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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Last Saturday's sunset as photographed by Wendy Bailey

Wendy Bailey was driving up Highway One when she pulled over to watch and photograph the sunset. She was at Stillwater Cove, hoping for a green flash. She didn't get a green flash but she did capture this lovely sunset.

There is a Sonoma County park at Stillwater Cove. Here is the link if you'd like to learn  more about it:

And if you'd like to see Frank Vaskelis' photo of a green flash shared on this site, here is the link:

Wendy didn't see a green flash but Rick Denniston reported seeing a beautiful, two minute long green flash that night from his home in Gualala. Location, location, location!

Monday, January 30, 2012

How to find the Salal Trail - a hidden gem of a trail on The Sea Ranch

As I posted yesterday, Rick and I were recently shown how to access the Salal Trail. It turns out the trail starts at Gualala Point Regional Park. It makes sense because there is public parking there. Of course you will have to pay a parking fee or, like us, buy an annual Sonoma County Parks pass. You drive by the pay station and and turn to the left into the small parking area. (Note: There are two small parking areas at the entrance. You want the second one in. If you traveled more than 20 yards from the pay station, you've gone too far.) Here is where you will find the beginning of the trail. Who knew?

 The sign below tells you to look for signposts with this symbol on them. You will need to look for them to help guide you along the way.
 Here's the Salal Trail where it runs in-between Highway One and the golf course fence. I had no idea there was a trail down in this swale.
 This is one of the sign posts to watch for. You will cross the golf course driveway entrance. The lines on the driveway, which delineate the trail, are almost gone.
At the end of the golf course fence the trail will veer west and you will go down a wooden staircase. The trail  crosses Leeward. Don't take the wide golf course path, which goes right or left. Stay straight on the narrow Salal Trail. Below is the beautiful waterfall that you will find about halfway down.

 I hope you will experience this beautiful trail for yourself soon! My best to you, Jeanne Jackson

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Salal Trail on The Sea Ranch - it's hard to find but so very worth it!

I have been wanting to hike the Salal Trail but couldn't find where it was on The Sea Ranch. On Friday a friend took Rick and me there. It is so very beautiful and it has a fantastic waterfall, which is running strong from our recent rains.

Tomorrow I will show you a few more photos and give you directions on how to access this wonderful trail.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A lovely Douglas Iris blooming in winter on the Mendonoma Coast

On a hike with a friend yesterday Rick and I saw a lone Douglas Iris, Iris douglasiana, blooming in a sunny patch of land. Yes, it is early for this wildflower to bloom but there was no denying its beautiful presence.

And today a small pod of Gray Whales were seen headed south. All in all, a beautiful day on the Mendonoma Coast!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Red-shouldered Hawk photographed by Jim Garlock

Jim Garlock photographed a beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus, sitting on a tree branch on The Sea Ranch recently. This Hawk lives in forests near water in California and the East. They eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and crayfish. Perhaps Jim's hawk is looking for a nice fat mouse.

Here's a link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to hear what this hawk sounds like:
Thanks to Jim for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A lovely photo by coastal photographer Craig Tooley of a Great Blue Heron

Craig Tooley was up early to take advantage of the light of dawn. He calls it taking photos on the edges of the day. He caught a Great Blue Heron with the dawn light reflected off of its body. Just a spectacular photo! Craig calls it, "Greeting the dawn."

To see more of Craig's coastal photographs, here's the link to his web site:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Storm Clouds as photographed by coastal photographer Tom Eckles

The Mendonoma Coast is just starting to dry out from the series of storms that hit us late last week. We received nearly ten inches at our home in Anchor Bay! Tom Eckles photographed storm clouds mixed with the setting sun - just spectacular.

Thanks to Tom for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see more of Tom's photography, here's his web site:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dungeness Crab!

This is the season for Dungeness Crab, Metacarcinus magister. The season from Point Arena north was delayed until recently to allow the crabs to grow to the proper size. Local boats go out from the Point Arena Pier and larger boats come up from Bodega Bay. Beth Petit recently photographed a large load of crab coming into the pier.

 And Allen Vinson photographed several crab boats plying the waters off the Mendonoma Coast.
Dungeness Crab is found off the West Coast of Northern America and is considered a delicious delicacy. I can tell you it's one of my favorite seafood. Crab cakes, anyone?
Thanks to Beth and Allen for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

With the recent rains Quinliven Creek has come to life

Quinliven Creek runs through our property in Anchor Bay. It's a seasonal creek, with ponds that last year round. It is always a happy occurrence when it comes to life. With all the rain we've had recently it is running fast and strong. Here are a few pictures of this lovely creek.

