Starting in February in coastal areas, keep an eye out for a change in your local hummingbirds. Our resident Anna’s will be sharing the stage with the Allen’s flying in from Mexico and Southern California. Who needs Cirque du Soleil when you can watch the springtime aerial displays of the male Allen’s hummingbird? After these […]
Standing in the first light of dawn at the corner of Castro and Escobar streets in downtown Martinez, I searched the dark water for the town’s newest celebrities: four members of a beaver family living in Alhambra Creek. My guide was beaver enthusiast Heidi Perryman, a Martinez resident who has made short films featuring the […]
Uncategorized | Urban Nature | Wildlife
Nurdles bobble but they don’t go down. Nurdles are industrial-grade plastic pellets that get melted to make all manner of plastic products, but in the process of packaging and transportation, the nurdles often escape and make their way through storm drains to the ocean. Nurdles may sound like they belong in a Dr. Seuss story, […]
When teacher Linda Cover walks into a classroom, she steps onto fertile soil, knowing that her students have a cumulative knowledge of their watershed. As a Spectra Arts teacher with the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz, she works with kids year after year in Santa Cruz County to teach them about local watersheds through poetry, […]
Kids and Nature | Stewardship | Uncategorized
A mountain biker flew down Patrick Ridge in Marin County’s China Camp State Park. He was focusing on the rocky fire trail and an upcoming sharp left turn, so it’s unlikely he noticed the dying trees that line the trail. These coast live oaks are victims of sudden oak death (SOD), a disease caused by […]
On a trail at Mount Tamalpais or Diablo, perfectly set stone steps make an ascent easier; farther along, a massive log bridge crosses a rugged ravine. It's common to pass by and take these structures, and those who made them, for granted. This spring marks the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose epic New Deal work projects brought us not only dams and bay fill but also enduring public trails and other park infrastructure that thousands of people use today with little knowledge of their origins and the great nationwide social experiment that built them.
History | Stewardship | Uncategorized
On the Sunday following the November 7 container ship accident that dumped 58,000 gallons of bunker oil into San Francisco Bay, I biked down to the Berkeley Marina to see if there was anything I could do to help out. Even if volunteers were being turned away, I wanted to see conditions along the shore […]
Ask most people to name the most important species of our grassland habitats, and they'll probably pick coyotes, golden eagles, or even rattlesnakes. But experts say that the strongest contender of all is the animal eaten by all those other ones: the lowly California ground squirrel, a true keystone of local grasslands. Belowground, the squirrels' lengthy burrows harbor insects, snakes, owls, and even frogs and salamanders that couldn't live in such a dry landscape without the squirrels' help. And above-ground, they've evolved some unusual defenses that allow them to thrive, even as they feed so many others.
Everyone has a hill. A line of land up and down that makes your heart leap. A small fold in the planet that signifies your place, your familiar ground. The thing that catches your eye when you get home, or drive up to the gate, or return from years in other landscapes. It doesn’t have […]
Science and Nature
You might be taken by surprise at this marshland wildlife area, with its plethora of wandering elk, playful otters, acrobatic owls, and diverse waterfowl. Just be sure it's not hunting season when you go.
Recreation | The Bay | Uncategorized | Wildlife
On rainy days, wildlife watching outdoors is probably not at the top of your list, but there is one group of animals that reigns supreme during this season: amphibians. Salamanders, newts, frogs, and toads are now at their peak of activity, feeding and breeding in swollen creeks, streams, and ponds, and in woodlands and grasslands […]
Q: What native land snails live in the Bay Area? Where do the common garden snails come from, and what’s the status of our native snail populations? [Erica, Mountain View] A: If you are a gardener like me, you eventually come to despise snails with a passion, even if you’re a kind, gentle, loving person. […]
Ask the Naturalist | Wildlife
From Mori Point in Pacifica to Lands End in San Francisco and all the way up to Tomales Bay, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) forms a patchwork of wild lands and historic sites in a region that is home to millions of people. That patchwork is also home to 33 species listed under […]
Meander through an oak woodland, or even a wooded suburban area, on a winter day, and you're likely to experience something strange about our winter woodland songbirds: You may not see them at all. Then suddenly the trees come alive with dozens of birds of several species.