Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 11, 2017

Bison Reintroduced In Banff Nat. Pk.

The BBC reports

A herd of plains bison have been successfully reintroduced to Canada’s oldest national park, more than 100 years after they were nearly hunted out of existence.
The 16 bison were moved to the Banff National Park in Alberta last week.

Read story at Bison return to Banff national park in Canada – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 10, 2017

California Pipevine Photos


California Pipevine are now in bloom. Here are two photos from my garden today as well as an older photo of the Pipevine Caterpillar taken in the UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden.To see photos of the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly go to:


California Pipevine/Aristolochia californica

California Pipevine/Aristolochia californica

Aristolochia californica, the California pipevine or California Dutchman’s-pipe is a perennial woody vine of western North America. The vine is endemic to northern California. It is native to the Sacramento Valley, northern Sierra Nevada foothills, San Francisco Bay Area, Northern Inner California Coast Ranges, southeastern Klamath Mountains.

The plant grows along riparian streambank areas, in chaparral, oak woodland, and mixed evergreen forest habitats. It is found below 700 metres (2,300 ft) in elevation.

California Pipevine/Aristolochia californica

California Pipevine/Aristolochia californica

The California pipevine’s flowers have a musty unpleasant odor which is attractive to tiny carrion-feeding insects. The insects crawl into the convoluted flowers and often become stuck and disoriented for some time, picking up pollen as they wander. Most eventually escape. The plant is not insectivorous, as was formerly thought. Fungus gnats (Mycetophilidae) may prove to be the effective pollinators. G.L. Stebbins suggested that pollination by deceit is presumed.


The larva of the endemic California pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor hirsuta) relies on the California pipevine as its only food source. The red-spotted black caterpillars consume the leaves of the plants, and then use the flowers as a secure, enclosed place to undergo metamorphosis. The plant contains a toxin which when ingested by the caterpillars makes them unpalatable to predators.

The above information is from Wikipedia using the following sources.

  •  Calflora: Aristolochia californica
  • USDA Plants Profile for Aristolochia californica (California dutchman’s pipe)
    Jepson eFlora (TJM2) Aristolochia californica
  •  Encyclopedia of Life: Aristolochia californica; C. Michael Hogan, ed. 2010.
  •  California Native Plant Society Newsletter, “Aristolochia californica,” 1971, Vol. 7 p. 4-5.
  • Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 10, 2017

Monarch Butterfly Population Drops Nearly One-third

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Monarch Butterfly Population Drops by Nearly One-third

Iconic Butterfly Has Declined by More Than 80 Percent in Recent Decades

WASHINGTON— The annual overwintering count of  monarch butterflies released today confirms butterfly numbers fell by nearly one-third from last year’s count, indicating an ongoing risk of extinction for America’s most well-known butterfly. Scientists report that this year’s population is down by 27 percent from last year’s count, and down by more than 80 percent from the mid-1990s. This year’s drastic decline is attributed in part to more extreme winter storms that killed millions of monarchs last March in Mexico’s mountain forests, where 99 percent of the world’s monarchs migrate for the winter.

“The monarch butterfly is still in really big trouble and still needs really big help if we’re going to save this beloved orange-and-black wonder for future generations,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that there is a substantial probability that monarch butterflies east of the Rockies could decline to such low levels that they face extinction. Researchers estimate the probability that the monarch migration could collapse within the next 20 years is between 11 percent and 57 percent.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 9, 2017

Anza Borrego Wildflowers 2/9/17

DesertUSA reports on Anza Borrego

Water on the road at the entrance to Coyote Canyon, 4WD recommended, it should dry up this week. The Sand Verbena are starting to bloom, there are not many at this time. Plum canyon is very green a few flower are showing. The next seven day should be sunny and warm giving the wildflower the energy they need to grow. Still early in the season.

Ocotillo Wells SVRA reports: Cool-but-sunny weather continues to coax early bloomers here at OW. Field staff spotted a blooming Orcutt’s aster (Xylorhiza orcuttii) in Tule Wash this week. Also known as woody aster, this lavender-petalled beauty is native to clay, alkaline soils of Southern California and Northern Baja. Check out the shiny, spiny leaves.

