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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Salmon is being caught off the Mendonoma Coast and today is the last day of Abalone diving for a month

The fishing fleet has been busy just north of the border of Sonoma County and Mendocino County. Rick and I can see many boats fishing for Salmon from our home in Anchor Bay. Yesterday Mel Smith purchased one for us from the pier at Point Arena Harbor. Yes, we had fresh salmon, caught in the pristine waters off the Coast, for dinner last night. The cost? $8.00 a pound. The fish Mel got for us was 13.5 pounds. Lots of salmon fillets are now in our freezer.

And today is the last day for Abalone diving. The season is closed for the month of July. The conditions today look ideal, as the Pacific Ocean is very calm. Recently Jack Likins and Ken Bailey went out. The result was this cache of big Abalones and a very nice Lingcod.

They shared these spoils at a birthday party for Ken's wife, Wendy Bailey. I can personally attest to the delicious fish tacos made with the Lingcod and the exquisite Abalone.

Thanks to Jack and Ken for allowing me to share this photo with you here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Peacock in Point Arena?

Carolyn André was delivering meals on wheels when she came around a turn and there was this beautiful Peacock.

Carolyn managed to stop her car in time and take this photograph. We don't know whose Peacock this is or if it is living on its own. There used to be a Parrot farm, I'm told, in the area and perhaps these were from that farm. The bird sure looks handsome.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This is funny - a Fawn jumping like a Jackrabbit, as photographed by Allen Vinson

Allen saw a Doe with her Fawn on The Sea Ranch. The Doe kept her eye on Allen while the fawn continued down the path.

 Allen couldn't believe it when the little Fawn jumped up in the air, as if impersonating a Jackrabbit.
As the Fawn came down to the earth, the Doe looks like she telling Allen, "The show is over. Move on, Mister."
Thanks to Allen for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see a photo of a Buck in velvet, here's the link to a previous blog post:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Black Oystercatcher chicks have appeared on the Mendonoma Coast - and they look like little rocks

June is when the first Black Oystercatcher chicks are born. Haematopus bachmani is their Latin name and they are found on the Pacific Coast, from Baja to Alaska. They are a noisy bird - a Sightings contributor deemed them "chattery." They nest on rocky perches and you will see their chicks look like little rocks, giving them a measure of camouflage.

This first photo was taken by Coastal photographer, Craig Tooley. There are three chicks in the photo.

 And the photo below was taken by John Batchelder. I see only two chicks in John's photo.
To hear their call, here's a link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Thanks to John and Craig for allowing me to share their photos here. To see more of Craig Tooley's wildlife photographs, here's the link to his website:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Ron LeValley was on a boat off of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast when a pod of Pacific White-sided Dolphins appeared. Ron, of course, had his camera and took these fabulous photos.

 In the photo below one of these small Dolphins was leaping ahead of the boat. "Hey, follow me!"
And these two Dolphins took a good look at Ron and the boat.
Pacific White-sided Dolphins are found in the North Pacific. They are a little bigger a man and seem to be fascinated by humans in boats. These Dolphins were severely impacted by driftnet fishing, which has since been banned early in the 1990's.

Thanks to Ron for allowing me to share these photos with you here. To see more of Ron's nature photography, here is the link to his web site:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cook's Beach, as photographed by Cathleen Crosby

Cook's Beach is one of the many accomplishments of the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy. Irene Leidner is project chair and did a wonderful job in bringing this coastal access to us all. She is being honored tonight at Gualala Arts Center and Rick and I will be there to cheer her accomplishments.

This past weekend, after a small storm blew through on Friday, was especially beautiful. The ocean was calm with no white caps. Cathleen Crosby photographed Cook's Beach and has graciously shared it with all of us here.

You can see that it is a lovely pocket beach, protected from the wind. It's a perfect place to let a friendly dog play on the beach and in the waves.

To read how to find this pocket beach, here's a previous Sightings post:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

California Quail taking a dirt bath - it looks like they are having fun

Robert Scarola had been digging in his yard the previous day, getting ready to put a few fence posts in. A California Quail couple discovered the newly turned dirt and decided to take a dirt bath, which helps them maintain the right amount of oil on their feathers.

