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Archive for June, 2010

Martinez beavers: Did they have two new babies this spring?

Baby beaver nibbles some food (Cheryl Reynolds/Martinez beavers)
2010 mtz baby, cheryl reynolds

Looks like the Martinez, California, beavers have produced at least one new youngster (maybe two?) this spring.

You can find out more about the adventures of the Martinez beavers at

Enjoy! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Under: Beavers, Martinez Beavers | 2 Comments »

Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon: 1,500 pets adopted in two days!

Anyone for a latte? (Maddie’s Fund photo)
Maddies, anyone for a latte

Most of the information below, except for these great photos, was printed in my June 15 daily newspaper column in Bay Area News Group newspapers that are published in the San Francisco Bay Area. The preliminary adoption total in my column was “1,400.” I was contacted by Maddie’s and informed that figure has now been upgraded to 1,500 pets adopted last weekend. I hope it goes even higher! /Gary
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Posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Under: Cats, dogs, Maddie's Fund | 4 Comments »

Calif. quail family: Photo of the whole gang in a San Ramon backyard

California quail family in a San Ramon, CA, backyard. Photo by Chrissy Lahowe, Fremont, CA.
Chrissy Lahowe, Fremont

A female California quail and her whole family are living in a San Ramon, Calif., backyard. I like to call our backyards the “Urban Wilderness.” Think about it. /Gary

Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010
Under: California quail | 1 Comment »

West Nile Virus: Report dead birds to help control it

Giant mosquito. Photo by Flickr user Arthur Chapman used under a Creative Commons License.
mosquito by Arthur Chapman

The public is urged to report dead birds to help control West Nile Virus. Thanks. /Gary

The Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District is urging residents to report dead birds to help control West Nile virus. Dead bird reports provide valuable information to District staff helping them to understand where human cases of West Nile virus may occur. Technicians are then able to concentrate their surveillance and control in those specific areas before people contract the disease from mosquitoes.
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Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2010
Under: West Nile virus | 1 Comment »

Check this photo & watch out for rattlesnakes while hiking!

Camouflaged rattlesnake by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
rattlesnake by brian murphy

Wandering around to look at things off trail, it is very important to pay attention where you walk.

The lighting in the above photo on a cool overcast morning in the open space is perfect, not a lot of visual clues except some out of place dark object in the weeds.   The photo doesn’t reflect the process of trying to figure out what it was, then what kind it was as the light bands were deceptive until I noticed the rattles.

So lets enjoy the great outdoors and pay attention!
Brian, Walnut Creek, CA

As you say: Look at the photo carefully and watch out for rattlesnakes! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Under: Rattlesnake | 1 Comment »

Hot cars are death traps for dogs

Hot dog in car. Photo by Flickr user Just chaos used under a Creative Commons License.
Hot dog in car Just chaos

The weather is starting to warm up and I just received the following news release from United Animal Nations in Sacramento, CA. Nice timing. Do you own a dog, or have a child or children? Then you need to read the information below. Boy, do you need to read it! Thanks. /Gary

SACRAMENTO, CA (May 18, 2010) – United Animal Nations (UAN), a national nonprofit animal protection organization, is imploring pet owners to avoid leaving their dogs in hot cars this summer – a practice that can lead to serious illness and even death.
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Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
Under: dogs, Hot Cars | No Comments »

Deer family snacking on a backyard apple tree

Mom and dad munching backyard apples. Photo by Mike Gordon
mom, dad, apples, mike gordon

Here’s some deer having a snack on the apple tree in my backyard.
Mike Gordon

Ah, nothing like some tasty backyard apples for lunch! Thanks for sharing. /Gary

Fawns snacking on backyard apples. Photo by Mike Gordon
fawns eat apples mike gordon

Posted on Monday, June 7th, 2010
Under: deer | No Comments »

Center for Biological Diversity to sue EPA over toxic dispersants in Gulf

Sperm whale. Photo by Flickr user strange ones used under a Creative Commons License.
sperm whale, strange ones

From the weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity, June 3, 2010:

To stop the oil-spill response from making the catastrophe even worse for wildlife, this Tuesday (June 1) the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for not protecting endangered species from the nearly one million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants it approved for use in the Gulf.
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Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2010
Under: Chemical dispersants, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Chemical dispersants move oil out of sight & out of mind

Gulf oil spill slick. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard
gulf-oil-spill-slick-2010, US Coast Guard

When chemical dispersants are sprayed onto the oil that’s floating on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, it makes the oil disperse into the water. It makes it sink.

Whether the oil that has been changed into tiny droplets by the dispersants will then be  rendered harmless by natural organisms … or it will coat the ocean floor and cause further damage to underwater creatures … all depends on which group of scientists  you are listening to at the moment.

Whatever dispersants do, good or bad, it’s my guess that BP loves them for yet another reason. Once sprayed by the dispersants, the black, shiny, OBVIOUS oil sinks out of sight … and out of mind. And the news media stops writing about it, and people stop thinking about it.

Let’s see, now, what were we talking about? /Gary

Posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | 1 Comment »

Contra Costa Humane Society gets a fresh new face

Photo by flickr user pasotraspaso used under a Creative Commons License.

For close to two decades, Contra Costa Humane Society has been a strong yet quiet force in the local community, working to help improve the lives of pets and their humans.

Though small and volunteer-run, their reach is wide, providing services ranging from adoptions, to spay/neuter assistance and emergency medical aid.

Over the past year, CCHS has undergone significant growth, including two new programs: Kitty Corner, a shelter collaboration  with Contra Costa Animal Services, and AniMeals Pet Food Bank, a partnership with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
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Posted on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Under: Contra Costa Humane Society | No Comments »