I have decided to temporarily suspend most new wildflower bloom updates due to the destruction that is occurring from all the “Super Bloom” mania. For an example of this see the posting Lake Elsinore Closed Due Bad Behavior & Crowds Creating “Super Bloom Apocalypse”

As a result of all the publicity from mass and social media very large crowds have overwhelmed wildflower sites creating a theme park atmosphere. Unfortunately, some of the behavior has been careless, destructive, and insensitive to the natural habitat as well as dangerous to humans. I know this behavior is not typical of the many regular followers of Natural History Wanderings, who I have had a chance to meet. I apologize to them for the lack of this resource. However, I do not want to contribute to the current mob scene happening in the desert and elsewhere.

I will continue to post other articles and possibly selective wildflower articles. I will re-evaluate in the future what types of wildflower bloom reports to post.

If you are planning to go see wildflowers this year I encourage you to go on weekdays, preferable early in the day. Also check with park and land management agencies to see what to expect. I have links to many of these agencies at https://naturalhistorywanderings.com/wildflower-reports/. I would also recommend not posting the location of any rare plants.

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

Tips and park rules provided by California State Parks designed to make viewing the wildflower blooms more enjoyable:

Respect the Landscapes

• Each park has unique landscapes. Stay on designated trails whenever possible. Tread lightly in the desert. Do not trample flowers.

• When viewing the blooms, take only pictures. Flower picking is prohibited.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 25, 2019

Honey as a Pollution Detector?

The New York Times reports

Beehives and their contents are a sensitive detector of lead emissions, a study of Canadian urban apiaries showed.

Read story at  Honey as a Pollution Detector? It’s a Sweet Idea – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 24, 2019

Great Backyard Bird Count Results

From Cornell Lab of Ornithology

GBBC Sets New Records

By every measure, this year’s event topped all previous levels of participation, checklists, and species reported. Below are the figures as of March 14, 2019.

Species6,699   Checklists204,921  Estimated Participants224,781
Our top-10 list for species appearing on the greatest number of checklists shows the Northern Cardinal once again in the top spot.

Species Number of Checklists
Northern Cardinal 56,785
Dark-eyed Junco 50,397
Mourning Dove 45,449
Downy Woodpecker 42,095
Blue Jay 40,386
American Crow 39,467
House Finch 37,726
House Sparrow 37,149
Black-capped Chickadee 35,757
White-breasted Nuthatch 33,284

Data totals as of March 6, 2019

The top-10 list above reflects species common in the United States and Canada because of continued high participation in the region. Record-breaking participation from other countries generated valuable data documenting the diversity of species across the globe. See the top-10 list below of countries reporting the greatest number of species. Asterisks represent new species number records during the GBBC!

Country Number of Species
Colombia 1,095*
Ecuador 948*
Brazil 844*
India 843*
Mexico 755
Peru 724*
Costa Rica 686*
United States 669*
Argentina 613*
Thailand 556

Data totals as of March 6, 2019

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2019

Southern California Wildflowers 3/22/19

Theodore Payne updates

The Wild Flower Hotline is not a guide to “super blooms”. We have produced the Hotline for 36 years, every year, even during drought years with fewer precious flowers. The Hotline is meant to help people enjoy the unique and beautiful nature of Southern California, without diminishing that resource in years to come. We do not include sites that are prone to chaos. We encourage people to treat these floral treasures with the respect due to all living organisms. Make this your watchword: #nowildflowerswereharmed

See full report and photos at March 22, 2019

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2019

Texas Wildflowers 3/21/19

Texas Wildflower and Bluebonnet Sightings Report : Texas Wildflower Hot Spots and Pictures by Gary Regner Photography has a new report for March 21, 2019

WILDFLOWER VIEWING GUIDE

These guidelines will help keep you safe and ensure future generations can also enjoy Texas’ wildflowers.

