February 08, 2017

ACR's Mountain Lion Project welcomed Alex Hettena to the team this month. Alex, a master's candidate in Environmental Science, will focus mostly on investigating the multitude of GPS "cluster" activity from our two collared mountain lions. Clusters are defined when a mountain lion spends 4 hours or more at any two locations less than 100m apart, possibly indicating a kill/feeding site. These kill sites not only offer tons of insight into mountain lion diet and behavior but also allow us to connect with landowners in order to gain access to the sites. Since our tracking activities began, 41 GPS location clusters over a 3 month period were identified for P1 in 2016. Of those, 12 were investigated and 10 found remains of feeding activity. All of the kill sites were deer of different ages...

February 08, 2017

We humans have come up with some poetic collective nouns for animals. A murder of crows. A parliament of owls. Even a shrewdness of apes (now also the name of a band). So it seems we missed the proverbial lily pad when we came up with the term “army” to describe the millions of frogs that welcome spring with their delightful and often deafening chorus. As few Californians are more joyously vocal about the possible end to the California drought this year, I humbly offer a happiness of frogs as an alternative.

The frogs we hear performing their seasonal symphony right now in the North Bay are Pacific chorus frogs, or sometimes called simply tree frogs. Sticklers for taxonomic accuracy will correctly point out that our local Pacific chorus...
February 01, 2017

ACR staff and volunteers conducted the second of four annual waterbird counts on Tomales Bay in mid-January. The team of 17, including 11 volunteers, launched from the Marshall Boat Works in three boats and made a complete sweep of the bay over the course of the chilly but clear morning.

Approximately 19,400 waterbirds were counted, which is low relative to past seasons when as many as 35,000 birds could be seen. Highlights included the sighting of three Caspian Terns, a common sight on Tomales Bay in summer, but rarely seen in winter, and at least one Black Scoter, a lovely bird that is thought to be in decline. Bufflehead and Greater Scaup were most numerous (counted about 6,300 Bufflehead and 6,400 Scaup), and although gulls are counted during the Christmas Bird Count, they...

January 27, 2017

ACR is pleased to welcome the 2017 Juniper Junior Naturalist Training class! Now in its 24th year, the Juniper Program provides training for 30 budding naturalists who were identified by docents during a school program field trip. This year we’ve added an entire additional training day, growing the training from five to six Saturdays – by including a day of Stewardship & Leadership.

Once they have completed their training, Junipers are invited to assist with field research and stewardship projects, and they serve as co-leaders for nature walks for Preserve visitors. Come for a nature walk and meet our fabulous Junipers!

December 13, 2016

Visitors to Martin Griffin Preserve in Stinson Beach and Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen this month were greeted with friendly waves from the Pure Power Solutions team installing our new solar panels.



Roof-mounted system at Martin Griffin Preserve, Stinson Beach 

ACR's Board of Directors in November unanimously backed an innovative approach to a major...

December 12, 2016

ACR members were treated to gorgeous views, glassy bay waters and lessons in natural history recently on the annual Members-only Kayak Tour of Tomales Bay.



Picnic lunch at Pelican Point, rising coastal fog and good company made for a perfect day spent outside.

ACR Director of Conservation Science John Kelly and Board Member Jude Stalker reminded us that 60 years ago, massive development plans for the east side of the bay would have made for quite...

December 02, 2016

On November 13, 2016, our mountain lion research team fitted a second mountain lion with a satellite telemetry collar. The mountain lion is a juvenile female, estimated to be 13.5 months old, and soon to disperse from its mother. The team had tracked this mountain lion for a little over a month, after placing a collar on her mother in early October. The juvenile was captured on property bordering Annadel State Park near Santa Rosa, California. After outfitting the lion with a GPS collar, recording measurements and collecting biological samples for analysis, the research team released the mountain lion at the capture site.

Named P2 (Puma 2) for our scientific records, the mountain lion weighs about 70 pounds and is in extremely good health. “Mom (P1) has been feeding her well!”...

October 24, 2016

During winter, over 35,000 waterbirds, along with tens of thousands of shorebirds and gulls, pack the surface waters of Tomales Bay. This extraordinary phenomenon led, in 2002, to global recognition of Tomales Bay as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

For three decades ACR has tracked the abundances of nearly 60 species of loons, grebes, cormorants, ducks and other waterbirds in the bay. These studies have revealed patterns of winter population growth and decline that are complicated enough to seem mysterious.

A magnet for herring spawning

Beneath the surface, tens of millions of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) also enter the bay each winter, to spawn in the vast, subtidal meadows of eelgrass. These events precipitate spectacular waterbird feeding...

October 06, 2016

ACR has advanced its mountain lion research and education project with its first collaring of an adult female mountain lion on a Sonoma Land Trust property in the Sonoma Valley last night. After outfitting the lion with a GPS collar, recording measurements and collecting blood, tissue and other biological samples, the research team released the mountain lion at the capture site. 

Named P1 (Puma 1) for our scientific records, the mountain lion is estimated to be approximately 8-10 years old, as indicated by her dental condition. The capture, led  by ACR Wildlife Ecologist and Principal Investigator for the project Dr. Quinton Martins, was attended by ACR staff, veterinarians Dr. Winston Vickers and Dr. Sophia Papageorgiou, and Tony Nelson of the Sonoma Land Trust.

September 26, 2016

Many supporters and volunteers of ACR have reached out to us over the weekend, concerned about how Modini Mayacamas Preserves and our staff may be affected by the Sawmill fire in northeast Sonoma County.

As of Monday morning, Modini Mayacamas Preserves is not in the path of this fire, winds continue to push it in other directions. We remain vigilant, as things can always change.

Kudos to the Press Democrat for highlighting an important point in their most recent article.

Here’s the gist of what the firefighters on the ground were telling them: In high temperatures, steep terrain and drought-stressed vegetation, it is burn scars from recent fires that can stop...