Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2019

Wildflower Viewing Behavior

Picking wildflowers is often illegal. Removing or tramping on them interferes with pollination and reduces their numbers. Transplanting blooming wildflowers is rarely successful.

Please do not trespass on private property to view wildflowers. If you are viewing wildflowers that are on private property please view only from neighboring public areas and respect all signs on accessibility.

National Forest Service on Wildflower Ethics and Native Plants Ethics and Native Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 23, 2019

The 2019 Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival Is March 2


Each spring, the desert comes alive as the wildflowers bloom and transform the Coachella Valley into a colorful canvas. The best place to celebrate them is at the Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival, which this year will be held at Palm Desert Civic Center Park!.

In addition to great wildflower viewing and beautiful art, the festival features a Kids’ Zone, and a 5k fun run.  There will be raffles, vendors, exhibitors, and live music in the beer and wine garden, as well as food and beverages available for purchase.

Due to the government shutdown, the 2019 Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival has MOVED to Palm Desert Civic Center Park at 43900 San Pablo Ave. We will be offering wildflower walks throughout the month of March – signup for a walk or for the Wildflower Bus Tour at the festival!

To learn more about the Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival call (760) 862-9984. For sponsorship opportunities and vendor participation, call (760) 568-9918.

For more information go to  Wildflower Festival — Friends of the Desert Mountains

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 22, 2019

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 2/22/19

New Website Link: Henry Coe has updated its website and changed the wildflower link. The new link is 

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for February 22, 2019 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 | February 22, 2019

Channel Islands National Park Wildflowers 2/22/19

Channel Islands National Park reports

It’s a great time of year to visit the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park. The recent rains have sparked a burst of wildflowers throughout our native plant garden! Come check it out!

See photos at  (1) Channel Islands National Park – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 22, 2019

Wildflowers Around California 2/22/19

Marin CNPS has photos a report from California Wildflower Hikes

Checker lily, Fritillaria affinis, a California native. Just starting to see these come out, I found quite a few that wer just starting to bud out. And a few that were open! This is at the Natalie Coffin Greene Park near San Rafael.

California Wildflower Report has a photo of a flowery hillside in the Santa Monica  Mts. at California Wildflower Report  and also reports “Poppies all along the I-15 north of Lake Elsinore now.”


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 22, 2019

Jepson Prairie Wildflowers 2/22/19

The Solano Land Trust Flicker group has the following report for Jepson Prairie.

Took an abbreviated hike at Jepson Prairie Tuesday. A lot of new growth but not many blooms yet. Observed Callitriche, Plleuropogon, Fritillaria liliacea, Viola pedunculata (beginning to bloom), Blennosperma, Hypochaeris, Primula clevelandii var patulum, Achyrachaena mollis, Triphysaria eriantha, Lomatium caruifolium (blooming).

This was all observed in the docen’t triangle/public area but there is a lot of standing water and mud.

Looks as though we’re going to see a good bloom this year.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 22, 2019

What Is Causing Monarch Butterfly Population Decline?

The answer is not what you may think. The Davis Enterprise has an article by Art Shapiro, a top California Butterfly expert, on the plight of Monarch and other butterflies in California. He finds that most species are experiencing significant population declines. He also reports that the cause of the declines are not understood. Although it was widely believed that the lack of milkweed plants was the cause of the Monarch population decline, this has proved to not be the cause. Read article at Commentary: So the monarch is endangered — now what?

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2019

Yosemite Firefall Is On Now

The Mercury News  reports

The so-called “Firefall” is on display this week, a natural phenomenon where reflected sunlight makes Horsetail Fall light up like a glowing lava flow. It’s happening right now, but it won’t last long. You can join hundreds of other Firefall admirers at the park, but you’ll need to hurry up.

Read more and see photos at Yosemite: Firefall, waterfall looks like lava, going on now

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2019

Baja California Wildflowers 2/20/19

The Desert Sun reports

The super bloom has started in Mexico!

About 20 minutes south of the seaside town of San Felipe in Baja California, purple wildflowers are exploding amid saguaro cactuses in the Valle de los Gigantes, or the Valley of the Giants.

The sweet smell of wildflowers permeates the fresh air off the Sea of Cortez. Areas along the highway heading south of San Felipe, for about 60 miles, are also in full bloom.