See photos at Anza Borrego Desert State Park – Wildflower Reports – DesertUSA

Defenders of Wildlife News Release

Defenders of Wildlife and 14 other Alaska-focused organizations intervened in a lawsuit today filed by the state of Alaska against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The state’s suit challenges a FWS regulation that prohibits extreme predator control methods on national wildlife refuges, such as killing mother bears and cubs, killing denning wolves and pups, baiting brown bears to make them easier to shoot, and using airplanes to scout and hunt bears.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 8, 2017

Desert Wildflower Updates 2/8/17

Desert Wildflower Reports – DesertUSA has the following updates

The outlook is very good for the 2017 wildflower season. Results should start showing in a few weeks.

Anza Borrego: Plum Canyon. Saw at least five or six different colors and species of wildflowers. See photos at

Although the overall outlook is very good  for this year’s wildflower bloom this does not necessarily apply to all areas and future weather may have either positive or negative impacts. Follow reports at Natural History Wanderings and DesertUSA as well as individual park websites for current wildflower bloom information.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 8, 2017

Sierra Club Slams Bill To Eliminate EPA

Sierra Club News Release


Congressional Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, has introduced a bill in the House that would terminate the EPA by the end of 2018.

In response, Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce released the following statement:

“Congressional Republicans have finally pulled back the curtain and revealed their true agenda: completely eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency and dismantling everything it does to protect our air, our water, and the health of American families. This bill would do nothing less than put the lives of thousands upon thousands of Americans at risk. After decades of trying smoke and mirror tactics to break the EPA, this bill finally makes things explicit and puts them in the clear light of day. The fact is that the American people will not stand for this egregious overreach, and Congressional Republicans should expect their town halls to remain full, their phone lines to remain jammed, and their lives remain difficult if they continue to recklessly put the profits of polluters ahead of the needs of their own constituents.”

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 7, 2017

Antelope Valley Wildflowers and Birds- Updated 2/6/17


Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR reports

As of February 6th, the recent rains have started to green up the hills with tiny wildflower sprouts, but it is too early to determine if and when we will have a good bloom this year. We are currently seeing a lot of grasses and filaree sprouts and not very many poppies, but new sprouts are coming up every day so check back weekly for updates.  If all goes well, we can expect the bloom to start in early to mid-March and last until mid-April or later.

Latest Poppy Reserve Researcher Field Notes reports on  February 5, 2017

The poppies had a slow start this year. They can start germinating in November, however, this year they started germination in January. I went to the reserve on February 5th and I saw quite a few poppy plants with their true leaves that measured up to 1-inch. The grasses are up to 3 to 4-inches, filaree has true leaves and some are red from stress, fiddleneck leaves measure about 1-inch. I also found new lupine leaves and a few pygmy lupine coming up. The bunch grasses are starting to get new blades. Hopefully we may have a few poppies blooming by the March 1st opening day.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 7, 2017

Gardens & Well-being Research

The BBC reports

A project aims to investigate the social case for gardens and what impact they have on health and well-being.

There is growing evidence for the environmental and health benefits of gardens and gardening.

Access to green spaces has been linked to reduced depression, anxiety and stress, as well as physical benefits.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield want to compile evidence on the therapeutic effects of gardens from the public.

To participate in the survey and learn read full article at Researchers seek evidence on gardens and well-being – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 6, 2017

Will Heavy Rains Trigger Massive Poppy Bloom?

The LAist reports

California’s rainy winter is already bearing fruit (er, flowers). The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve has passed the minimum rain threshold of seven inches needed to trigger a massive poppy bloom.

Read more at Heavy Rains Could Trigger Massive Poppy Bloom : LAist

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 6, 2017

New Manitoba Conservation Area Protects 86 Bird Species

The Metro News reports on a new conservation site in Manitoba.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says the Swan Lake Wetland-Parkland Complex project near Lundar is more than 935 hectares.

It says the area is a mix of forest, savanna, grasslands and expansive wetlands which tie into Big Swan Lake and the surrounding smaller shallow water lakes.

It says bird surveys conducted in the area found 86 bird species, including four threatened species at risk — the least bittern, Eastern Whip-poor-will, bobolink and barn swallow.

