February 09, 2016

We had a stellar day out on Tomales Bay Saturday, February 6, for our final waterbird count of the season. Besides all the usual suspects, Bufflehead, cormorants, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoters, loons and grebes, just to name a few, we had a sweet surprise: the first documented occurrence of Brown Booby in Tomales Bay!

The species, typically found in Mexico southward into Central America, is very rare this far north. Its presence could be related to recent El Nino conditions; the suggestion of a climate-induced shift in distribution depends on whether they continue to occur here in future years.

Every year, ACR coordinates and trains teams of qualified volunteer birders to conduct four boat-based waterbird surveys on Tomales Bay. Each survey is conducted by 15-20...

February 01, 2016

Director of Stewardship Jeanne Wirka and Bouverie Preserve Resource Ecologist Sasha Berleman along with 4 Bouverie Preserve Stewards in January planted roughly 25 red alders and an equal number of willow cuttings on ACR's 2-acre McLaren parcel, completing the tree planting portion of our site restoration plan. The red alder saplings were harvested the same morning from a bog at Martin Griffin Preserve's Volunteer Canyon and transplanted to the site. These trees are key to the reestablishment of a riparian floodplain forest that will support other native vegetation and bird species. Special thanks to our volunteer corps of Stewards!


Near Inverness, close to where the broad tidelands open to the bay, a generous land donation by Helen...

January 06, 2016

Determined birders Kathleen Mugele, Jim Rosso and Gerry Mugele weathered freezing temps and drizzly rain to document as many birds as possible during the Annual Christmas Bird Count at ACR's Bouverie Preserve. 45 different species were found and bird totals ran into the 1,200 mark, see details below. Also within view were jackrabbits, black-tailed deer, and rough-skinned and red-bellied newts.

2015 Christmas Bird Count totals:
California Quail 12
Wild Turkey 56

Turkey Vulture 1

Red-Shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1

Band-tailed Pigeon 60

Anna's Hummingbird 6

Acorn Woodpecker 51
Red-breasted Sapsucker 2
Nuttall's Woodpecker 10
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 12

December 21, 2015

The volunteers and staff at ACR's Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen have put together a calendar of photographs taken at the preserve, available online from a print-on-demand company. The calendar features photographs by nine Bouverie volunteers, including beautiful landscapes, wildflowers, mushrooms, lizards, insects, and slugs, all with informative captions.


December 11, 2015

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of taking an aerial tour of all ACR Preserves, covering over 5,000 acres in three North Bay Area counties. This was made possible through the generosity of Sam Dakin, one of our most generous donors. Sam and I, and three other ACR staffmembers departed from Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport in an eight seat Pilatus PC-12. We headed north to the Modini Mayacamas Preserves, flew over the destruction of the recent Valley Fire to the Mayacamas extension in Lake County, south to the Bouverie Preserve, around Mount Tamalpais to the Martin Griffin Preserve, up the Olema Valley and Tomales Bay to the Cypress Grove Research Center, and further north to Toms Point.

It was a...

December 10, 2015

As the winter solstice approaches and darkness creeps ever closer to the outer edge of afternoon, I find myself complaining like an 8-year-old, “It’s time to go in already?” And then a great horned owl hoots, and I am stopped dead in my tracks.

I listen patiently and, sure enough, a female owl hoots back, audibly higher in pitch.


December 01, 2015

ACR's scientific contribution to the State of the [SF] Estuary Report, completed in October by a collaboration of scientists working with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership revealed a stabilized-to-increasing trend in North Bay Heron and Egret nesting densities, possibly due to improvements in wetlands. North Bay colonies are part of larger SF Estuary Report, which covers 33 indicators of ecosystem health.

Read the full report here: http://ebooks.sfei.org/soter2015/files/54.html

November 11, 2015

When our wildlife researchers captured a picture of a black bear at Bouverie Preserve back in August, we thought it might be an anomaly.  But a second, larger, bear showed up just two weeks ago at the same spot! According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, these are the southernmost documented sightings of black bears from the Mayacamas Range. The bears were photographed by one of six motion-sensor cameras installed on the Bouverie Preserve as part of ACR’s wildlife corridor monitoring program.

The Bouverie Preserve is centrally located within a 5 mile wide wildlife corridor that links Sonoma Mountain with the Mayacamas Range. Staff at the Bouverie Preserve has been monitoring cameras for four years to understand and enhance wildlife movement between patches of...

October 30, 2015
Female mountain lion on the move at Bouverie Preserve, October 2015

Our wildlife cameras documented a single lion moving back and forth between the Apple Orchard Trail and the Rim Trail and Cougar Pond multiple times last week (the photo, above, is her at Cougar Pond on October 8 around 6 pm). Assuming it is the same cat (which we think it is), it takes her about 30 minutes to get from Cougar Pond to the end of the Apple Orchard Trail.

Why is she on the move?

Frequent regular movements like this can be a sign that the cat is feeding on a deer kill somewhere. When they are feeding regularly, they need to drink a lot so it is possible that she is traveling between her kill site and the creek to drink.

August 07, 2015

For the first time in 53 years, Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) has unveiled a new Brand and Communications Plan designed to increase the public’s understanding of our mission, and the impact we make in our communities. This messaging and new brand reflect ACR’s revitalized vision which recognizes that efforts to improve the health of our planet require a multidisciplinary approach that is broad in scope and scale and includes conservation, education, and science. ACR knows that critical environmental issues go beyond the borders of its sanctuaries, and we have a unique capacity to address many of these challenges. The Brand and Communications Plan strengthens our message, makes it clearer and more concise, and does so in a professional, relevant, and contemporary manner.