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 [...]
I realize it's still autumn. But does this look like December 5? Our trees are still crimson, gold and amber -- attributed to minimal rain and a mild autumn. We're bracing for a storm next week which might send these leaves tumbling. But for now, fall lingers just outside my door. These photos were taken on a walk between our place and the UC Berkeley campus. The fruit is pomegranate, but didn't seem to have [...]
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 [...]
I almost expected Man-Thing to come crawling out of the mud this morning. The humidity evoked spirits of the bayou: moss, mosquitos, mint juleps. The only time California resembles a swamp is in the wake of a tropical storm, the same wake which pummeled us with record rains a few days ago. We did about four-miles on the Marsh Loop at Palo Alto Baylands, starting at Charleston Slough -- which, at low tide, [...]
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 [...]
Reclamation is among my favorite themes -- especially as it pertains to nature. I root for the vines overtaking fire hydrants and windblown seeds germinating new habitat in former refuse sites...
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.
He was misidentified but not forgotten -- this lone Japanese Quail who fluttered his way into a wildlife hospital and then, into our hands and hearts. We gave him an appropriately Japanese name: "Mikiko" which, loosely translated, means "child of the tree." A fellow volunteer pointed out that he is not, in fact, a child of the tree -- "he's a quail, Ingrid." I know. But I couldn't find a name meaning "child of the [...]