"This country ain't big enough for the two of us. So I'm giving you 'til sundown to get out of town." ~ The Virginian
The Great Newt Commute is what happens on the way to the Great Newt Party. From the first winter rains through early spring, California Newts migrate from their summer homes to their winter breeding grounds -- to ponds and streams where they mate and lay eggs before trundling back up the hills and into burrows for the dry season. It is a genuine trundle for the little newt. I snapped this photo on a trail [...]
Until this week, I didn't know how much gratitude I owed Mr. Hulet Hornbeck. The sign below marks the head of a commemorative trail at Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline -- a park in the vast and lovely East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). When Hornbeck began his tenure as Chief of Land Acquisition for EBRPD in 1965, just 13 parks comprised the park district, a sum of 13,000 acres. By the time he retired in [...]
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve isn't haunted, but it's a park grown upon the ghosts of California's history. The spirits of the Ohlone and Miwok people still permeate the land. When I stand on wild hilltops, I look to the expanse of tract development over what, by all accounts, was once a natural paradise in every sense. The ugly paradox is that were it not for the rapacious behavior of the early settlers, most of [...]
Old docks smell, this much I can tell you. You'll catch a whiff of decomposing mussels and sea greens long before you ever see the old boards stacked, as these particular boards were, in the parking lot of the Berkeley Marina. The Marina is renovating -- replacing the old A-B-C docks with improved versions. And in the process -- much to the chagrin of many locals -- they've ripped out the landscaping and [...]
You'll hear Soras more often than you'll see them. But once in a while you'll be lucky enough to experience both -- when the characteristic Sora call precedes a visual of the Sora wading through the shallows. Soras are in the rail family, not rare, even if they are elusive. They share a lineage with the endangered California Clapper Rail (among other birds in the family Rallidae). Coyote Hills, with its drought-driven mud cracks and [...]
Photos of a Great Horned Owl perched in Strawberry Canyon in Berkeley.
A male Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) roots around just before dusk at the Nature Center in Tilden Park.
Photos of young/juvenile fox squirrels playing in an urban environment, on telephone poles and wires. Also includes images of baby squirrels in the hands of a wildlife rehabilitator.
Take a look at this image of terns — not because it’s anything spectacular. In fact, those terns were but specks on my visual horizon, so this is a dramatic crop to show just one thing: the size differential between the Caspian Terns and the Forster’s Terns I wrote about in a previous post. The large birds with their black caps and thick orange bills are Caspian Terns. In the center of the [...]