Animals

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Rollback of Endangered Species' Protections Raising Fears

Posted By on Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 2:53 PM

A wild-hatched condor. - COURTESY OF REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK
  • Courtesy of Redwood National Park
  • A wild-hatched condor.
The Trump administration’s move to weaken what many see as key aspects of the Endangered Species Act is garnering outrage and pushback, with critics fearing a greater deterioration of the natural world amid the planet’s growing biodiversity crisis.

Credited with saving the bald eagle — among many iconic species, including several on the North Coast — and giving others —  like the condor — a fighting chance, the ESA was enacted in 1973 by then-President Richard Nixon.

That year, fewer than 500 pairs of the United States’ national symbol were left in the wild while today some 10,000 sets of the stealth raptors with a distinctive snowy white head are found just in the lower 48 states alone.

While the ESA has seen many successes over the years, the rollbacks expected to be enacted soon come on the heels of a United Nation’s report released in May that found “the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world.”

According to an Aug. 12 joint announcement from U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the ESA regulatory changes are “designed to increase transparency and effectiveness and bring the administration of the Act into the 21st century.”

“The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal —recovery of our rarest species. The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation,” U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, an attorney and former oil industry lobbyist, said in the release. “An effectively administered Act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation.”

Meanwhile, conservation organizations like Center Biological Diversity are sounding the alarm bells about what these changes could spell for already at-risk species like the polar bear and are mounting a campaign to reverse the alterations.

“We can stop this disaster, but it's going to require pulling out every stop,” a post on the center’s website states. “Tell your member of Congress to do everything in their power to defend wildlife and uphold the Endangered Species Act in this time of extinction crisis.

Read the USFW and NOAA release below:


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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Unexpected Magic: Rabbit Stargazer

Posted By on Wed, Aug 7, 2019 at 10:46 AM

d-featurephoto-banner_1200px.jpg
What makes a photograph special isn’t always what was planned but what happens instead. Of course, sometimes what happens instead can make a mess of things. One has no choice in the matter, but it seems to me that if I’m open to the possibility that something unexpected can make the photo better then delightful surprises will occasionally find me and enter my images.

It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes an outing ends with nothing good. And that is OK. I’ve awakened before dawn and gone out numerous times without bringing home an exciting image. But I don’t feel disappointed at those times because they are only the flip side; I feel the balance that exists and I know that the times when I bring nothing back get me that much closer to the next time that magic will enter the image and give me something special. Is it magic when it happens? Luck? Or just plain probability? I don’t know but it works for me, and I am grateful for it and like working with it.
Taking pictures at regular intervals, my camera caught a curious rabbit that had come out to see what was so interesting. I wonder what it saw. This animation comprises 11 separate still images, each 30 seconds long. That means the rabbit stayed there watching for over 5 minutes. The changing light is moonlight passing behind trees during the exposure. This view is cropped close to the rabbit. August 2016. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Taking pictures at regular intervals, my camera caught a curious rabbit that had come out to see what was so interesting. I wonder what it saw. This animation comprises 11 separate still images, each 30 seconds long. That means the rabbit stayed there watching for over 5 minutes. The changing light is moonlight passing behind trees during the exposure. This view is cropped close to the rabbit. August 2016.
A bit of the magic hopped into the frame one August night in 2016 while photographing the Perseid meteor shower. When I discovered it later, it instantly became the star of my evening’s photos for me. I was photographing from a friend’s house who lived far from city lights. In a darker area over a little hill away from the house lights I’d set up my camera and programmed its intervalometer to take long exposure photographs one after another.

While the camera photographed, we watched the skies from a location nearer the house and the conveniences of deck chairs and refreshments. I had no idea that a curious furry little critter had come out to watch the stars near my camera until I looked through the images the next day. If I hadn’t been away from my camera s/he wouldn’t have come.
An uncropped view, this is also a composite of two photographs. The camera was set to take photos at regular intervals and made over 500 exposures from here. The large meteor above crossed the sky where you see it, but after the rabbit had left. The smaller meteor flashed in the sky as the rabbit watched. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • An uncropped view, this is also a composite of two photographs. The camera was set to take photos at regular intervals and made over 500 exposures from here. The large meteor above crossed the sky where you see it, but after the rabbit had left. The smaller meteor flashed in the sky as the rabbit watched.
The rabbit sat by my camera for almost six minutes while the camera took pictures. Each photograph was a 30-second exposure, and the rabbit appeared in eleven of them, mostly sitting and looking this way and that in the starry night. It sat fairly still in some of the images, but in others it moved while the shutter was open, becoming streaks or leaving ghost images of its silhouette. Was s/he watching the shooting stars, drawn out by the magic of a meteor shower as I was? I fancy s/he was sharing the wonder of the night sky so full of stars and meteors, airplanes and satellites. Or was it perhaps watching the camera, wondering what that contraption was which sat upon metal legs and clicked every 30 seconds?

