Tags >> wildlife
Sep 19
2010

Extinct Clover

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , West County , research , rescue , preservation , open space , Marin , environment , education , coast , California

Bruce Robinson

The number of plants and animals listed as threatened or endangered is almost constantly growing. But only rarely does a species that was thought to be extinct make a come-back to join the endangered list. This is the story of just such a recovery, in the coastal hills of the North Bay.

It's now been a little more than 17 years since Connors made that first surprising discovery, but he clearly remembers the surprise and concern that accompanied that moment.

 Finding that single specimen in the first place was an enormous stroke of good fortune, Connors readily admits, and the fact that it survived to bear seeds seems nothing short of miraculous. Because even after he surrounded it with an improvised wire cage to protect the clover from hungry herbivores, it still narrowly escaped two nearly fatal encounters with inattentive humans, just in a mater of days. Connors recalls thatfortunatley it was his practice to stop by and check on the plant every other morning that late summer.

the_only_remaining_wild_pop.jpg

That first specimen, found on an inland hillside west of Occidental, has not reappeared, but three years later,Connors found a second wild patch of the same clover, growing on a coastal bluff in Marin county. That population, seen in the photograph at right, remains vital, in part because it lies on private property where it is less likely to be overrun by hikers or other visitors.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Aug 04
2010

Carnivorous Plants

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , Sebastopol , preservation , medicine , events , environment , education , drugs , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Horror movies and popular musicals notwithstanding, carnivorous plants do not eat people, nor do they grow to tower over us. Without that far-fetched scare factor, they are strangely beautiful…and decidedly weird.

Peter D’Amato was just a boy when he first sent for a mail-order Venus Flytrap. It didn’t last long, but his interest in these strange plants did, especially after he was introduced to some that were growing in the wild not far from his home.

D’Amato’s California Carnivores nurserypropagates and breeds many of the plants they display and sell, such as sundews and pitcher plants. They need to be kept wet, he explains, but they don’t need to be fed.

Aside from the loss of habitat that threatens them, carnivorous plants are naturally long-lived.

Many of D'Amato's specimens are currently on display in San Francisco, at the exhibit called Chomp 2 at the Conservatory of Flowers.

Jul 26
2010

Eco-Tourism in Bolivia

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , tourism , state government , resources , recreation , poverty , planning , nonprofit orgs , land rights , jobs , international , Green , government , environment , employment , economy , conservation , business , activism

Bruce Robinson
A remote Bolivian valley full of rare birds and wildlife is becoming an eco-tourism destination, thanks in part to an assist from a Sebastopol non-profit, the Conservation Strategy Fund.
Doron Amiran of the Sebastopol-based Conservation Strategy Fund explains that while they helped local Bolivian groups successfuly oppose the dam project on the Beni river, they are not necessarily opposed to all dams.

Touring the Bala Valley, where the Amazonia jungle backs up against the eastern foot of the Andes Mountains, Amiran found that accommodations for visitors were comfortable, but basic.


As with most of the projects the Conservation Strategy Funds gets involved with, this Bolivian dam proposal was brought to their attention by local advocates for the people who would be directly affected by it.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifQBCA3_DQk&feature=related 360x240]
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.

 

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