Nature to Look for Every Month in 2020

Dec 23, 2019 at 4:05pm

Bay Nature, by Bay Nature Staff

Californians like to complain about missing true “seasons.” But expand your definition beyond humid summer nights and winter sleet and you’ll find nature all around us responding to seasonal change.

Here are some of our suggestions of seasonal favorites to look for in 2020. Got your own seasonal favorites in California? Let us know about them in the comments below!

Bonus offer, not for the faint of heart: find each of these this year, email us pictures or iNaturalist observations (, and we’ll give you a free digital subscription to Bay Nature.

Goldback fern. (Photo by Stephanie Penn)

Rain encourages ferns like the goldback to uncurl their leaves and spread out. You can find this California native just about everywhere except the Mojave Desert.

Yellow-eyed ensatina. (Photo by Tony Iwane, iNaturalist CC)
As rain saturates the ground and streams rise, salamanders come out to wander the forest floor. There are more salamanders in North America than anywhere else, and the yellow-eyed ensatina, a charming mimic of the California newt, might be one of the most common.

Hedgepeth’s sapsucker. (Photo by Ken-ichi Ueda)
Want to find green in nature for St. Patrick’s Day? Want to find something cooler than a four-leaf clover? Look on dock pilings, eelgrass beds, and seaweed around the San Francisco Bay for the Hedgepeth’s sapsucker, a spectacular West Coast sea slug with a fascinating life history.

See more exciting seasonal wildlife for each month here.