Read more and see photos at: The super bloom has started in Mexico. Pack your bags for San Felipe


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 2/21/19

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports

End of DiGiorgio Road – more colors are starting to pop at the end of the pavement at Digorgio road. Due to flooding, the road to Coyote Canyon is closed at the end of the pavement. Park and walk east on the dirt road. The farther east you go, the more colors you will see.  Verbena, brown-eyed primroses, dune evening primroses and desert sunflowers are scattered. At least one desert lily was blooming. 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2019

Antelope Valley 2/20/19

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve reports

To answer questions about why we don’t anticipate a #Superbloom: looking at the number of poppy plants growing around the #PoppyReserve, they are all over, but not in the density that we’ve had some other years. So it will be great, but not as “super” as, say, 2008.
We’ve now had 11 inches of rain, but the timing of the storms, the amount of precipitation in each storm, and other factors also affect germination rates.
So… why aren’t we getting a superbloom? Only the poppies themselves know all of the natural factors and the perfect combination that leads to a superbloom!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2019

Pinnacles Wildflowers 2/20/19

Calflora reports

Blooming now in Pinnacles: Primula clevelandii var. patula, or what some of us might remember as Dodecatheon clevelandii ssp. patulum (Padre’s shooting star)

See Photo at (3) Calflora – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2019

Five Great Winter Wildlife Cams

The Sierra Club has a site describing and linking to five winter wildlife cams at This Winter’s Top 5 Wildlife Webcams

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 20, 2019

Texas Wildflower and Bluebonnet Sightings Report 2/20/19

Texas Wildflower and Bluebonnet Sightings Report : Texas Wildflower Hot Spots and Pictures by Gary Regner Photography has the following report

February 20, 2019 – Early Bloomers Redbud and Mountain Laurel trees have begun to bloom in Central Texas signalling the beginning of spring. This is quite a bit earlier than normal. A few bluebonnets have also been spotted beginning to bloom along major roadways as well. This year may see a early peak along roadways followed by a later peak for fields and pastures that warm more slowly than roadways.

I scouted the areas south and east of San Antonio on Wednesday February 13, and conditions look the most promising since 2012. Areas visited included Devine, Natalia, Lytle, Moore, Bigfoot, Somerset and New Berlin. Wildflower seedlings were still very small, but abundant. Bottom line was it is still early, and I wouldn’t expect any significant bloom for at least 3-4 weeks. In previous years this area peaked in late March and early April, but I expect this year to be several weeks earlier.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 20, 2019

Antelope Valley Wildflower Update 2/20/19

Antelope Poppy Reserve reports

The poppy plants are still fairly small, and a few have tiny buds on them. We expect to see the first poppies bloom in time for our visitor center opening on March 1st. The hills are green and some tiny forget-me-nots, slender keeled fruit and filaree flowers have been spotted. We are expecting a great bloom this year, but not a #Superbloom.
Please remember, no photos IN the flowers in the park. Commercial and student filming and photography requires a permit.
Visitors must stay on the official trails. No dogs or bikes on trails, and drones are prohibited.
#castateparks #poppyreserve

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 20, 2019

Coachella Valley Wildflower Report 2/19/19

The Desert Sun  reports

Recent rain in the Coachella Valley and surrounding areas has experts looking forward to a wildflower boon across the California desert.

“This year is definitely shaping up to be a very good wildflower year,” says Cameron Barrows, an associate research ecologist at UC Riverside’s Center for Conservation Biology. “I’ve lived here in the Coachella Valley for over three decades, and there have been maybe two to four exceptional wildflower years, and this is one of those.”

Read full article at When will the wildflower super bloom happen in the California desert?

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 20, 2019

The Destructive Bay Area Wild Pigs

Bay Nature reported on the history of Wild Pigs in the Bay Area and the vast amounts of destruction they cause

Pigs feed by uprooting the earth in search of food. They can easily destroy a front lawn in a single night. They’ve disrupted San Jose neighborhoods, near where this photo was captured, in their quest to find food. If they’re not turning over every clump of dirt in your lawn, they’re eating your beloved plants instead. They compete with native wildlife for the same food. Upturning the earth also disturbs plants that aren’t otherwise adapted, exposing roots and leaving them to die. Pigs can destroy creeks when creating their wallows.
toad and boar

Read full story at Bay Nature Camera Trap Blog: Meet the Bay Area’s Wild Pigs

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 19, 2019

Joshua Tree Wildflower Bloom 2019 Video

The 2019 wildflower bloom has begun in Joshua Tree National Park.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 19, 2019

Anza-Borrego Region Wildflowers 2/19/19

Anza-Borrego State Park reports

With almost seven inches of rain since July, we anticipate widespread bloom of flowers in late February and early March. Some flowers are blooming along S22 east of mile marker 30, in response to heavy fall rains in that area. Heavy rains this week may allow many plants to grow larger before blooming, extending the season.

Lots of variables affect the extent of the spring wildflower bloom. For a good synopsis of what to expect this year, click here for a forecast from former Park Superintendent Mark Jorgensen.

Botanical Wanderings – California  has the following report from Anza-Borrego Wildflowers Guide

North of Devil’s slide in the Ocotillo Wells SVRA.
The flower fields are stunning and will get better.
It may well surpass what you find in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
WARNING: This is 4×4 high clearance only.

See photos at Botanical Wanderings


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 19, 2019

Santa Ana Foothills Poppy Bloom 2/19/19

California Wildflower Report has a posting

the bloom has begun. Poppies in Orange County’s Santa Ana foothills.