 Each cascade has a different musical tone, which I enjoy listening to. Yes, the creek is singing!
 And below is Huckleberry, our golden retriever. Rick is telling him not to go in that pond as it's so cold. Last night I didn't have my camera as it was raining hard. I put Huckleberry's raincoat on, which he doesn't really enjoy but being an agreeable golden he puts up with it. We hiked down into the forest to look at the creek. When we weren't looking Huck went into this pond - with his raincoat on! Best laid plans and all that...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A surprised Great Blue Heron as photographed by Adrian Bennett

Adrian Bennett noticed a Great Blue Heron striding through her Sea Ranch yard.

 The Heron continues its walk, passing by some colorful, decorative "eggs."
 All of a sudden the Heron stops and whips its head around as it notices the "eggs."
 I can just imagine what this Great Blue Heron is thinking - "What the heck...?"
Thanks to Adrian Bennett for allowing me to share her photos with you here. They made me smile and I hope they do the same for you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A rainbow morning

Our seasonal creeks are running strong and fast after the second storm dumped three inches of rain yesterday. With the showers this morning came a beautiful rainbow.

We had a very high tide this morning and the waves are huge! Even a half mile away and inside my house I can hear the ocean's roar.

My best to you on this rainbow day! Jeanne Jackson, Gualala

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Gualala River finally opened late this morning and it was an awesome sight!

We had nearly 3 and 3/4 inches of rain yesterday and that was enough to finally open the Gualala River. The river has been closed to the ocean all summer, fall and the first month of winter by a massive sandbar. This is the latest I know of for the river to open. A friend called - thank you, Bob! - and said the river was cresting the sandbar at 10:30 this morning. When Rick and I arrived at the Gualala Bluff Trail an hour or so later the river had opened. And what a sight it was!

 The picture below is our first look at the newly opened river. We entered the Gualala Bluff Trail by the Shoreline Restaurant and the Breakers Inn. Yes, it was raining hard and we got soaked!
 Halfway down the trail we got a better look at the opening, which is south of its usual opening.
We watched as large tree trunks were swept into the sea. The turbulence where the river hits the ocean was amazing to see and hear. Steelhead juveniles were making their first trip into the Pacific Ocean. They had been trapped in luxury in the Gualala River.
Until this morning this was a lagoon. Now it's an estuary. It was so thrilling to watch the river greet the sea.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Storms are finally hitting the Mendonoma Coast and a sunset photo for you

After weeks of dry weather, the Mendonoma Coast is being hit by a big storm. And there are two more lined up - another for Friday and one for Sunday night. Our seasonal creeks had gone dry in places during the long dry spell. I know the creek that runs through our property in Anchor Bay, Quinliven Creek, will soon come to life to delight us anew.

In the meantime, here is a photo I took five days ago of the sun setting into a sea of fog. Beautiful, don't you agree?

Here is a link to a photo I took last March of Quinliven Creek after a major storm:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Northern Elephant Seal paid a visit to Cook's Beach and photographer Tom Eckles got this photo

A Northern Elephant Seal, Mirounga angustirostris, was found resting on the sand at Cook's Beach last week. You can tell by its proboscis this Elephant Seal is a male and it tell us he is at least three years old.

Photographer Tom Eckles captured a wonderful photo of him. Tom wrote, "It blinked, open its huge mouth, exhaled with snoring gusto, stretched a flipper, then settled back to sleep.  And was gone the next morning, off into the glorious ocean, but my memory of this grand creature I will have for always."

  I believe this same fellow then swam the short distance to Anchor Bay Beach, where he stayed for several days, delighting everyone who saw him.
  If you'd like to see some of Tom's work, here is the link to his web site: I thank Tom for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shrimp Russula - an overlooked wild mushroom

A group of Shrimp Russulas, Russula xeramplina, has bloomed under a Shore Pine tree on our property. I finally learned the identification of these edible mushrooms after a mushroom forage with David Arora a month or so ago. First, it is a substantial mushroom, not flimsy. The stem is rosy though you will have to look closely at my photo to see the blush. When you scratch the stem it should turn yellow. To further make sure you have the edible Russula, bite off a small piece of the cap, chew and then spit out. If you taste pepper you have the wrong one.
 These two 'shrooms are growing next to a large rock at our home in Anchor Bay.

It's been cold and dry here on the Mendonoma Coast. But these Shrimp Russulas didn't seem to mind! To see several other photos of this mushroom, here's the link:

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Pacific Ocean is dancing at Anchor Bay Beach

David Wayne Floyd captured a beautiful wave approaching Anchor Bay Beach in Mendocino County. Storms to our north are generating big waves. Our weather is soon to change as those storms begin hitting the Mendonoma Coast by Wednesday morning. Today we bask in the sun but we look forward to some nice big storms real soon.

Thanks to David for allowing me to share his photo with you here.
To see David's beautiful sunset pictures at Anchor Bay Beach, here is the link:
and to learn more about Anchor Bay Beach, here is their web site:
And before the weather closes down our view of the ocean, I want to tell you that Gray Whales have been seen most days migrating south. What a string of calm, clear weather days we've had to observe the great migration!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fly Amanita that looks like a flying saucer!

