|Feeding site on the American River at Xmas. Food & water (!) brought in regularly.|
Monday, March 02, 2015
Saturday, February 14, 2015
An excellent video by George Nyberg documents this research and is available on YouTube. Mike’s long term research and experience also helps dispel myths about rattlesnake threats and documents their behavior during courtship. This is a must see video for everyone spending time on the American River Parkway. With proper caution one can appreciate these amazing hunters and native residents to the Parkway. Mike may be able to join us on a future Friends of the River Banks event to share his knowledge of reptiles on the Parkway.
I found Mike out at Effie Yeaw on a warm February afternoon yesterday. He’s detected some activity already but the snakes haven’t started moving about yet. This is earlier than usual which typically is in mid March. So far, we don’t have any documented sightings of rattlesnakes at Sutter's Landing Park but it’s likely that they are out there in drier upland habitat. Be on the lookout for them during the warmer months and enjoy and document any observations from a safe distance.
I helped a rattlesnake cross the bike trail last fall near the CalExpo fire across the river from Sutter's Landing Park. Note the missing rattles on the snake which is unusual. Probably the result of an encounter with a coyote or heat from the recent fire. It appeared healthy otherwise.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Monday, January 19, 2015
A new blog started with the New Year documenting the adventures of an avid young birder from Oregon who is traveling the world and reporting what species he sees with a little help from friends he makes along the way. He’s off the grid in South America for a few days now but you can catch up with his exploits of the first few weeks starting in Antarctica. I’m finding it almost as much fun as being on the trip so far with a lot less wear and tear. Enjoy!
Monday, January 12, 2015
Today is the 20th anniversary of the first Gray wolf release back into Yellowstone in 1995. We’ve learned a lot since those first eight wolves returned to the Northern Rockies. It had been 69 years since the last wolf was extirpated in 1926. The effort to bring wolves back can be traced back to Aldo Leopold who suggested just that in 1944. It took over 50 years and a lot of hard work to make that happen.
Much has happened since then too. Over 1600 wolves now roam the Northern Rockies with Gray wolf populations now in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. A few wolves have made it as far as Utah, California and Colorado. Much has been learned about the key role this top predator plays in the ecosystem but there is a lot more needed to understand how we can coexist in the future. How long will it take before we can look back and say the wolf has returned to it’s historic range and necessary role in the ecosystem?
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Pay attention to the open skies and, at least in this case, the ground around you.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
During a trip across Canada and down the east coast earlier this fall, we discovered a sea turtle organization in Nova Scotia near Halifax and had an informative conversation with a young marine biologist there. It was a surprise to me and apparently until recently, for marine biologists working with the species that large numbers exist this far north. Huge leatherback turtles roam the area and were unknown to scientists until they listened to local fishermen. Jellyfish fuel these giants traveling great distances in the ocean. Most of the work done up north now focuses on education and monitoring leatherback movement.
Strandings of these long distance travelers is known throughout their range but is especially a problem in the Cape Code area they pass through. It seems there is another increasing problem causing strandings beyond the fisherman nets and plastic pollution known now.
Cape Cod appears to act as a trap for sea turtles due to geography and water temperature patterns. Increasing numbers of migrating sea turtles are being found stranded in this area due to "Cold-stunning effects". The long term effects of these large events or flying survivors down to Florida or holding many young turtles in tanks until sea temperatures rise later in the year are hard to predict. Most sea turtle research effort goes into monitoring nesting now. Clearly much more is needed as well as how all of this is being affected by climate change.
Volunteers are waging a rescue effort after finding almost 1,200 turtles washed ashore since mid-November, far more than in the previous record year.