California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Best Outdoor Site in California

     Posted on May 22, 2016 by John Poimiroo

CaliforniaFallColor.com was named California’s Best Outdoor Internet Site tonight by the Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Last year, OWAC named CaliforniaFallColor.com the state’s Best Outdoor Medium.

We express our thanks to our readers and contributors who have helped make CaliforniaFallColor.com what it is.

Fall Color Continues Into Winter

     Posted on December 22, 2015 by John Poimiroo
Trestle Glen, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Trestle Glen, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

True to its claim as the longest-lasting autumn show in North America, California’s show of fall color continues into winter with bright color still being seen at sea level throughout the Golden State.

Photographer Darrell Sano carried a camera on an eight-mile walk through Oakland and Berkeley this past Sunday and sent back these images of the autumn color he discovered along his wet walk. Darrell was pelted with rain by the second of three storms that passed through the North State, so far this week (another is predicted over the Christmas Day weekend).

He wrote that while winter weather has certainly arrived, there’s still “ample color” to be appreciated. And, though “the grand vistas and sweeping panoramas are behind us for the year, there is beauty still around, even on the ground, if one looks close enough. There are endless compositions, juxtaposition of color and backgrounds that produce unexpected results.”

We have reported previously, and Darrell noted, that magnolia trees are about to explode with beautiful white, pink, yellow and rose blossoms.  

Darrell reported seeing early flowers on several magnolia trees. One of the best places to see the January show is at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Arboretum in Golden Gate Park where many species of mature magnolias can be enjoyed.

Though we appreciate Darrell’s photographs, observations and comments, we’ll not take up his suggestion of transitioning from reporting California Fall Color to reporting California Spring Color, and instead plan to enjoy the winter, spring and summer break from reporting color.

Now that winter has arrived officially, it’s time to say with all finality… “See you next autumn, dude.”

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – San Francisco Bay Area – Lots of fall color remains to enjoy in Berkeley and Oakland

Lake Merritt Park, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Lake Merritt Park, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Lake Merritt Park, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Lake Merritt Park, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

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Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/20/15) Darrell Sano

 

Pleasanton’s Skies Darken, Rain and Color Drops

     Posted on December 10, 2015 by John Poimiroo
Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Late last evening, color spotter Anirudh Natekar reported that Pleasanton was still at full peak and documented it with these photographs of hot-orange trees at the Hacienda Business Park. However, along with the color is seen a foreboding, darkening sky, the harbinger of an approaching storm.

 

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton (11/9/15) Anirudh Natekar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning, blustery winds blew across Northern California as the front edge of a winter storm blew over the West Coast. No doubt, much of the bright peak fall color that Anirudh captured in the East Bay, yesterday, was stripped from branches.

As evidence, my yard (in the Sierra foothills) was wet and littered with the mushy fiber of yellow, orange, brown and black newly fallen, but spent leaves.

For the color spotter not wishing autumn to end, some fall color remains in areas that were protected from the wind or that had not yet fully peaked, though most is now gone with the wind.

And if you must find color, look for irridescent red berries on hawthorn branches and toyon bushes. They provide intense and cheerful seasonal color in the flat light of an approaching winter.

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Northern California

LA County Arboretum Stays Large

     Posted on December 9, 2015 by John Poimiroo
LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

Fall color at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia continues to peak, as photos taken today by color spotter Frank McDonough establish.

Frank reports that ginkgos, crepe myrtles and Japanese maples, “are still showing great displays of fall color.”

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – All Sea Level Areas of California –  Remain at peak or are nearing past peak, with bold splashes of orange and yellow still evident throughout California.

 

 

 

 

 

Ginkgo biloba, LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

Ginkgo biloba, LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/9/15) Frank McDonough

Colorful Leaves to Holiday Lights

     Posted on December 8, 2015 by John Poimiroo
Blue oak, El Dorado Hills (12/8/15) John Poimiroo

Blue oak, El Dorado Hills (12/8/15) John Poimiroo

In December, California’s trees shift from being decorated with colorful leaves to holiday lights.

On this foggy, December night, the last remaining yellow and orange leaves on a blue oak in my yard were lit by flood light.

They glowed as bright as any Christmas tree, reminding me that though holiday displays are dazzling, hopeful and cheerful, even the best of them barely compare to the show we witnessed this autumn..

 

California’s Parrots: Fall Color on the Wing

     Posted on December 1, 2015 by John Poimiroo
Nanday Conure in Sycamore (11/28/15) Kathy Jonokuchi

Nanday Conure in Sycamore (11/28/15) Kathy Jonokuchi

As leaves fall from deciduous trees, flocks of exotic parrots become visible at points along the California coast.

While their loud screeching may be heard at other times of year, many of the parrots are seen infrequently, as their yellow-green feathers camouflage them in the foliage. That is, until late autumn.

The flocks likely started from a few pet birds that escaped or were released by owners, and who now number several hundred. Thirteen species of South American, African and Asian parrots have become naturalized in California and are becoming a seasonal attraction.

The most famous of them (visible year round) are San Francisco’s “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” a mix of cherry-headed conures, that were chronicled in an award-winning documentary of the same name (seen below).