Here are Robert's thoughts on these beautiful birds:

"The male really guards over his mate and seems to really care for her. They are part of the small daily life all around us. Not the Whales or Cougars or Hawks that take our breath away and who we love largely. Instead they are reminders of the constant presence of the little critters that share our neighborhood, and give us the chance to appreciate their gentle lives, and bring our own lives more in tune with theirs."

Thanks to Robert for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see another photo of CA Quail by Paul Batchelder, here's the link:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gray Fox Kits and their mother, as photographed by Lynda Opperman

Lynda Opperman and Howard Curtis had fortune smile on them when a Gray Fox couple decided to raise a family under their deck on The Sea Ranch.

The mother Fox had just finished nursing so I entitled this first photo, "Dinner's over - let's play!"
 You won't believe what the mother Gray Fox did - she climbed up into Lynda's birdbath and  took a nice long soak. It probably felt good after nursing six kits.

You can see several other photos in this series on the Independent Coast Observer's web site at: Click on On-Line Features and then Mendonoma Sightings.

Thanks to Lynda for allowing me to share her photos with you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stream Orchids and and an uncommon sighting, photographed by Peter Baye

Stream Orchids, Epipactis gigantea, have begun blooming on a rock ledge seep on the Wheatfield fork of the Gualala River. Peter Baye photographed one for us to see their delicate beauty.

Peter also found an uncommon sighting in our area - Wild Licorice, Glycyrrhiza lepidota, blooming in a sunny spot, also along the Wheatfield Fork.
Native People used this plant's root as a food source and for its medicinal qualities.

Thanks to Peter for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see more photography and learn about the Gualala River, here's the web site to Friends of the Gualala River:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The first wave of tsunami debris has arrived on the Mendocino Coast

We knew it was coming but the reality of it is something else. A disaster thousands of miles away swept multitudes of items into the ocean last March. The Japan Current, also called Kuroshio Current, is bringing evidence of this disaster to the Mendocino Coast.

Don Phillips walks at Manchester State Beach nearly every day. He collects debris swept up on the beach as his community service. But last Sunday the amount of debris on the beach increased dramatically. Yesterday and today he hauled out enough debris to fill his car.

Yes, the tsunami debris has reached the Coast. Now the question is how do we dispose of this? Plastic can be recycled but the styrofoam is problem to be solved.

NOAA has a website to track the tsunami debris. It is:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A lovely sunset, as photographed by Allen Vinson

It's been a while since I shared a sunset photo with you. Allen Vinson recently captured a lovely one, seen from a bluff on The Sea Ranch.

Wouldn't you like to sit on that log and enjoy the Pacific Ocean? The weather is wonderful and the Mendonoma Coast beckons.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Osprey, as photographed by Jan de Vries

Ospreys choose to nest on the Mendonoma Coast, a fact we are very happy about. Ospreys are fishing to feed their new babies in nests. Recently Jan de Vries had a chance to photograph one close up.

This Osprey appears to be glaring at Jan.

 And below you can see the back of the Osprey.

Thanks to Jan for allowing me to share his photos with you here. 

To see Steve Wilcox's photo of an Osprey with a fish in its talons, here's the link:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gray Whales photographed by Adrian Bennett and John Batchelder

You have to look closely at Adrian's photo. The Gray Whale's back looks like a small rock out in the Pacific Ocean.

As you can see from Adrian's photograph, the grasses are lush now, with plenty of feed for our wildlife.

And here's a closer look at two Gray Whales seen off of The Sea Ranch several weeks ago and photographed by John Batchelder.

Thanks to Adrian and John for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bucks in velvet have appeared on the Mendonoma Coast

Bucks with their antlers covered in soft velvet have been seen recently. Drew Fagan photographed two of them north of Gualala. He entitled his photo, "Two gentlemen in velvet lunching outside my studio."

Nice view Drew has from his art studio!

To see Drew's art, here is a link to his web site: I thank him for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A small wildflower with a long leaf - Pussy Ears are blooming on the Coast

Such a sweet little flower, Pussy Ears or Cat's Ears, are now blooming on the Mendonoma Coast. Robert Scarola recently photographed one of these beauties. Yes, the flower is soft to the touch.

