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Monday, April 30, 2012

Red Clintonia - a burst of beauty in the dark forest

Red Clintonias, Clintonia andrewsiana, are just now blooming in coastal redwood forests. This member of the Lily family is a California native. It's also called Blue Bead Lily, for the beautiful, cobalt-blue berries the flowers morph into in the summer. That's if a Deer doesn't eat the flower head! Rick and I were lucky that this big, exquisite Red Clintonia wasn't eaten and bloomed this year. Last year we weren't so lucky. You might be able to see it is up against the red bark of a Redwood tree.

This particular plant stands about two feet tall. The flower will continue to open up in the days to come. What a gift to find this wildflower in the darkest part of the forest!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What was this little Striped Skunk doing?

Craig Tooley and Rita Peck were headed towards the beach when they saw a Striped Skunk digging away in the sand. Craig thought it might be digging a tunnel.

 But I think the skunk was digging for its breakfast. Perhaps some tasty sand fleas.
When the skunk came up for air, it noticed Craig and Rita and began to head their way. They hastily reversed directions, as you might imagine.

Thanks to Craig for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see more of Craig's photos, here is a link to his website:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The very first Wild Azaleas and Wild Rhododendrons have bloomed

Rick and I saw the first Wild Rhododendron flowers blooming along Highway One in Salt Point State Park on Wednesday. The beautiful pink blossoms are always a treat to see. And the first Wild Azaleas have bloomed. Robert Scarola photographed a early bloomer.

Just the two blossoms are open but aren't they lovely? So much more loveliness is to come as these beauties will continue to bloom in the weeks ahead. Thanks to Robert for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The wildflowers along the Gualala Bluff Trail are lovely now

Even if Rick and I are pressed for time, a walk on the Gualala Bluff Trail is easy to fit in. And Huckleberry, our golden retriever, never turns down a walk. We parked along Highway One in front of the Shoreline Restaurant and accessed the trail between the restaurant and the Breaker's Inn. Spring has sprung along the trail and even in the foggy morning the trail was alive with color.

 Rick and Huckleberry are urging me to catch up!
 It looks like Huck is thinking, "So many poppies, so little time..."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brown Pelican splash down, as photographed by Siegfried Matull

I wanted to show you a close-up photo of a Brown Pelican. What better one than this splash down photo by Siegfried Matull. I love how the Pelican is reflected in the water.

You'll see this is a white-headed bird, signifying an adult. Thanks to Siegfried for allowing me to share his beautiful photo with you here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brown Pelicans are streaming by the Coast in large numbers - a wonderful sight!

On Sunday Rick and I were at Cook's Beach with friends. The fog was hovering just offshore. Several large groups of Brown Pelicans shot by, all white-headed adults. I'm told the brown-headed juveniles are still building their strength up for the northward migration. We should be seeing the young ones in the weeks to come. Some of the adults are still in their stunning breeding plumage. Brown Pelicans are one of my favorite birds and it is always a joy to see them.

Cook's Beach is a lovely pocket beach just north of Gualala. To learn how to find this beach, here is the link to a previous post:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Contentment - a Sea Ranch Sheep, as photographed by Robert Scarola

What brings you contentment? For a sheep on The Sea Ranch Robert Scarola believes it is spring grass.

And looking at the happy expression on this sheep's face, I would have to agree with Robert. I thank Robert for allowing me to share his photo with you here. There's a web site to see where the flock is on TSR. It is:

If  you'd like to add a caption for this photo, click on Comments below to do so!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ospreys are busy fishing, as photographed by Steve Wilcox

One of the joys of living on the Mendonoma Coast is sharing the Coast with Ospreys, spring into autumn. Pairs are busy rebuilding nests and mating. Soon the female will be sitting on eggs. The males are busy fishing and Steve Wilcox recently captured a beautiful photo of one passing by with a fish in its talons.

That's a pretty good size fish this Osprey got. And it looks like the Osprey is looking right at Steve, perhaps warning him off his catch. Thanks to Steve for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Turkey Vulture and the big sky, as photographed by Allen Vinson

A Turkey Vulture with its wings outstretched is an amazing sight to see. Allen Vinson recently photographed one on The Sea Ranch with the Pacific Ocean and big sky as a backdrop. Nice view, Turkey Vulture!

Turkey Vultures take sun baths to warm up and also to kill any bacteria left from their jobs as Mother Nature's garbage collectors. I don't want to think where we'd be without these carrion eaters doing their jobs.

May we all do our job to help clean up Mother Earth. Happy Earth Day today and every day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anchor Bay Beach was bathed in sun yesterday - ah, a taste of summer!

Yesterday we jumped into summer and the warm weather continues today. Of course there are pockets of fog in the usual places - hello, Point Arena! - but the fog will hopefully burn off for everyone.

There were a lot of happy faces as sun shone and David Wayne Floyd photographed the beach action at Anchor Bay Beach yesterday.

This morning with the favorable low tides, abalone divers were hitting the water. A crab boat is working the water south of Fish Rocks this afternoon. Today there is no wind!