Read full story at New conservation area will protect 86 bird species and some at risk:nature group | Metro Winnipeg

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 5, 2017

Big Bend National Park Wildflowers 2/5/17

DesertUSA posted the following report from Big Bend National Park

The first of this season’s Bluebonnets have begun to sprout along trails and roadsides. Taller than most Bluebonnets, the Big Bend Bluebonnet (Lupinus havardii) usually blooms Feb-April. To help protect these new blooms while driving safely on park roads, pull over onto paved or gravel pullouts. Watch for many more blooms to come!

See photos at Desert Wildflower Reports for Texas – DesertUSA

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 5, 2017

Natural History Camp For Adults

Sign-ups for 2017 are open

The San Francisco State University Sierra Nevada Field Campus is a real find for students of natural history.

It is affectionately called summer nature camp for adults.  It is in the Sierra Nevada near Yuba Pass and has classes in many areas of natural history including plants, birds, insects, astronomy, mushrooms, and geology.  There are also natural history related art classes including writing and drawing.  Many of the instructors are well-known and top people in their respective fields.

Classes are between June and August and are both in the field and the classroom.   To see the 2017 schedule go to:

Enrollment is open and classes are already starting fill. Sign up soon.

There is a dining room and tent cabins.  You are also free to arrange your own lodging off site or camp on site or off. Students are of all ages and knowledge bases from complete beginner to advanced.  There is usually an excellent camaraderie among students who have shared similar interests.

Two classes I have personally enjoyed are

  • Bird Identification by Song with Jim Steele and Mark Kudrav
  • Butterflies of the Sierra Nevada with Paul Opler and Evi Buckner
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 4, 2017

Arizona Wildflower Report 2/4/17

DesertUSA reports

White Tanks Regional Park on 2-4-17 (Black Rock Trail): Nearly a dozen spring annuals are blooming along the trail with Mexican Gold Poppy (Eschscholzia californica mexicana) and Arizona Fiesta Flower (Pholistoma auritum arizonicum) grabbing the most attention.

Other early spring annuals blooming include two species of Eucrypta (E. micrantha and E. chrysanthemifolia), both common species of Fiddlenecks (Amsinckia tesselata and A. mensiezii), Redstem Filaree (Erodium cicutarium), Yellow Blanket (Lesquerella gordonii), and a couple species of Cryptantha.

Also, three different species of Desert Thorn (Lycium andersonii, L. berlandieri, and L. exsertum) are blooming, mostly near washes. The spring bloom is just starting and looks promising with areas of the desert carpeted with leaves of Poppies, Lupines, and many other spring annuals.

See photos at Desert Wildflower reports for Phoenix and Northern Arizona Area – DesertUSA

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 4, 2017

A Birding List for the New Year

The Nature Conservancy  magazine reported

In 2016, birders celebrated the centennial of the signing of the United States’ Migratory Bird Treaty. In 1918, the resulting legislation became one of the country’s first major pieces of environmental law. Today birders reap the benefits of the act, which barred, among other things, the hunting of migratory birds during nesting and mating seasons.

In Nature Conservancy magazine’s most recent issue, TNC’s migratory birding program director, Dave Mehlman, wrote about the importance of the act and a few key birding sites. Here are 10 more places he likes to visit that have benefited from the Migratory Bird Act.

See list of birding sites to visit and full article at A Birding List for the New Year – Cool Green Science

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 3, 2017

Sierra Nevada Snowpack Biggest In 22 Years

The Mercury News reported

After a month of huge blizzards and “atmospheric river” storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack — source of a third of California’s drinking water — is 177 percent of the historic average, the biggest in more than two decades.

Read full story at the Mercury News  Sierra Nevada snowpack biggest in 22 years and more on way

Good news for the wildflower season.




Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 3, 2017

Pt. Reyes Wildflowers 1/31/17

The Marini CNPS Facebook page has a wildflower report for the parking area near the Lighthouse. Flowers in bloom included California Buttercup, Baby White-eyes, Milkmaids, Indian Paintbrush, Douglas Iris, Creeping Blue-blossom,  PT. Reyes blennosperma, Milkmaids

See photos at Marin Native Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 2, 2017

Republicans Back Off Bill To Sell 3.3m Acres Public Land

The Guardian reports

In the small hours of Thursday morning, US congressman Jason Chaffetz announced that he would withdraw a bill he introduced last week that would have ordered the incoming secretary of the interior to immediately sell off 3.3m acres of national land.

