Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 7, 2019

First Proof Birds Snooze While Flying

New Scientist

Wearable brainwave recorders confirm that birds do indeed sleep while flying, but only for brief periods and usually with one half of their brain.

Read story at First proof birds snooze in flight without dropping out of sky | New Scientist

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 6, 2019

Eastern Sierra Wildflowers 7/5/19

California Wildflower Report has several recent wildflower photo posts for McGee Creek,  Rock Creek, and  Lake George near Mammoth lakes in the Eastern Sierra at (1) California Wildflower Report – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 6, 2019

Marin County Wildflowers: Lucas Valley 7/4/19

Marin CNPS has wildflower photos for  plants, including some more Clarkia, seen recently along Lucas Valley Rd., in Marin County at (2) Marin Native Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 6, 2019

Oregon Wildflowers 7/5/19

New report from Oregon Wildflowers:

Grasshopper Meadow 7/5/19 Lots of Lupine carpeting large areas of the hillside. Very, very pretty. Now seems the perfect time to go.

Iron Mountain 7/3/19 A variety of flowers blooming including lupine, Indian paintbrush, wild rose, columbine, many more. First visit.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 6, 2019

Mt. Rainier Wildflowers 7/5/19

Mt. Rainier National Park reports

Currently Blooming

Much of the snow has melted from the meadows and early-season wildflowers are beginning to bloom. A favorite is Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is a common shrub in the park. It can cover the ground in low mats less than a foot tall or grow into dense thickets up to 15 feet high. Salal flowers form a string of delicate, upside-down pink urns at the end of each branch. In fall, the flowers become edible dark purple berries.

Please Note: As snow melts away, it may be tempting to skirt remaining patches of snow that are covering trails. However, by going off trail you are walking on and damaging the wildflowers that you may be coming to see! It is better to stay on trail even if that means crossing snow, particularly in the high-visitation meadows around Paradise and Sunrise.

Wildflower Reports

  • Paradise (6/27) – NOTE: Wildflowers are starting to bloom along roads and trails but still too early for most wildflowers. Early season: glacier lily, avalanche lily, Sitka mountain ash, rosy spirea, Jeffrey’s shooting star, phlox, lupine, Sitka valerian
  • Sunrise Road to Sunrise (6/24)- wild strawberry, vanilla leaf, three-leaved anemone, paintbrush, penstemon, phlox, mountain dandelion, marsh marigold, cinquefoil, pink mountain heather, pasqueflower, magenta paintbrush, glacier lily
  • White River Road (6/25) – vanilla leaf, coral root, trillium (old), pink mountain heather (early), Queen’s cup, bunchberry, rattlesnake plantain, lupine, paintbrush
  • SR123/410 (6/24) – penstemon, columbine, Sitka mountain ash, goat’s beard, paintbrush, bear grass (particularly at Cayuse Pass)
  • Longmire-Paradise Road (6/27) – cow parsnip, vanilla leaf, yarrow, Sitka valerian, Sitka mountain ash (early), goat’s beard (early), paintbrush, columbine, creeping blackberry, bear grass!, rock penstemon, glacier lily, avalanche lily, slender bog orchid, tall bluebell, Jeffrey’s shooting star, lupine
  • Nisqually Entrance to Longmire (6/26) – cow parsnip, vanilla leaf, columbine, three-leaved anemone, bunchberry, tiger lily, lupine
  • Stevens Canyon Road, east to west (6/14) – wild strawberry, paintbrush, vanilla leaf, columbine, three-leaved anemone, lupine, goat’s beard, bear grass, Oregon sunshine, thimbleberry, penstemon, yarrow, subalpine daisy, avalanche lily, sitka valerian, sitka mountain ash, tall bluebells, phlox, Jeffrey’s shooting stars
  • Trail of the Shadows, Longmire (6/16) – wild strawberries, lupine, star flower, foam flower, spring beauty, vanilla leaf, oregongrape, devil’s club, cow parsnip, big-leaved avens, pippsissewa
  • White River Road (6/14) – wild strawberry, vanilla leaf

Wildflower Photos
The photos featured here are usually taken by park staff and volunteers from all over the park. Share your own wildflower photos in the Mount Rainier Flickr group! Higher resolution versions of wildflower photos are available on Mount Rainier’s Flickr page.

