Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2016

Tioga Road & Glacier Pt. Roads Closed For Season

Yosemite National Park announced Tioga Road (Hwy 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are closed for the season.

The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass) and Glacier Point Road are closed due to snow. There is no estimated opening date, although the roads usually open sometime in May or June.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2016

Jepson Herbaria Workshops

University and Jepson Herbaria – UC Berkeley announced  that the 2017 schedule for the Jepson Workshop Series is finally here! Check outr course descriptions, register for workshops and sign up for our mailing list on our website:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2016

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 12/1/16

There are still wildflowers in bloom at Henry December 1 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 | December 2, 2016

New Zealand Town Builds Underpass To Help Travel Between Nests & Sea

The Guardian reports

A town in New Zealand has created the first penguin underpass in the country to help a colony of the birds cross a busy road that lies between the sea and their nests.

Little blue penguins, or Kororas, are the world’s smallest penguins and in the New Zealand town of Oamaru they have been forced to cross a busy road in the harbour to get from the sea to their nests after sunset in order to feed their chicks.

See video and read story at  New Zealand town builds underpass to help penguins travel between their nests and sea | The Independent

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2016

Edgewood Park December Wildflowers

Friends of Edgewood Park have updated its website to show what plants are typically blooming in December. There are  photos of plants you might see. Explore plant locations, plant species, which plant blooms when, and answers to a host of other questions at  What’s Blooming This Month »       Friends of Edgewood.



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2016

Great Barrier Reef Hit by Worst Coral Die-Off on Record

The New York Times reports

Scientists surveying the Great Barrier Reef said Tuesday that it had suffered the worst coral die-off ever recorded after being bathed this year in warm waters that bleached and then weakened the coral.

About two-thirds of the shallow-water coral on the reef’s previously pristine, 430-mile northern stretch is dead, the scientists said. Only a cyclone that reduced water temperatures by up to three degrees Celsius in the south saved the lower reaches of the 1,400-mile reef from damage, they added.

Read full story at Great Barrier Reef Hit by Worst Coral Die-Off on Record, Scientists Say – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2016

Beware Toxic Mushrooms

The East Bay Regional Parks report

After the first fall rains, the East Bay hills come alive with mushrooms. Sprouting in an array of dazzling colors, these fungal fruitbodies can be beautiful – but some of them are deadly poisonous.

The Bay Area is home to two of the world’s most toxic mushrooms – Amanita phalloides (the Death Cap) and Amanita ocreata (the Western Destroying Angel). Both are robust, handsome mushrooms that grow near oak trees, and both contain lethal toxins.

Read full article and see photos at Beware Toxic Mushrooms

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2016

December 2016 Birding Field Field Trips

December Golden Gate Audubon Birding Field Trips

For information on above trips go to Golden Gate Audubon Field Trips

  • Tilden Nature Area, BerkeleyFriday, December 2, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m. (First Friday bird walk)
  • Biking and Birding in Marin, Corte Madera Saturday, Dec 3, 9:30 a.m.- ~12:30-1 p.m.
  • South Park Drive, Tilden Park, Berkeley Sunday, December 4, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden Sunday, December 4, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
    (First Sunday bird walk)
  • Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Sunday, December 11, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Arrowhead Marsh/Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline, Oakland – BICYCLE TRIP (Trip meets at Tidewater Staging Area, not Arrowhead Marsh) Wednesday, December 14, 10:00 a.m. — about Noon Meet at EBRPD Tidewater Staging Area at 10:00 a.m.
  • Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond Wednesday, December 14, 9:00 — 10:30 a.m
  • Corona Heights, San Francisco Friday, December 16, 8 — 10 a.m. (Third Friday bird walk)
  • Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont Saturday, December 17, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco Sunday, December 18, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m. (Third Sunday bird walk)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Wednesday December 21, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Third Wednesday bird walk)
  • Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley Friday, December 26, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m. (Annual Wren Day bird walk)
  • Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland Wednesday, December 28, 9:30 a.m. – noon (Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
  • Las Gallinas Ponds, San Rafael Sunday, December 31, 8 — 11 a.m.

For more Bay Area birding  field trips through out the Bay Area click on the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society Calendar 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 29, 2016

Fires Close Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed all facilities in the park due to the extensive fire activity and downed trees.

Get updates and see photos at  Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Facebook

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 29, 2016

Two Nevada City Mushroom Events: December 10 and 11

Two Mushroom Events sponsored by the Yuba Watershed Institute

Register for the 2016 Annual Fungus Foray and Wild Mushroom Exposition

Saturday December 10, 9 am to 4:30 pm

Our traditional Saturday morning wild mushroom hunt and identification will wrap up with an afternoon of displayed discoveries and identification workshops.  Please arrive by 9am to register and sign-up for a foray group.

Bring a lunch and be prepared to walk in the damp woods. Also useful: collection basket, waxed paper bags, knife, and hand lens. We will drive to sites 15 to 30 minutes away. Please carpool and be open to sharing a ride with other attendants.

Following the foray, there will be identification workshops, as well as wild mushroom soup and other wild-crafted food for sale.