Commercial fishermen are awaiting the opening of the Salmon season, which is May 1st south of Point Arena, I believe. Life on the Mendonoma Coast is like a dream, a dream from which you don't want to wake up.

Friday, April 20, 2012

False Solomon Seal, a lovely native wildflower now blooming in shady spots on the Mendonoma Coast

False Solomon Seal, Maianthemum racemosum,  began blooming this past week on the shady edges of our forest. "False" seems such a cruel description of this lovely wildflower.

 It actually is edible when very young but shouldn't be harvested unless found in abundance. It certain does not grow in abundance on our property so I'll just enjoy its beauty. It also has medicinal qualities that native peoples utilized, including use as a cough remedy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A beautiful Bobcat, as photographed by Tom Osborne

We share the Mendonoma Coast with Bobcats. These cats with tufted ears and bobbed tails can be seen hunting gophers and other rodents in meadows. It's always a treat to see them, a touch of the wild brought to you courtesy of Tom Osborne. I thank Tom for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Friday the 13th was lucky for Bettye Winters and for me!

Friday the 13th is said to be an unlucky day. Well, I say phooey on that! Bettye Winters got a beautiful photograph of thunderclouds forming over Manchester Beach and the Point Arena Lighthouse. Look how the sun glints off of the newly restored white Lighthouse. Thanks to Bettye for allowing me to share her photo with you here.

Friday also brought a spectacular sunset and I was lucky enough to capture it with my camera from my deck in Anchor Bay.
As Bettye wrote me, "Love it here!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ushio Light Bulb washed up at Manchester State Beach

A 12 inch long Ushio 110 volt, 500 watt light bulb washed up at Manchester State Beach recently and was found by Gary Humfeld. It has Asian characters on it.

I've been told it might have come from a ship. Again, any information you can give us to further our knowledge would be much appreciated! Isn't amazing the light bulb is intact?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Asian buoys found washed up on Manchester Beach - are they possibly of Japanese origin and from the tsunami?

Don Phelps found two of these large buoys washed up on Manchester State Beach. There were no barnacles on them so they hadn't been in the water for a long time.

Gary Humfeld found a smaller buoy that had been in the water a long time as it did have barnacles on it.

 Below you will see two Asian characters and a series of numbers on the buoy.
Tomorrow I will post the photo of the large light bulb Gary found. If you can further our knowledge in any way, we would surely appreciate it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Allen's or Rufous Hummingbirds - even the most experienced birders aren't sure!

Yes, it is nearly impossible to tell an Allen's Hummingbird from a Rufous Hummingbird. I've been advised to say it's a Selasphorus and then I can't go wrong. Paul Brewer photographed one of these beauties feeding on a Pride of Madera bush at his Gualala home.

Hummingbirds - they are living jewels that visit our gardens. Thanks to Paul for allowing me to share his exquisite photos with you here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The beautiful Gualala River, as photographed by Peggy Berryhill...but what was swimming across the river?

The Gualala River is running fast and strong with all the recent rains. We treasure this wild river and its tributaries. Peggy Berryhill was walking recently at Gualala Point Regional Park when she noticed movement in the river. It looked too big to be River Otters.

 What Peggy was seeing was a Doe and her yearling swimming across the river.
Thanks to Peggy for allowing me to share her fun photos with you here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wild weather brings a chance for rainbows

The song goes, "March went out like a Lion..." but here on the Mendonoma Coast April is acting like a Lion. Yesterday's weather was wild with a bit of everything thrown in the mix. That brought a chance for rainbows and Tom Eckles was ready with his new iPad, which he calls an iPad3. A beautiful rainbow appeared in front of Tom's Gualala home, framed by two trees.

 Today the story has been the incredible cloud show ever changing in the western sky. I took this photo from our deck in Anchor Bay this morning.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A River Otter has to guard its meal from a hungry Gull, as photographed by Richard Kuehn

Richard Kuehn watched a River Otter bring its catch to some rocks off of The Sea Ranch this week.

It didn't take long before a Western Gull arrived with larceny in its heart.

The River Otter backed off the Gull with a hearty snarl. "It's mine...get your own."
Thanks to Rich for allowing me to share these photos with you here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Storms have brought beautiful sunsets

We have several more storms lined up and then...and then...sunny and warmer! The much needed rain has been a blessing but we are ready for some springtime. This weekend looks like it will be spring incarnate. But the storms bring a chance for beautiful sunsets. Here is a recent one I photographed from our deck in Anchor Bay.

My best to you from the beautiful Mendonoma coast! Jeanne Jackson

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A late fruiting Fly Amanita, as photographed by Ron Champoux

Fly Amanitas, Amanita muscaria, usually fruit in December or perhaps January. But Ron Champoux found one sitting as pretty as you please on March 24th. As an experienced mushroom forager once said, "That's why wild mushrooms are called wild!"