Plan Your Visit
Sunrise are two of the main visitor center areas at Mount Rainier National Park. Both areas are well known for their impressive wildflower meadows. The park also maintains dozens of trails perfect for wildflower viewing.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 6, 2019

Surf Scoter Decline Seemingly Reverses Dramatically in 2018 

Bay Nature reports

The popular ducks showed up in the Bay in astonishing numbers in winter 2019, pausing a three-decade decline and puzzling scientists

Read story at  Surf Scoter Decline Seemingly Reverses Dramatically in 2018 – Bay Nature

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 6, 2019

Are Flamingos Native To Florida?

WBUR reports

Flamingos have been considered a non-native, invasive species in Florida for much of the last century. Now there is an effort to declare them — once and for all — native to Florida. Flamingos were wiped out by hunting in the late 1800s, and most of those found in Florida today are captive.

Declaring them native to the state would allow for efforts to restore their population to South Florida.

Read full story at Are Flamingos Native To Florida? | Here & Now

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 5, 2019

Remarkable Bald Eagle Breeding Season at the Channel Islands

Channel Island National Park New Release

Ventura, CA — 24 bald eagle chicks have fledged from nests on the Channel Islands, making for the most successful breeding season since recovery effort began over 35 years ago.

This year there were 19 breeding bald eagle pairs on the Channel Islands producing 24 chicks, including 10 on Santa Cruz Island, 9 on Santa Catalina Island, two each on Anacapa and San Clemente Islands, and one on Santa Rosa Island.

“Since 2006, when the first bald eagle to hatch naturally on the Channel Islands in over 50 years, we have seen a steady rise in the population of these majestic birds,” said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley. “Today, not only do we celebrate the birth of our great nation, but also the recovery of a species that symbolizes our freedom.”

Recovery efforts this year were made possible from a generous grant from the Annenberg Foundation and the diligent survey and monitoring work conducted by biologists with the Institute for Wildlife Studies.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 5, 2019

How Mosquitoes Use Human Sweat To Find And Bite Us

NPR reports

Mosquitoes searching for a meal of blood use a variety of clues to track down humans, including our body heat and the carbon dioxide in our breath. Now, research shows that a certain olfactory receptor in their antennae also serves as a detector of humans, responding to smelly chemicals in our sweat.

Read full article at  How Mosquitoes Use Human Sweat To Find And Bite Us : Shots – Health News : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 4, 2019

An Arctic Fox’s Epic Journey: Norway to Canada in 76 Days

The New York Times reports on an arctic fox traveling from Norway to Canada in 76 days.

The journey of a young arctic fox, which trekked more than 2,175 miles from Norway to Canada in just 76 days, has stunned researchers and shed new light on the movement of the species over vast distances of sea ice.

Read full story at An Arctic Fox’s Epic Journey: Norway to Canada in 76 Days – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 4, 2019

Great Hummingbird Documentary

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird Image via Wikipedia

PBS  did a documentary about hummingbirds in 2010 called Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air

It was well photographed, including slower action, so you are better able  to watch the hummingbirds, and tiny cameras placed inside of flowers that gave a great point of view of the birds’ approach. Segments included hummingbird behavior, dominance “dogfights”, hummingbird research, and  why the Black-chinned Hummingbird prefers to nest near Coopers HawksThe video was very informational. Some interesting facts about Hummingbirds:

  • 800o Flowers are pollinated by Hummingbirds
  • The Swordbill Hummingbird has a 4 inch beak
  • Hummingbirds are evolutionary related to swifts and excellent at catching insects
  • Hummingbirds heartbeats are 600 to 1200 beats per minute
  • Hummingbird Color i not due to pigments but  cells breaking down
  • Hummingbirds go into a torpor at night to conserve energy reducing their heart rate to 30 beats per minute

To see the video on line go to: Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 4, 2019

When Did The Kangaroo Learn To Hop? 