Sunday December 11, 11 am to 4 pm

Sunday we host the 6th annual Wild Mushroom Exposition. The Exposition will be filled with presentations, interactive displays, and workshops based on our seasonal Sierra mushrooms. Stop by any time between 11 am and 4pm.  There will be wild-crafted food concessions, mushroom merchandise available for sale, break away mini hikes on campus (weather dependent), and lectures and workshops that celebrate fungi.

Presentations will include Mike Wood from the Mycological Society of San Francisco, who will present on his new book, California Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Identification Guide.  Mycologist Alan Rockefeller will present his discoveries from temperate Mexican highlands. And Brian Perry from East Bay University will talk on the beautiful Mycena of California.

Please be aware there are NO dogs and No smoking at the Shady Creek Center.

Saturday – $20 general; $15 for YWI members; children and full-time students free

Sunday – $10 general; $8 for YWI members; children and full-time students free

Volunteer positions are available and pre-sale tickets will be available soon.

Information: or email, or call 530-575-6192


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2016

2016 Bay Area Fungus Fair December 4

This year’s annual fungus fair is December 4 at the San Francisco Fair Building, next to the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park, 1199 9th Ave (at Lincoln).   It is sponsored by The Mycological Society of San Francisco and will include displays, mushroom identification, talks and cooking demonstrations. For more information go to:MSSF Annual Fungus Faire.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 27, 2016

3 Dams to Be Removed in American West to Restore Rivers

National Geographic reports

A new $50 million fund will help communities remove “deadbeat dams,” starting in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Read story at  3 Dams to Be Removed in American West to Restore Rivers

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 27, 2016

Climate change Is Changing You

Birdlife reports on how climate change is actually changing animals including humans and plants

A new study reveals ongoing alterations in shape, size, sex and distribution of animals and plants are due to man-made warming.

Read story at Climate change is changing you | BirdLife

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 26, 2016

A Few Fall Wildflowers In Anza-Borrego Update

Check out the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association to see reports of a few fall wildflowers in bloom at  Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 26, 2016

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 11/25/16

Yes there are a few flowers in bloom in Henry Coe State Park. Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for November 25 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 | November 26, 2016

Pt. Reyes Tule Elk and Lichens

Yesterday we spent Friday at Pt. Reyes. We spent most of the time near the north end of the road to the Tomales Pt. trailhead. The Tule Elk were closer to road than usual which made for nice viewing and photography. The fences by the old barn near the trailhead are a great place to photograph lichens. Also did a short drive on the road to Limantour to photograph the Old Man’s Beard lichens that hang from the trees.

It is also  Pt. Reyes Open Studios  for local artists  through Sunday. If you go I especially recommend Tom Killion’s studio, who specializes in scenic landscapes of California.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 26, 2016

Climate Warming Impact On Arctic Whale Migration

ScienceDaily reports

Declines in the Arctic sea ice are arguably the most dramatic evidence of the effects of current climate warming on ocean systems. While sea ice is perhaps the most defining feature of the habitat of Arctic whales, the relationship between them and sea ice is still largely a mystery, and there is increasing concern over how these species will adapt to climate related changes in sea ice.

Read full story at Impacts of climate warming, declining sea ice on Arctic whale migration — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 25, 2016

New Handbook of Bird Biology

The Golden Gate Audubon blog has a review of the new Handbook of Bird Biology from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Here is an excerpt

With glossary and index it runs over 700 pages, and contains 15 chapters authored by 18 expert ornithologists. Five of the authors extensively revised their second edition contributions, while 13 contributed entirely new material. Many of the references in the new volume are post-2012, with some from 2016, covering recent advances in bird biology well. Also new to this edition are 1,150 color photographs, illustrations, and figures, adding much to the updated text. The second edition had a definite East Coast bias, with most examples coming from that area. The third edition approaches issues globally, picking illustrative examples from birdlife worldwide.

Read full review at  Golden Gate Audubon SocietyNew Bird Biology text is worth the wait – Golden Gate Audubon Society

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 24, 2016

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 11/20/16

Yes there are still wildflowers in bloom at Henry Coe. See Henry Coe State Park wildflower bloom report  for November 20 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 | November 24, 2016

90 % New Zealand Sea Birds Face Extinction Risk

Ninety per cent of New Zealand’s sea birds are at risk of extinction, as “serious pressures” threaten the future of New Zealand’s oceans.

The Our Marine Environment 2016 report, released on Thursday by Statistics NZ and the Ministry for the Environment, found that New Zealand had the highest number of threatened seabird species in the world.

More than a quarter of marine mammals were also at risk.
t was due to a degraded environment, the report said. Global warming and polluted coastlines were among the causes.

Read full story at 90 per cent of New Zealand sea birds at risk of extinction – report |

The LA Times reported

The number of dead trees in California’s drought-stricken forests has risen dramatically to more than 102 million in what officials described as an unparalleled ecological disaster that heightens the danger of massive wildfires and damaging erosion.

Officials said they were alarmed by the increase in dead trees, which they estimated to have risen by 36 million since the government’s last survey in May. The U.S. Forest Service, which performs such surveys of forest land, said Friday that 62 million trees have died this year alone.

