Tags >> trees
Jul 12
2010

Fog and Redwoods

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , water , trees , Science , research , parks , history , environment , education , coast , climate change , California

Bruce Robinson

A new analysis finds there are fewer foggy days along the Northern California coast than there were  100 years ago. That’s bad news for the venerable coast redwoods.

In addition to charting a reduction in the number of foggy days over the past century, U.C. Berkeley researcher Todd E. Dawson says their study also found fewer hours of foggy conditions on the days when the mist was present.

In their analysis, Dawson and  his colleague, James Johnstone, found there was a relationship between drought years and fog conditions, but it’s not what one might expect.

Read the abstract of their published paper on this research here.

 

Jul 02
2010

Bat Lady Remembered

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , trees , toxic , nonprofit orgs , farms , environment , chemicals , California , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

More than 50 years ago, Patricia Winters got her first bat, and promptly fell in love with it. As an advocate for the small nocturnal flying mammals, she was known throughout the North Bay and beyond as the Bat Lady. She died of cancer at age 70 recently, but shared her enthusiasm and knowledge in an early North Bay Report from January 2006. This is a repeat of that report.

How does someone become “the Bat Lady”?  In her case, recalls Patricia Winters, it started almost half a century ago.

Bats are moderately common in North America, but far more prevalent in the tropics, where they play an essential role in propagating fruits and other crops.

 

This is a Mexican free-tailed bat in flight, one of the more common species in northern California. Because of their echolocation sounds, bats actually make a lot of noise as they fly at night, but those sounds are at pitches to high for human hearing.You can listen to the echo-location sounds of a Mexican free-tailed bat, transposed into the rage of human hearing, in this audio clip.

For contrast's sake, here is the sound of what Patricia Winters calls a microwave popcorn echo. This bat send out its sounds between a gap in ins front teeth, so that the echo will no reverberate inside its mouth.

 

The Statewide Integrated Pest Management program at UC Davis offers this online resource to guide homeowners in dealing with bats generally and  on their property.

 

Pallid bat with fresh-caught grasshopper.


There are places where thousands of bats live together in caves or underground, and emerge in great clouds as the day turns dark. Here's a video of such an emergence.

 

Jun 02
2010

Fire Season

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , trees , public safety , environment , coast , California

Bruce Robinson

Late rains along the coast and low moisture in other parts of California portend a busy wildfire season in the months ahead.

It’s impossible to predict how much the state will need to pay for fire suppression costs in any give year, but CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant says we can be confident that, even in the most difficult budgetary years, the money is there.

The lion’s share of that funding goes to staffing the state fire agency, which Berlant explains is a combination of year-round positions augmented by seasonal hiring for the summer and early fall.

Apr 22
2010

Luther Burbank's Farm

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , trees , Sonoma County , Sebastopol , research , parks , nonprofit orgs , history , food , farms , environment , California , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Luther Burbank’s greenhouse is an icon of Santa Rosa, but the famed horticulturalist actually did most of his ground-breaking work at another site—his 18 acre Goldridge Farm in Sebastopol.

Burbank is justly renowned for his botanical innovations, but not everything he worked with was a success. In fact, explains horticultural historian Bob Hornback, Burbank also is the source of two highly conspicuous “escapees” that are now ubiquitous in our local landscape, including the one shown here.

The Open House at Goldridge Farm this weekend is part of the annual Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival, which primarily celebrates the area’s Gravenstein orchards. Hornback says that was one variety of apple that Luther Burbank didn’t do much with, although he did create the later-ripening Winterstein variety (seen in photo).

With hundreds of new fruit varieties, vegetables and ornamental plants and flowers to his credit, Burbank’s farm (including the cottage, as seen in this drawing) was the scene of constant multiple experiments, graftings and new hybrids. During so much required maintaining detailed records, says Hornback, which is something Burbank doesn’t get enough credit for doing.

 

 

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