The BBC reports

Scientists have discovered when the kangaroo learned to hop – and it’s a lot earlier than previously thought.

Read story at When did the kangaroo hop? Scientists have the answer – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 3, 2019

Carson Pass Wildflowers 7/2/19

Carson Pass Information Station reports

there’s still snow headed towards Frog Lake! But down in Charity Valley, well that’s a different story!

Blue Lakes today. All the gates are open to the boat launch ramp at Lower Blue Lakes. No campgrounds are open yet, but the road was easily passable. The flowers are out! I walked out to Charity Valley all the way to where it starts to drop into the valley towards Grover Hot Springs

See photos at  (10) Carson Pass Information Station – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 3, 2019

Coyote Killing Contests Don’t Belong in National Parks

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) News Release

Washington, DC — A major national park should do a better job of protecting its wildlife from excessive and inhumane hunting practices, according to a rulemaking petition filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The focus is Cape Cod National Seashore, a national park unit that has a legal mandate to maintain a natural balance in wildlife populations but has failed to exercise its legal obligation to do so.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 3, 2019

Carson Pass Nature Hikes

Carson Pass Information Station announces the following nature hikes

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 3, 2019

Wildflowers Around California 7/3/19

Botanical Wanderings – California has recent wildflower photos from

  • Clover Springs Preserve in Cloverdale in N. Sonoma County  

California Wildflower Tipline has new wildflower photos from

  • McGee Creek Road Overlooking Crowley Lake, California, 6-30-19
  • SeaCliff State Beach (south of Santa Cruz) July 2, 2019
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 3, 2019

What’s Killing Gray Whales?

The Sierra Club has an article on efforts to answer What’s Killing the Whales?

Gray whales are washing up on West Coast beaches. Most of them starved to death.

Read story at What’s Killing the Whales? | Sierra Club

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 3, 2019

Non-native Iguanas spread in Florida as climate warms 

The Washington Post reported on the problems spread by the exploding population of non-native  Iguanas that is likely due to climate change

the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has declared open season on the exotic reptile.

“The FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible,” the commission recently wrote on its website. “Iguanas can also be killed year-round and without a permit on 22 public lands in south Florida.”

Agency biologists say they don’t know how many iguanas are in Florida, but they know the kinds of problems they’re causing. These include “erosion, degradation of infrastructure such as water control structures, canal banks, sea walls and building foundations,” state biologist Dan Quinn said in an email.

Along with doing damage by digging, iguanas destroy landscaping and ornamental plants, including some that are endangered. They can also carry salmonella

Read full article at  Iguanas spread in Florida as climate warms: ‘They’re a menace’ – The Washington Post

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 2, 2019

Tomales Wildflowers 7/1/19

The Marin CNPS has wildflower for photos for Tomales area of Marin at (9) Marin Native Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 2, 2019

Yosemite High Country Conditions 7/1/19

The Tioga Road fully opened without restrictions today! While this is great news for those wanting to explore and hike in the high country, conditions are still not what you may expect for July. In order to protect yourself and the fragile ecosystem of the high elevation meadows and riparian areas, it’s important to make smart choices. Expect trails to be flooded or muddy, especially in the meadow areas. Despite that, it’s extremely important to stay on the trails to avoid damaging sensitive plants. There is still quite a bit of snow in many areas above 9,000 feet and water is running cold and fast in the many streams making crossings difficult or unsafe. Make good decisions while exploring areas along the Tioga Road as you enjoy this special part of Yosemite! Check trail conditions:

Photo of the high country from 2013 shows how a trail can become braided when people choose to hike off trail in muddy and snow areas.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 2, 2019