Read full story at Republicans back off bill to sell 3.3m acres of public land after outcry | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 2, 2017

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 2/1 /17

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for February 1, 2017 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 2, 2017

Wild Unexpected Consequences Of Recent California Storms 

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on some of the recent unexpected consequences of the recent rain storms in California on nature. They include impacts on birds, mammals and plants.

Bears as houseguests, wayward seal pups, and tide pools of bubblegum-pink nudibranchs. All of these odd occurrences are related to the storms that have pummeled the Bay Area in recent weeks.

Read full story Wild unexpected consequences of the recent California storms – SFGate

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 1, 2017

Edgewood Park Feburary Wildflowers

Friends of Edgewood Park have updated its website to show what plants are typically blooming in February. There are 85 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


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 1, 2017

CNPS Field Trips February 2017

February 2017 Field Trips for the California Native Plants Society:

(for more information on trips go to chapter websites; also check out late trip postings at chapter websites)

Bristlecone (Mono, Inyo and NE Kern counties)

East Bay CNPS

Marin CNPS

Milo Baker (Sonoma county)

  • Salmon Creek Rd., Bodega Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 Meet at 9 a.m. to carpool. 10 a.m. at junction of Salmon Creek Rd. and Fitzpatrick Rd., about 2 miles west from the town of Bodega.
  • Armstrong Woods State Park Thursday, February 23,  Meet 10 a.m. to carpool. At Armstrong parking lot about 10:45 a.m. Should be back by 3:30.

Napa Valley

North Coast

  • Feb 8, Wed. 7:30 p.m. “€œPlaces and Plants of the Middle Klamath”

Santa Clara Valley

  • Saturday, February 11, 9 am – 1:30 pm Fetid Adder’s Tongue, Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve (San Carlos)
  • Sunday, February 26, 10 am – 3:30 pm Summit Loop Trail, San Bruno Mountain State and County Park  

Santa Cruz

  • Saturday February 18, 10am-2pm  Ferns of Fall Cree

Yerba Buena (San Francisco/Northern San Mateo)

  • Saturday, August 06, 2016 11:00am to 3:30pm
    Walk: Montara Mountain Manzanitas in Summer

If you are interested in information on other chapters go to:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 31, 2017

February 2017 Birding Field Trips

February 2017 Golden Gate Audubon Birding Field Trips

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

  • Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley Friday, February 3, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m. (First Friday bird walk)
    Alan Kaplan, or (510) 526-7609 for messages
  • Las Gallinas Storage Pond, San Rafael Saturday, February 4, 8 — 11 a.m.
  • Livermore and Patterson Pass, Alameda County Rescheduled from January GGAS Centennial field trip Sunday, February 5, 8:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden Sunday, February 5, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m. (First Sunday bird walk)
  • McLaughlin-East Shore State Park, Berkeley GGAS Centennial bird walk Tuesday, February 7, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
  • Outer Point Reyes, Marin County Friday February 10, 9:30 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.
  • Inspiration Point, Tilden Park, Berkeley Friday, February 10, 8:30 — 10:30 a.m. (Second Friday bird walk, leaders vary by month)
  • Alameda Creek-Coyote Hills Regional Park by bicycle, Southern Alameda County Saturday, February 11, 10 a.m. – ~3:00 p.m.
  • Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco GGAS Centennial bird walk Sunday, February 12, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Birds of the Delta – boat trip with Dolphin Charters Sunday February 12, 9 a.m. to 4 or 4:30 p.m.
  • Corona Heights, San Francisco Friday, February 17, 8 — 10 a.m. (Third Friday bird walk)
  • UCSF Mt Sutro Open Space Preserve, San Francisco Saturday February 18, 8:15 – ~11 a.m.
  • Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco Sunday, February 19, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m. (Third Sunday bird walk)
  • MLK, Jr. Regional Shoreline, Arrowhead Marsh/Garretson Point, Oakland Monday, February 20, 8:30 am to 11:30 am−noon
  • Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, OaklandWednesday, February 22, 9:30 a.m. – noon (Fourth Wednesday bird walk)

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

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 30, 2017

Trump Orders Massive Rollback of Environmental Protections

News Release from Center for Biological Diversity

Trump Orders Massive Rollback of Environmental Protections

Order Contains Dangerous, Illegal Requirement to Cut Two Rules for Every New One 

WASHINGTON— In a major effort to dismantle environmental protections, President Donald Trump today signed an executive order requiring all federal agencies to repeal two regulations before implementing a new rule.