In Los Angeles County, black-hooded parakeets (Nanday Conures) flock together during the late days of autumn where they feed from western San Bernardino County west to Malibu on liquidambar and sycamore seed pods and king palm seeds.

The annual reappearance of a flock of Nandays, known as the Pasadena Parrots, are a colorful herald to preparations for the town’s Tournament of Roses celebrations.

Southern California color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi captured one such group of black-hooded parakeets squawking while roosting in a sycamore tree (seen above).

CLICK HERE to read more about California’s parrots.

Special Report: San Diego Roars

     Posted on November 29, 2015 by John Poimiroo
San Diego Zoo (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

Color correspondent Alena Nicholas was on safari for fall color in San Diego on Thanksgiving Day and Orange Friday and found it at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. And, did San Diego roar!

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Coastal marsh, San Diego (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego County (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Pacific Coast, San Diego (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego County (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

North San Diego County (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

African Elephants, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

African Elephants, Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

In 2016, the San Diego Zoo celebrates its 100th birthday. So, during this celebratory period is the time to visit what Trip Advisor rates as the world’s best zoo.

What makes the San Diego Zoo so good is both the breadth of species to be seen (Chinese Giant pandas, Australian koalas, African elephants, Malaysian tigers, California condors, African lions…) and the natural, seemingly unfenced habitats in which they reside.

That means there aren’t many bars or mesh wire fences through which to observe or photograph the animals, but open space instead, and the areas provided for the animals are expansive and have natural settings.

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (an hour north of the San Diego Zoo in Escondido) visitors ride carts, trams and now motorized trikes, along roads and paved trails into the savannah where they see animals interacting as they would in the wild.

One of the interactive programs at the Safari Park is Cheetah Safari where the “jaw-dropping” speed of a cheetah is demonstrated as it races along a 330-foot long track. Programs at both locations immerse visitors in better appreciating wild animals and the threats to their continued existence in the wild.

On Alena’s safari to San Diego, she captured not just the amazing and colorful inhabitants of the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, but also the foliage to be seen in beautiful Balboa Park and throughout the region: native California fan palms taking on a yellow-orange glow, black oak dressed in lime, yellow and orange, exotic maroon fountain grass, orange-red coastal marsh grasses and trees carrying lime, yellow, orange and red confetti.

San Diego’s climate is so temperate and inviting that the seasonal change is hardly evident, though it can be felt in the autumn air, seen in San Diego’s glorious sunsets and found along stream beds where golden cottonwood and orange black oak paint the landscape.

Early December is an ideal time to visit San Diego.  The weather is good (this week, it will be in the low 70s), and the last of California’s fall color will continue to peak through the next two weeks. In two words… GO NOW!

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

San Diego (11/28/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego (11/28/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Pacific coast, San Diego (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park, San Diego (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Safari Park (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego County (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Malaysian tiger, San Diego Zoo (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Black Oak, San Diego (11/28/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park, San Diego (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

AN-SanDiego-15

Balboa Park, San Diego (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

AN-SanDiego-13

Balboa Park, San Diego (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Black oak, San Diego County (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park, San Diego (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Cheetah, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Australian koala, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Australian koala, San Diego Zoo (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (11/26/15) Alena Nicholas

Safari Park, Escondido (11/27/15) Alena Nicholas

 

 

 

Natural Christmas Ornaments

     Posted on November 28, 2015 by John Poimiroo
Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

American beautyberry, Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Seeing Darrell Sano’s photos of natural Christmas ornaments hanging from branches, I concluded they’re better looking than the artificial ones I’d just taken out of storage.

Yesterday, Darrell took a Black, er… Orange Friday road trip through Sonoma along Highway 12 and shares these images from his visit to Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen.

He reports that while Sonoma County’s vines are now well past peak (many had no leaves at all, most were brown or muddy yellow in color), he found an exuberant explosion of color at Quarryhill.

Loads of colorful berries and fruit provided added vibrance and form, in addition to harlequin-painted leaves.

“In the sunny, chilly morning, I was so happy to experience this beautiful garden (instead of a mall!),” he writes of his Orange Friday outing, and recommends Quarryhill Botanical Garden as “definitely a place to return to in springtime.”

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

Inspired by his Quarryhill visit, Darrell remembered Sandy Steinman’s report about the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley and headed there, today.

He reports, “I was amazed by the color. I felt this was possibly my last “gasp” at seeing the wonderment of fall color for the year. But you never know, California has so much to offer and discover.”

We agree, Darrell.  To use your words, it is, “An amazing place.” 

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Quarryhill Botanical Garden, Glen Ellen

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Vineyard, Sonoma County (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Vineyard, Sonoma County (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

Quarryhill Botanic Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15)

Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, Glen Ellen (11/27/15) Darrell Sano

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (11/28/15) Darrell Sano

Orange Friday

     Posted on November 27, 2015 by John Poimiroo
Sutter St., Folsom (11/25/15) John Poimiroo

Sutter St., Folsom (11/25/15) John Poimiroo

While shoppers are lined up at big box stores looking for deals on Black Friday, color spotters are out finding fall color on this Orange Friday.