Below is a photo I took that shows the long, slender leaf of this wildflower. It grows separate from the actual flower. Once you recognized this long leaf, you will more easily see these flowers.
Pussy Ears are also called Hairy Star Tulip or Tolmie Star Tulip and their Latin name is Calochortus tolmiei. They are native to California but found in other western states. They are a treat to find on the edges of forests.

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

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Osprey perched on a branch, as photographed by Rozann Grunig

Rozann Grunig was at the bluffs near Tidepool Beach on The Sea Ranch when she saw this Osprey perched in a tree.

Nice spot to take in the view or perhaps catch sight of a nice, fat fish. Thanks to Rozann for allowing me to share her photo with you here.

We can see an Osprey nest from our home in Anchor Bay. It's nearly a half mile away so we view it through our scope. The other day as we watched the male Osprey came with a fish and the female briefly left the nest. Rick and I saw two fuzzy heads peak up over the rim of the nest. Yes, Ospreys have hatched on the Mendonoma Coast!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Oregonian Aquatic Garter Snake in Schooner Gulch, as photographed by Linda Bostwick

Linda Bostwick and Mel Smith were hiking at Schooner Gulch State Beach. They couldn't believe their eyes when they saw three Oregonian Aquatic Garter Snakes in the creek. And one of them was eating a fairly large fish.

Linda and Mel didn't know this creek had fish in it, much less these large garter snakes. One was floating, looking like a branch. Good camouflage for surprising an unwary fish.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A mated Gray Fox pair, as photographed by Siegfried Matull

I thought you might enjoy a photo of two adult Gray Foxes since I've been showing you Fox Kits. It was taken by Coastal photographer Siegfried Matull at his home on The Sea Ranch. It is one of my favorite photos. Doesn't it speak to the serenity and beauty of the Mendonoma Coast?

The female is on the left. Thanks to Siegfried for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A River Otter and a Gull, as photographed by Gary Hopkins

A lucky sighting is one of River Otters. I'll let Gary Hopkins tell the story. "We spotted the River Otter and a Western Gull from the bluff above Tidepool Beach at The Sea Ranch. We watched for about fifteen minutes as the Otter cavorted in and around the tide pool, alternately playing, feeding and sunbathing. The Gull stood and watched, sometimes intently, sometimes with seeming disinterest."

 Here the River Otter and Gull eye each other.
 Gary photographed the River Otter cavorting in the water and kelp.
And lastly the River Otter basks in the sun as the Gull stands nearby.
Thanks to Gary for allowing me to share his wonderful photos with you here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fawns playing, as photographed by Ben Scarola

Ben Scarola was visiting the Mendonoma Coast when he saw a Doe and two Fawns appear. He captured a wonderful photo of the two Fawns playing.

The Coast is teeming with new life. Osprey eggs have hatched and furry heads can be seen peeking up from the nest. Two Acorn Woodpecker babies are begging to be fed by their hard-working parents. As you saw yesterday, Fox Kits have been born too. And as precious as a jewel, newborn fawns grace us with their presence.

Thanks to Ben for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see Ben's photo of one of the Fawns nursing, you can see it at the Independent Coast Observer under on-line features, Mendonoma Sightings photos. Here's the link:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gray Fox Kits - are they the cutest critters on the Mendonoma Coast?

Craig Tooley and Rita Peck had several days this week to enjoy a family of Gray Foxes near their home on The Sea Ranch. Frequent readers of this blog will know that Craig got some great photographs. Below is a photo of a young Fox Kit.
 And here Craig captured the mother Gray Fox nursing several of her young ones.
 And this Fox Kit decided to go for a different approach - nursing in comfort on its back!
Thanks to Craig for allowing me to share his photos here. To see more of Craig's Coast photographs, here's the link to his web site:

And to see several more photos of Fox Kits on this site, here are the links:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Coast Lilies have begun to bloom - a splash of loveliness on the Mendonoma Coast

The rare and endangered Coast Lily, Lilium maritimum, has begun blooming on the Coast. It is native to California and in fact is found no where else in the world. It is found only on the North Coast and especially in Mendocino County.