See photos at  (1) California Wildflower Report – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 19, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 2/18/19

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers has the following post for Feb/18/2019 Big Wash North loop

A return to Big Wash, to see how things changed after almost 2 months.
The most obvious Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard has grown faster than anyone else, but luckily it’s not everywhere.
Here no flower fields, except for the occasional small field of Eschscholzia parishii | Parish’s poppy high up the canyon walls.

Certainly a place to return to follow up some plants.
We found Phacelia neglecta | Alkali phacelia germination, a good place to revisit by the end of March or April.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 78.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 19, 2019

Court Ruling Aids Wolves’ Return to California 

EarthJustice reports

A judge’s decision to uphold California’s protections for wolves is a step in the right direction, but one lone wolf’s epic journey across state lines shows that federal protections are necessary to ensure the species’ continued survival.

Read story at  Court Ruling Aids Wolves’ Return to California | Earthjustice

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 18, 2019

My 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count Results

Today seven of us did a Great Backyard Bird Count. We spend a good part of the day looking at birds in my yard in North Berkeley  and then walking around the neighborhood in the North Berkeley Flatlands along the Ohlone Greenway and several side streets.

We found twenty-four bird species. Surprisingly 21 of them were either in or seen or heard from my yard. All bird species seen from our house except Black Phoebe, Red-breasted Nuthatch and California Scrub Jay.

The highlight of the day was seeing a Cooper’s Hawk swoop across our backyard and a Red-tail Hawk flying above. Both are very infrequent visitors to our yard.

Another highlight of the day was our Great Backyard Birding brunch featuring a Chocolate Bobka French Toast Bake that was very much enjoyed by all.

Click read more to see our list from today.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 18, 2019

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflower Report 2/16/19

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association has a new wildflower report for February 16 from Botanist Kate Harper who updates her 2019 bloom prediction following recent rain.  In summary, she says:

“The bottom line is the big Valentine rain (2.80 inches) will extend the bloom season and increase the diversity of flowers—more flowers for longer!”
Kate Harper, Desert Research Botanist See full report here.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 18, 2019

2019 Death Valley Dark Sky Festival March 1st-3rd

Death Valley National Park announces

The Death Valley Dark Sky Festival is Friday through Sunday, March 1st-3rd! Join us to explore the park’s unique landscape and dark night skies that help us better understand the wonders beyond our world. This event is a collaboration between the park, Death Valley Natural History Association, NASA, and many other organizations.

A detailed scheduled will be released soon, so stay tuned to our website calendar. But you can look forward to:

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 17, 2019

Arizona wildflowers 2019: Best hikes, scenic drives

See story on  Arizona wildflowers 2019: Best hikes, scenic drives It includes

  • Picacho Peak State Park,
  • Organ Pipe National Monument, Catalina State Park
  • Lost Dutchman State Park
  • Globe scenic drive
  • Pinal Pioneer Parkway scenic drive
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 17, 2019

Antelope Valley Update 2/16/19

Poppy Reserve/Mojave Desert Interpretive Association has a new report for 2/16/18

Antelope Valley California Poppy ReserveThe Joshua trees in front of the visitor center are starting to get their first buds. Other plants that are starting to bloom are: Filaree,Slender Keel Fruit, and Forget-me-nots

Arthur B.  Ripley Desert Woodland State ParkThe Joshua trees are producing their first buds. The snow in the Tehachapi Mountains is a wonderful backdrop for the Joshua and Juniper trees. It was hard to find a place to get a photo of the snow and mountains without wind turbines and solar panels. Ripley was one of the best places to do just that.

See photos for both the above as well as reports on Horned Larks and Burrowing Owls at Poppy Reserve/Mojave Desert Interpretive Association

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 17, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflower Guide

If you you want to know what wildflowers you found in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and surrounding area and are looking for a good wildflower guid check on the website which has high-resolution photos.

They have iOS or Android app that can be used as off-line field gui.

This app is intended for the casual flower user and experienced botanist alike.

You can identify plants by color, common name, scientific name or family name.
The app includes keys, descriptions and many photo’s of plant details.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 17, 2019

Birding Garretson Pt.

Yesterday I went birding at Garretson Pt. at Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline in Oakland, CA. The seasonal pond had plenty of water. There were good numbers of waterbirds and shorebirds. Saw my first Cinnamon Teal of the year. It was cold and windy so didn’t stay too long.

Click read more to see bird list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 17, 2019

Beech Trees Dying From Unknown Disease

ScienceDaily reports

Beech trees are dying, and nobody’s sure why: Intense effort underway to find culprit behind rapid disease spread

A confounding new disease is killing beech trees in Ohio and elsewhere, and plant scientists are sounding an alarm while looking for an explanation. Researchers and naturalists in northeastern Ohio report on the emerging ‘beech leaf disease’ epidemic, calling for speedy work to find a culprit so that work can begin to stop its spread.

Read story at Beech trees are dying, and nobody’s sure why: Intense effort underway to find culprit behind rapid disease spread — ScienceDaily

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