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Monday, December 31, 2012

A Rainbow that stretches across Gualala, as photographed by Sharon Albert

Sharon Albert was hiking at Gualala Point Regional Park this past week when she saw a big rainbow. It crossed the Gualala River and the town of Gualala and seemed to end on the ridge. Using her Samsung Galaxy lll, she took a panoramic photo of the rainbow. I thank Sharon for allowing me to share her photo with you here.

Happy New Year, all. May rainbows be one of the many things that bring you joy in 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A beautiful sunset photo by Allen Vinson

One of the secrets of the Mendonoma Coast is the beautiful weather we usually have in between storms. Inland may be covered in dense fog while we bask in sunshine. Storms bring - or leave - magnificent sunsets. Allen Vinson photographed Thursday's sunset, which was sandwiched in between two storms.

Rick and I always try to watch the sunset. If the horizon is clear there is a chance for a green flash. It doesn't happen often but when it does it is thrilling. To see a photo of a green flash taken here on the Coast by Allen, here is the link:

My thanks to Allen for allowing me to share his beautiful sunset photo with you here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Full Moon always brings high tides, as seen Thursday at The Sea Ranch

The highest tides and the lowest tides occur when the moon is full or when it's new. We had a full moon this week and a high tide mid-morning. Rick and I had breakfast at The Lodge at The Sea Ranch followed by a hike out to the bluffs. Huckleberry, our golden retriever, accompanied us on the hike. What we found was a turbulent sea, crashing waves and a feeling of excitement the churning Pacific Ocean brings to those who stop to admire its beauty.

 Below the waves have receded for a moment, revealing the rocks just offshore.

And this is a photo looking to the south. It's a bit washed out due to the brilliant sunshine but it shows you the waves crashing up against the bluffs. Imagine what it must sound like to those who live right on the edge.

The mesmerizing Pacific Ocean - I will never tire of its many moods.

My best to you today! Jeanne

Friday, December 28, 2012

Endangered animals in Point Arena? The B. Bryan Preserve is the place to see them.

The newest additions to the B. Bryan Preserve in Point Arena are male Rothschild Giraffes that came from the San Diego Zoo. Allen Francis recently photographed the G Boys. You will see in the second photo that carrots are a big hit!

Frank and Judy Mello had to build a special heated barn for these endangered Giraffes. We hope they will thrive in their new home in Point Arena.

To learn more about the preserve including tours or lodging, here's the link:

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gulls just want to have fun as photographed by Rozann Grunig

Gulls gather in the hundreds on the sandbar and in the Gualala River at Gualala Point Regional Park this time of year. Rozann  Grunig recently photographed a huge group. You can see the river open to the Pacific Ocean. The river will open and close many times during the winter months. It's quite a phenomenon to watch.

We are catching a break from the wild and wet weather though another storm is due tomorrow. Today we'll enjoy the sun accompanied by the sound of a turbulent ocean.

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Al, the famous Laysan Albatross, has returned to the waters off Point Arena

We have been on "Al" watch since late last month and we were beginning to think this unique Laysan Albatross wasn't going to grace us with its presence this winter. There was a possible sighting on Dec. 6th by a visitor from Chicago but there was no confirmation by others and no photo. Nancy Morin saw Al on Saturday, Dec. 22nd and her sighting was confirmed.

Mark Ricci photographed surfer Kim Swenson interacting with "Al" in the late afternoon on Dec. 24th.

To learn more about Point Arena's most famous visitor, here's the link to the Mendocino  Coast Audubon Society:  It has a schedule of Al's (or Alice's) comings and goings.

Thanks to Mark for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see a close-up photo of Al, here's the link:

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas gift for you - a beautiful photo by Richard Kuehn

Rich Kuehn had the most beautiful sighting in front of his The Sea Ranch home - a storm cloud with a rainbow, a crashing wave and Black-tailed Deer on the bluff.

It's a "peace on earth, goodwill towards all" moment. Rick and I, with family and friends, including Rich Kuehn, will be celebrating Christmas today and tomorrow. So please allow me to wish you and yours Merry Christmas. And if you do not celebrate Christmas, perhaps you can simply enjoy this beautiful photo of this Coast that we love so much. Thanks to Rich for allowing me to share it with you here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gray Whale doing a backstroke, as photographed by Robert Scarola

Robert and Nancy Scarola were walking the public access bluff trail at The Sea Ranch when they saw a Gray Whale.

