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Sunday, July 31, 2011

White-crowned Sparrow being fed by its parent - could we have a picky eater here?

Craig Tooley recently trained his long lens on a fledgling White-crowned Sparrow. As he watched a parent flew in with a nice bug. It looks like the baby isn't all that thrilled with snack and the parent in turn looks like its glaring. Here's a fun picture for you to enjoy today. Thank you, Craig!

To see more of Craig's photos, check out his web site:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

One our native Bees - a Solitary Digger Bee - pollinating my tomato plants

There are 1000 or so California native bees. I recently watched one of them pollinating the blossoms on my tomato plants here in Anchor Bay. When it went into each blossom it gave a whirring sound just like a small drill. Will Erickson identified it for me - it's a female Solitary Digger Bee, Anthophora species. This native bee is a ground nester. She was indeed a busy little bee as my plants are full of blossoms. Nice to get some garden help from this beneficial bee!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two more rare wildflowers found at Ten Mile Dunes by Peter Baye

Ten Mile Dunes is found north of Fort Bragg. On a recent visit Peter Baye photographed four rare wildflowers. I've already shared two of them with you. Here are the other two.

Mendocino Coast Indian Paintbrush - Castilleja mendocinensis - is a perennial herb that only is found in California and Oregon. It is endangered and needs protection from non-native plants. Look how lovely it is.

Round-headed Chinese Houses is the common name for Collinsia corymbosa - an annual herb that is only found on the coastline of Northern California. It too is listed as endangered. These wildflowers are truly special. Thanks to Peter Baye for allowing me to share them here!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Foggy morning on the Mendocino Coast

This morning the fog hugged the coastline with blue sky just a bit to the east. A large group of Brown Pelicans flew by headed north. This photo was taken south of Schooner Gulch State Beach and Bowling Ball State Beach. If you are living with high temperatures today, perhaps this photo will bring you a bit of cooling fog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sweet photo of a Harbor Seal pup with its mom taken by Craig Tooley

Harbor Seals come to a safe cove on The Sea Ranch and other secluded places on the Mendonoma Coast in the spring. They are very endearing, which makes for some wonderful photos. Craig Tooley sent me this sweet photo showing the interaction and love between a pup and its mom.

To see more of Craig's photos, go to:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Swainson's Thrush and American Goldfinch- I have two nests to show you

One of my favorite birds on the Mendonoma Coast is the Swainson's Thrush. Its flute-like calls are wonderful to hear, always ending on a high note. To listen for yourself, here's a link from Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Robert Schwein discovered a nest with three eggs. They are completely blue with no flecks of brown, which is a bit unusual. However the babies didn't care. Robert watched them fledge a few days ago.

American Goldfinches arrive in the spring, delighting us with their beauty. Jeff and Pearl Watts had a  Goldfinch nest in the wreath hanging on their door! Here's a photo of the young birds in the nest.
Thanks to the Watts and Robert Schwein for allowing me to share their photos.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Serenity on The Sea Ranch

Betty Bailey captured a moment of serenity on The Sea Ranch - a Great Blue Heron in the foreground and a Great Egret in the back. They eat fish but also mice and other small rodents. Perhaps that is what they were looking for in that meadow. Thanks to Betty for allowing me to share her photo.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Dragonfly - a Flame Skimmer - visited my garden.

An orange Dragonfly - Libellula saturata - visited my garden in Anchor Bay. In our courtyard we have a small pond with a waterfall flowing from an old-growth Redwood stump. The Rough-skinned Newt is still in residence in the pond. A few days ago I noticed this beautiful naiad flitting around the plants by the pond. This jewel-like Dragonfly eats moths, flies, ants and other insects. Welcome to my garden, male Flame Skimmer!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Here's a fun sighting from Siegfried Matull - a Raccoon hugging a stone owl.

Siegfried Matull has set his camera lens on a grouping of stone owls at his home at The Sea Ranch. He got a Raccoon appearing to hug one of the owls - a touch of whimsy and fun for you today.
         All my best, Jeanne Jackson, Gualala

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beautiful sunset at the Point Arena Lighthouse

If you are visiting the Mendonoma Coast, a trip to the Point Arena Lighthouse is a great stop. There's a museum, a gift shop and the restored lighthouse itself. It's a great spot for seeing wildlife, including River Otters, Brown Pelicans and Whales. It's also a great spot for spectacular sunsets as evidenced in Rae Radtkey's photo below. I thank her for allowing me to share it here with you.

