Thanks to our mild climate and productive ecosystems, many species of animals (including people) migrate to and through the Bay Area. Winter is a great time to learn about some of them. In the North Bay, on Mare Island in Vallejo, you can attend the 11th annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival, February 2 through […]
At first glance, the wide-open stretch of Highway 37 along San Pablo Bay between Vallejo and Novato may look like a sleepy rural backwater, but the range of wetland habitat protection projects here, combined with open farmland, give this corridor the potential for landscape restoration on a large scale. However, a new threat has cropped […]
On the first rain-soaked day of the season, I walked around Oakland’s Lake Merritt to try to envision its coming makeover. After four years of planning, construction is scheduled to begin this spring on several projects associated with Measure DD, a $198 million clean water and safe parks bond passed overwhelmingly by Oakland voters in […]
Archive | Water
When California condor number 307 saw biologists capturing other condors at Pinnacles National Monument last summer, she apparently spooked and flew northeast to San Luis Reservoir. By the time she returned three days later, biologists were concerned: Of the ten juvenile condors they had captured three days before, four were found to have lead in […]
Over the years, local surfers, picnicking families, and even ravers have used the seven beaches on former dairy farm land known as Coast Dairies eight miles north of Santa Cruz. But those strips of sand—a sliver of the newly protected 7,000 acres of Coast Dairies land surrounding the town of Davenport—have only recently become official […]
This winter, discover the miniature world of mosses and their kin.
There’s that certain moment when you first taste the arrival of a new season. (Yes, we really do have seasons in the Bay Area.) For me, it combines the momentary thrill of embracing an old friend who’s finally returned with the comforting confirmation that there is still some order in the universe. My senses, grown […]
Clementine is a 130-pound great Pyrenees—a white shag carpet of a dog who sleeps through the day out in the rolling hills of West Marin, guarding up to 1,500 head of sheep owned by Bill Jensen. Jensen lives on 240 acres near Tomales, at the end of a road named after his great-great-grandfather, who settled […]
Urban Nature | Wildlife
Walk patiently along a few ocean beaches in the Bay Area, and you just might find objects of stunning beauty that also provide clues to a lost world, fossil sand dollars that are as much as 2 million years old. These fossils, not shells but skeletons called tests, show up only near Daly City and Point Reyes, so it's a privilege to find intact specimens that have survived the rigors of the coast for many centuries.
Take a hike to a scene of otherworldly geology, hidden away in this Peninsula preserve's forests of tanoak, Douglas-fir, and second-growth redwood.
Lester Rowntree (1879-1979) was a self-taught botanist and independent spirit who spent half her life trekking up and down California observing, gathering, and photographing the state’s native flora. Born in England, Rowntree lived in Kansas, Southern California, and on the East Coast before returning to California in 1921. In 1931, the 52-year-old Rowntree left her […]
The Napa Valley was once a place of enormous natural bounty, fed by a vibrant, healthy river teeming with salmon and steelhead. Today, the valley is more famous for its managed bounty of grapes and fine wine. The river, hemmed in by vineyards, has too often been relegated to the status of a waste canal. But now a unique alliance of growers and scientists has come together to give the Napa's upper reach a chance to regain some of its wildness.
Stewardship | Water | Wildlife
Q: Which spot in the Bay Area gets the most yearly average rainfall and which spot gets the least? Why? [Diane, Bolinas] A: Nearly all the precipitation we receive comes between November and April in the form of rain from moisture-bearing clouds off the Pacific. The Bay Area is well known for its many microclimates. […]
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 saw were most likely harbor porpoises. They are among the smallest of the 78 species […]
On just ten acres in the Berkeley hills, there's an enchanting garden that hosts much of California's vast botanic diversity. The Regional Parks Botanic Garden—Northern California's only public garden focused on our state's native plants—is a center for conservation, research, and public education. Rare and endangered plants from around the state have found a refuge here. And thousands of children and adults alike have walked the garden's paths, under the spell of our native flora.
San Francisco Bay and its surrounding wetlands become a mallard mecca every winter. Mallards come by the thousands to spend the relatively balmy fall and winter months here while their breeding grounds are locked in snow and ice. And they’re not the only ducks who drop by for a visit: Gadwalls, pintails, northern shovelers, widgeons, […]
Last November, the Bay Area electorate headed to the polls to help decide the fate of several important land-use issues. As our votes slowly turn into policy and action on the ground, Bay Nature asked two regional open space advocacy organizations to share their views on the outcome. “On the whole, the results of the […]