  • 1. Don’t trample or pick the wildflowers. Most wildflowers are annuals, meaning they need to produce seed to come back in following years. Walking, driving or sitting on bluebonnets or other wildflowers kills them, preventing them from reseeding and ever coming back.
  • 2. Don’t trespass. Over 98% of land in Texas is privately owned. Unless you are in a city, county, state or national park, you are on private land. Stay behind the fence or on the right-of-way. Trespassing is against the law and can result in arrest or worse, being shot.
  • 3. Use caution. Pull over a safe distance from traffic. Be on the lookout for snakes, fire ants, bees, thorns, poison ivy, and holes in the ground. High vegetation also may harbor chiggers and ticks.
  • 4. Enjoy. Texas has a lot of beauty that should not be taken for granted. Take time to stop and smell the wilflowers!

Spring Arrives in South Central Texas with a BANG!

    • Wednesday was the Spring Equinox marking the first day of spring and mother nature is celebrating in south central Texas with a magnificent wildflower display. The bloom this year is near the level of the super-bloom that occurred in 2010. Sandy-land bluebonnets, phlox, paintbrush, groundsel, and prickly poppies are the predominant species. Best areas I’ve seen so far are around La Vernia, Sutherland Springs, Floresville and Poteet.
  • FM 467 – many lots covered in thick paintbrush, bluebonnets, groundsel and phlox
  • US 87 South of La Vernia – many massive fields of mixed wildflowers, predominantly bluebonnets
  • FM 539 – nice displays along this road, but the largest field from past years has been plowed under
  • FM 1470 – large fields of paintbrush and bluebonnets
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflower Viewing Updates 3/22/19

Anza-Borrego Foundation  TIPS & NOTES for Flower-Seekers

  • Some areas are just coming into full bloom, and some areas are starting to dry out a bit. Current visitors are lucky enough to see the whole life cycle of some of our more popular flowers!
  • The Visitor Center and Borrego Palm Canyon Trail are open every day, but when the parking lots are full, access is closed in order to prevent traffic jams. Visitors are then directed to the ABF State Park Store for information. When space becomes available, the roads into those two areas will be reopened.
  • Please be patient with and kind to our Park staff & volunteers, as well as the people here in our town. We’re happy you’re here, and we’re doing our best to accommodate a large number of visitors.
  • Take only photos, leave only footprints. All park resources are protected, so please don’t pick the flowers or take anything home with you. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the flowers, and ensure there are seeds for future years!
  • It is your responsibility to know Park regulations. A few big ones include: dogs on leash are allowed on paved or dirt roads only; dogs are not allowed to be left alone in vehicles; no drones are allowed in

Spring Plant Walks- SOLD OUT

Here is the current Wildflower Update from ABDSP, Updated March 22
Anza-Borrego Foundation Wildflowers Page, Updated March 22

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2019

Development Threatens Critical San Francisco Bay Habitat

Bay Nature has an op-ed by David Helvarg, the co-chair of the Point Molate Alliance, which opposes  housing plan at Pt. Molate that threatens important nature habitat

On March 19, in a closed to the public session, the mayor and City Council of Richmond California voted to accept a proposal from SunCal, a major southern California developer, to build an upscale housing tract on the last isolated and undeveloped headland on San Francisco Bay, that is also home waters for its healthiest marine grasses.

Read article at: Bay Nature: Development Threatens Critical San Francisco Bay Habitat

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2019

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 3/21/19

Homestead Valley Land Trust  has a new report for March 21.  See map and photos at Homestead Valley Land Trust

NEW
– Barberry, this small, spiky-leaved shrub is blooming with scented yellow flowers.
– Blue dicks is blooming with purple clusters in meadows.
– Blue eyed grass is blooming with glossy purple flowers in meadows.
– California poppy, orange and bright, it’s starting to bloom now and will continue late into the summer.
– Checkerbloom is blooming pink up on the ridge.
– Pacific bleeding heart with its heart-shaped pink flowers and delicate foliage is blooming under the redwood trees next to 435 Laverne.
– Purple sanicle with purple puff flowers is blooming in meadows.
– Rosy sandcrocus*, native of South Africa, has a lovely pink flower and grows in meadows.
– Sticky monkeyflower with its orange flower blooms in sunny spots and will bloom all summer.
– Suncups, bright yellow and ground hugging is blooming in meadows.
– Winter cress with its small yellow flowers is blooming below Homestead Hill.
– Woodland star’s dainty white flowers are blooming at the bottom of the Ridgewood Rock.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2019

