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Archive for March, 2009

Hummingbird bathing in a fountain — BEAUTIFUL & FUNNY!

Hummingbird bathing in fountain by Gayle Hasley, Concord, Calif.
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Dear Gary:
It’s a beautiful day in paradise — my tiny 12’ x 20’ garden on the second highest density street in Concord.

It is filled this morning with titmice, doves, goldfinches, chickadees, hummingbirds and a huge Cooper’s hawk floating overhead, searching for things for their nest just 5 big trees away. All of the birds love the fountain in the garden and they come to drink and bath … but it is the hummers who take visible joy in it.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Under: Bird bath, hummingbirds | No Comments »

Painted Lady butterfly migration: Seeing lots of butterflies? They’re BACK!

Painted lady butterfly. Photo by Joe Oliver, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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The Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) are back migrating through California even as we speak.

Dr. Art Shapiro is a professor of Evolution and Ecology at UC-Davis and a top butterfly expert. You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about these beautiful Painted Ladies and their migration by checking out Art Shapiro’s Butterfly Site: http://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/node/446

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Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2009
Under: Butterflies, Migration, Painted Lady butterfly | 65 Comments »

Last known jaguar in U.S. may have died, but the fight goes on

Candid jaguar video in Brazil so you can see what they look like. /Gary

Video by YouTube user annamelie78 used under Creative Commons license.

Exactly three weeks after the death of Macho B, the last known jaguar in the United States, on Monday (March 23) a federal court heard oral arguments in the Center for Biological Diversity’s bid to win a federal recovery plan and protected habitat areas for the endangered species.

According to a weekly e-newsletter I just received from the Center, the hearing went very well. They said the judge “peppered the government lawyer with difficult questions and clearly was skeptical of the agency’s changing litany of arguments.”
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Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2009
Under: Endangered species, Jaguar | No Comments »

Mother Goose: A final word and photos of the goslings by a pond

The Mother Goose family by Dan Rosenstrauch/Staff
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I thought you’d all like to have some closure on this little adventure.

Here are some photos of Mother and Dad Goose and their 7 goslings feeding at a nearby pond in the Verizon building complex next door to the Contra Costa Times on Wednesday. They will stay here for the next month or so until the goslings are old enough to fly, and then all will take off to who-knows-where.
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Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Under: Mother Goose, Mother Nature, nesting | No Comments »

Mother Goose saga ends. Come take a look at what happened

Mother Goose and goslings by Dan Rosenstrauch, Times staff photographer
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The Mother Goose saga comes to a close.

Whew! I have to say it was a pretty wild day, yesterday. Hundreds of viewers from all over the country and beyond (Pennsylvania, Arizona, Canada, etc.) watched the eggs hatch, baby goslings running all around the rooftop driving Mom Goose crazy and the viewers nuts.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
Under: Mother Goose, Mother Nature | 9 Comments »

Mother Goose hatches her eggs LIVE on our roof for all to see!

Mother Goose tends her baby by Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff
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Thought you’d all like to know that the windows in the second floor hallway in the Contra Costa Times building overlooking the little rooftop where Mother Goose is hatching out her eggs are draped with pink and blue balloons (“It’s a Boy!” “It’s a Girl!”) put up by people from our Advertising Department.

There’s also a plate of chocolate eggs and PEEPS sitting on a chair … being passed out instead of cigars … as a steady stream of editorial, advertising, production, pressroom and other staff members are passing by the windows and taking quick peeks at Mother Goose as she deals with her new goslings.

“Anyone have any e-champagne?” said Jim Schnitzen, one of the many on-line viewers.

As soon as the eggs started to hatch on Monday (March 23), Susan Tripp Pollard, a Times’ photographer, ran upstairs to the hallway window next to the nest and took the above photo. GREAT SHOT, Sue! Perfect!
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
Under: Mother Goose, Mother Nature | 8 Comments »

Audubon California: State birds face their own serious threats

California condor
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Audubon California representatives said last Thursday (March 19) that while a new Federal report offers a compelling snapshot of the conservation issues facing birds nationwide, one must look to more regional data to fully understand how habitat loss, climate change and other threats are already taking their toll on California birds.

“California’s very diverse natural landscapes and unique array of birds set it apart from the rest of the country,” said Graham Chisholm, conservation director for Audubon California. “While the federal report does a good job of capturing issues related to California seabirds, for instance, one really has to take a closer look to fully understand the challenges here related to wetland, grassland, and oak woodland bird species.”
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Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009
Under: Birds, Endangered species | 2 Comments »

Wanna see how tiny a hummingbird egg is? Check this out!

Anna’s hummingbird and eggs. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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The hummingbird’s nest is the size of half a walnut. A female Anna’s hummingbird like the one in this photo is about 3-inches tall.

The egg is a little over a quarter inch long … about the size of a coffee bean or half the size of a tiny Jelly Belly jellybean.

When the baby hummer hatches from the egg, it is so tiny it can sit comfortably on a quarter … on George Washington’s forehead. Amazing creatures, aren’t they?
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Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2009
Under: Hummingbird eggs, hummingbirds | 6 Comments »

Goose cam: See our own Mama Goose, live. Time for eggs to hatch?

The Contra Costa Times own Mother Goose, Walnut Creek, California. Photo by Joe Boessenecker, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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To say that we’re all on pins and needles today is the understatement of the year!

Our own Mother Goose is due for her eggs to hatch anytime, now, and reporters, editors, photographers, pressmen and other employees throughout the Contra Costa Times building here in Walnut Creek, California, are taking quick peeks at the Mother Goose Web Cam on their computer screens, or taking a quick glance out the window to watch it “live” as they walk by.
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Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Under: Canada Goose, Mother Goose | 5 Comments »

Abandoned seal pup? Leave Seals Be & call Marine Mammal Center

Harbor seal pup. Photo by The Marine Mammal Center rescue volunteer Rose Kerr.
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Each year The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito launches its “Leave Seals Be” campaign designed to ask the public to call its 24-hour response hotline to report ill or what may appear to be abandoned seal pups along the beach and to not pick them up or attempt to rescue the seals themselves.

Here’s the story:
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Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Under: Elephant seals, Harbor seals, Marine Mammal Center, Sea lions | 1 Comment »