The Perseid meteor shower will peak the night of Aug. 12-13, 2019, but with fewer meteors per hour than usual as a bright moon will wash out the dimmer streaks.


To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit and contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: A Humboldt Commute

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 3:36 PM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
I was where I wanted to be, out beneath the moonless night sky overlooking the Redwood Highway, watching others passing through the night on their separate journeys to their own destinations. What a wonderfully beautiful commute they had, I thought: redwood forests, clear air, the rivers, perhaps the rugged coast. Lucky we are to live here.

Sometimes you have to stop and get out of the car to see it. It was a shame the travelers couldn’t see much of this amazing night from inside their bubbles of light. The stars were crystal clear, pinprick sharp against the black backdrop of space. The giant of our solar system, Jupiter was the brightest point in the sky. Not far away rested Saturn, the second largest of our sister planets. Between them stretched the great Milky Way.
Folks were going places late one night in Humboldt County, California. I watched them go by. I had no place to go especially, for I was there already. They were illuminating my foreground, painting it in with their strokes of light as they traveled down US 101, the Redwood Highway. At the far end of this visible stretch the road passes over the Eel River. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Folks were going places late one night in Humboldt County, California. I watched them go by. I had no place to go especially, for I was there already. They were illuminating my foreground, painting it in with their strokes of light as they traveled down US 101, the Redwood Highway. At the far end of this visible stretch the road passes over the Eel River.

But if they couldn’t see much of the world’s beauty beyond the lights of their vehicles, the people passing in their cars were active participants in my own view of the night’s magic. Every car or truck streaking past cast its stroke of light upon the canvas before me. Now the bright beams of a truck, next a small car’s weak lights, but each filling the foreground with light and detail in different ways. They were painting my scene in with light, spreading their illumination and color upon the landscape like paint onto a canvas.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Barney the Old Town Horse Has Died

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2019 at 10:38 AM

Barney with his former owner Marty L'Herault in 2013. - FILE
  • File
  • Barney with his former owner Marty L'Herault in 2013.
Blue Ox Historic Village announced on its Facebook page last night that “Barney,” the Old Town Carriage Co. draft horse, died unexpectedly over the weekend.

According to the short post, Barney had been treated for a variety of ailments of late but “it appears that there was some type of neurological issue that came on suddenly.”

A well-known sight on Old Town streets with his hoofs making a clip-clop sound as he sauntered slowly along, Barney was almost 20.

Read the Blue Ox post below:
A Sad Day at Blue Ox: Barney, the Old Town Carriage Company draft horse passed away unexpectedly last Saturday. Brendon, Barney's owner, worked with Barney for some time, trying to figure out what was wrong. He was treated for an abscess in his foot, then for colic, but It appears that there was some type of neurological issue that came on suddenly. Barney was almost 20 years old ~ though he seemed much younger!
Barney was a stunningly gorgeous animal, much loved by many ~ including Nina our mare! It is a very lonely place without his huge presence.
We invite people that have pictures of Barney to forward them to us, either here on Facebook, or by email. We will be making a display to share with everyone.

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Oh, Deer!

Posted By on Mon, Jul 8, 2019 at 10:20 AM

A young deer spent the morning at the sheriff's office after its mother was killed by a car.
  • A young deer spent the morning at the sheriff's office after its mother was killed by a car.

A fawn whose mother was killed by a car on State Route 36 was cared for at the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office today after a passerby brought the young deer in.
According to a post on the HCSO Facebook page, the young deer spent the morning hanging out in the sergeant’s office before being taken to a local wildlife center for evaluation.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

Benbow Eaglet Faces Close Call With Fire

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2019 at 10:05 PM

After the firefighters left, the eaglet began to move again. - PHOTO BY TALIA ROSE
  • Photo by Talia Rose
  • After the firefighters left, the eaglet began to move again.

