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Archive for February, 2009

Spring on Mount Diablo. Isn’t it beautiful?

Spring on Mount Diablo. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek
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Spring is my favorite time of year on Mount Diablo. Everything is so beautifully GREEN!

In fact spring is my most favorite time EVERYWHERE. That’s why I’m leaving on vacation for the next two weeks so I can enjoy the different shades of green I’ll find in the different places I plan to visit.

I’ll be back on Monday, March 16. While I’m gone, here’s something to remember:
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Posted on Friday, February 27th, 2009
Under: Mount Diablo, Seasons, Spring | No Comments »

Webcam: Watch the Times’ rooftop Mother Goose nesting LIVE

Mother Goose. Photo by Joe Boessenecker, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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I first wrote about the Contra Costa Times’ very own “Mother Goose” here on Feb. 19. She is a Canada goose who started nesting on our rooftop four years ago and has returned every spring since then to raise a new family of goslings.

Now you can watch our Mother Goose yourself during daylight hours via our new Webcam: http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_11783519

Watch her preening as she sits on her nest of redwood tree duff and incubates her eggs. Watch her stand up periodically to turn the eggs carefully with her beak to make sure they are being properly incubated. Watch her get occasional visits from another Canada goose who we think is the father of those eggs.
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Posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Under: Canada Goose, Mother Goose, Web Cam | 107 Comments »

This big lady sure knows what to do with all those backyard crows

Female Cooper’s hawk eating a crow. Photo by Bob Luis, Brentwood, Calif.
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I’ve been getting a lot of mail about crows in my column these days. Backyards are full of those big, black noisy birds. Most frequently asked question is, “What are we going to do with all these crows?”

Bob Luis of Brentwood, California, dropped me a note the other day, containing the above photo. Here’s what he had to say:
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Posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
Under: Cooper's hawk, Crows, Hawks | 5 Comments »

New BLM Webcam at Consumnes Preserve offers bird’s eye view

Three pelicans photo by Joe Oliver, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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If you can’t go to the birds, the birds will come to you over the internet, courtesy of a new webcam at the Cosumnes River Preserve.

The webcam operates 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
Under: Bird Watching, Birds, Web Cam | No Comments »

Ringling Bros. Circus federal elephant abuse trial UPDATE

I’ve arranged to get regular updates on the Ringling Bros. Circus federal elephant abuse trial in Washington, DC. /Gary

Here’s what happened last week:
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Posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2009
Under: Abuse, Elephants, Ringling Bros. | 8 Comments »

There will be NO California tax on veterinary care this year. Whew!

Jasmine visits her veterinarian, Dr. Brisbin.
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Thanks for writing or calling the Governor to protest this unreasonable tax. As you can see, it helped! Thanks for caring. /Gary

The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) today thanked Gov. Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature for responding to the public’s opposition to a tax on veterinary care.

The state Legislature passed a 17-month budget that did not include the governor’s earlier proposal to broaden the sales and use tax to include veterinary services.
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Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009
Under: Pets, Veterinarians, Veterinary Tax Proposal | No Comments »

She’s BACK! Canada goose nests annually on CCTimes’ rooftop

The Newspaper Goose. Photo by Joe Boessenecker, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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A female Canada goose has returned to nest on a Contra Costa Times’ rooftop again this year for the 4th year in a row.

She’s a couple of weeks early this year and most of us here at the Times figures it probably has to do with the weather.

There’s a truck awning outside the Times’ production office. The small roof/awning covers an area where delivery trucks can back in to deliver whatever it is they are delivering. There’s a row of redwood trees nearby and dried redwood duff falls onto the top of the awning. The goose scrapes all this “soft,” dried material up into a pile, scoops out a depression in the middle and lays her eggs.
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Posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2009
Under: Bird nests, Birds, Canada Goose, Wildlife | 7 Comments »

Cat hunting study: Special tags measure how often cats kill

cat kills bird

My friend Pat Keeble in Martinez regularly reads many British newspapers. She also passes along some pretty interesting subjects as they come up. Like this one below. /Gary

Electronic tracking will test scientists’ theory that Britain’s 9 million feline pets slay 150 million animals a year.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Under: Birds, Cats, Cats killing wildlife, Wildlife | 4 Comments »

Please be a friend of Wagner Ranch Nature Area

Bullfrog by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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I just received this letter from the Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area. The Friends and the school children of the Orinda School District have a problem … and you can help. Please do. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Dear Supporters of the Nature Area Environmental Education Program:
These are desperate times, and the Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area requests your help in educating the community about the importance of retaining this superb environmental education program. The informational press release below is provided by the Board of the Friends for your use in alerting neighbors and fellow Orindans. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Under: Education, Nature, Wagner Ranch Nature Area | 4 Comments »

Global warming is endangering the American pika

American pika
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The Center for Biological Diversity (represented by Earthjustice) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today reached a settlement agreement that will bring the American pika — a small, alpine-dwelling relative of the rabbit that is highly imperiled by global warming — a step closer to receiving protections it urgently needs to survive.

View a video of a pika in its habitat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpJ2Q63GC3M
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Posted on Friday, February 13th, 2009
Under: Endangered species, Global warming, Pika | 1 Comment »