Robert swears the whale was smiling at them. The whale's head is on the left and its flipper is on the right. The small round objects in Robert's photo are Bull Kelp. There are just a few strands left in the ocean now as recent storms have ripped them from their holdfasts. Some sink but others are tossed up on the beach where they provide food and shelter for various creatures that live on the beach.

A big storm has just passed through. Our seasonal creeks are doing their best impression of mighty rivers this afternoon. We've had 23 inches of rain so far this season, which is an amazing amount.

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

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Double rainbow as photographed by Drew Fagan

The wild weather that has been hitting the Mendonoma Coast gives us a chance for rainbow. Drew Fagan recently caught a brilliant one with a faint second one to the left of it.

And here's a bonus rainbow I took a year ago in December. It was too big to catch the entire rainbow with the camera I have. 

May you have a rainbow day soon! Thanks to Drew for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see Drew's artwork, here is the link to his website:

Friday, December 21, 2012

With all the rain, where do Quail go to find shelter?

Mark Simkins noticed a covey of California Quail, Callipepla californica, huddled under a bush during a recent rainstorm.

Here's another photo of California Quail - this time they are eyeing their metal brother on the right. Paul Batchelder caught this cute photo.
The Quail's topknot looks like one feather but it's actually six feathers that overlap. You can find out much more about these beautiful birds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at this link:

Thanks to Mark and Paul for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A spyhopping Gray Whale, as photographed by Allen Vinson

Once in a while a whale will lift its head vertically out of the water, as if it is taking a good look around. Allen Vinson recently photographed a Gray Whale doing just that.

As the whale's eyes don't always come out of the water, there is another theory. The whale might actually be listening, perhaps for the wave break, thereby checking its migration route. You know, there is so much we don't know about these wonderful creatures.

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amazing photo of storm clouds with the rising sun by photographer Bill Lange

Bill Lange took this photo on Dec. 18th at The Sea Ranch just as the sun was rising. Billowing storm clouds brought the chance for rainbows, rain and even hail.

To see much more of Bill's photography, here is the link to his web site:

I thank Bill for allowing me to share his beautiful photo with you here. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Matsutakes, the first Hedgehog and wild weather!

Rick and I found a nice string of Matsutakes yesterday. We have sandy soil and that's what this prized edible mushroom wants to grow in. Below are three of them peaking out from pine needles and next to Salal, a plant they are associated with. Tan-Oak, Douglas-Fir and wild Rhododendrons are also close by.

You must make sure of your identification of this aromatic mushroom. It's important to get the complete stem to make sure there is no volva, a cup-like structure, at the bottom. Just looking at these photos brings the unique fragrance of these mushrooms to me.
 The Matsutakes that grow in the Pacific Northwest are also called White Matsutakes. They do not turn brown like Matsutakes do in other parts of the world. Below is a photo of the first Bellybutton Hedgehog we've seen this season. It's just a baby but it will grow in the days to come.
And we had wild weather today. Below is a photo of the storms clouds we saw from our deck in Anchor Bay this morning.  I call these days "wait five minutes days" because it can be raining one moment and then brilliant sunshine the next.
My best to you today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Storms bring beautiful cloud shows

The storm door is open and one storm after another is lined up. Today started out with rain but this afternoon there is brilliant sunshine. Cloud watching - and photographing - is a Coast tradition. Andrew Duhl was hiking on the Stornetta Public Lands recently and got this beautiful photo.

In between storms we have a chance to see Gray Whales migrating south. We also can discover what new mushrooms might have appeared. This morning Rick and I found a fresh string of Matsutakes and the first Bellybutton Hedgehog. It's just a baby and we'll let it grow. I will share photos of these tomorrow.

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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Two beautiful blue birds that we often see on the Mendonoma Coast

Two big Jays call the Mendonoma Coast home. Robert Scarola had one of each species land on his fence recently. First is the distinctive Steller's Jay.

