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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rescuing An Alligator

A garage can be a dangerous place when you're a young reptile. What looks cool, quiet and safe, can be a food desert.


This juvenile southern alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) is an effective hunter of insects and other arthropods in the yard, but the garage was nearly its doom. It just took a moment to scoop it up and move it outside where it belonged.

A few weeks later we had a minute with an adult alligator lizard that is probably this little guy's mother.

Lizards are great backyard wildlife. They interact with each other:
Watching Lizards in Southern CA

And with other species in the yard:
Backyard Buddies ... Reptile Style

Though small right now, this alligator lizard will grow up to prey on the western fence lizards. (When an alligator lizard hunts its neighbors.) It's a jungle in our suburban yard.

More Earth Minutes with lizards:
Spotting a Lace Monitor in the Wild

There's always something new to discover at

Friday, September 23, 2016

Walk Among The Oaks on the Autumnal Equinox

To walk among valley oaks (Quercus lobata) and coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) is to travel back in time. 


These trees are hundreds of years old. Some of them watched the first Spanish explorers and gave limbs for the construction of Mission San Fernando.

These oak trees are not just beautiful, their shade is a cool oasis on hot days. Resident acorn woodpeckers tap on their limbs. Squirrels frolic and butterflies soar. Migrating birds seek out this ancient oak woodland for food and rest. Wilson's warblers, lark sparrows, western wood-peewees, and a Pacific wren were all visiting among the trees. 

valley oak acorn
Orcutt Ranch Park preserves this slice of ancient California. Walk among the oaks, hold an acorn in your hand, and realize experience the community of life dependent upon these trees. 

For more on Orcutt Ranch Park - one of Los Angeles' Hidden Gardens

More Earth Minutes where you can discover oak trees.
Visit Conejo Valley Botanical Garden 
Hiking Los Virgenes Open Space, CA  
Stroll Rocky Oaks Park
Oaks Involved in Calabasas Fire 2016 
Ancient Oak in Red Bluff, CA 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Take a Seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria in British Columbia

Unusual winds and choppy seas cancelled our early morning boat ride from Vancouver to Victoria in British Columbia.

We quickly booked a seaplane for an airborne adventure!

 The flight was great! And the view superb!

This is a quick shot of the cockpit warning bar.
For more adventures, visit us at

Train Crossing in Illinois - Listen to August 
Listen to the Rocky Surf - Glacier Bay, Southeast Alaska
Mongolia - Wind Across the Gobi (Mongolian lizards, snake, and human culture)
Catch a View and Catch a Pike, Squanga Lake, Yukon, Canada

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Swim Up a Salmon Ladder! Coho at Capilano Salmon Hatchery, Vancouver, BC

Swim Up a Salmon Ladder!

Coho salmon swim up the salmon ladder back to the gravel beds  where they hatched.
The Capilano River in North Vancouver, British Columbia was dammed in 1954.  
Cleveland Dam blocks Capilano Lake for hydro power and fresh drinking water. This blocked the spawning ground stream beds for the native salmon.
Below is the first small dam to divert the salmon to the ladder.
It's really cool to see the salmon as they make their way upstream!
See the {above} "ladder step" to the left?

Capilano River Salmon Hatchery, 4500 Capilano Road, North Vancouver, B.C. Canada V7R 4L3
 For more fish Stories:
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 (parrot fish, zebra fish, giant clams, coral

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Crater Lake National Park Walk to Phantom Ship viewpoint

Crater Lake was formed in Oregon only 7,700 years ago by the  eruption and collapse of a volcano, Mount Mazama.
The cinder cone near the western edge of the lake is known as Wizard Island. It's in the center of the picture.

I took a walk to Sun Notch and the Phantom Ship viewpoint and found a few friends on the trail


Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels Callospermophilus lateralis are adorable! Visit them with me! 

The water in the lake is only from rain and snow melt. Climate change concerns are being felt, as less precipitation is falling in the Oregon Cascades mountain range.

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, but the water level has been steadily dropping in the last decade.
For more weekly hikes and nature, visit us at
Winter Walk at Lake Tahoe, CA (white-headed woodpecker) 
Winter Walk at Big Bear Lake, CA (pygmy nuthatch, Steller's jay)
Stroll Kew Gardens, London (European robin)

Hiking Los Virgenes Open Space, CA (coyote)
L.A. River Thru Atwater Village (black-necked stilt, Canada geese, coyote)
Walking to Ft. Tryon and the Cloisters, New York City (black morph fox squirrel)