Massive butterfly swarm reaches Northern California

The San Francisco Chronicle reports

The front end of a massive migrating butterfly swarm reached Northern California late last week, and the so-called painted ladies are flying through some unexpected places, including San Francisco’s Presidio National Park.

Read full story at  ‘It blindsided me’: Surprise as massive butterfly swarm reaches Northern California – SFGate

In the article the “This Songbird Is Nearly Extinct in the Wild. An International Treaty Could Help Save It — but Won’t.” the New York Times reports on the lack of protection for species threaten due to commercial trade.

Over a quarter of the species threatened by commercial trade are not protected by Cites, the global agreement intended to save them.There are just a few hundred black-winged mynas left in the wild, but the species is not protected by an international conservation agreement.

Read full story at This Songbird Is Nearly Extinct in the Wild. An International Treaty Could Help Save It — but Won’t

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 21, 2019

Figueroa Mountain Wildflowers 3/21/19

submitted by Helen Tarbet Recreation Technician Los Padres National Forest

Figueroa Mountain First Wildflower Update for 2019

Happy 2019 wildflower season and happy spring everyone!

Due to the much needed rain, the Figueroa wildflowers are back on a normal schedule. The biggest question this season… “Is Grass Mountain going to have a Super Bloom”? The answer has been “It’s hard to tell.” Normally on heavy rain years, the poppies have to compete with the grasses and the grasses usually win. It was actually looking that way until last week. The sun was out all week and the poppies are really starting to make a presence on Grass Mountain. Lupine are not holding back this year and purple patches are beginning to appear on Grass Mountain as well.

Let’s get started!

Starting at the first cattle guard and continuing to the canopy area, shiny buttercups, blue dicks, beautiful fiesta flowers, milk maids, fiddlenecks, Johnny jump-ups, fillaree, lomatium, miniature lupine and miner’s lettuce are in bloom. Right before the canopy area, look to your right and find a charming little field of shooting stars, popcorn flower, lomatium and Johnny jump-ups. As one enters the canopy area, the hillside on the left has sky lupine starting to bloom. The canopy area is also hosting beautiful Johnny jump-ups, blue dicks, lomatium, buttercups, fiesta flowers and fillaree.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 21, 2019

California Wildfires: New Plants Bloom—But It’s Not All Good 

KQED reports that

California Wildfires: New Plants Bloom—But It’s Not All Good 

Many of the fast-growing plants are non-native and fire-prone, making it likely that the hills will be charred black again sooner rather than later. That’s certainly true in Malibu Creek State Park, three-quarters of which burned in November.

Read full story  California Wildfires: New Plants Bloom—But It’s Not All Good | The California Report | KQED News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 20, 2019

Texas Wildflowers 3/19/19

Texas Wildflower and Bluebonnet Sightings Report : Texas Wildflower Hot Spots and Pictures by Gary Regner Photography has a new report for March 19, 2019

Big Bend National Park 3/13-3/17. The Big Bend bluebonnets (aka Chisos bluebonnet) are still blooming, however, after being in bloom for nearly a month, the vast majority are becoming very tall and scraggly while many others are drying up or have gone to seed. Still decent for viewing, however, they are no longer very photo worthy. Be aware that they are difficult to see in full sun when away from the road, they seem to blend into the background; they are easier to spot during early morning or late afternoon, or when the sky is overcast. The greatest concentrations of bluebonnets are in the southwest portion of the park along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive south of Mule Ears Viewpoint to Castolon, or along River Road West about 7-8 miles east of the beginning of the road near the Tuff Canyon Overlook. Be warned that if attempting River Road West, you will need at least a high clearance vehicle, preferably 4WD. The road is very rocky and sandy in places, and I turned around at mile 9 fearing damage to my SUV. In other areas of the park, the bluebonnets mainly just line the paved roads. West facing slopes in general around Cerro Castellan are in better condition than east facing slopes. If you want to see the bluebonnets, go now, your time is running out.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 20, 2019

