Archive for category Natural History
Remember Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”? The newest addition to my vinyl historical records is a sticker that serves as a “Tippi”-of-the-hat to Alfred Hitchcock’s ornithological horror film. Many might be surprised to learn that the origin of “The Birds’” dates back to the mysterious bird deaths that plagued the sleepy hamlet of Capitola, California in 1961. In the early hours on that fateful Friday, August 18, a flight of sooty shearwaters (Ardenna grisea) returning landward instead crashed into buildings between Pleasure Point and Rio del Mar in an event that was later described as “a rain of birds.” This freak occurrence has since been attributed to domoic acid poisoning (amnesic shellfish poisoning) produced by phytoplankton, or more specifically, marine plants known as diatoms. These bird deaths were tapped by Hitchcock as further inspiration for his angry bird adaptation of Daphne de Maurier’s 1952 novella The Birds to the big screen, set instead farther north in California’s foggy-trodden Bodega Bay.
I’m excited to add Bodega Bay (= “The Birds”) to the growing number of vintage images of California and Western States accumulated in association with the Vintage Views: Mount Diablo project I’ve undertaken with my wife (see Sarah Anne Photography).
Now, through the (bio)accumulation Etsy storefront, you can own these vintage views of the Western States as 3.5X3.5 vinyl stickers.
These 3.5″ x 3.5″ stickers are printed on premium vinyl with a permanent adhesive and are coated with a protective matte laminate that makes it durable and resistant to fading, scratching, tearing, and water. They are designed for outdoor use, and can withstand exposure to wind, rain, and sunlight, and can be run safely through a dishwasher.
Stick them to your bumper or car window, reusable water bottle, snowboard, skateboard, or bicycle… your options are limitless!
To see the other vintage art available to date, visit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/bioaccumulation
I am excited to announce that The Wildlife Society – Western Section’s long-simmering The Wildlife Confessional anthology, a collection of short stories by dyed-in-the-wool wildlife biologists like myself, is now being crowdfunded for publication through the publishing house Inkshares:
The anthology is a collection of fifteen stories by thirteen biologists, including published authors Thomas A. Roberts (Painting the Cows, Adventures in Conservation; reviewed here), Marcy Cottrell Houle (Wings for my Flight, One City’s Wilderness, The Prairie Keepers), and J. Drew Lanham (The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature), plus a memoir of the late Dr. Charles Jonkel, co-founder of the Great Bear Foundation.
The authors whose stories have been collected there represent men and women from all walks of wildlife biology – State and Federal biologists, consultants, students, professors, interns – and take place across North and Central America, from the Gulf of Alaska to San Ignacio, Belize, from the tropics of the Hawaiian Islands to the deserts of Arizona, and in the desert springs, coastal bluffs, national parks, stock ponds, pick-up trucks, traplines, doctor’s offices, roof tops, outhouses, and bombing ranges scattered everywhere in between.
This anthology is a labor of love. One of the primary reasons the authors and editors behind The Wildlife Confessional have undertaken this project is to educate and attract students to enter the field of wildlife biology and to apply money raised through book sales to support student involvement in The Wildlife Society by funding scholarships, grants, and training opportunities.
Pre-sales are underway to crowdfund the project at a cover price of $20 paperback / $10 ebook.
You can also follow the project on Facebook at:
This spring, the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation and The Wildlife Project are back at it, sponsoring the Rare Pond Species Survey Techniques Workshop, March 24-25, 2018 at the Laguna Environmental Center, Santa Rosa, CA. Workshop instructors Dave Cook and Jeff Alvarez will cover aquatic survey techniques for California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), California red-legged frog (Rana draytoni), and western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata). After-hours field trips will provide hands-on experience with all three species, including dip net sampling, spotlight surveys, and visual encounter and trapping.
Dave and Jeff, whom I’ve known for years, are experienced herpetologists who have logged inestimable hours in the field between them studying these species. Their knowledge is priceless, but the workshop worth every penny.
You can learn more about the workshop by visiting the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation website.
The Friends of the Jepson Herbarium recently announced the program for The Jepson Herbarium Workshop’s 2018 series on botanical and ecological subjects. These programs are open to the general public and consist of basic, introductory one- to four-day basic botany workshops and more technical one- to five-day weekend workshops.
The basic botany series includes “Introductory Plant Morphology for the Botanically-Curious” and the not-to-miss “Fifty Families in the Field: San Francisco Bay Area,” an excellent workshop I had the pleasure of taking in 2007 with instructor Linda Beidleman (co-author of Plants of the San Francisco Bay Region: Mendocino to Monterey) (and, in the past, the late ever-entertaining Richard Beidleman, the author of California’s Frontier Naturalists which was reviewed with great enthusiasm here). Among this year’s technical weekend workshop series are such select, wonkish offerings as “Introductory Plant Families for Botanical Rookies,” “Amphibians and Reptiles of the San Francisco Bay Area,” “California’s Native Bees: Biology, Ecology, and Identification,” “Northern California Nudibranchs,” and “Introduction to Fire Ecology of the Sierra Nevada.”
The workshops run throughout the year, but class sizes are limited and waiting lists back up quickly. Sign up soon.