To learn more about this landmark, go to

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rare wildflowers recently found on the Mendocino Coast by Peter Baye

Peter Baye, camera in hand, went exploring at Ten Mile Dunes, which is north of Fort Bragg. On the dunes Peter found some rare wildflowers, the first one being Howell's Spineflower, Chorizanthe howellii. It's an annual herb that is native and endemic to California. In fact, Cal-Flora only shows this flower in Mendocino County. It is listed as threatened by the State of California and listed as endangered by the federal government.

Another rare wildflower found was Menzies' Wallflower, Erysimum menziesii. It's a perennial herb and another endangered California native.

I have two more to show you but they will have to wait for another day! Thanks to Peter for allowing me to show you these beauties.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bald Eagle makes an appearace just north of Elk - a magnificent sight!

Kenny Gentile was driving on Highway One just north of Elk on June 29th. There on the west side of the highway, perched on a tree, sat this beautiful, mature Bald Eagle. Kenny took over 50 photos while the big eagle watched him. One photo is on the Independent Coast Observer's web site at Kenny kindly allowed me to post a different one here. Bald Eagles are a rare sighting on the Mendonoma Coast but two have been seen this spring and summer in the Albion area, which is not too far from Elk as the Eagle flies. We are wishing and hoping they will nest here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Salmon Fishing has been good off the Mendonoma Coast - the fishing fleet is here.

Salmon fishing has been so good this past week that the commercial fishing fleet has been here. They anchor overnight in Point Arena and Anchor Bay. Their lights twinkle in the darkness, looking like a diamond necklace strung out over the Pacific Ocean. I rose before dawn to take this photo - the ocean was so calm some of the boats stayed out rather than anchor off-shore. You don't see that very often!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A window to the world of Mother Nature

Adrian Bennett recently photographed the world of nature outside her window. A Doe and her Fawn graze amongst her many bird feeders and perches. The meadows of The Sea Ranch are just behind and the Pacific Ocean frames the shot. It looks so peaceful and idyllic that it makes me sigh in relaxation. Thanks to Adrian for allowing me to share this photo.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spectacular photo of an Osprey with a fish in its talons!

Steve Wilcox loves to photograph Hawks. He got a great photo of a Sea Hawk, aka Osprey, with a fish in its talons and has kindly allowed me to share it here. Perhaps the Osprey was hurrying back to the nest where his lady love was waiting with hungry babies. I feel so fortunate to live where Ospreys choose to nest.

My best to you!   Jeanne Jackson, Gualala

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunrise in Anchor Bay this morning with the full moon setting - what a wonderful way to start the day!

This is what the early morning sunrise looked like with the full moon setting as Rick and I watched. To start the day with such beauty is a joy.

Our golden retriever wasn't as impressed. Huckleberry was entirely too relaxed to care about the sunrise.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Albino Steelhead found in the Gualala River

Peter Baye couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted an 8-inch nearly white Steelhead swimming with a group of normal-colored Steelhead. In all his years of exploring the far reaches of the Gualala River, he's never seen anything like this. Mother Nature must be playing tricks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ithuriel's Spear blooming in Gualala

Its bloom is just about over but I wanted to share this beautiful member of the Lily family - Ithuriel's Spear, Triteleia laxa. This particular plant is growing next to a neighbor's fence.  Bees and butterflies visit this flower often. It's a California native and it grows from a corm, which is edible.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inspiring Sunset at Cook's Beach

Cook's Beach is a lovely wind-protected sandy beach on the north end of Gualala. The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy manages it. There is an easy trail from the bluff down to the beach. It's a perfect place to watch the sunset and perhaps see a green flash. Karen Tracy captured a beautiful sunset from the beach and has kindly allowed me to share it here.

To learn about other beaches and trails managed by RCLC check out their web site:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Black Oystercatchers - can you spot the three babies in Craig Tooley's photo?

It will be easy to spot the two adult Black Oystercatchers but not so easy to see their three off-spring. Hint: they look like rocks and are on the lower right side. Thanks to Craig Tooley for allowing me to share this photo!