Read full story at 102 million dead California trees ‘unprecedented in our modern history,’ officials say – LA Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 23, 2016

Octopus Stranded In Parking Garage

National Geographic reported on how the high tide during the recent Supermoon left an Octopus stranded in a parking garage in Miami, FL.
Read the story at   Supermoon Tide Leaves Octopus Stranded in Parking Garage

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 22, 2016

Sign Up For Audubon’s 117th Christmas Bird Count

Audubon’s 117th Christmas Bird Count will take place this fall between the inclusive dates of Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 through Thursday, January 5th, 2017.

A map view of the circles expected to be included in the completed 117th CBC can be found here. (Sign up will begin soon so be sure to check out the map above to find a count near you. )

Since the Christmas Bird count began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteers like you. Please keep reading to learn more about the Christmas Bird Count

When does the count happen?

All Christmas Bird Counts are conducted between December 14 to January 5, inclusive dates, each season. Your local count will occur on one day between those dates. Participate in as many counts as you wish!
How does participation work?

There is a specific methodology to the CBC, and all participants must make arrangements to participate in advance with the circle compiler within an established circle, but anyone can participate.

Each count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle, and is organized by a count compiler. Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally–all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day.

If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.

If your home is within the boundaries of a CBC circle, then you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day as long as you have made prior arrangement with the count compiler. Check out the sign-up link above during the sign-up season for information on how to contact the compiler.

To learn more go to Join the Christmas Bird Count | Audubon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 21, 2016

UC Botanical Garden Fall Colors

Fall color at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden is more than foliage. It is also berries and flowers. Although the fall color in the Asian section of the garden was not as good as the last few years there was still plenty to see.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 21, 2016

GreenFriday – Free California State Park Admissions

Save the Redwoods League, California State Parks Foundation and California State Parks invite everyone to bring their friends and families to explore 116 beautiful California state parks on November 25 – “Green Friday”! We’re providing a free day-use parking pass for you to share time with friends and family and give thanks for our beautiful California state parks.

To get a free pass go to  GreenFriday – Visit California State Parks

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 20, 2016

Napa Valley Fall Color 11/19/16

California Fall Color reports

Napa Valley – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

See photos and full report at Fall Color in the Fog

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 20, 2016

Anza-Borrego Botany Festival November 25 &26

Botany Festival & Native Plant Sale

Date:  Friday, November 25, 2016 – 9:00am to Saturday, November 26, 2016 – 2:00pm

The festival will begin the Friday after Thanksgiving with a native plant sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sale will continue on Saturday from 9 a.m. until sellout. All plants offered for sale will be native to the Lower Colorado Desert, and volunteers will be available to answer questions about how to get the best results. Plants may be pre-ordered from a list at

This year’s featured speaker, Don Rideout, will discuss Growing Native Desert Trees. Don’s informative talk will take place in the Discovery Lab at the Visitor Center on Saturday, November 26 at 10:00 a.m. Don is the author of the Society’s very popular guide, Gardening with Native Desert Plants: A How-to Booklet, posted on the Society’s websitesite:

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center
200 Palm Canyon Drive
Borrego Springs, CA 92004


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 19, 2016

The Western Monarch Butterfly Thanksgiving Count

The Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count (also known as the WMTC) is the longest running and most comprehensive effort to monitor overwintering monarchs in California. During a designated three-week period centered on Thanksgiving, volunteers count the butterflies and assess the condition of the habitat they rely on. There are currently 299 sites that are part of the WMTC with between a third and two-thirds of those sites monitored in any single year. Visiting one to two hundred sites over five hundred miles of coast in a three-week period is no easy feat, and it takes the efforts of over a hundred volunteers. To learn more or participate go to Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count

source Xerces Society

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 18, 2016

Audubon On The Election

Letter from Audubon about the election

You’ve been blitzed by four-alarm, red-lined fundraising solicitations over the past week. Audubon thinks you deserve a thoughtful response to the election that reflects our shared passion for birds — and for progress. Together we’ve protected birds for 111 years — through administrations led by both parties — and there’s an urgent need to bring some perspective to bear.

Some things didn’t change last Wednesday morning. An overwhelming majority of Americans still believe climate change threatens their future and the lives of birds and they want real solutions. Most Republicans are still among that number. Millennials still believe their parents have put short-term gain ahead of an environmental legacy, and they want that fixed. Many business leaders believe in a predictable set of environmental regulations. Americans didn’t vote against clean air or clean water. Most people still believe in science.

Two things did change that will have a direct bearing on birds and the places they need. It’s clear that the incoming administration will have new conservation priorities and that most of the opportunity to make progress on climate change will shift to the states.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 18, 2016

Gray Jay Is Canada’s New National Bird

CTV reports

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has hatched its decision for the bird best suited to represent Canada after a two-year search and 50,000 votes from across the country.The gray jay, also known as the whiskey jack, was awarded the society’s official recommendation for Canada’s national bird on Wednesday.

Read full story at: Step aside, loon: Geographic society plucks gray jay as Canada’s national bird | CTV News

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