Burrowing Owl Surveys at Warm Springs

52This April, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) is looking for volunteers to assist with western burrowing owl breeding surveys at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in south Fremont. The surveys will take place on the Warm Springs Unit of the refuge, a 700-acre vernal pool grassland home to special-status species like burrowing owls as well as California tiger salamanders, vernal pool tadpole shrimp, and Contra Costa goldfields.

The SFBBO, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is looking for 60 volunteers over three survey sessions (with priority given to current SFBBO members):

  • Session 1: Wednesday, April 15th – 5:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
  • Session 1: Thursday, April 16th – 5:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
  • Session 1: Wednesday, April 18 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Training will be provided on site beforehand to familiarize volunteers with survey techniques. Volunteers are cautioned to wear layered clothing; sturdy shoes/boots; and plenty of water.

To volunteer, send an email to SFBBO Habitats Ecologist Aidona Kakouros at akakouros@sfbbo.org with the subject line “BUOW surveys in Warm Springs”.

The application deadline is Friday, April 10.

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Count Your Blossoms at the Antioch Dunes (2015)

Throughout April and May this year, biologists at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge will be conducting plant surveys for the endangered Antioch Dunes evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides howellii) and Contra Costa wallflower (Erysimum capitatum angustatum).

ADEPrimrose_IMG_9664_smThese two plants are exclusively found at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in Antioch, California, where years of sand mining at the Antioch Dunes has pushed these plants (and the Lange’s metalmark butterfly) nearer to extinction. That’s why refuge staff need your help counting plants to inventory the refuge’s populations. Plants counts are scheduled for the following dates:

  • Wednesday, April 22nd – 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Contra Costa wallflowers)
  • Thursday, April 23rd – 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Contra Costa wallflowers)
  • Wednesday, May 20th – 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Antioch Dunes evening primrose)
  • Thursday, May 21st – 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Antioch Dunes evening primrose)

Newcomers and veterans alike are welcome to participate, but participants must be 18 years or older. Volunteers are cautioned to wear layered clothing in anticipation of the unpredictable cold, wind, or listless heat; sturdy shoes/boots and long pants (jeans) for uneven terrain and spiky weed seeds; knee-pads; sun-protection (e.g. sunblock, sunglasses, hat) and plenty of water; and your lunch.

If you are interested in volunteering for the April/May plant counts, please contact Susan Euing (by email at susan_euing@yahoo.com or by phone at (510) 521-9716). If you leave a message, please leave your name, phone number and email address, and Susan will contact you as soon as possible to confirm.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that writing about the Lange’s metalmark butterfly and the Antioch Dunes for Bay Nature magazine in 2005 was the genesis behind my children’s book, Sardis and Stamm. You can read more about the book – and order a copy for your shelves – here:

http://www.sardisandstamm.wordpress.com/

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Elkhorn Slough: 2015 California Red-Legged Frog Workshop

CRF WorkshopThis spring the Elkhorn Slough Coastal Training Program is once again sponsoring the California Red-Legged Frog Workshop 2015 for the 15th year running with presenters Trish Tatarian and Greg Tatarian. The workshop, slated for May 21, 2015 at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Watsonville, CA, will provide a comprehensive review of the species’ natural history and conservation efforts with both classroom lecture and a field training session. Among the topics covered are species identification, natural history, habitat requirements, management practices, habitat assessments, pond designs, equipment demonstrations, tadpole identification, and survey methodology, including a night-time training practicum in the field.

Space is limited, so act now! This year’s registration deadline is April 28th.

One of the pluses the Elkhorn Slough Coastal Training Program provides is free online access to workshop materials and related peer-reviewed papers. Make sure to check it out here!

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Practical Applications – CalTIP

CalTIPLogoOverlooking the fact that we should be immersing ourselves in Nature – not our mobile phones – when we’re outdoors, in January the California Department of Fish and Game released a new app to “give Californians an opportunity to help protect the state’s fish and wildlife resources”. CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters), first introduced in 1981, is a confidential secret witness program to help the public report poaching or polluting incidents or any fish and wildlife violation.

CalTIP’s toll free telephone number – 1(888) 334-CALTIP / 1 (888) 334-2258 – is an anonymous 24/7 tip-line. But for those that are app aficionados, the CalTIP app pilot program offers a new, simple visual reporting platform with the ability to include photographs. This is an improvement on (but does not replace) the previous ‘tip411′ option that allows the public to text message anonymously with CDFW wildlife officers by texting 847411 (tip411).

What’s reportable? Poaching, polluting incidents, and any fish and wildlife violations, including hunting or fishing out of season, exceeding bag limits, illegal commercialization (selling) of wildlife, trespassing, hunting or fishing in closed areas like Marine Life Protection Areas or Game Reserves, habitat destruction, transporting and introducing certain non-native species, agricultural pollution, dumping of household waste, industrial spills, and illegal marijuana gardens.

 

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Find Your Roots at the Antioch Dunes (2015)

 

Throughout February and March this year, wildlife biologists at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting their annual planting parties to plant seedlings of the endangered  Antioch Dunes evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides howellii) and Contra Costa wallflower (Erysimum capitatum angustatum), and the Antioch Dunes buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum psychical), the host plant of the refuge’s endangered Lange’s metalmark butterfly (Apodemia mormo langei).

ADEPrimrose_IMG_9664_smThese three plants are exclusively found at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in Antioch, California, where years of sand mining at the Antioch Dunes has pushed these plants and the Lange’s metalmark butterfly nearer to extinction.

That’s why refuge staff need your help planting seedlings to bolster the refuge’s plant populations. In addition to the three dates below, refuge staff are open to special arrangements for groups of 10+ between now and March 31:

  • Friday, February 13th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, February 27th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 7th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Newcomers and veterans alike are welcome to participate, but children under 18 years must be accompanied by 1 responsible adult per 10 students. Volunteers are cautioned to wear layered clothing in anticipation of the unpredictable cold, wind, or listless heat; sturdy shoes/boots and long pants (jeans) for uneven terrain and spiky weed seeds; knee-pads; sun-protection (e.g. sunblock, sunglasses, hat) and plenty of water; and your lunch.

If you are interested in volunteering for the February/March planting parties, please contact Susan Euing (by email at susan_euing@yahoo.com or by phone at (510) 521-9716). If you leave a message, please leave your name, phone number and email address, and Susan will contact you as soon as possible to confirm.

For more details and directions, visit the refuge website:
http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_8/NWRS/Zone_2/San_Francisco_Bay_Complex/Soughs_News.pdf

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that writing about the Lange’s metalmark butterfly and the Antioch Dunes for Bay Nature magazine in 2005 was the genesis behind my children’s book, Sardis and Stamm. You can read more about the book – and order a copy for your shelves – here:

http://www.sardisandstamm.wordpress.com/

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