South Pine Cafe Art Show Virtualized and Extended

The Multimedia Story Show at the South Pine Cafe in Grass Valley was installed on March 4th. On March 19th, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued the stay-at-home order. The physical show will remain at the Cafe through the end of May. Until then, the show’s been virtualized! Click on the thumbnail below to print out a PDF with Google Lens …

‘Oh’possum, a Tick Eating, Fear Fainting Marsupial

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Deer Tick, a Questing Bloodsucker

In California, the Western gray squirrel is known to harbor the bacterium –Borrelia burgdorferi– that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks pick this up during their first or second blood meal. Lizards – Western Lyme Heros   While in the larva or nymph stage, ticks frequently find lizard hosts.  A protein in lizard blood kills the Lyme disease causing bacteria.   Lizards …

Bat – a Colonial Insectivore

Bats are the only flying mammals. Wing membranes are attached to their fingers. After rodents, they are the largest order of Earth animals.  Microbats live in California. they are insectivores and can eat their weight in insects daily. (Large bats, such as the Fruit Bat, also known as a Flying Fox, live in tropical climates.) Roost/Colony: Roosts, which can contain …

Owls of Nevada County

On silent wings these nocturnal hunters take prey by surprise. The only time you’ll hear an owl is if it’s hooting – calling to a mate, declaring territory of checking on young. They range in size from the tiny six-inch Northern Pygmy-Owl to the twenty-six-inch Great Grey Owl. Inviting them into your space (if you don’t have chickens or other …

2019 Nevada County Holiday Giving-Guide with a Land Stewardship Focus

Support organizations that preserve, protect, clean, heal, and educate about our local habitats. Buy a holiday gift, spend outdoor quality time with family and friends and keep Nevada County healthy. Visit the websites of the organizations below to; make a gift for operating expenses in someone’s name buy film festival tickets attend lectures take family and friends hiking volunteer to …

Crayfish – Aquatic Groundskeepers

Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans related to shrimp, lobster, and crabs. They’re all decapods—having ten legs. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the native range for the Signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) is the Columbia River’s lower estuary. The range goes northwest and through tributaries that reach into British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Historical records say crayfish were first introduced to …

Rabbits & Hares – Chickens of the Predator World

Lagomorphs include hares, rabbits, and pikas. For this post, we’re concentrating on the first two, commonly seen in Nevada County. Hares and rabbits are fast-food for predators; coyote, fox, badgers, bobcat, hawks, owls, snakes, mountain lion, and squirrels. Dogs, cats, and humans hunt them too. If you’re a top item on the predator menu, you develop and learn survival skills. …

Einstein Corvidae – Crows & Ravens

    Smart birds—crows, and ravens are part of the Corvid family. This group of perching birds includes blue jays, magpies, and nutcrackers. In Old Norse and English cultures, a dark-haired person who steals is referred to as a ‘raven.’ Native Americans associated the raven with prophecy and an omen of loss. Smart Bird Intelligence Corvid Commonalities As adaptable as …

Ladybugs Wind Sail into the Hills

Ladybugs are members of the Coccinellidae family. The Latin translation means ‘scarlet.’ In the US, they’re called Ladybugs. In Europe, they’re Ladybirds. Legend (or internet rumor) says in the middle ages in Europe, farmers prayed to Mother Mary to save blighted crops. Prayers must have been made in spring because Ladybugs came along to save the day.  In this case, …

Woodpeckers – Drumming Hoarders

The Picidae bird family is adapted to tree life. It lives in oak and pine woodland forests. Toe arrangement is ideal for bark gripping, beaks are styled for pecking, long, sticky tongues are good for catching wood-boring insects, and skull size and orientation prevent brain impact injuries. Picidae species include; woodpeckers, the northern flicker, and sapsuckers. This article focuses on …

Four-Eyed Banana Slug Wields Six-Fold Slime

The Ariolimax genus for the Pacific Banana Slug means “air slug.” It is a shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusk and is the world’s second largest slug species.  Its lifespan is between one to seven years. Like the Pill Bug, much of a slug’s activities focus on water retention. Banana slugs keep to damp places under logs, inside tree bark, around rocks …

Raccoon – Puzzler & Mastermind

Origin & Name Raccoons evolved around water sources. People observing them gave them names describing their ‘washing’ behavior. Scientific name – Procyon lotor means “before-dog washer” in Latin Aztecs – Mapachitli – “one who takes everything in its hands” Chinese – Orsetto lavatore “little-bear washing” Garman – Waschbär – “wash-bear” Italian – Araiguma – “washing-bear” Algonquian / Powhatan Indian – …

North American Beaver – Water Banker

History In 1805, Lewis and Clark saw beaver dams “extending as far up those streams as [we] could discover them.” Even before the famous explorers, French trappers and traders were drawn to the land teeming with beaver. The beaver is North America’s largest rodent. Its pelt is waterproof and has a double layer of insulation making it highly desirable for human …

Singing Coyote – the Ultimate Adapter

Coyote is the Most Vocal North American Land Mammal Canis latrans, the coyote’s scientific name, means ‘barking dog.’ Between 11-13 vocalization have been identified. Wildlife biologists have categorized several sound types; Combative & alarm – barks, woofs, growls, huffs, bark howls, yelps, and high-pitched whimpers The lone howl, the most recognized coyote vocalization, is thought to be a proclamation by …

Alonzo Delano – Grass Valley Champion & Gold Rush Correspondent

At age 43, after being sick with consumption, Alonzo Delano left his home and loved ones to join the mass of gold-seeking emigrants making the overland journey to California (1849). In Illinois, he sold bank stocks and commodities and lived with his wife and two children; Fred an invalid son of 16 and Harriet, a six-year-old daughter.  After surviving the …

Bobcat – Susceptible to Rat Poison

First published April 27, 2018 In Nevada County, we are mostly unaware of the small solitary wild cats that control rodent populations. Their stumpy tails inspired the common name –  bobcat. Rufus, the scientific species name, is derived from its brown coat. Habitat Bobcats are adaptable. They live in deserts, forests, and urban areas throughout North America. They live as far …

California Quail – Happy Under Cover

First published on June 14, 2017 When you hear a plaintive, high-pitched call, it’s probably an anxious lone quail searching for its flock. Behavior Callipepla californica, the California Quail, is a social animal who lives in coveys ranging from 10 to 200 birds (depending on the time of year). As long as they have enough cover, food, and space this animal can live …

Spiders – Organic Pest Managers

First published January 25, 2018 Spiders have been the earth’s most common land predator for over 400 million years. New research estimates that if you combined all the spiders on the planet and weighted them, they’d (as of April 2017) amount to 25 million tons! A healthy spider population helps control mosquitoes and other insects.  From the graph above, it’s easy to …

Sierra Newt – Powerful Water Drive & Deadly Skin

First published June 10, 2017 California and Sierra Newts are native to California. In winter and spring, Sierra Newts in Nevada County respond to an over-powering urge – to return to the pond or stream where they were born. Reproduction Hormones cause this migratory breeding behavior, known as water drive. (The hormone, prolactin, is also responsible for human breast milk production.) The …