No one can accuse me of being an early adopter—the kind of person who rushes to embrace new technologies. I didn’t get my first computer until 1991, I don’t have an iPod, and social networking still means meeting colleagues face-to-face. So it’s no surprise that when I wanted to communicate my passion for nature, I […]
Thanks to a collaboration between the regional Bay and Ridge Trails, a new loop trail will soon link the north sides of the Carquinez Strait.
Summer brings a diversity of terns and skimmers to San Francisco Bay.
Learn about some of our local stinging insects, from the familiar honeybee to the powerful velvet ant (watch out for that one!).
Q: How does photosynthesis occur in plants that are not obviously green, such as ornamental plum trees with deep purple-colored leaves? [Paul, Santa Cruz] A: Photosynthesis (which literally means “light put together”) is that very elegant chemical process that jump-started life as we know it some 4 billion years ago. So to answer your question, […]
Ask the Naturalist | Botany
Snakes are famous for the amount of food they can stuff inside their skinny bodies. It’s common for a snake digesting a mouse or other prey to have an unsightly bulge marking the location of the meal. A snake’s lack of a sternum allows its stomach to expand as far as muscle and skin will […]
I go to the beach in January. Sometimes I bring a sweater and a hat. I go to the beach in June in work clothes and roll up the cuffs. It reminds me why I'm still in California, what my rent really includes, that I'm alive...
History | The Ocean
The Warm Springs Unit, like many other relatively small protected areas throughout the region, may not look like much compared to the towering peaks of Yosemite or the plunging cliffs of Big Sur. But it is part of the Bay Area’s 1.15 million acres of protected open space. For this remarkable heritage, we owe hearty […]
For better and worse, the upper reach of the Pilarcitos watershed on the Peninsula was dammed to supply water to San Francisco in the 1860s. The surrounding land has been protected and kept off-limits to the public ever since, allowing rare species to thrive here. That includes the marbled murrelet, which nests only in old-growth conifers, such as Douglas fir. But the dam and other impacts also leave less water in the creek for oceangoing steelhead. Now, a diverse group of stakeholders has come together to chart a brighter future for the fish and the creek.
History | Wildlife
Seaflow would like to see vessel no-traffic zones and ocean noise pollution regulations included in the redesign of the state’s marine protected areas (MPAs), a process that is nearing completion for the North Central Coast region. While noise reduction is not currently part of the plan, California is on track to have the world’s first […]
Across the Bay from Pilarcitos, in the Alameda Creek watershed, SFPUC finds itself involved in another steelhead restoration discussion, centered around the utility’s Calaveras Dam near Sunol Regional Wilderness. The reservoir created by the dam can hold about 97,000 acre-feet of water, but since it was declared seismically unsound in 2001, it has operated at […]
On sandy beaches from Alaska to Baja, you’ve likely seen plovers, sanderlings, willets, and other shorebirds foraging for food in the swash zone, where waves perpetually cover and uncover the sand. One of the creatures the shorebirds are hunting is the mole crab, or sand crab, a vital part of the food web of this […]
The Ocean | Wildlife
Most folks don't think much of snakes unless they trip over them. It turns out that a remarkable diversity of serpents lives nearby, from beautiful red-bellied ring-necked snakes hiding under logs in damp woodlands to three- or four-foot rattlers sunning themselves on rocky slopes in Sunol Regional Wilderness. Able predators, many of our local snakes have evolved fascinating strategies for subduing their prey, whether rodents, amphibians, or even other snakes.
Summer in the Bay Area can last well into late September, but by then many birds that overwinter here have already arrived after migrating from the north. While walking through the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve at Natural Bridges State Beach early last fall, veteran birder Steve Gerow stopped to listen to the “slurred mournful whistle” […]
We hadn’t yet reached the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, but we were far enough outside the Golden Gate that Angel Island looked like an extension of the Marin Headlands, an optical illusion that kept early explorers from discovering San Francisco Bay. Joining this maiden voyage of Seaflow’s Vessel Watch Project on a […]
Pollution | The Ocean | Wildlife
With no April showers, the largest vernal pool in the Warm Springs Unit of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont was nothing more than a small mud puddle by the first week of May. Curly dock and European grasses surrounded the dried and cracked mud rendered white and furry from […]
The Bay | Wildlife