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Archive for August, 2010

Benicia celebrates ‘It’s a Great Dog Day by the Bay’ on Aug. 28

dog day by bay

Benicia celebrates reputation as dog-friendly city
with “Its a Great Dog Day by the Bay” event Aug. 28

Event features contests, treats and more for “man’s best friend”

The City of Benicia was recently ranked the 4th dog-friendliest city in the country by Dog Fancy magazine. To celebrate this honor Benicia Main Street will host “It’s a Great Dog Day by the Bay,” Saturday, August 28, from 10 a.m. to  2 p.m. at the Marina Green on First Street.
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Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2010
Under: dogs | 4 Comments »

West Nile virus found in mosquitoes & bird from Oakley

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


Detection late in the year, but inevitable

The Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District is reporting the first virus-positive mosquitoes and bird this year, both from Oakley. The group of mosquitoes was collected from the vicinity of Empire Avenue and El Monte Drive, and the bird was found near W. Cypress Road and O’Hara Avenue.
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Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010
Under: Mosquitoes, Mosquitofish, West Nile virus | No Comments »

Plastic bag ban helps save California’s endangered sea turtles

Leatherback sea turtle. Photo by Flickr user Steven Damron used under a Creative Commons License.
Steven Damron2 leatherback

Chris Pincetich, Ph.D., marine biologist for the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, asked me to pass along the information below about the deadly effects of plastics on California’s endangered sea turtles and how AB 1998 is a first step to help what is now an epidemic of plastic pollution. Please read it and do what you can. Thanks. /Gary

Plastic Bag Ban Will Help Save California’s Endangered Sea Turtles
San Francisco, CA – A new report released today exposes the severe harm that plastic bags in the ocean cause to the endangered sea turtles and other marine life offshore of California – and how banning single-use plastic bags will help save the lives of critically endangered leatherback sea turtles off the California Coast. Download the report at
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Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2010
Under: Plastic bags, Sea turtle | No Comments »

Photo: River otters swam down Sacramento River to Richmond Marina

River otters in Richmond Marina. Photo by Scott Campbell, Fairfield, CA.
from ellen saski richmond

I wrote you last week about the river otters at the  Richmond, California, Marina.  Here is a photo taken by Scott Campbell of Fairfield.  It was very exciting!
Ellen Sasaki, Richmond, CA

As I said in my column last week, these river otters swam down the Sacramento River from the Delta and into San Francisco Bay, and along the shoreline to Richmond. Otters have an enormous curiosity and are always exploring new areas. As long as they have a creek , river, or bay to swim in, nothing’s going to stop them. Thanks for the cute photo! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Under: River otters | 3 Comments »

Camouflage: Which is the rattlesnake? Which is the gopher snake?

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

Which photo is the poisonous Western rattlesnake and which photo is the non-poisonous Pacific gopher snake?

When it comes to camouflage, no one can top Mother Nature.

Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA.
gophersnake, brian

Click on “read the rest of this entry” to find the answer.
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Posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Under: Gopher snake, Rattlesnake, Snakes | 1 Comment »

‘Most Gulf oil gone, feds say.’ Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.

Gulf Oil Spill. Photo by Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center used under a Creative Commons License
NASA oil1

The first thing I saw when I picked up my morning paper today was an Associated Press story on the front page:

Most Gulf oil gone, feds say
“WASHINGTON — With a startling report that some researchers call more spin than science, the government said Wednesday that the mess made by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is mostly gone already.

“On the same day they trumpeted success in plugging up the leaking well with drilling mud, federal officials announced that nearly 70 percent of the oil spilled dissolved naturally, or was burned, skimmed, dispersed or captured, with almost nothing left to see — at least on top of the water.”

Before you get all excited and jump up and down because they said the  oil is gone, please keep one thing in mind. Just because they say it’s gone doesn’t necessarily make it so. One of the reasons oil companies love to dump chemical dispersants on oil that has spilled in water is that the dispersants do just that … they disperse the oil and make it go away … by breaking the oil up up into smaller drops that sink below the surface of the water. In other words, out of sight, out of mind, as they say.

Before you come to any conclusions on this, read the following news release I just received from Texas Tech University.  /Gary
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Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Under: Chemical dispersants, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Local wildlife: Great photos by Dave Harper of Oakley

Baby barn owls. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
barn owls dave harper oakley

Just got this letter and photographs from Dave Harper of Oakley, Calif. Dave is one of our many talented local photographers who periodically e-mails me wonderful photos of local wildlife he has taken. Here are some more of Dave’s goodies. Enjoy yourself. /Gary

I’m sending recent photos of wildlife I have seen. Thanks to my friend Thom for allowing a special photo opportunity to capture baby barn owls in one of his large hay barns.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Under: Barn Owl, Ospreys, Owls, Wildlife, Wolves | No Comments »

Save bald eagles: get the lead out!

Bald eagle (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)

The information below is from “Endangered earth Online,” the weekly e-newsletter of the center for Biological Diversity. Please read it. It’s very important … especially to bald and golden eagles, California condors and other birds of prey and wild bird and mammal scavengers … and yes, humans, too. Lead poisoning is nasty business. especially lead poisoning that we humans have the power to end immediately … if we want to. Thanks for caring. /Gary
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Posted on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Under: Bald Eagles, California condors, Lead bullets | No Comments »