These lilies grow on long, slender stalks and their bloom is quite short. They need moisture, growing in boggy conditions. These are blooming now on a neighboring property in Anchor Bay, next to a spring box. They are growing among huckleberry bushes.

I collected seeds from these plants last year and scattered them alongside Quinliven Creek, which crosses our land. I see at least one plant came up this year - no flower but I'm thrilled to successfully encourage one to grow down by the creek. Perhaps more will join it next year.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Gualala River is finally closed off to the Pacific Ocean

The wild Gualala River did finally close to the Pacific and is now full. You can see from the photo below that the river is particularly beautiful right now. What a nice place to put a bench! When you enter Gualala Point Regional Park you will come to a parking area on the left. Park, cross the road and walk towards the river to find this bench.

Rick and I, with our golden retriever, Huckleberry, on leash walked down to the beach and all the way to the north end to see what it looked like. This is where the river usually is open but you can see the sandbar has built up enough to close the river. It won't open again until there are enough winter rains.
Rick is looking at the river from the sandbar. Once closed the river is extremely safe for kayaking and other water sports.
Here's a photo of the river on the left and the Pacific Ocean on the right - and a glimpse of Huckleberry's back.
It's very windy today but this weekend is suppose to be fantastic weather-wise. It would be a great time to visit and see some of these places for yourself.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cliff Swallows - they are magnificent builders!

Robert and Nancy Scarola recently witnessed several Cliff Swallows building nests in a tunnel on The Sea Ranch Golf Links. There was, of course, a muddy area nearby.

Here's one of the Swallows with a bit of mud, headed back to the nesting area. These Swallows fly so fast it was difficult for Robert to get this photo.

 It looks like several nests are complete and occupied, as Robert's photo shows below.
Birds have to be among the most hard-working creatures on earth. Many migrate, some thousands of miles, twice every year. Then comes nest building, which in the case of these Swallows is a bit of mud, one bit after the other until the job is complete. Then they have to feed their young, tirelessly bringing insects back to the nest. It's easy to take them for granted but they are inspiring. Thanks to Robert for allowing me to share his photos with you here.

If you have Swallows build a nest in an inconvenient spot - say over your front door - please don't destroy the nest. Tack up a cardboard box so it will catch the waste. No mess for you below and a guarantee of a fun sighting in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A beautiful Bobcat, as photographed by Andy Moore

Open meadows are where it is possible to have a Bobcat sighting. Andy Moore had his camera ready when a Bobcat was spotted hunting on The Sea Ranch.

Andy's photo shows the tufted ears of this Bobcat and its wonderful markings. This Bobcat looks very healthy indeed. Thanks to Andy for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Check out Andy's great web site at:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Venus transitting the sun today - the rarest type of eclipse known

Frank Drouillard sent a link where you can watch today's eclipse. Venus will be crossing the sun, an cosmic event that will not occur again for over one hundred years. Here is the link to NASA where you can view it on-line:

A late storm passed through yesterday. This morning's sunrise reflected off the clouds in the western sky was beautiful. The nearly full moon was an extra bonus.

Is that an Orca fin in the clouds? Cloud watching this morning was great fun. One cloud looked just like a boletus edulis mushroom. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rare wildflower blooming on my neighbor's land - meet Little Prince's Pine

I love this little wildflower. Little Prince's Pine, Chimaphila menziesii, has begun to bloom in a sunny spot in Anchor Bay.

It's a perennial herb and a native of California though it is found in other western states. It is growing in sandy soil at the 600 foot elevation. This small pink wildflower is a rare sighting on the Mendonoma Coast.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Water bottle with Asian characters found at Manchester State Beach

The Japanese tsunami debris is still supposedly several months away from the West Coast but Gary Humfeld can't help but wonder if this water bottle might be from that catastrophic event. Gary found this at Manchester State Park beach.

We first need to determine if the characters are Japanese. When a large buoy was found a month or so ago, it turned out to have Korean characters on it. Here's the link to see that buoy and a smaller one found by Gary. And to see a lightbulb (!) that washed up on our Coast, here's that link: