June 10, 2013
Hiking along a trail in the White Wolf area, to my surprise I saw an orange peel on the forest floor! Did someone litter? No, it wasn’t the discarded shell from a delicious fruit we know well, but a cup-shaped fungus growing upward from the ground.
June 07, 2013
Hetch Hetchy is a wonderful place to experience wildflowers early in Yosemite’s summer season. At about 3,800 feet, it is lower in elevation than many other parts of the park–so it’s also one of the first places that flowers bloom in Yosemite. Here is a small sampling of flowers recently seen blooming along the 2.5-mile trail to Wapama Falls.
April 23, 2013
Dangerous snake? It sure is... if you are a lizard, nestling bird, or small mammal. If you are a human being, it is mostly harmless. The Sierra mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata multicincta), with its rings of white, orange, and black, has to be the most spectacularly colored snake in Yosemite. Some call it the coral kingsnake because of its somewhat similar appearance to the venomous coral snake. Fortunately for Yosemite visitors, the nearest wild coral snake lives in Arizona.
April 09, 2013
Observant visitors to Mirror Lake over the past month may have noticed evidence of beaver (Castor canadensis) activity. Several cottonwood trees around the main reflection pool are showing the toothmarks of gnawing by beavers.
March 15, 2013
Spring in the mountains is a funny thing. Like a wave slowly washing over the Sierra Nevada, spring will crash first onto the foothills and then, following the warmer temperatures, work its way up to the highest peaks in a spray of late summer wildflowers.
February 15, 2013
The recent warmer temperatures have melted much of the snow in Yosemite Valley, revealing damp ground underneath. One of the things that was uncovered was the fruit of the California buckeye (Aesculus californica), which had fallen to the ground at the end of summer.
February 15, 2013
Some travelers to Yosemite this winter may be surprised to find something besides snow in the air. Pollen from the incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) is flying far and wide this February.
January 14, 2013
One of eleven bird species in the woodpecker family that can be found here, many acorn woodpeckers make a home at the lower elevations of Yosemite National Park. In Yosemite Valley, this is one of the most apparent birds, often making quite a ruckus with loud nasal squawks that could resemble maniacal laughter. Seek out oak woodlands to find these year-round residents.
December 21, 2012
With just over nine and a half hours of daylight here at Yosemite National Park, today is the shortest day of the year. This day also marks the lowest point the sun will reach in our daytime sky.
December 20, 2012
Now that the California black oaks in Yosemite Valley have dropped most of their leaves, something strange has been revealed among the branches. Even though it is winter, big green leafy clumps of mistletoe are still growing up there.
December 18, 2012
2012 Christmas Bird Count
Last Sunday over 40 enthusiastic birders braved the cold temperatures to participate in the 113th annual Christmas Bird Count. This nationwide event is sponsored by the National Audubon Society and features local groups identifying and counting every bird they see in a given area for one day.
December 16, 2012
The fresh layer of snow in the Valley has brought out the coyotes. Several have been spotted over the past few days, roving around in search of food.
December 01, 2012
These beetles have literally been waiting their entire lives for this moment, this one moment…
November 26, 2012
Even though our neo-tropical migrants have flown south for the winter, Yosemite is still a great place to go birding.
November 13, 2012
This large bobcat, which has been regularly sighted around the Valley in the past month, was spotted behind the Rangers’ Club intently stalking some small prey item.
November 12, 2012
The most common milkweed plant in Yosemite Valley is putting on its last show of the season.