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 3/19/19

5Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for March 15, 2019 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

New Website Link: Henry Coe has updated its website and changed the wildflower link. The new link is https://coepark.net/blooming 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 20, 2019

 Point Reyes Wildflowers: Chimney Rock 3/19/19

Point Reyes National Seashore· Wildflower report for Chimney Rock 3/19/19:

Rangers reported a dozen species (Douglas Iris, California Poppy, and Checkerbloom to name a few) just beginning to bloom in small numbers. Long stretches of warmer weather will bring larger blooms in later weeks. For now, the trails are lush and green for your enjoyment!

See photos at  (3) Point Reyes National Seashore – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 20, 2019

California Drought Officially Over After More Than Seven Tears

KSBY reports

California is officially free of drought after more than seven years, drought monitors said Thursday.

The Golden State has experienced some form of drought for 376 consecutive weeks, the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, tweeted. It’s the first time the state has been free of drought since Dec. 20, 2011.

Read full story at  California drought officially over after more than seven years | KSBY.com

The Desert Sun reports

First it was the sea of wildflowers. Then came the painted lady butterflies. Soon, desert bees will join the influx of activity in the Coachella Valley.

Carpenter bees, which are often large and dark-colored, will appear alongside sweat bees and many others as the desert begins to warm up, experts say.

Like they did with the butterflies, above-average winter rains will likely lead to more bees in the area.

Source: Desert bees will soon join wildflowers, butterflies amid super bloom apocalypse

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 19, 2019

The Sparrow with Four Sexes 

Over the past two years I have developed a special interest in White-throated Sparrows. After years of only seeing them on rare occasions they have become regular winter residents in our yard. What is especially fascinating is they have a unique genetic mutation that impact their mating behavior. There are two subtypes of the bird that are coloured differently, behave differently and mate only with the opposite morph. Read about this unusual pattern in  The sparrow with four sexes : Nature News & Comment

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 18, 2019

2019 Marin County Spring Parks Programs

See the Spring Schedule of Marin County Nature Walks and other programs https://www.marincountyparks.org/depts/pk/calendar

 The Desert Sun reports on the closing of Lake Elsinore due to destructive and dangerous behavior in the poppy fields.

The poppies did not pop up on a flat stretch of land, but instead found home on the steep sides of the canyon. This did not deter visitors. Wildflower-seekers slid and fell down the side of Walker Canyon that was never meant to be hiked on, though some managed to do so anyways — even in very chic wedge heels. Families and Instagram-influencer wannabes alike attempted feats of free-climbing and scrambling as large boulders toppled down behind them as every step kicked more rocks loose, threatening to squish children or seniors who couldn’t lunge out of the way fast enough.

And it was hard for some to make a quick lunge while attempting to push a baby stroller up the canyon, carrying a puppy that clearly didn’t want to participate in the photo shoot or balancing light reflectors to capture the perfect Instagram shot.

At least one injury was reported Saturday afternoon, though ambulances were continuously driving to and from the canyon.

Read story and see photos at Poppy fields in Lake Elsinore shut down to the public amid Super Bloom apocalypse

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 17, 2019

Mt. Burdell Flowers, Birds & Photos 3/17/19

Today we went to Mt. Burdell to see the early season flower bloom. We went in the south side of Mt. Burdell entering from San Carlos Way The largest displays were of California Buttercups. There were also large numbers of Blue Dicks and California Poppies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click Read more to see plant list of all plants seen in bloom

