March highlights: Great Blue Herons have continued to occupy the colony near downtown Bolinas, with 7 nests in the incubation stage. The heavy rains beginning around Mar 10, which battered and wilted the early Douglas Irises and other flowers that bloomed during the warm days of February, appear to have done little to deter the Herons from their nesting attempts on the Bolinas side of the lagoon. Elsewhere in the SF Bay Area, other heron and egret species are busy with their nesting: Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets and Snowy Egrets have been busy building nests in Santa Rosa, and Black-Crowned Night-Herons have begun hatching in Oakland and possibly Santa Rosa. Great Egrets have continued to be regularly seen foraging around the shores of Bolinas Lagoon, and finally, around the weekend of...
The magnificent Grandmother Tree at Bouverie Preserve has been a source of admiration and a sentinel for many -- our staff, docents and visitors alike. Recent storms resulted in a significant crack in the main stem of the Grandmother Tree. The photos below show the cool peep hole and the massive branch above the hole. The crack is at the base of that branch, which means the whole tree is unstable. Working with an arborist, we determined that this major crack, combined with cracks in other branches, and the fact that the tree has been suffering from heart rot (probably for decades) means bracing the tree will not preserve it for much longer. We have made the difficult decision to fell the tree.
Our Bolinas Lagoon Heron and Egret nesting updates have begun! Highlights from February from ACR Avian Ecologist Scott Jennings:
As February progressed there was increased activity and an initiation of nesting behavior by Great Blue Herons at the Bolinas Colony. The beautiful weather early in the month was met with 4-5 occupied territories in the tall Bishop Pines lining the channel of the lagoon that separates Kent Island from Downtown Bolinas. However, the strong south and east winds that came along with some mild rain in the middle of the month blew right in to the colony, driving the Herons down into the more-sheltered branches below where the nests are located, and onto the mudflats of Kent Island. At the close of the month, 3 nests appeared to be in the incubation stage,...
It takes only about 10 seconds of gazing into its eyes to fall in love with a newt. And as Valentines go, newts have a lot to recommend them.
Holding a newt in your hand is among the most intimate wildlife encounters many of us will ever have. They don’t run away, hide, bite, scratch or sting. They don’t slime you with mucus or smear you in musk. Plus they are adorable and just plain fun to watch.
After a good rain, I often see newts padding through the woods with fir needles and tiny bits of debris clinging to their feet, making them appear as oblivious and comical as one of us coming out of a restroom with toilet paper stuck to our shoe....
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...
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!
MORE ABOUT ACR'S MCLAREN PROPERTY
Near Inverness, close to where the broad tidelands open to the bay, a generous land donation by Helen...
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
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.
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...