Wildlife Gallery

This page provides photos of plants, animals and landscape at the Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay including the Richmond Field Station Site and 3200-3300 Regatta Boulevard Property. If you would like to submit a photo for posting, please email EH&S with the photo and include information on the date, time and location, name of the photographer, and any other interesting information (such as the type of camera used).

Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Gray foxes are small native canids (dogs) found throughout California. They have made the Richmond Field Station home for as long as anyone can remember. Gray foxes are omnivores and help control small mammal populations (rats and mice). Foxes are mostly active around sunset and sunrise.

 

In July 2015 a young fox kit stuck its head into a fence and

could not extract itself. RFS Facilities Management staff

rescued the fox by cutting the fence and releasing it back to

the wild marsh edge.

jpg download (3.5 MB jpeg) Photos by Karl Hans

 

Gray fox in trap November 2017.

This fox was released back into the natural open space of the Richmond Field Station.

 

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a non-native Eurasian species brought to the U.S. for fox hunting.

Red foxes are predators of the endangered Ridgway's rail in Stege Marsh.

There has only been one confirmed sighting of a red fox at the RFS in the last decade.

No coyotes have been seen at RFS despite their abundance in the East Bay.

    

Coyote at night by animal cam. June 2017.

 

Ridgway's Rail

The Ridgway's Rail (Rallus longirostris obsoletus), formerly called the California clapper rail, is an endangered species resident to the San Francisco Bay, including Stege Marsh and Meeker Slough at the Richmond Field Station. More information about the rail, including video clips, can be found on the Restoration Page of this website under the Ridgway's Rail Conservation program heading.

Photo by Michael Eichelberger

Photo by Michael Eichelberger

Photo by Karl Hans (jpg download 3.6 MB)

Photo by Karl Hans

Wild Turkey(

The Wild Turkey  Meleagris gallopavo  is a recently re-introduced species, having been brought into the state during widespread introductions in the 1960s and 1970s by the Department of Fish and Game as a game species. There is some controversy regarding whether the species should be considered a non-native introduced species or a re-introduced historic species (see http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/turkey-in-CA.html). Regardless, the birds appreciate the nesting habitat and food availability at the RFS and have become part of the natural fauna.

 

jpg download 5.2 MB Photo by Karl Hans.

Osprey (Pandion heliaetus)

Also known as the sea hawk, fish eagle, or fish hawk, the osprey is an occasional visitor to the RFS, perching on utility poles before or after hunting for fish along the Richmond southeast shoreline. Ospreys build large stick nests in treetops or on utility structures large enough to support nests. While they have not been known to nest at the RFS, the mid-2010s found populations increasing in the East Bay with birds nesting in the industrial Richmond area with the closest nest in 2014 in Point Richmond. Birds have been perching on poles at the RFS often in September 2016. The photos below from 2010 show an osprey with a fish, and an interested American crow ( Corvus brachyrhynchos ).

Photos by Karl Hans.

Pacific gopher snake

Pituophis catenifer catenifer. These snakes are nonvenemous and not harmful to humans. Their diet consists of small mammals and therefore they help control vermin populations on site. Please do not disturb them and look out for snakes on roadways and bike paths where they sometimes go to warm up.

Photo by Justin Cocke.

Pacific Chorus Frog

Pacific Chrous Frog (photo by Karl Hans 2017)

The Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla), also called the Pacific Tree Frog, is an abundant resident of the Richmond Field Station, breeding in poonded areas of seasonal wet meadows. It is the only known frog species at the RFS and one of the two speicies of the Class Amphibia Order Anura (frogs and toads) along with the Western toad (Bufo boreas) a probable but not verified resident of the RFS (Reference Gutstein, Joyce 1989).

Is it a chorus frog or tree frog? The Pseudacris regilla has commonly been called a "tree frog" and a "chorus frog". It turns out there is a difference between the two common names from a scientific phylogenic perspective. However, recently accumulated evidence has resulted in this species being confirmed to be in the chorus frog genus. This is well explained on Michael F. Benard's excellent website, Natural History of the Pacific Chorus Frog Psuedacris regilla at http://www.mister-toad.com/PacificTreeFrog.html#Names:

A note about names: Chorus frog or Tree frog

You may see these frogs referred to as either "Pacific Chorus Frogs" or "Pacific Treefrogs". The appearance of these two names hints at the debate among biologists about the relationship of Pacific Chorus Frogs to other North American frogs. The key question of the debate was whether Pacific Chorus frogs are members of the tree frog group (genus Hyla) or members of the chorus frog group (genus Pseudacris). Members of the genus Hyla include species like the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) and the green treefrog (Hyla cinerea), whereas members of the genus Pseudacris include species like the spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) and the western chorus frog (Pseudacris triseriata).