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 17, 2019

Anza-Borrego State Park Wildflowers 3/17/19

Anza Borrego State Park reports

Some flowers are blooming along S22 east of mile marker 30, in response to heavy fall rains in that area. The fields at the mouth of Coyote Canyon have a wide variety of wildflowers blooming right now, but the “Wildflower Fields” along Henderson Canyon Road have not yet come into full bloom. There are large swaths of white Dune Evening Primrose and pink-purple Sand Verbena, but the yellow-orange Desert Sunflowers are still just in bud, ready to burst forth any day now.  Flowers are also very pretty in the southern part of the Park, with June Wash, though starting to fade, still a highlight for a wide variety of flowers (park near mile marker 42 on Highway S-2 and walk up the wash), and Carrizo Badlands Overlook worth checking out, too, for lupine and a yellow version of Brown-eyed Evening Primrose.

WILDFLOWER UPDATE 3/17/19 (for detailed report)

AREA MAP WITH WILDFLOWER VIEWING TIPS 3/17/19

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 17, 2019

Walker Canyon Wildflowers 3/16/19

Botanical Wanderings California has a new post with 27 photos of Wildflowers of Poppy field in Walker Canyon Trail

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 17, 2019

Jepson Prairie Wildflowers 3/16/19

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

Frits (F. liliacea) are in bloom, lots of Triphysaria, Blennosperma beginning to show, Limnanthes beginning to bloom. Muilla, Primula, Viola pedunculata, Pleuropogon (early phase), Plagiobothrys humistratus, Achyrachaena growing but no buds in view.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 17, 2019

Trump Administration Takes Away Sage Grouse Protections

Chair Grijalva on Sage Grouse Policy Revisions: “This is a Smash-and-Grab Job, and Acting Secretary Bernhardt’s Clients Will Benefit Most”

Washington, D.C. March 15, 2019 – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today released the following statement on the Trump administration’s newly announced revision to sage grouse habitat policy.

“As part of its ongoing campaign to hand over public lands to fossil fuel companies, this administration is rolling back sage grouse protections that many stakeholders created together through a long and deliberative process. It seems clear that Acting Secretary David Bernhardt’s clients stand to gain more than anyone else from this revision. This is a smash-and-grab job on our environment, and it’s going to continue as long as Republicans give cover to such cynical abuses of public power.”

Anza- Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports

The Ocotillo Forest.
The ocotillo are beginning to bloom along Borrego Springs Road in the area known as the “ocotillo forest”, about two miles south of Christmas Circle.  Yellow desert dandelions covered the ground on a walk-through today, mixed with some chicory.  There are also desert lilies, some in bloom, some just coming into bloom.  The lilies all seem to be located withing about 100 feet of the roadway.

See photos and older posts at Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2019

Marin Wildflowers: Hill 88 and Wolf Ridge 3/16/19

Marin CNPS Facebook page has a post for a hill 88 loop hike with 6 photos  LOTS of shooting star on the Wolf Ridge Trail; a bit past it’s prime, maybe, but still a sight to behold.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2019

Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore Wildflower Photos 3/15/19

The Mojave CNPS Chapter has a post with six photos showing the bloom at Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore at  Mojave Desert Chapter of the California Native Plant Society

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflower Viewing Map 3/15/19

See the current Anza-Borrego Wildflower viewing map with locations and wildflower viewing information updated on 3/15/19 at  AREA MAP WITH WILDFLOWER VIEWING TIPS 3/15/19

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2019

Carrizo Plain, Soda Lake, Pinnacles 3/13/19

Eddie Bartley reports

Temblor Range by Eddie Bartley

Carrizo Plain was off the hook colorful; Soda Lake as full as we’ve seen it; quite cool mostly from the breeze which made birding a bit challenging; peak bloom over the next couple of weeks is my guess. Mostly Hillside Daisy, filaree, phacelia, goldfields, fiddlenecks, a few Tidy-tips, couple of hillside and patches of Baby Blue-eyes at Carrizo; Pinnacles NM had a very different mix of buttercups, lupine, shooting stars, milk maids, paintbrush, etc.

Carrizo Plain – Photo  By Eddie Bartley

 

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