This unprecedented and illegal restriction would hamstring every federal agency’s efforts to implement laws and dramatically curtail the federal government’s ability to protect human health, wildlife and the environment from emerging threats.

“This new policy is as dumb as it gets,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “How does this ‘one-step-forward-two-steps-back’ order work? So you’ll protect my drinking water but only in exchange for allowing oil drilling in national parks and more lead in my paint?”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 30, 2017

Desert Wildflower Prospects 1/30/17

Desert Wildflower Reports – DesertUSA reports

Storms in California’s deserts and in Arizona and Nevada have given us lots of rain. The outlook is very good for the 2017 wildflower season. Results should start showing in a few weeks.

Mojave National Preserve The Preserve got a lot of rain and should have wildflowers this year.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve As of January 30th the recent rains have started to green up the hills with tiny wildflower sprouts, but it is too early to determine what the bloom will be like this year. We have reached the minimum amount of rain the poppies need, but there are many other factors that can still affect them such as late freezes or early heat waves. If all goes well, we expect the bloom to start in early to mid-March and last until mid-April or later.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reports: While we’ve been reveling in the ocotillo growing leaves after the past couple winter rains, another desert plant has also been capitalizing on the good growing conditions. Jatropha cuneata, commonly known as limberbush, can grow and shed leaves multiple times in a year, changing from odd coral like sticks to vibrant bushes in a matter of days.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 30, 2017

Point Reyes Fungus Fair Rescheduled – 2/12/17

Fungus Fair at Point Reyes

The Twelfth Annual Point Reyes National Seashore Fungus Fair
Rescheduled for Sunday, February 12, 2017.
10 am to 4 pm
Fungi Collecting on Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Fungus Fair had to be postponed on Sunday, January 8, 2017 due to an “atmospheric river event”. The Fungus Fair has been rescheduled and will be held on Sunday, February 12, 2017.

The Fungus Fair is an opportunity to learn about the fungi gathered by more than 100 volunteers who are helping to collect, identify, and catalog the species of mushrooms at the Point Reyes National Seashore. Amateur mycologists will be on hand to talk about mushrooms, their role in the environment, and more!

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 29, 2017

California Appoints First Environmental Justice Liaison

The California Air Resources Board (CARB)  announced

CARB Appoints First Environmental Justice Liaison

The California Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey announced today the appointment of Veronica Eady as CARB’s inaugural Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 29, 2017

Olompali State Park Wildflowers

The Marin CNPS Facebook page has photos for  the Loop Trail in Olompali State Park in Marin County showing Shooting Stars, Hound’s Tongue, Manzanita and California Buttercup in bloom. See photos and other wildflower posts at  Marin Native Plants.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 28, 2017

National Park Service Climate Change Twitter Campaign Spreads 

The Guardian  reports

A day after three climate-related tweets sent out by Badlands National Park were deleted, other park accounts have sent out tweets that appear to defy Trump

Read story at National Park Service climate change Twitter campaign spreads to other parks | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 28, 2017

100 Days of Resistance To Protect Environment & Civil Rights

Center For Biological Diversity News Release

100 Days of Resistance

Center for Biological Diversity Releases Action Plan

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity today released its 100 Days of Resistance plan to stop Donald Trump’s unprecedented attack on wildlife, people, civil rights and democracy.

The 25-point plan includes mobilizing 1 million people to take the Pledge of Resistance; halting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; fighting the confirmation of Trump’s corrupt, unqualified cabinet nominees; hiring 10 new attorneys, investigators and activists to aggressively hold the administration accountable; protecting the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act for the benefit of people and wildlife; defeating efforts to give away or turn management of our public lands over to states and corporations; and strengthening alliances with groups fighting for gender and racial equality, American Indian sovereignty, LGBTQ rights, freedom of speech, press and religion, workers’ rights and other civil rights and values.

Read More…

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