Beach Watch Survey – April 9, 2018

Last Monday’s Beach Watch Survey was an especially active one, with many new species (to us – Charon and myself) and a few very unusual sightings!

Each time we go out we feel giddy with excitement, like kids on a treasure hunt.  ‘What do you think we’ll see today?!’

Each survey we try to beat our previous record of species observed.

 

-Article & Photos by Song Hunter

The spring wildflowers were in full bloom, blossoms of every color everywhere we walked. Douglas Iris {Iris douglasiana} above.

Scarlet Pimpernel {Anagallis arvensis}

This survey we observed 66 Caspian Terns {Hydroprogne caspia} – which was the first time we’d seen them along our beach – Fort Ross Clam Beach – 855.

Grey Fox {Urocyon cinereoargenteus} relieving itself in the Call Picnic area 😀

When we first saw this, we thought we were witnessing a plane crash!  Later, looking through the pictures it looks as though it may be a fueling situation?  Still, pretty amazing to witness.

Cream Cups {Platystemon californicus}

After confirming with the Cal Academy team – Sue Pemberton – this is a dead male California Sea Lion {Zalophus californianus}

Ceanothus

Our first official (photographed) Bald Eagle! {Haliaeetus leucocephalus}

Common Ravens {Corvus corax}

 


Learning to Prune in the Historic Fort Ross Orchard

Photos and Article by Melissa McCarthy

On March 10, 2018 I arrived at the historic Fort Ross Orchard on a foggy late-winter day, there was a chill in the air but the winds were calm. I heard cheerful sounds coming from the trees and as I followed the sounds I saw a group of friendly faces under a giant pear tree with branches stretching high into the air. Our dedicated orchard volunteers, led by Susy Rudy, greeted me and introduced me to Keith Park. Keith is a National Park Service horticulturalist, pruner, and arborist. He works at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez California, maintaining the orchard and other trees on the parks grounds. He was at Fort Ross to guide us in a pruning workshop. 

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Spring Has Sprung!

Fields of Sour Grass {Oxalis pes-caprae}

Well, it seems to be Spring all of a sudden here at Fort Ross, never mind it's just the beginning of February!  Regardless, it's been simply stunning here all week. Balmy, near 70 degrees without our typical Spring winds.  The ocean is still and calm, without a whitecap in sight. The Harbor Seals are hauled out in Fort Ross Cove, warming up in the sun and all the bugs and birds are out in full force.  In a word, it's perfect. 

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Welcome!

Photo by Song Hunter

Welcome to the Fort Ross Conservancy Blog!  We hope you enjoy this collection of observations made the dedicated and enthusiastic staff.  Each one of us is a passionate naturalist, finding joy, beauty and importance in every moment we get to spend outdoors here at the park and the surrounding Sonoma County.