I found it along historic Folsom’s Sutter Street where ginkgo biloba are painted yellow, orange and green.

Santhakumar VA found it at Far Niente Winery in Oakville where ginkgos are heavy with gold and orange leaves and vines are ruby, orange and gold.

Santha had visited the Napa Valley last week. He reports that while leaves are falling, there are so many on the vines and trees, that the show still goes on.

Similarly, Jennifer Mellone sends photos taken of the Bennett Valley and Dry Creek wine regions of Sonoma County where vines are boldly colored and birds are feasting in the vineyards.

Color spotter Anirudh Natikar shares these images of the landscaped color to be seen along Paseo Santa Cruz, near Valley Avenue in Pleasanton, where hot orange, deep red, and fluorescent yellow mix with green.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – All elevations below 1,000′

Dry Creek Region, Sonoma County (11/27/15) Jennifer Malone

Dry Creek region, Sonoma County (11/27/15) Jennifer Mellone

Bennett Valley region, Sonoma County (11/27/15) Jennifer Malone

Bennett Valley region, Sonoma County (11/28/15) Jennifer Mellone

Bennett Valley region, Sonoma County (11/27/15) Jennifer Malone

Bennett Valley region, Sonoma County (11/28/15) Jennifer Mellone

Far Niente Winery, Oakville (11/26/15) Santhakumar V A

Far Niente Winery, Oakville (11/26/15) Santhakumar V A

Far Niente Winery, Oakville (11/26/15) Santhakumar V A

Far Niente Winery, Oakville (11/26/15) Santhakumar V A

Napa Valley (11/26/15) Santhakumar V A

Napa Valley (11/26/15) Santhakumar V A

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natikar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natekar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natikar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natekar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natikar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natekar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natikar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natekar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natikar

Pleasanton (11/25/15) Anirudh Natekar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Fall Color Looks Back at 2015

     Posted on November 26, 2015 by John Poimiroo

On this Thanksgiving Day, CaliforniaFallColor.com is indebted to every color spotter and photographer who contributed photographs and reports in 2015.

They include (from first turned leaf reported): LA Leaf Peeper, Alicia Vennos, Jon Klusmire, Alena Nicholas, Trapper Felt, Carol Waller, Christine Osborne, Julie Yost, Crys Black, Nikhil Shahi, Misti Sullivan, Kevin Lennox, Ashley Hollgarth, Jen Heger, Kimberly Kolafa, Julie Kirby, Aditi Das, Jeff Hemming, Erick  Castellon, Shanda Ochs, Jackson Frishman, Cuong Diep, Maddie Noiseaux, Leor Pantilat, Lara Kaylor, Jeff Simpson, Clayton Peoples, Lisa Wilkerson-Willis, Phillip Reedy Ruth Hartman, Charles Porter, Greg Newbry, Elliott McGucken, Jared Smith, Dotty Molt, Sherry Gardner, Jill Dinsmore, Josh Wray, Mike Nellor, Ivan Alo, Pushkar Gejji, Mariusz Jeglinski, Gary Young, Patricia Costa, Lisa May, Laurie Baker, Shuo Li, Dylan Ren, Brian Patterson, David Olden, Gabriel Leete, Jeri Rangel, Jim Beaux, Cory Poole, Walter Gabler, Max Forster, Jim Adams, Jeff Luke Titcomb, Nancy Wright, Bonnie Nordby, Kathy Jonokuchi, Linnea Wahamaki, Sarah Showalter, Vera Haranto Fuad, Jas E Miner, Susan Taylor, Santhakumar V A, Darrell Sano, Frank McDonough, Anson Davalos, Sandy Steinman, Anirudh Natikar, Jennifer “JMel” Mellone and Ron Tyler, who produced the above video.

We’re also grateful to the many hundreds of readers who posted comments and photos to our Facebook page and retweeted our Twitter posts. If we missed thanking you here, please know it wasn’t intentional.  We we are indebted to every color spotter, photographer and commenter. Thank you all.

Additional thanks are expressed to Inyo County Tourism, Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, and The California Parks Company for underwriting California Fall Color. And, to the many reporters and media who carried our reports and gave attention to what we have shown about California’s fall color.

This thank you list is incomplete without mentioning Joan, my wife, who has: humored my recording of color percentages, species and elevations; pointed out particularly beautiful color; and driven the car and pulled it over to the shoulder, at my whim, so that I could jump out to photograph a particularly beautiful location.

Of course, our deepest thanks go to the many tens of thousands of people who have followed CaliforniaFallColor.com and our Facebook and Twitter pages.  You are, after all, the reason we do this.

Autumn doesn’t end on Thanksgiving Day. It has 26 more days to go.  We’ll continue to post photos and reports as received and plan a Special Report on San Diego County. Though today, we begin to dial back our reports, posting them less frequently. We also stop sending weekly reports to California TV meteorologists, travel and outdoor writers.

So, enjoy Thanksgiving Day, and we’ll see you next autumn, dude.

California (Peak 75-100%) – In our hearts, California is always peaking. GO NOW!