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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Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl {Athene cunicularia} Photo by Jamie Hall

This owl was observed for the third time on December 14, 2017 by Jamie Hall, Charon Vilnai, and Song Hunter on their monthly Beach Watch survey at Fort Ross State Historic Park

Information from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Owls are unmistakable birds, and that goes double for a long-legged owl that hunts on the ground during the day. Burrowing Owls are small, sandy colored owls with bright-yellow eyes. They live underground in burrows they’ve dug themselves or taken over from a prairie dog, ground squirrel, or tortoise. They live in grasslands, deserts, and other open habitats, where they hunt mainly insects and rodents. Their numbers have declined sharply with human alteration of their habitat and the decline of prairie dogs and ground squirrels.

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Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Anemone {Corynactis californica}

Corallimorphs are not true anemones. The most obvious difference is that their tentacles end in knobs (club-tipped tentacles). Corallimorphs are also very similar to corals in some other characters, but lack the hard coral skeleton. This species is often found in groups, with individuals up to 2 cm long or even more (photo) (average height and diameter is 1 cm). May be colored red, crimson, pink, purple, pale blue, lavender, brown, orange, buff, or nearly white. There are no other anemone-like species in our area with club-tipped tentacles. - Walla Walla University

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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.