Ask the Naturalist

A bird? A bug? Something strange in the natural world nearby? Ask us and we’ll find the answer! And check here for answers to great questions you didn’t even know you had. Top questions find their way to top naturalist Michael Ellis, who writes a column for our print magazine.

Latest from Ask the Naturalist

Ask the Naturalist: Best spots to photograph Bay Area butterflies?

August 21, 2014 by Liam O'Brien

Doesn't get much better for eye candy than a butterfly on a flower, right?

No Comments

Bear, Elk and Talking Ape in Post-Apocalypse Muir Woods: What Are the Chances?*

August 14, 2014 by Sabine Bergmann

A herd of elk and a grizzly bear make an appearance in Muir Woods in the opening scene of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Would such megafauna stage a comeback 10 years after humans are mostly killed off?

2 Comments

“By the Wind” Sailors: Seasonal Velella beaching mystery solved

July 30, 2014 by Michael Ellis

Recently, Bay Area beachcombers have been spotting dozens of mysterious blue jelly-like creatures littering the beaches. What are they, and why are they here? Bay Nature naturalist Michael Ellis explains.

11 Comments

How Can You Tell If a Lichen Is Dead?

April 11, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Lichens by nature are mottled and brittle looking. So how do you know when they are dead?

1 Comment

Ask The Naturalist: How Will the Drought Impact Amphibians?

March 21, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Question: Will newts, frogs and salamanders be out in full force in the Bay Area this spring?

2 Comments

When and Where Do I Look to See Orcas?

March 13, 2014 by Eric Simons

I'm trying to spot some orcas this year and wanted to know when and where I should look.

3 Comments

What’s Small, Ladybug-Like, and Golden All Over?

February 27, 2014 by Rachel Diaz-Bastin

A few years ago a Bay Nature reader spotted something golden and shiny on her carpet. Suspecting it was a piece of jewelry she picked it up, only to find it was alive! What kind of beetle is golden, metallic and looks like a ladybug?

5 Comments

Are Black Squirrels Common in the Bay Area?

February 20, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

Love them or hate them, squirrels are everywhere. But how common are black squirrels?

5 Comments

How Are Wildflowers Coping with the Drought?

February 13, 2014 by Sue Rosenthal

It’s tough to be a plant when there’s no water! Rainfall is one of the most critical—and most unpredictable—of all the factors that affect wildflower bloom. So how are they coping?

6 Comments

Sooty Brown Body, Yellow Bill: What Kind of Gull is This?

January 16, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

Lauri Taylor, visiting from Salt Lake City, spotted an interesting gull at Baker's Beach in San Francisco. She asked Bay Nature to help identify what species it was...

No Comments

 
 
123