When you think of urban animals, what comes to mind? Pigeons on the sidewalks? Creepy crawlies in the subways?
Just a few miles north of the city, the Marin Headlands is a superb spot to escape the hustle and bustle. As a bona fide urbanite, I was curious to find out what hikers, bikers, and bird-watchers have relished for years. In two days, I discovered that San Francisco's backyard offers much more to the intrepid visitor than iconic Golden Gate Bridge snapshots.
Spring has sprung, and at Audubon Canyon Ranch near Stinson Beach, that means the 100 pairs of great egrets and great blue herons which nest there are starting to mate and lay eggs. It also means the wildlife preserve is opening to the public for their visiting season, March 20 - July 11.
From the surf of San Diego to the sea bluffs of the Lost Coast, thousands of people across California are trading in their sand pails for trash bags on September 20, to take part in the 23rd annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.
For 11 years the Common Murre Restoration Project has been restoring seabird colonies on a small seastack known as Devil's Slide Rock, on the San Mateo County coast just 15 miles south of San Francisco. The Devil's Slide breeding colony held close to 3,000 Common Murres (Uria aalge) as recently as the early 1980s, but was wiped out as a result of human-caused mortality.
The Aleutian Canada Goose, once thought to be extinct, is one of the rare success stories of the federal Endangered Species Act. Recognized as an endangered species in 1967, they numbered fewer than 500, so few that they went unseen for nearly 25 years and were presumed extinct. They were "rediscovered" by an intrepid lone biologist and researcher called Bob "Sea Otter" Jones, who rowed out in a wooden dory to the rocky, wave-tossed remote island in the western Aleutians where he suspected -- and found -- a small remnant population hidden away. Today, they number more than 60,000, and are one of only about a dozen species ever recovered enough to be taken off the endangered species list.