Sometimes Mother Nature like to play tricks. Mirka Knaster found this Fly Amanita, Amanita muscaria, with another one growing out its top. It looks like a wild mushroom flying saucer!

Thanks to Mirka for allowing me to share her photo with you here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gorilla Rock on The Sea Ranch

At The Sea Ranch there is a rock that looks like a Gorilla sitting on the bluffs. It appears to be gazing out over the Pacific Ocean.  To find this unique rock Linda Frye advises, "Gorilla Rock is on TSR coast near the White Barn. The silhouette of the gorilla is more prevalent in late afternoon during the late fall or winter months when the sun is setting in the southwest sky. The casual walker may notice it as he/she walks north on the trail."

Doug Patterson took this photo and I thank him for allowing me to share it with you and also thanks to Linda for her directions.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Magnificent waves off The Sea Ranch photographed by coastal photographer Craig Tooley

We are experiencing high surf and crashing waves here on the Mendonoma Coast. Craig Tooley has been out with his camera and he caught a wave alright - a beautiful wave with iridescence.

And another spectacular shot. These were taken from The Sea Ranch.
Thanks to Craig for allowing me to share these with you here. Here's a link to Craig's web site to see more of his work:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunrise with the full moon and Manzanita Blossoms

Watching a lovely sunrise with the full moon glowing in the west is a treat given to those fortunate enough to be on the Mendonoma Coast. You can also see the lights of a fishing boat out on the Pacific Ocean.

 And here is the rest of the sunrise, looking southwest, from our property in Anchor Bay - sheer loveliness!
 The earliest of the Manzanitas have begun blooming. These exquisite white flowers are shaped like upside-down urns. Some people remove Manzanitas bushes from their property and the ecosystem is hurt because of it. These blossoms feed our year 'round hummingbirds, the Anna's. They provide food for our native bees and butterflies. Since Manzanitas are the first to bloom in the winter, they are crucial for our wildlife.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A mushroom forage on Saturday - gifts from the forest

Our chef friend, Barbara Bourke, visited last weekend. Saturday morning we headed out for wild mushrooms. We didn't have to go further than our own property. We found Black Trumpets, Bellybutton Hedgehogs, a lone Golden Chanterelle, Candy Caps and Shrimp Russulas.

Barb decided to use the Black Trumpets in a scalloped potato dish. She chopped them and layered them in with the potatoes. No need to cook them first as the dish takes an hour in the oven.
And here is the finished product. I can attest to the deliciousness of this dish!
What a treat. Thank you, Barb!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dramatic photo of the Sonoma Coast by Carolyn André

The Mendonoma Coast has been experiencing big waves this past week. To our south they are holding the Maverick's surfing competition because the waves are so huge. Our waves certainly don't get that big but they are impressive nevertheless.

Carolyn AndrĂ© recently captured a beautiful photo of the Pacific Ocean and the coast of The Sea Ranch. Carolyn commented that this photo looks like a Japanese painting. I agree. You can almost hear the waves crashing onshore.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A tiny frog, here is a juvenile Foothill Yellow-legged Frog

Will Ericson loves exploring the reaches of the wild Gualala River. A while back he discovered this juvenile frog, a Foothill Yellow-legged Frog, Ranas Boylii. You will see it is not much bigger than a quarter.

Here it is in one of the tributaries of the Gualala River.
 And here is an adult Foothill Yellow-legged Frog photographed by Peter Baye. You can see that it blends in well with the rocks in the river.
They are found in Oregon, along the California Coast and down to Baja California. To see another frog, the Pacific Tree Frog, here is the link:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ho Hum, another beautiful sunset, this one photogaphed by DeAnn Steele

Our dry weather continues on the Mendonoma Coast, as do the fabulous sunsets. There is something special about a winter sunset. DeAnn Steele photographed this one on Wednesday on the Jenner Grade.

And here is one I took the same evening, from my home in Anchor Bay

A bit of loveliness for you today!

Friday, January 6, 2012

I've just fallen in love with Hearn Gulch

Hearn Gulch was recently opened to the public due to the efforts of the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy. What a treasure this is! Found at mile marker 10.00 north of Anchor Bay in Mendocino County, there is parking for several cars.
It's an easy walk out to the bluff with Rick and Huckleberry leading the way.
Below you will see a dramatic fissure in the bluffs.
And here is the beautiful pocket beach, which is called Saunder's Landing. There is a trail down to this beach. The majority of the trail is easy but the last part is steep and the rocks were slippery. Ropes have been installed to help people navigate the lower part of the trail.

As we stood on the bluffs, the Pacific Ocean slammed onto the bluffs, making a loud booming sound and sending great plumes skyward.

And here is a sea tunnel. I will go back when the tide is right to see it in action. I believe I need to go at mean tide. We were on the tail end of a high tide yesterday.

In spring the wildflowers should be amazing. I am so grateful these acres were preserved so everyone can experience this beautiful place. Here's a link to the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy to see what other gifts they have given us: