June 04, 2018

Our guest naturalist, Len Blumin, posts about a recent expedition to find and photograph dragonflies along Pine Flat Road, Healdsburg.

I recently heard about the Black Petaltail, an unusual dragonfly found by [fellow naturalist] Alan Wight in a restoration area along upper Pine Flat Road, above ACR's Modini Mayacamas Preserves. The species has a wide range in the Pacific Northwest, as far south as Sonoma, but is nowhere common. A cool weather forecast convinced me to give it a try.

Driving up Pine Flat I was distracted by the plethora of wildflowers in bloom. Along the roadside I slowed to talk to a couple that was peering into a wet roadside gully. They asked if I was interested dragonflies. I was! The pair was none other than Kathy and Dave Biggs—well-known teachers and...

May 14, 2018

Since late February, Living with Lions team has captured six lions spanning the southern Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain area. Two of these lions were study subjects recaptured to replace failing GPS collar batteries and check overall health. Four others are new lions in our study and their movements are already giving us a better understanding of the lion landscape.

P6, who is the surviving offspring from P1's 2017 litter of three, was captured weeks prior to her dispersal from mom. Since leaving 'home,' P6, now 13 months old, has proven to be a good hunter as indicated by the remains of a couple of large does cached at one of her feeding sites.

P8 and P9, daughter and mom, were spotted by quick thinking Taylor Mountain Regional Park personnel. Working together, our team...

May 11, 2018

Every May for the past eight years, school children at Lincoln Elementary School have traded their pencils for birding scopes in their quest to get a close-up view of a large heron and egret heronry located on West Ninth Street in Santa Rosa. As fourth grader Pablo Flores said, "I like seeing the birds because they’re part of nature and nature is beautiful.”

Press Democrat reporter Hannah Beausang dropped by to capture the fun > 

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April 30, 2018

ACR’s Living with Lions project has formed a new partnership with Dr. Justin Brashares and the Brashares Lab of UC Berkeley.

“Collaborating with one of the top research groups and universities in conservation science will allow us to enrich our unique skill sets,” said John Petersen, ACR’s executive director.

The joint operation expands the study area of ACR’s Living with Lions from 1,000 square miles of the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma and Napa Counties to expand into Mendocino County and include the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center, site of the Lab’s deer behavior and collaring program. “We’re excited about opportunities to broaden our knowledge of the regional lion population, research effective mitigating measures to protect livestock against predators, as...

April 15, 2018

In California, mountain lions are at the top of the food chain and play critical roles in the maintenance and functioning of their ecosystems. In our region, mountain lions’ preferred prey are deer. Disruptions in the population of this key predator can affect deer behavior and populations, causing a number of impacts in the system.

Yet mountain lions themselves live a fragile existence as more of us choose to live and play in wild places. Although human and lion confrontations have been infinitely small, protecting pets and livestock from being attacked remains a challenge. Although livestock form a small percentage of their diet, lions are opportunists when it comes to attacking unsecured pets or stock.

Such conflict may result in a depredation permit issued to have the...

March 28, 2018

With nearly 75% of the Bouverie Preserve burned during last fall's Nuns Fire, we weren’t sure how or when we would be able to welcome the region's 3rd and 4th grade schoolchildren back on the land. Trails and trail infrastructure were blocked or completely destroyed, and all of our public facilities were lost. However, shortly after the fire, our stewardship, education and operations staff along with determined and generous volunteers began a 5-month labor of love to ready our trails and fine-tune our education materials to address this major ecological event.

Tuesday, March 27 marked day ONE of Bouverie Preserve's 2018 Spring Hiking Season for 3rd and 4th graders, and it went off without a hitch.

Twenty-five 4th graders from Healdsburg Charter School immersed themselves...

March 25, 2018

The Living with Lions Project has had a busy start to the year since replacing our essential equipment lost in the fires. A huge thanks to all our donors who contributed to this effort.

Unfortunately, the electronic walk-through traps designed and built last year were all destroyed in the fires and will take some time to rebuild. This means that we have returned to attracting mountain lions to the cagetrap using roadkill deer carcasses as bait. What a mission! For one, winter is not a time where many deer are killed on the roads it seems - which is good for the deer, but not for baiting. Also, capture success of lions using baits in our area has typically been low, possibly due to an abundance of food.

That said, we recently had some fantastic action on one of our baits...

March 23, 2018

While on patrol along Modini Mayacamas Preserves' McDonnell Creek, which contributes to the ecologically important Maacama Watershed, Land Steward Tomas Ruiz made a happy sighting of two good-sized steelhead trout swimming in one of the deep pools of the creek. Tomas recalls this being only the second time in seven years that he's spotted steelhead in this creek. Jim and Shirley Modini, who gave their 1,700 acre ranch to ACR in 2012, would have thrilled at this news!

McDonnell Creek is the primary source of the 8-mile long Maacama Creek, which flows through the Alexander Valley / Hwy 128 corridor and eventually empties into the Russian River...

March 08, 2018

Signs of spring on the West Marin coast are evident and stirring excitement at ACR’s Martin Griffin Preserve. On this thousand acres of wildlands and watershed overlooking the Bolinas Lagoon, new growth is budding, wildflowers are blooming, and pollinators are buzzing. New buckeye leaves are unfurling and fern fiddleheads abound. Indian paintbrush, milkmaids, suncups, hound’s tongue, Douglas iris, woodland strawberries, Fremont star lilies, and Calypso orchids can been seen and smelled in all their splendor. These flowers attract butterflies, bumble bees, and hummingbirds, as they busily fly about.

The four canyons of the Preserve feature mixed evergreen forests and freshwater habitat for hundreds of species of mammals, land birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The ponds are full...

February 27, 2018

ACR avian ecologist David Lumpkin, who works from our Cypress Grove Research Center on Tomales Bay, had what birders will agree is a personal best: he spotted a banded hermit thrush hanging around the bridge over Livermore Marsh and managed to photograph the band numbers with enough clarity to track the bird back to its banding date and location. Turns out this little thrush had arrived all the way from Victoria, B.C., having been banded in September 2017.

This effort did not go unrecognized by the North American Bird Banding Program, who sent David a certificate of appreciation and gave us all the following information to pass along:

Bird banding is important for studying the movement, survival and behavior of birds. About 60 million birds representing...

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