Latest Articles

Letter from the Publisher: April Showers, May Flowers?

March 26, 2014 by David Loeb

By the time you read this in April, the die will have been cast and the show — of unknown quality and duration — should be on. So head on out for a springtime pilgrimage, and while you’re at it, why not share your best wildflower sightings with us and our readers?

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The Elusive Black Rail May Adapt Better Than You’d Think

March 21, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Black rails are one of the most secretive of birds. But new research is showing that the scurrying marshland species can pick up and move if it must.

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Mount Diablo’s Chamise, Researcher Shows, Likes It Hot

March 20, 2014 by Joan Hamilton

A Berkeley researcher is using chamise seeds collected from Mount Diablo this fall to explore the plant's response to fire.

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All of These Monster Invasive Fish Came Out of One Small San Francisco Lake

March 20, 2014 by Eric Simons

In the Presidio's Mountain Lake, as this sequence of photos shows, there are some ferocious predators lurking in the watery depths.

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Bottlenose Dolphins Move North Into the Bay, Creating a Research Puzzle

March 05, 2014 by Elizabeth Devitt

About 60 coastal bottlenose dolphins have been spotted traveling from Southern California to the waters off Bodega Bay, pushing the northern limit of their range and leaving the scientists who study them with a mystery.

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The Beauty and the Cheeseweed, a San Francisco Butterfly Love Story

February 28, 2014 by Eric Simons

Of the 35 breeding butterfly species in San Francisco, 25 have now found a non-native host plant they can work with. In an area this urban, undesirable weeds growing in sidewalk cracks have become vital to the life of butterflies.

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Creating a Drought-Resilient Garden with California Natives

February 27, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

Over five years ago, Nalani and Anna Heath-Delaney, ditched their water guzzling lawn and planted a colorful and diverse native plant garden. They have since saved water, provided habitat for local species and created a native plant sanctuary. With the current drought, now is the perfect time to consider transitioning your garden and "going native."

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Counting Harbor Porpoises with Carbon Currency

February 19, 2014 by Elizabeth Devitt

San Francisco Bay's waters have clearly become popular with the porpoises. What researchers want to know now is: What does that mean about the Bay ecosystem itself?

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Western Monarch Population Hanging On

February 18, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

Monarch butterfly populations in California’s coastal overwintering sites showed a slight -- and surprising -- rebound in 2013 after more than a decade of dwindling numbers.

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Preparing a Mountaintop to Welcome Back Birds — and People

February 12, 2014 by Rachel Diaz-Bastin

After years of demolition and cleanup, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District installed nesting boxes for rare purple martins at the top of Mount Umunhum. Preparing the summit for the martins marks a special moment in the restoration process -- of the completion of the demolition phase and a celebration of the summit’s rebirth as a habitat and natural wonder.

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The Beauty of an Atmospheric River

February 07, 2014 by Eric Simons

The forecast calls for big rain this weekend from an "atmospheric river," a plume of moisture stretching thousands of miles across the Pacific and splashing onto land right smack on the Northern California coast.

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Richardson Bay Sets Winter Bird Count Record

February 06, 2014 by Rachel Diaz-Bastin

At 23,000 birds, the tally in Richardson Bay this December was higher than any year since the surveys began in fall 2006 -- much higher. The previous high was 13,000 birds.

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What’s Causing the Dry Weather — And When Will It End?

January 31, 2014 by Elizabeth Devitt

In the 150-plus years that we’ve been tracking rainfall in Northern California, it’s never been this dry. It was the ...

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A Botanist, a Bay Area Island and a Big Surprise

January 28, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

In the mid 90s, botanist Mike Wood was contracted by the U.S. Navy to undertake a rare plant survey of Yerba Buena Island as the military prepared to leave the base. At the time he didn't think the island would be of much botanical interest. But two decades later, he's still going back.

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