To see more of Craig's photos, go to:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Pacific Ocean - always fascinating, always memerizing

This morning I was surprised to hear the ocean waves crashing. The Pacific Ocean has been summertime quiet lately. I never tire of watching the ocean and fortunately Carolyn AndrĂ© never tires of photographing it! Here is Carolyn's beautiful photo of big breakers rolling in at The Sea Ranch.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We couldn't believe what we were seeing - a beautiful Peacock in a snag on Highway One

On a trip down Highway One this week Rick and I passed a blaze of color in a snag on the west side. "Was that a...Peacock?" I asked Rick, doubting my own eyes. He turned the car around and there it was, shining like an iridescent ornament in the fog. We were just north of Stillwater Cove County Park, which is in Sonoma County.

It turns out that Stillwater Cove Ranch is nearby and, yes, they have Peacocks. Apparently one of them caught the wandering bug - at least for a day. Every drive down the coast brings a bit of wonder.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Little Prince's Pine - a unique and uncommon California native wildflower

I've been watching a group of these small plants, waiting and waiting to see what the bloom might be. My patience has finally been rewarded. If you haven't met, let me introduce you to Little Prince's Pine - Chimaphila menziesii. Thanks go to Peter Baye to for the ID. It's a perennial wildflower in the Heath family and it's a California native, just like me!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nesting Pelagic Cormorants with babies near the Point Arena Lighthouse

Nik Epanchin photographed these nesting Pelagic Cormorants on a bluff face near the Point Arena Lighthouse recently. You can see the babies in the upper nest. What a great photo and I thank Nik for allowing me to share it here!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lovely Butterfly - a Pale Swallowtail - graced us with its presence

A Pale Swallowtail - Papilio eurymedon - visited our neighbor's wax myrtles yesterday delighting us with its beauty. One of the caterpillar hosts for this butterfly is the California Coffee-Berry bush, which we have growing on our property in Anchor Bay.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The first Leopard Lily has bloomed at the edge of Quinliven Creek - an exotic beauty on the Mendonoma Coast!

One of my favorite wildflowers - the tropical-looking Leopard Lily, Lilium pardalinum - has bloomed on the forest floor. The splash of orange is so unexpected in the world of greens and browns. It is also called Tiger Lily or Panther Lily. Its roots have medicinal qualities but I'd just rather admire this rare beauty from afar.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Golden Retriever Love Brigade - a Point Arena 4th of July Parade Tradition!

It all began in 2005 - the birth of the Golden Retriever Love Brigade. Point Arena hosts an annual 4th of July parade down Highway One, which closes the road for an hour. The previous year Rick and I attended the parade and there weren't many entries. I was disappointed! So I decided to come up with an entry myself and my inspiration was my Golden Retriever, Huckleberry.

Since then we've had Love Brigade in every parade and this year was no different. Elsa and Emily did a wonderful job carrying our big sign this year. We won first prize in our division!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The coast is packed with holiday visitors but there is serenity to be found.

A lone Gull on a fence post, the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop and a beautiful, sunny day gives one the essence of serenity, Mendonoma Coast-wise. Thanks to Carolyn André for this beautiful photo.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nesting colony of Brandt's Cormorants on Gualala Point Island - an aerial photo.

Gualala Point Island is a large, rocky island sitting off the northernmost end of The Sea Ranch. It is a haven for many birds and pinnipeds and many of us enjoy watching them from the bluffs. But on the far side, where we landlubbers cannot see, there is a large colony of Brandt's Cormorants currently nesting.

TSR are Stewards of the rocks and islands off their stretch of the coast, which are part of the California Coastal National Monument. They have formed a Task Force to monitor the seabirds. Recently their aerial photographer Craig Tooley went up with pilot Tom Osborne as part of their 5th year of monitoring and captured this photo. There are also some Common Murres in the photo, a cause for excitement. There is hope they may be prospecting for nests. And one lone Gull at the top, hoping for a free meal.

This is the big reason why fireworks over the 4th of July weekend in Gualala are a bad idea. We are fortunate to have nesting seabirds here. Don't feel sorry for us! We have fireworks in Point Arena 11 miles to the north.