When pacific chorus frogs were first described by Baird and Girard in 1852, they were placed in Hyla. The genus Pseudacris had been described nine years earlier, by Fitzinger in 1843. Through the following decades, the pacific chorus frog continued to be considered a tree frog (Hyla), as shown in Cope's 1889 The Batrachia of North America, and in Stejneger and Barbour's 1917 A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Over time, biologists began to note characteristics in which pacific chorus frogs were more similar to Pseudacris than Hyla. A neat example of this comes from Wright & Wright's 1933 Handbook of Frogs and Toads in which they state "This species reminds the authors of species of Pseudacris." Hedges (1986 Systematic Zoology) has a nice summary of some of these traits. For example, characteristics of Pseudacrisinclude (1) round testes with a dark membrane, (2) small toepads, and (3) breeding occurring during cold weather (i.e., in winter or early spring). In contrast, Hyla have (1) elogate pale-colored testes, (2) large toepads, and (3) breeding occurring during warm weather (i.e., late spring or summer). Pacific chorus frogs have dark testes and are cold-weather breeders, and their toepads are intermediate in size between other Pseudacrisand Hyla.

Even with the identification of some traits that linked pacific chorus frogs with the genus Pseudacris, it took time for enough evidence to accumulate to convincingly determine the affinity of pacific chorus frogs. The accumulating evidence included morphology, allozymes, nuclear sequence data and others (e.g., Hedges 1986 Systematic ZoologyCocroft 1994 HerpetologicaMoriarty & Cannatella 2004 MPEPyron & Wiens 2011 MPE). All of these data now convincingly show that Pacific Chorus frogs belong in the genus Pseudacris rather than the genus Hyla. Thus, it is appropriate to refer to them as "pacific chorus frogs" instead of "pacific tree frogs."

The RFS was likely formerly habitat for the California Red-Legged Frog (Rana aurora draytonii) now a federally listed threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Contra Costa and Alameda Counties contain the majority of known California red-legged frog occurrences in the San Francicso Bay Area but all are in eastern and central parts of the counties. The red-legged frogs was eliminated from the western lowland portions of these counties, including the RFS, particularly near urbanization. It is likely that the elimantion of red-legged frogs from the Richmond area was caused mostly by loss of pond habitat and stream habitat fragmentation with additional loss from over hunting and introduction of non-native predators, such as bull frogs (Rana catesbeiana). After California statehood, Richard Stege purchased property of the former Rancho San Pablo along the Richmond Southeast Shoreline and raised frogs in ponds for sale to San Francisco restaurants. Stege probably raised red-legged frogs, which were a popular wild-caught harvest, through the mid to late 1800s. In 1896 he introduced bull frogs from the east coast, probably speeding the loss of local red-legged frogs as described in the paper Pre-1900 Overharvest of California Red-legged Frogs: the Inducement for Bullfrog Introduction (Jennings, Mark R. and Hayes, Marc P., Herpetologica, 14(1), 1985, 94-103):

"The earliest introduction of R. catesbeiana is reported in a previously uncited paper by Heard (1904) who described a "frog farm" at Stege (= El Cerrito), Contra Costa County, California (see also Storer, 1933), where 36 bullfrogs were stocked in four artificial ponds in 1896. The bullfrogs are reported to have originated from "Baltimore," Maryland, and "Florida" (Heard, 1904). A shipment of 72 frogs sent to Hilo, Hawaii from Contra Costa County, California in October of 1897 (see Appendix I) is known to have had bullfrogs from the Stege "farm" (Cobb, 1902; Heard, 1904). The probable descendants from this introduction resulted in 172 kg of bullfrogs harvested in Hawaii in 1900 (Cobb, 1902). Some of these "Hawaiian bullfrogs" were later shipped to the San Francisco markets for sale (Alexander, 1905; Bryan, 1915; Storer, 1922). Storer (1925) also reported that Albert W. C. T. Herre (an ichthyologist at Stanford University) told him that bullfrogs were present in a creek at Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California prior to 1910."

Here is a photo of Stege at his frog ponds, believed to have been located at the current Booker T. Anderson park.

 

 

Domestic dog

Canis familiaris pets, are not allowed off-leash in the marsh or uplands where they disturb wildlife. These three dogs got loose from the Pt. Isabel dog park and made it all the way to the Richmond Field Station, where they somehow gotinto the marsh and began chasing birds during nesting season. It does provide a glimpse of what it might have been like here 10,000 years ago, albeit the edge of the coast closer to the Farrlones and the RFS being upland prairie at the time.

Canada Goose

April 2016 rescue of Canada goose with broken foot: http://ops-bgc.berkeley.edu/bgc-goose-rescue/

The goose was taken to Wildcare in San Rafael for care.

Genista Broom Moth Catepillar

The Genista Broom Moth ( Uresephita reversalis ) has a range covering much of the United States including California. Catepillars of the moth feed on plants of the pea family and can be found on native lupine, often consuming all of the leafy material and killing the plant. The following photos show moth catepillars on a Yellow Bush Lupine (Lupinus arboreus) grown from RFS plants seeds.

   

jpg.download                                                      

FLORA

Arrow Grass (Triglochin maritima) in Western Stege Marsh (2.9 MB jpeg)