Release

New Discovery in the Story of the Lone Woman
Ventura, CA – During a special lecture on Thursday, December 13, a panel of researchers will reveal new information about why the Lone Woman remained on San Nicolas Island after others in her community left for the mainland.
Depicted in the best-selling children’s novel Island of the Blue Dolphins, the story of the Lone Woman is based on the true story of a Native American woman who was left alone on San Nicolas Island from 1835 to 1853.
Steven Schwartz, Dr. John Johnson, Susan Morris and Carol Peterson have examined new evidence revealing that the Lone Woman stayed on the island to take care of her son, who had remained behind. She lived with him for a number of years before he was tragically killed in a boating accident, after which she was truly alone.
Contrary to previous belief, it is now understood that when the Lone Woman was brought to the mainland there were native speakers in Santa Barbara who were able to effectively communicate with her through spoken word. She shared with them why she chose to stay on the island as the others left.
Steven J. Schwartz, recently retired, was the Navy’s senior archaeologist on San Nicolas Island for 25 years. Due to this unique position, he has become one of the leading experts on the Lone Woman’s story, publishing and speaking on this topic at numerous venues.
Dr. John R. Johnson has served as Curator of Anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for thirty years. He obtained his Ph.D. at UCSB where he holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Anthropology. His written contributions include more than 80 studies of the culture and history of California’s native peoples, especially emphasizing the Chumash Indians of the Santa Barbara region.
Susan L. Morris is an independent historical researcher and writer. She has worked on 7 of the 8 Channel Islands (including San Nicolas Island) on archaeology, paleontology, geology, and biology projects. For the past eight years, Morris has focused her research on the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, contributing content to the new National Park Service Island of the Blue Dolphins website.
Carol Peterson was the education coordinator at Channel Islands National Park for 16 years and was the main project coordinator for the Island of the Blue Dolphins website. Since her retirement, she has continued to coordinate this project as a volunteer and is responsible for posting all content on the website.
The talk will be held on Thursday, December 13, 2018, and is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding marine waters. The lecture will take place at 7:00 pm at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive, in Ventura Harbor. The program is free and open to the public.
This lecture can also be viewed live online, at: Shore to Sea lecture series.
The Island of the Blue Dolphins website is located at:
– NPS –

Terns follow record warm temperatures in ‘shock’ migration to north of Alaska Researchers on north-west coast of Alaska startled to discover Caspian terns 1,000 miles farther north than species had been previously recorded A Caspian tern

Eyebrows would be raised if American crocodiles, found on the southern tip of Florida, decided to relocate to New York’s Fifth Avenue or Moroccan camels suddenly joined the tourist throng outside Buckingham Palace in London. Yet this is the scale of species shift that appears to be under way in Alaska. In July, researchers in Cape Krusenstern national monument on the north-west coast of Alaska were startled to discover a nest containing Caspian terns on the gravelly beach of a lagoon. The birds were an incredible 1,000 miles further north than the species had been previously recorded.

Read full story at Terns follow record warm temperatures in ‘shock’ migration to north of Alaska | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 4, 2018

Mushroom Photo

Rain has brought nice clumps of Mushrooms. Photographed in my neighbor’s yard.



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 4, 2018

2018/2019 Way Roderick Lectures

The Wayne Roderick Lecture Series takes place on Saturday mornings from November through February at 10:30 a.m. in the Visitor Center of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. These illustrated presentations are enjoyable for beginners and professionals alike. All lectures are free and open to the public. For addition information go to Wayne Roderick Lectures

Note: Seating is limited, so it is advisable to arrive early, save a seat, and enjoy the garden until lecture time. (Don’t forget: Free tours of the Garden begin every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.)

Dec. 8 – Heath Bartosh: Northern California Black Walnut – A Tree with Many Stories.
AND After Heath’s talk, there will be a 15 minute break and at approximately noon, Bob Sikora will demonstrate his photographic method for creating digital images of slides.
Dec. 15 – Dan Gluesenkamp: TBA
Dec. 22 – TBA
Dec. 29 – NO lecture – enjoy the holidays!
Jan. 5 – Michael Uhler: A trip in search of floral gems in Nevada’s Ruby Mountains. A photographic recount of a knapsack trip high in The Rubies.
Jan. 12 – Steve Schoenig: Monkeyflowers in Flux – Focusing on Northern California.
Jan. 19 – Bob Case: Exploring Interesting Plants of Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska on the Lewis and Clark Trail and Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
Jan. 26 – Greti Séquin: Carolus Linnaeus – or Carl von Linné – and the Naming of Everything. An illustrated story of Linné’s life and work and a look at his botanical garden in Uppsala, Sweden.
Feb. 2– Dick O’Donnell: TBA.
Feb. 9– Jon Rebman and Sula Vanderplank: Baja California.
Feb. 16 – Ted Kipping: TBA.
Feb. 23 – Keir Wefferling: Uncovering Cryptic Hybridization and Genome Duplication within the Goldback and Silverback ferns (Pentagramma, Pteridaceae).
Mar. 2 – Bart O’Brien: The Gulf of California Islands, Mexico, Expedition of 2018.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2018