Carson Pass Trail Update 7/1/19

Carson Pass Information Station has the following trail update as of July 1

*Salt Springs trail – clear to 5.5 miles
*Tanglefoot and Shriner Lake trail – clear to 3.7 miles, windfall and brush after, 35% snow covered above 8,000′
*Devils Lake trail – windfall and brush trail head to lake, no snow
*Shealor Lake trail – clear and dry tread to lake
*Allen Camp trail and *Hidden Lake trail – 50% snow coverage, windfall across trails
*Munson Meadow, *Mosquito Lake, and *Beebe Lake trails – 70% snow coverage, windfall across trails
*Minkalo trail – clear and dry to 0.7 miles past Granite lake, 35% snow coverage and windfall to Hidden Lake, dry and windfall to Plasses Resort
*Horse Canyon trail – windfall across trail, 70% snow coverage above 8,000′
*Castle Point trail – windfall across trail, dry tread
*Thunder Mountain trail – windfall across trail, 70% snow coverage above 8,000′
*Margaret Lake trail – windfall across trail, 20% snow coverage, long sections of trail submerged under water
*Emigrant Lake, *Lost Cabin Mine, *Winnemucca Lake trails – 60% to 70% snow coverage, windfall across trail
*Carson Pass, PCT north – 20% snow coverage to Meiss saddle, 75% snow coverage after
*Carson Pass, PCT south – 50% snow coverage to Frog Lake, 70% snow coverage to Winnemucca Lake
*Thornburg Canyon trail – 50% snow coverage above 8,000′, windfall across trail
No road access past Lower Blue Lakes to Grouse Lake and Evergreen trails for summer of 2019

FINALLY MORMON EMIGRANT TRAIL (MET) IS NOW OPEN – Mormon Emigrant Trail, the road between Hwy 88 and Sly Park Road, is now fully open. Rocks are still being cleared, but it is passable. Silver Fork Road and North South Road are also open. Thanks Eldorado Forest for the update.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 2, 2019

Wildflowers Around California 7/2/19

Botanical Wanderings – California has recent wildflower photos from

  • Wildflowers of South Fork Trail to Dry Lake of San Gorgonio Wilderness
  • Pine Mountain and out past Reyes Peak. Los Padres NF north of Ojai.

Marin Native Plants has photos for the Temelpa trail to Sitting Bull rock and Fern Creek trail to the old water tank, plus East Peak on Mt. Tamalpais

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 2, 2019

How to Attract Butterflies

The New York Times Magazine reports on how to attract butterflies to your garden. It is much similar than you might think. It will help struggling butterflies species as well as be rewarding to watch the butterflies come through your yard. Read article at  How to Attract Butterflies – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 1, 2019

Job Opening: Native Plant Nursery Manager

Catalina Island Conservancy is looking for a Native Plant Nursery Manager. See job description at Native Plant Nursery Manager

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 1, 2019

Breckenridge Wildflowers 6/29/19

Post and photos by Spencer Westbrook, author of A Guide to Wildflower Locations Central and Southern California

Breckenridge is a great place to explore and way off the beaten path. you may see one or two cars all day and plenty of flowers and photos right along the road so yes please feel free to post. Breckenridge is east of Bakersfield, a paved road, actually in very good condition. There is a remote campground near the summit, very basic, no water but at about 6700 feet (was 39 deg on Saturday, 6 AM)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 1, 2019

Pt. Reyes Wildflowers 6/30/19

Marin CNPS Facebook has photos from Kehoe Beach and other areas at Pt. Reyes at : (6) Marin Native Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 1, 2019

Hope Valley Wildflowers 6/29/19

Charlie Russell has photos of a few of the 50 different species of wildflowers that we found at the Hope Valley Wildlife Area in Alpine County a few days ago. There are multiple trails (and you can just head across the meadow). On this visit we walked north from the parking lot mostly along an old abandoned road, with some trips off to the side. No snow, almost no mosquitoes, wonderful wildflowers

