Oct-Dec 2010

This issue features the inhabitants of the fascinating subtidal ecosystem under the surface of the Bay, the feral pigs and wild turkeys that are multiplying and invading our terrestrial wildlands, the raucous and wily gulls that have learned to live in both our wild areas and our garbage dumps, and the diversity of life—from condors to wildflowers—that flourishes in the ancient volcanic landscape at Pinnacles National Monument. Cover photo by William Dreskin, dreskinfineart.com.

 

Issue Content

A Squabble of Gulls

October 01, 2010 by Joe Eaton

Gulls don’t inspire the awe that a golden eagle or red-tailed hawk does. Or the affection we feel for hummingbirds. But the Bay Area’s dozen gull species  are true survivors: Adaptable, voracious predators, they breed by the thousands in the South Bay and at the Farallones, and it takes some determined biologists to keep an eye on them.

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Book Review: A California Bestiary

October 01, 2010 by Dan Rademacher

A short, compelling series of essays and paintings of a dozen species of California wildlife from Rebecca Solnit and Mona Caron.

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Book Review: A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California

October 01, 2010 by Sue Rosenthal

This book is an unmatched picture–in paintings and words– of what California might have been like before the arrival of Europeans.

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Book Review: California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names

October 01, 2010 by Sue Rosenthal

by Erwin G. Gudde (revised by William Bright), UC Press, 2010, 496 pages, $27.50 What’s in a name? Sometimes rich history and intriguing stories. The 40th-anniversary edition of California Place Names animates many local geographic names we take for granted. Like Golden Gate, named Chrysopylae (Greek for golden gate) in 1846 by explorer John C. […]

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Book Review: California Rocks! A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Golden State

October 01, 2010 by Vanessa Thill

A well-written and illustrated guide to California geology, including about a dozen spots in the Bay Area.

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Book Review: Dorothy Erskine, Graceful Crusader for Our Environment

October 01, 2010 by Dan Rademacher

A strong biography of the founder of Greenbelt Alliance, dorothy Erskine, who deserves to be remembered widely and well.

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Book Review: Introduction to California’s Beaches and Coast

October 01, 2010 by Melanie Jones

Chances are you’ve sat on the beach and pondered where the sand goes when the waves carry it off, or maybe what the California coast looked like a million years ago, or why it’s so darned foggy. Find the answers to these questions and more in the latest addition to the California Natural History Guides series.

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Book Review: Living Landscape: Rise of the East Bay Regional Park District

October 01, 2010 by Dan Rademacher

A new book chronicles the recent history of the East Bay Rewgional Park District, which turned 75 years old in 2009 and remains the largest regional park district in the nation.

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Book Review: The Laws Pocket Guide Set: San Francisco Bay Area

October 01, 2010 by Amos Hausman-Rogers

Created by Bay Nature contributor John Muir Laws, this is a compact and very handy set of guides to common species of the Bay Area.

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Book Review: The Place that Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed

October 01, 2010 by Melanie Jones

This far-reaching anthology of poems is a lovely collection that speaks to what it is to be natural in the Bay Area.

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“New Farm” Threatens Tassajara Valley

October 01, 2010 by Aleta George

In San Ramon, a November ballot measure related to a proposed housing development in the Tassajara Valley threatens open space and San Ramon’s urban limit line. Meanwhile, voters in Petaluma and Santa Rosa will have a chance to strengthen their cities’ limits on urban sprawl.

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Fall Hawk Watch, Open During Construction

October 01, 2010 by Aleta George

Every year for more than a quarter century, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory has presided over fall hawk watch in the Marin Headlands, when thousands of raptors migrate by, and thousands of people gather to watch. This year, road construction has the hawk watchers shifting slightly, but still out in force.

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New Efforts to Track and Predict Harmful Marine Algae

October 01, 2010 by Aleta George

Nearly every year for a decade, scientists have detected harmful algae blooms in Monterey Bay. These threaten birds and marine mammals alike, and now researchers have funding to develop new methods of predicting the outbreaks.

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Prop 21 Promises New Day for State Parks

October 01, 2010 by Aleta George

On November 2, voters will decide if California should do something it has never done before: provide dedicated funding for its state parks. Beyond curing the parks’ seemingly endless maintenance backlog, the new funding promises increased public access and educational programs.

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Saving the Bay’s Sharks

October 01, 2010 by Aleta George

October 2010 is the second-annual Sharktoberfest–time to celebrate and learn about these critical predators of the Bay: sevengill cowsharks, leopard sharks, spiny dogfish, and more.

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Go Nuts for Nuts

October 01, 2010 by Donna Whitmarsh

They say California is the land of fruits and nuts, which wouldn’t be so funny if it weren’t also partly true. But our native nuts–acorns, hazelnuts, and more–are central to life for both plants and wildlife, and they deserve some respect.

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Ground Invasion

October 01, 2010 by Daniel McGlynn

Heading out before dawn to trap wild pigs is one of the more unpleasant responsibilities of open space management in the Bay Area. But across the East Bay and much of the Bay Area, these descendants of farm animals and introduced wild boars have proliferated and become a force whose impact on native plants and animals can’t be ignored. Wild turkeys, also brought in for hunting, aren’t far behind.

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Letter from the Publisher

October 01, 2010 by David Loeb

We’re looking forward to celebrating Bay Nature’s 10th anniversary in January, while wondering what happened to summer–and what’s in store for our climate.

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Making a PLAN for Badgers

October 01, 2010 by Jacoba Charles

Where suburban houses give way to grassy fields on the outskirts of Petaluma, a dedicated group of neighbors has spent ten years working to preserve habitat for the elusive American badger. Now, the efforts of the all-volunteer Paula Lane Action Network (PLAN) may pay off in a big way.

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Martinez Leaves It to the Beavers

October 01, 2010 by John Muir Laws

The town of Martinez has learned to love its beavers, who’ve become famous and opened a whole community to the idea that downtown is even better with a bit of biodiversity.

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Pining for the Pinnacles

October 01, 2010 by Paul McHugh

Volcanic drama, bat caves, diverse wildlife, roadless vistas: Pinnacles National Monument is definitely worth the trip. Where else can you see half a volcano, an endangered condor, and a record number of bee species in one day?

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Sturgeon, a Fish Out of Time

October 01, 2010 by Joseph Kinyon

If the chef at your local cafe listed fresh triceratops or plesiosaur on the menu, it would surely get your attention as being out of place–and time. But sturgeon, whose flesh or eggs (caviar) might appear on that same menu, are equally ancient. Now, thanks to us, they face some of their biggest challenges ever.

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Subtleties of the Subtidal

October 01, 2010 by Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

San Francisco Bay is both familiar and mysterious. Millions see it every day, yet we almost never glimpse beneath the steely surface. From eelgrass and oyster beds to mudflats and sand waves, there’s a lot to learn about. An innovative coalition is working to set an agenda for 50 years of research and restoration that will illuminate and resuscitate the vast wilderness below the lowest tides.

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What are glowworms?

October 01, 2010 by Michael Ellis

We don’t have fireflies in the Bay Area, but we do have glowworms. What are they and why the heck do they light up?

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