Of course the Marin Headlands--a favorite destination for hikers, bicyclers, birdwatchers, wildflower enthusiasts, and beachgoers--is protected open space. What else could it be? Would you believe...a city of 30,000? It almost was. But thanks to some determined citizens and a little bit of luck, one half of the Golden Gate will remain wild forever.
For many birds, autumn is a flurry of eating and movement to find stuff to eat, before winter sets in. The same is true for raptors and their prey. In north temperate zones, many small birds fly south, and ground vertebrates go into hibernation. Overall, prey get scarce, hawks get hungry, and hawks move. This […]
Ask the Naturalist | Wildlife
When Anne Hayes wrote in our January 2003 Gardening for Wildlife section that “Habitat doesn’t only mean parks and undeveloped lands; it also means backyards and front yards and side yards and median strips,” perhaps she wasn’t thinking far enough outside the box. Fairfield Residential, a housing development company seeking to build 1,000 low-income units […]
While we’re out at the ocean, let’s review several recent books that will make the visit more rewarding. Foghorn Outdoors has just released the third edition of California Beaches: The Best Places to Swim, Play, Eat, and Stay on the Coast by Parke Puterbaugh and Alan Bisbort (www.foghorn.com). This comprehensive guide to the more than […]
While most beachgoers or surfers in Northern California would prefer never to meet up with great white sharks, some folks are actually paying big bucks for the privilege of such an encounter. Several adventure boat operators have been sailing tourists out to the Farallon Islands, where the sharks are known to be present, and sending […]
The Ocean | Wildlife
A funny thing happened in 2000. And again in 2003. For the first and second time in recorded history, a southern resident killer whale entered the waters of Monterey Bay. With fewer than 80 remaining individuals, the southern resident orcas are more commonly spotted in Puget Sound and off southern Vancouver Island. The whales have […]
The urban environmental education and youth empowerment organization Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) is about to begin construction work on its Living Classroom, an eco-efficient, solar- and wind-powered community meeting space and environmental classroom in San Francisco’s Heron’s Head Park. The park is a 24-acre restored wetland on the former site of Pier 98 in […]
Treasure Island, passed over daily by thousands of Bay Bridge commuters, sits at the crossroads of the Bay, with spectacular views of the City, the Golden Gate, Mount Tam, and the East Bay hills. Built between 1936 and 1939 from sand and gravel and introduced to the world as the site of the 1939-40 Golden […]
Amid predictions that the West Nile virus will reach the Bay Area some time this summer, local health and pest control authorities are keeping a sharp eye out for mosquitoes carrying the disease. The first sign of the virus’ presence is likely to be dead birds; crows, ravens, jays, magpies, and hawks are particularly susceptible. […]
Dubbed the cosmic center of the universe by locals, Elkhorn Slough is one of the richest wetlands along the California coast, a magnet for wildlife and humans alike. And the best way to see it all is in a kayak.
History | The Bay | Wildlife
Q: When did you first start to think about the environment? A: I can’t really say that there was a defining moment that I remember, like an epiphany. I can say it was something that I grew up around in Southern California. It was a good time, in the thirties and forties—a good time to […]
A landscape can hold many stories not immediately apparent to the casual visitor, even a thoroughly enchanted one. In January 1973, I came to the Bay Area from back East to visit a friend who had recently moved here. On a warm sunny day (unlike any winter day this East Coast boy was used to!) […]
Northern mockingbirds, year-round residents of the Bay Area (having expanded their breeding range here after the arrival of European settlers), each develop their own songs. Similar to those of other songbirds, mockingbirds’ songs consist of a specific configuration of syllables and phrases, sung primarily to court a mate or defend a territory. However, northern mockingbird […]
Ask the Naturalist | Wildlife
Lakes aren't a natural feature of the coast range landscape. But since cities need places to store drinking water, we drowned some valleys for reservoirs. While precious creek habitat was lost, these man-made lakes now draw bald eagles and other wildlife, as well as thousands of human visitors for swimming, fishing, boating and other summer pastimes.
History | Water