What were those fins off Ocean Beach?

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Q: Off San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, I saw dorsal fins beyond the surfers. After 20 minutes, I saw two bearers of fins breaching the water. What were they? [Claire, San Bruno] A: Congratulations on being very observant. The animals you … Read more

Birding Blind

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When I was growing up in Tiburon, my grandparents lived only a couple miles away and were a big part of my childhood. It was my grandfather who ignited my interest in nature, and in particular birds, by giving me … Read more

Christmas Bird Count

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Rain or shine, Bay Area birders participate in their own Christmas tradition when they grab a pair of binoculars and head out for the annual Bay Area Christmas Bird Count. Begun in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count takes place between … Read more

Delisting of the Brown Pelican

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While you’re heading to the polls this November, California brown pelicans will be returning to breeding grounds that range from the Channel Islands south to Mexico. From May to September, these stately birds fly as far north as British Columbia. … Read more

Falling for Spiders and Termites

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Things begin rumbling about now. Storm clouds pile up along the outer Coast Ranges, the winds shift and come out of the south, days get shorter, and the air gets colder. We all know what’s coming: the rainy season. Termites and spiders know it too, and they’re getting busy.

Don’t Call Them Bugs

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Edward Ross has visited every continent except Antarctica in pursuit of his passion for studying, collecting, dissecting, classifying, naming, photographing, and deeply appreciating insects. In between his globe-trotting adventures, the 89-year old curator emeritus of entomology at the California Academy … Read more

From an Entomologist’s Backyard

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The sticky monkey flower, common on sunny Bay Area hillsides, hosts an array of insect visitors. Edward Ross’s intimate photos of these visits are but a small sample of the thousands he’s taken over six decades of studying insects near and far.

A Guide to Northern California Tidepooling

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This story was updated on March 1, 2017. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is home to some of the most diverse and accessible tidepools in the state, but there are many other good tidepooling destinations along California’s more than 1,000 miles of … Read more