Thanks to Ron for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see an Amanita muscaria holiday wreath, here's the link: and to see a Fly Amanita shaped like a flying saucer, here is that link:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Big Swells hit the Mendonoma Coast, as photographed by Robert Scarola

It was no joke! On April 1st huge swells hit the Mendonoma Coast and Robert Scarola was out with his camera to photograph them. He captured these twenty foot waves just south of Gualala Point. Thanks to Robert for allowing me to share the power of the Pacific Ocean with you here.

We have a vigorous storm headed our way, due to hit late tonight. The tall ships, the Hawaiian Chieftan and the Lady Washington, will be sailing from Bodega Bay past our coast tomorrow, perhaps in the afternoon. I sure hope the clouds will part and allow us a sighting of these elegant replicas of ships from the past.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ospreys have returned to the Mendonoma Coast and Paul Brewer photographed one of the first ones to arrive

Spring is really here when Ospreys return. The first Osprey was sighted several weeks ago and more have followed recently. Paul Brewer photographed one of the first to arrive near his home in Gualala and has kindly allowed me to share his photo with you here.

There are two active nests on our road and they are both in the process of being rebuilt and generally spiffed up. We can see one of the nests through our scope. Yesterday, while I watched, I saw the male Osprey fly in, land on top of the female who was sitting on the edge of the nest and mate. Wow, I'm a voyeur!

It is a joy to live where Ospreys choose to nest.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Rozann Grunig has the magic - Bobcat magic! She had this beauty saunter across the front of her property and turn around and look back at her, as if posing. Rozann got several great photos. I thank her for sharing this one with us here.

Bobcats have great hearing and vision and a good sense of smell. They usually avoid water but will swim if they have to. Climbing is where they excel. The gray in Rozann's photo is a road on The Sea Ranch!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spyhopping Gray Whale, as photographed by John Batchelder

John Batchelder was watching a pod of Gray Whales migrating northward recently. He saw tails and backs and  a lot of spouts. He also saw several breaches. And he got a photograph of one spyhopping and has kindly allowed me to share his great photo with you here.

We've had a lot of wind lately that has made spotting whales very difficult. Hopefully conditions will get better. That would also be good news for abalone divers. There are minus tides early in the morning this Easter weekend, which is what divers look for. I'm keeping my fingers crossed - for good luck - for those of you who hunt for red treasure!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

One of my favorite birds is the clown-faced Acorn Woodpecker

It's okay to play favorites, isn't it? I love the Acorn Woodpeckers that share the Mendonoma Coast with us. They are beautifully marked, have a unique call and have great swooping flights as they come to our feeder. They particularly love sunflower seeds. Their main food source, though, is acorns and there are many Tan Oaks on our property.

Siegfried Matull photographed a male Acorn Woodpecker and has kindly allowed me to share his photo with you here. You can tell it's a male because there is no black between the white and red on its forehead.

Below is a photo I took of our bird feeder. I entitled it, "Are you done yet?" These are two females. Note the black in-between the white and red on their foreheads.
Acorn Woodpeckers work hard to store acorns in a granary tree. Here are two such trees on my neighbor's property. There are hundreds of holes in these trees. I was only able to photograph the top 1/3rd of the tall tree so you'll just have to imagine how big these granary trees are. Each hole will have an acorn stuffed in it in the fall. They will have to defend their food from raiding Jays.
It would have been a hardship for our Acorn Woodpeckers if my neighbor had taken these dead trees down. Thank goodness she didn't! They are serving a higher purpose.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Admiral, as photographed by Hal Fogel

See if you agree. Hal Fogel deemed this Western Scrub Jay "The Admiral." I can see where Hal is coming from! This bird has a great deal of presence about him. And you've got to love those white eyebrows.

Thanks to Hal for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rock that looks like a mushroom, as photographed by Susan Gonzalez

Susan Gonzalez was out with her camera and discovered a rock formation that looks like a stone Morel mushroom. Is Mother Nature playing a joke on us?

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

Monday, April 2, 2012

Calypso Orchids, exquisite wildflowers blooming in the forest

Calypso Orchids began blooming the last few days of February and are continuing through March and into April. These tiny wildflowers are always a treat to find. ReneƩ Jardine found this one blooming on The Sea Ranch and has kindly allowed me to share her photo with you here.

And in the photo below John Sperry has photographed a dozen of these orchids. These were blooming on a neighbor's property in Timber Cove. This photo shows you how tiny they are! Thanks to John for allowing me to share his photo with you here.
Calypso Orchids should never be dug up and transplanted as they need a fungus in the soil to grow. Just leave them be and enjoy their beauty.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gorilla Rock and a Gull, as photographed by Rozann Grunig

Gorilla Rock is found on The Sea Ranch near the White Barn. Rozann Grunig recently photographed this unique stone structure with a Gull sitting on top. I thank her for allowing me to share her fun photo with you here.

I sincerely hope nobody is out trying to abalone dive today on the first day of the season. Huge swells and high winds make the ocean very treacherous. Local diver Eric Anderson already proclaimed today unsafe. No abalone is worth a life. Check out Eric's web site if you need an abalone fix today: It's the best web site for all things abalone.