The Threat Posed By Geotagging Wild Places

The N.Y. Times reports on geotagging can threaten wild places and animals.

conservationists are concerned that photographers who geotag their precise locations are putting fragile ecosystems and wild animals at risk. As a defense, they are asking tourists to stop.
The Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board has created a campaign to get tourists to stop geotagging photographs on social media.CreditColle McVoy

Read article at  Is Geotagging on Instagram Ruining Natural Wonders? Some Say Yes – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2018

 Where Can I Find Fall and Winter Birds in the Bay Area?

Bay Nature reports and where to watch winter birds in the greater Bay Area

The Bay Area is home to a bountiful bird population year round, thanks to our rich variety of habitat types and our strong commitment to protecting and restoring them. This month and next, however, bring exceptional opportunities for birdwatching, thanks to two factors: travelers and tides.

Read article about Bay Area birding hotspots at  Bay Nature Ask the Naturalist: Where Can I Find Fall and Winter Birds?

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2018

Climate change: EU aims to be ‘climate neutral’ by 2050

The BBC reports

The European Union says it is aiming to become the first major economy to go “climate neutral” by 2050.

Under the plan, emissions of greenhouse gases after that date would have to be offset by planting trees or by burying the gases underground.

Scientists say that net-zero emissions by 2050 are needed to have a fighting chance of keeping global temperatures under 1.5C this century.

Read full story at  Climate change: EU aims to be ‘climate neutral’ by 2050 – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2018

California Fall Color 11/30/18

California Fall Color has continue to find color. Now mainly in the lower elevations. Highlights from reports the last few days:

  • Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Livermore Valley – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Livermore (495′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Pleasanton (351′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NO
  • Malibu Canyon – Peak to Past Peak, You Almost Missed It.
  • Alabama Hills – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Danville (358′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Davis (52′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

See photos and full reports at California Fall Color

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2018

December 2018 Birding Field Trips

Golden Gate Audubon Field Trips

for more information on the trips below go to Upcoming Field Trips | Golden Gate Audubon Society.

  • UCSF Mt. Sutro Open Space Preserve, San Francisco Saturday December 1, 8:30 — 11 a.m.
  • Albany Mudflats & McLaughlin Shoreline State Park, Albany Saturday, December 1, 2:00 — 4:00 p.m.
  • Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and Crab Cove, Alameda Saturday, December 1, 8:00 — 11:30 a.m.
  • Sunset View Cemetery, Kensington Sunday, December 2, 8 — 10 a.m.
  • Lafayette Community Park, Lafayette Sunday, December 2, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m.
  • Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland Sunday, December 2, 9:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m. (because of tides)
  • Valle Vista Staging Area, Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Moraga  Friday, December 7, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.
  • Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley Friday, December 7, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m. 
  • Staten Island and Cosumnes River Preserve Saturday, December 8, 8:30 a.m. — early afternoon
  • Arrowhead Marsh, MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Sunday December 9, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
  • Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline, Point Richmond Wednesday, December 12, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m.
  • Bay Farm Island: Coast/Canal Walk, with shuttle Friday, December 14, 8:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.
  • Lands End Trail, San Francisco Friday, December 14, 8:30 — 10:30 a.m.
  • Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco Sunday, December 16, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Wednesday, December 19, 8:30 — 10:30 a.m.  
  • Arrowhead Marsh/Martin Luther King Jr. EBRP – BICYCLE TRIP, Oakland Sunday, December 23, 10:15 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.
  • Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland Wednesday, December 26, 9:30 a.m. – noon


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 29, 2018

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here

The  NY Times  reports on the significant decline of insects and possible implications for life on earth

In the United States, scientists recently found the population of monarch butterflies fell by 90 percent in the last 20 years, a loss of 900 million individuals; the rusty-patched bumblebee, which once lived in 28 states, dropped by 87 percent over the same period. With other, less-studied insect species, one butterfly researcher told me, “all we can do is wave our arms and say, ‘It’s not here anymore!’ ” Still, the most disquieting thing wasn’t the disappearance of certain species of insects; it was the deeper worry, shared by Riis and many others, that a whole insect world might be quietly going missing, a loss of abundance that could alter the planet in unknowable ways. “We notice the losses,” says David Wagner, an entomologist at the University of Connecticut. “It’s the diminishment that we don’t see.”

Read Article at The Insect Apocalypse Is Here – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2018

Tioga Road & Glacier Point Roads Closed for the Season

Tioga Road (continuation of Highway 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are closed. There is no estimate on reopening, but they usually reopen around late May. Check current road conditions/chain requirements by calling 209/372-0200

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2018

Trump Administration Tries to Bury Climate Change Assessment

Defenders of Wildlife News Release

The Trump administration released today the Fourth National Climate Assessment, measuring the impact of climate change on the U.S. and its territories. The federal government is required to periodically assess the impacts that climate change is already having on the United States, as well as those that we are likely to face in the future. This report, the National Climate Assessment, is a tremendously important compendium of the very real threats to human health, various economic sectors, and ecosystems and wildlife.

The following statement is from Aimee Delach, senior policy analyst for climate adaptation:

“The Trump administration’s decision to release this congressionally mandated report the day after Thanksgiving demonstrates their approach to climate change: try to bury it on a slow news day and hope that no one notices how little this administration cares about global warming. This is truly a Black Friday, but for all the wrong reasons.“

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to humankind. Given President Trump’s abject refusal to acknowledge and confront this critical threat to wildlife and society, we hope that starting Monday, the National Climate Assessment gets the widespread attention it deserves.”


Center for Biological Diversity News Release

EPA Fails to Protect People, Pets, Wildlife

WASHINGTON— The Environmental Protection Agency has refused to ban M-44s, commonly known as cyanide bombs, which cause agonizing deaths for thousands of animals every year.

The agency’s decision comes in response to a 2017 petition authored by the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians and signed by several other wildlife conservation groups.

The devices are used to kill coyotes, foxes and wild dogs, purportedly to address conflicts with livestock. But they also pose serious risks of accidental injury and death for people, family pets and imperiled wildlife.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 26, 2018

Botany Job Announcement


Nomad Ecology is seeking a mid-level to senior Botanist to assist with the firm’s projects and studies relating to floristic inventories, rare plant surveys, vegetation mapping, post-fire sampling, statistical analysis of field data, and other botany related work. As a member of Nomad Ecology, the person filling this position must be dedicated to having an understanding and appreciation of the flora of California and promoting the use of sound science and current technologies available to restoration science and floristic professionals. The work will be both office-based and in the field throughout various locations in California. This individual would primarily be working with Nomad senior botanist Heath Bartosh. It requires an individual who is organized, collaborative, accustomed to physical field work, and enthusiastic about the conservation of California’s biological resources.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 26, 2018

Best Use Of Wildflowers To Benefit Crops 

ScienceDaily reports

For the first time, a new study of strawberry crops on New York farms tested this theory and found that wildflower strips on farms added pollinators when the farm lay within a ”Goldilocks zone,” where 25 to 55 percent of the surrounding area contained natural lands. Outside this zone, flower plantings also drew more strawberry pests, while having no effect on wasps that kill those pests.

Read more at Best use of wildflowers to benefit crops on farms — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 25, 2018

Fallen Leaves

Audubon  has an article on how your choice of garden plants has a major impact on birds and insects

“Each plant in your landscape you should think of as a bird feeder,” says Doug Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware who also worked on the study. “It either has food in it, or it doesn’t.” (Carolina Chickadees aren’t big users of actual bird feeders during nesting season, and, like most other birds, they do not feed birdseed to their chicks.)

Overall, Narango found way more insect food on native plants. That’s because a tree or shrub will only have bugs if the creatures recognize the plant as food. If they haven’t evolved together in the same ecosystem, bugs will probably steer clear of the greenery. For example, Narango searched scores of crepe myrtle trees, a non-native popular in landscaping. “I don’t think we ever found a caterpillar,” she says. Meanwhile, a neighboring oak tree crawls with dozens or more.

Read full article at Yards With Non-Native Plants Create ‘Food Deserts’ for Bugs and Birds | Audubon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 24, 2018

Fall Color and Raindrops In The UC Botanical Garden

The air was finally clean and the rain stopped so I went up to UC – Berkeley Botanical Garden. The trees have lost some leaves but there is still color to see, especially in the Asian section. Many plants still had water droplets from yesterday’s rain.  Here are some photos from today.

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