Southern Humboldt County nature lovers were very concerned today as a wildfire burning in the Benbow area closed in on a nest holding a 12-week-old eaglet that has not yet taken to flight.

“It was really close, and the helicopter was buzzing right past the nest,” said nature photographer Talia Rose, who runs the popular nature photography Facebook page, County Line Wild. “[B]oth parents were absent from the valley … .”

Rose, who frequently photographs the eagle family, said during that the firefight, as the helicopter was buzzing nearby, the eaglet “was sitting up tall but tense and frozen in the nest … .”

Firefighters from Cal Fire, Garberville and Redway VFDs as well as an inmate crew managed to get to the difficult to access fire and stop its forward progress by about 6:30 p.m.

She said the eaglet barely moved “until about 20 minutes after the helicopter left the valley …. .” Then, she said, “it finally moved around the nest a bit. I think it will be fine and thank god this fire did not start in the middle of the night.”

Firefighters expect to be mopping up until 11 p.m.
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Friday, May 31, 2019

UPDATED: Orcas Spotted in Humboldt Bay (With Video)

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Orcas were spotted in Humboldt Bay. - SCREENSHOT FROM MADAKET VIDEO
  • Screenshot from Madaket video
  • Orcas were spotted in Humboldt Bay.
UPDATE:
Biologist Mike Kelly, who writes the column “Washed Up” for the North Coast Journal, reported via Twitter that he also caught sight of one of the orcas but apparently missed seeing the pod catch a sea lion.

“The remaining sea lions did seem nervous,” he says, showing a picture of several huddled on a buoy at the bay entrance.

All in all, it seems it was a busy day for marine mammals around the jetty.

Kelly also reports seeing harbor porpoises, a gray whale and some other sea lions that hadn’t gotten the memo on the orcas, which appeared in Humboldt Bay just one day before the beginning of Orca Month.
PREVIOUS:
A rare treat greeted some lucky folks this morning, when seven orcas were spotted by the captain of the Madaket.

According to a Facebook post, the whales were seen over by the county boat ramp on the North Spit by Capt. Cody Hills, who was aboard the survey boat Eagle.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Otters are Coming! The Otters are Coming!

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2019 at 10:53 AM

The otter sculptures ready to be shipped. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The otter sculptures ready to be shipped.

A shipment of 100 otter sculptures is heading toward the North Coast, according to Jeff Black, who created the North Coast Otter Public Arts Initiative. All the way from Jolly Roger Sculptures in the Philippines, the arrival of the 3-foot-tall sculptures standing ready for an artist's touch will kick off a public art initiative scheduled for next summer.


The initiative will combine art and citizen science to “promote clean water and healthy habitats where we live and play,” using a fun scavenger hunt across five counties in the North Coast, a junior ranger program and an Eo Day/Otter collaboration to support the River Otter Citizen Science Project. The initiative is a celebration of otters, Black said.


Black is still continuing his search for sponsors and hosts, as the scavenger hunt will incorporate business across Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Mendocino and Trinity counties. To learn more about hosting or sponsoring an otter click here.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Reward Offered in Poaching of Roosevelt Elk

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2019 at 5:39 PM

A reward is being offered for information about a December elk poaching case. - FILE
  • File
  • A reward is being offered for information about a December elk poaching case.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced this week a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the December shooting deaths of four Roosevelt elk, including a pregnant cow.

In a release, CDFW states the investigation is continuing, “including processing evidence left at the crime scene. The department also thanks the four organizations — California Bowmen Hunters, California Houndsmen for Conservation, the Oranco Bowmen from Ontario and the Orange Belt Field Archers — for pledging the reward money."

Wildlife officers responding to a poaching report found the slain animals Dec. 9 in the Maple Creek area, southeast of Blue Lake.

“This poacher shot these animals and left them for dead,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Division District Capt. AJ Bolton. “The vast majority of hunters are ethical and law-abiding citizens, but this is poaching, plain and simple.”

Read the CDWF release below:

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Monday, April 22, 2019

CHP to the Rescue for this Feathered Family (Video)

Posted By on Mon, Apr 22, 2019 at 11:37 AM

The wayward family. - CHP
  • CHP
  • The wayward family.
Just because it's cute. Here is some video the CHP posted of a local officer lending a helping hand to a wayward family of Canada geese that he found wandering along the side of U.S. Highway 101 while on patrol south of Eureka.

Enjoy!
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