• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

High Country Notebook

About This Blog

NOTE: This blog has been discontinued, however, future posts similar to these will appear in Yosemite Ranger Notes.

Ranger-naturalists have been interpreting Yosemite and its natural and cultural treasures for visitors since its early days as a park. In this blog, some of Yosemite's High Country Naturalists share recent observations from areas north of Yosemite Valley. Topics focused on in the blog are:

Wildlife and Other Sightings:

In Yosemite, especially in the high country, we have a unique opportunity to step beyond our cars and the chatter of our daily lives into the realm of the other than human world. The wilder life of animals, plants, fungi, rocks, and even air and water, is ever-changing and fascinating to pay closer attention to.

Roadside Naturalist:

With over 100 miles of paved roads within Yosemite National Park's boundaries, visitors can spend a great deal of time in their cars traveling around the park. Amid all of the grand scenery there are smaller natural wonders to appreciate as well. With a good eye and a few hints from us you can spot these things along the roadside, even while driving the speed limit. If you wish to stop, please do so only where parking is provided off the roadway.

Bird Monitoring and Research:

Yosemite National Park provides essential habitat for over 165 species of migrating, wintering, and breeding birds, in addition to nearly 100 species recorded as transient or vagrant. For nearly two decades, the breeding populations of songbirds in Yosemite have been studied in one of the longest continuous research projects in the Park. Each summer, from late May to early August, researchers work at bird banding stations throughout Yosemite. They collect valuable information about bird populations in Yosemite by capturing, banding, and then releasing birds following a strict scientific protocol. This year, this important work is being funded by the Yosemite Conservancy.

Wildflowers of White Wolf:

The White Wolf area is a botanically-diverse and simultaneously accessible part of the park. We'll give you a taste of what we see blooming throughout the summer. Please help protect the flowers and plants by not picking flowers and staying on trails to observe them.

Mather Musings:

The Mather District of Yosemite National Park includes such diverse areas as White Wolf, Hetch Hetchy, Crane Flat, May Lake, North Dome and Hodgdon Meadow. Here you'll find some collected thoughts of Ranger Naturalists working throughout this unique district.

Wildlife and Other Sightings: The End of the Season

September 15, 2012 Posted by: LM - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

For some rangers, specific plants may mark the nearing of the end of the season in the high country.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Balloons

September 15, 2012 Posted by: BW – Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Ever wonder what happened to that balloon you let go of that floated high into the sky? It may have landed in Yosemite.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Funnel-web Spider

September 15, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Ever seen a funnel-web spider?

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Fallen Green Cones of the Giant Sequoia

September 15, 2012 Posted by: MS - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Gusty winds recently caused many green giant sequoia cones to fall to the ground in the Tuolumne Grove and I noticed a Douglas squirrel carrying one away in its mouth. Learn more about how the tiny sequoia seeds disperse and germinate.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Jerusalem Cricket

September 15, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Take a peek at this unusual insect known as the Jerusalem cricket.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Convergent Lady Beetle

September 08, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Did you know that convergent lady beetles are the most common “ladybug” in the United states but they got their name for their habit of congregating by the thousands in places like the Sierra Nevada high country for a long hibernation?

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Angulate Orbweaver

September 08, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

An angulate orbweaver has been making a home on the front porch of a ranger’s house in the Hogdgon Meadow employee housing area.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Marmot is returned to Yosemite!

September 08, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Marmot is returned to Yosemite after hitchhiking to San Jose.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Yellowjackets

September 01, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Yellowjackets have become very common throughout the Hodgdon Meadow and Crane Flat Campgrounds.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Coyote

August 25, 2012 Posted by: MS - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Learn more about recent sightings of coyotes near the Hodgdon Meadow Campground.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Black-backed Woodpecker and Pine Grosbeaks, and the American Lady Butterfly

August 25, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Learn more about these sightings from the middle fork of the Tuolumne River and near Lukens Lake.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Dark Night Skies & Sequoia Seedlings

August 25, 2012 Posted by: LM - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Learn more about dark night skies or giant sequoias from this high country naturalist's recent sightings.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Sooty Grouse and the Alpine Mammal Survey

August 25, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

A Sooty Grouse was spotted in the backcountry of Yosemite this week. Check it out! Also learn more about the Alpine Mammal Survey.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Robber Fly & Bumble Bee, plus the Tuolumne Area Butterfly Count

August 18, 2012 Posted by: BW – Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Learn more about the Tuolumne Area Butterfly Count and some other interesting naturalist sightings, including a dramatic interaction between a Robber Fly and a Bumble Bee!

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Dog Vomit Slime Mold

August 18, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Dog vomit slime mold is always an exciting find along the trail! Check it out....

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: California Grey Squirrel, Ponderosa Pine, and Sugar Pine

August 11, 2012 Posted by: LM and BW – Mather District Interpretive Rangers

What a curious sight – a pile of shredded pine cones scattered throughout the forest floor in the Hodgdon Meadows Campground! Who are the culprits?

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Butterflies & Moths, and Yellow-rumped Warbler

August 11, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Great week for sightings of butterflies and moths as well as a Yellow-rumped warbler!

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Western Whiptail, Gilbert's Skink....

August 04, 2012 Posted by: PU - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Check out some great wildlife sightings from this week in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Evening Primrose

August 04, 2012 Posted by: AS - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Check out this ranger's recent sightings in and around the northwest part of Yosemite.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Golden Digger Wasps & Feathers

August 04, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Learn about wasps visiting the Big Oak Flat area and about feathers you may see on the trails as birds begin to molt.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Monarch Butterfly

August 04, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

July 29, 2012: On the trail from White Wolf to Lukens Lake A monarch butterfly was dangling upside down from one of the few remaining Jeffrey Shooting Star flowers along the trail to Lukens Lake. A few others were spotted over the next couple of days flying around the White Wolf area.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Mule Deer

July 27, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Learn more about Mule deer (Odocoilus hermionus)

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Sierra Ensatina

July 26, 2012 Posted by: PU - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

While turning a log in Hodgdon Meadow campground (for a bear foraging demonstration on a ranger-led program), a Sierra Ensatina salamander was revealed.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Sulphur Shelf Fungus

July 26, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Learn about Sulphur shelf fungus!

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Long-stalked Starwort

July 26, 2012 Posted by: KA & AH - Tuolumne Meadows and Mather District Interpretive Rangers

Don't miss learning about this amazing and tiny little flower!

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Coyote...Ravens...and Sierra Dome Spiders

July 15, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

The Hodgdon Meadow Campground sees plenty of visitors on a daily basis - learn more about regular visits from a coyote, a group of ravens, and the place where Sierra Dome Spiders make their homes.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Southern Alligator Lizard

July 15, 2012 Posted by: PU - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Learn more about alligator lizards with this recent sighting.

 

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Mousetail Ivesia & Snowplant

July 15, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Mousetail Ivesia is in full bloom on North Dome. Snowplant is also visible along the trail to North Dome.

 

Did You Know?

Merced River in Yosemite Valley

The Merced River was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1987. Eighty-one miles of river runs through Yosemite National Park, including a stretch in Yosemite Valley.