See photos at (6) California Wildflower Hikes – Home

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 1, 2019

Best Sierra Nevada Wildflower Hotspots

California Wildflower Hotspots For This Summer

A compilation of my past experiences from summer wildflower hunting in the Sierra Nevada.  I have included past wildflower bloom reports, wildflower books, past articles on Natural History Wanderings, and links to wildflower resources including a link to an extensive list I have put together of wildflower hikes throughout the Sierra (at the end of this posting).  Suggestions, additions and corrections welcome.  Submit you findings to Natural History Wanderings at Submitting Your Wanderings and I will post them to share with others

Plumas County

The top wildflower area in Plumas County is the Lakes Basin.  Normally the end of June is a good time to go.  With the deep snows now is probably a better bet.  The best book for wildflowers is Wildflower Walking in the Lakes Basin of the Northern Sierra by Toni Fauver.

A good local source of what is in bloom is the Bloom Blog at:

Also check  the Black Oak Naturalist Blog at:

and my posting from last year on the Lakes Basin: Plumas County: Lakes Basin Wildflower and Fall Foliage Hotspots

Eastern Sierra and White Mountain

The eastern side of the Sierra Nevada and White Mt. are actually quite different but both can be reached from a base along highway 395.  Bishop can make a good base and there are many camping possibilities as well.  Both the Whites and Eastern Sierra provide easy access to high elevations as you easily drive to 8000 to 11000 feet.  There are many flowers along the roads and many great hiking trails.  Here is a posting I wrote on visiting the Eastern Sierra and Whites: Best of Two Worlds Eastern Sierra Nevada & White Mountain: hikes, drives & wildflowers

My favorite areas in the White Mountains are Patriarch Grove and Schulman Grove where you can see the ancient Bristlecone Pines as well as many interesting flowers including many tiny belly plants.  See my two reports from last year:

Three of my favorite drives and hikes are the roads to and hikes out from McGee Creek, Rock Creek and Bishop Creek/ South Lake.  Here are my write-ups from last year:

Yosemite National Park Wildflower Links and Reports from Past Years

Carson Pass

Carson Pass is possibly by favorite wildflower spot in the Sierra Nevada.  It has never failed.  There are always good displays and many species.  Here is a posting I wrote about it and my report from last year

Best Sierra Nevada Wildflower Hikes

(list I have compiled of wildflower hikes in the Sierra Nevada)

Sierra Nevada and White Mountain Slideshow

A slideshow of wildflowers, landscapes, and butterflies of the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains during July 2017. Areas included are Yosemite National Park, Oil Plant Road, Horse Meadow Road, Nanavut Trail, Lundy Canyon, Rock Creek, Smokey the Bear Flat, White Mountain, Bishop Creek, McGee Creek, Highway 120 east of Mono Lake, and Sonora Pass. The images are organized by location, with the first image in each group naming the area.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 30, 2019

Wildflowers Around California 6/30/19

Check out California Wildflower Tipline for recent wildflower photos from:

  • Half Moon Bay
  • Convict Lake
  • Rubicon Trail Lake Tahoe
  • Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley

Botanical Wanderings – California has recent wildflower photos from

  • Clover Springs Preserve in Sonoma County
  • Lakes Basin, Tahoe National Forest
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 30, 2019

CNPS Field Trips July 2019

July Field Trips:

(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

  • Bull Point Sat. July 13 10 am to 2 pm
  • Gold Lakes Basin Weekend Sat. to Sun. July 20-21

Milo Baker (Sonoma county)

  • July 13, Kenwood Marsh, checkerbloom siteJuly 15-18, Stillwater Cove camping trip REGISTRATION DUE BY JULY 4TH

Napa Valley

North Coast

  • Jul 12-14, Fri-Sun.  Trinity Alps and Scott Mountain Field Trip

Santa Clara Valley

  • Jul 4 – 7, Wed – Sun Ebbetts Pass, Alpine Lake and Calaveras Big Trees State Park (Arnold)

Santa Cruz

Yerba Buena (San Francisco/Northern San Mateo)

  • July 14, SUNDAY 8am- 10am Field Trip: Late Bloomers and Birds of Devil’s Slide (RSVP required)

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

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