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News from the Friends of The Bernard Biological Field Station of the Claremont Colleges
Past Issues of the Newsletter

    When you suddenly have a question about pink glow worms or elderberry and can't locate the right past issue of the newsletter, what can you do? Now you can log on to our website and find the info there.

Folk Music Festival!

    This event is one of Claremont's little known treasures! Spend a couple of hours on Saturday, May 1st at our children's activity booth and listen to great music. Email to bfsfriends@earthlink.net if you can help. Even if you can't help, do plan to stop by. Events start at Larkin Park at 11am and tickets can be purchased at the Folk Music Center or on site.

Community use!
If your school class, scout troop, or similar insured group would like to visit the Station, please phone the manager, Stephen Dreher (909-624-6661).

Winter Visitors at the BFS

    The field station is used by many different birds in winter. There are usually large numbers of yellow-rumped warblers and white-crowned sparrows and quite a few northern flickers. Large flocks of cedar waxwings and American robins can often be found feeding on the toyon berries along the BFS driveway. There are also ruby-crowned kinglets, blue-gray gnatcatchers, fox sparrows, and hermit thrushes. Winter visitors to the lake this year have included small flocks of ruddy ducks, bufflehead and gadwall, as well as a few ring-necked ducks. Sharp-shinned hawks are also winter visitors. In some years, kestrels and merlin have occasionally been around.

    Our most notable winter visitor this year is the brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum). This species is common in the eastern U.S. but rare west of the Rockies. There are usually only 1 or 2 reports a year of brown thrashers turning up in So Cal (one spent last winter at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena) so we are lucky to have attracted this bird.


  • Golden currants unfolding cheerful yellow trumpets, flowers turning red as they age.
  • Hummingbirds flashing red and black chins as they sip nectar from the currants.
  • Cascades of white-flowering currant blossoms.
  • Fluffy catkins on the willows.
  • Sarah orange-tip butterflies dotting the brush.
  • Long branches of wild cucumber climbing up the oaks, looking elegant with starry white flowers and bright green tendrils.
  • Toyons laden with red berries, irresistible to birds.
  • Wildflower seedlings, reveling in the rain.
  • Wild mustard, making its annual take-over bid.
  • Scrub Jays scolding visitors.
  • A few tall, yellow telegraph weeds, having missed the usual fall blooming, making up for lost time.
  • Small green flowers of dwarf stinging nettle, nestling in the shade of the oaks.
  • Sweet alyssum, tough non-native, naturalized all over Southern California.
  • tight groups of the fluffy little balls of acacia flowers near the infirmary.
  • Nocturnal dusky-footed woodrats who build wonderful large nests under oak trees, at nightfall climbing up through oaks and down onto hanging bird feeder trays. Clean and thorough at earing everything and extremely wary of the slightest sound or movement.

College Master Plan

    The Colleges are continuing to work on a master plan which will include their vision for the future of the golf course, the quarry, and of course the BFS. Nothing has been brought forward to the City yet, but some surveying has taken place, presumably in order prepare a tentative tract map, which must be approved before permission for any building can be given. It is quite likely that the master plan will be submitted within the next year. This will be the document that determines the future of the field station.

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