And below is a Western Scrub Jay. Both jays love black sunflower seeds so it is easy to attract them to your bird feeder. For the past three years we have had a Steller's Jay nest in a big bush of Laurel. By the time the babies emerge, they are nearly the size of the adults.
Thanks to Robert for allowing me to show you the two common Jays of the Coast.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Two Western Screech Owls released back into the wild

Two little Western Screech Owls, each believed to be hit by a car, were rescued and taken to the Bird Rescue Center in Santa Rosa. One was found in October and it had a broken bone in its wing. The other was rescued in November. The two Owls were put together. Diane Hichwa was given the charge of picking them up, driving them up windy Highway One and then ten miles up Mountain View Road where one of the owls was found. She invited Rick and me to join her and her husband, Bryant. And what an experience it was! Here is one of the little owls waiting to be set free.

 Below Diane is taking one of the owls out of its travel box. I am nervously standing by, wearing gloves to protect my hands.
 It was so awesome to hold this little owl. They only weigh eight ounces. The one I was holding was quiet in my hands.
 Below Diane has the second owl out and we are prepared to let them go. We let them look at each other before setting them free.
 Diane released her Owl first and it flew off into the trees. I followed a few seconds later and the second Owl followed the first one. Here's hoping they thrive in the future.
Everyone involved with these owls can be proud of a job very well done. It was thrilling for me to be a part of their release.

Bryant Hichwa took these photos and I thank him for allowing me to share them with you here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

King Tides hit the Mendonoma Coast and Ron LeValley was there with his camera

King Tides, the biggest tides of the year, hit the Mendonoma coast yesterday. Ron LeValley was at MacKerricher State Park and got this magnificent photo.

The California King Tides Initiative invites photographers to post their photos of these extremely high tides. It is thought they will give us a look at our future with sea level rise happening in the years to come. Here's the link to post your photos or to learn more:

And here's what Ron wrote about his experience yesterday: "King Tide! Today was the highest tide of the winter and some big waves were coming in. We went to the beach at MacKerricher State Park and watched the waves go over the beach and on to the road next to Lake Cleone. Eventually we had to leave because State Parks was worried that the road might have to be closed, and we were on the other side of the closure! We have to plan for these tides more in the future. This is a hint of what it is going to be like regularly in the future as ocean levels rise."

The next King Tides will occur on January 9 to the 11th, 2013

To see much more of Coast Photographer Ron LeValley's photos, here's the link to his web site:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Beautiful clouds brought a vibrant rainbow on 12/12/12

A small storm swept through overnight leaving showers for this morning. Showers over the Pacific Ocean bring a chance for rainbows. And that's just what we had for this auspicious date - 12/12/12.

Rainbow days are one of the privileges of living on or visiting the Mendonoma Coast. My best to you today!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Close up photo of a Red-tailed Hawk, as photographed by Jim Garlock

Red-tailed Hawks are our most common hawks. They live year round on the Mendonoma Coast. Jim Garlock had an opportunity to get a close up photo of one.

What a beauty! Thanks to Jim for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Orcas were seen off of The Sea Ranch and photographed by John Batchelder

John Batchelder noticed the tall dorsal fin indicative of an Orca, aka Killer Whale. Then he saw a second one. California Sea Lions had been seen rafting in the same area two days earlier.

 Orcas aren't Whales - they are actually Dolphins, albeit BIG ones!
Below you will see the Sea Lions John photographed two days before the Orcas showed up.

Orcas hunt Sea Lions, among other large creatures of the sea. Thanks to John for allowing me to share his photos with you here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friday night's beautiful sunset and a photo of the last full moon by Rob Diefenbach

The sunset Friday night was especially lovely. I took this photo from our front deck in Anchor Bay.

 And here is the last full moon that shone over the Mendonoma Coast on Nov. 26th.
Thanks to Rob for allowing me to share his full moon photo with you here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bobcat lounging in the sun, as photographed by Mark Simkins

Mark Simkins had a healthy-looking Bobcat visit his yard in Manchester. It settled down in the sun and lounged there for over ten minutes.

Thanks to Mark for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see an unusual photo of a Bobcat walking a labyrinth on the Gualala Ridge, here's the link:

Friday, December 7, 2012

A lovely forest of Shaggy Manes plus the first Coccora mushroom

The skies are sunny, a welcome sight after all the rain we've had on the Mendonoma Coast. Rain followed by sun is the equation for wild mushrooms.

This lovely forest of Shaggy Manes, Coprinus comatus, sprung up near our property. This is the perfect stage to pick these edible mushrooms for eating. But you must use them right away as they will disintegrate before your very eyes. These were growing under California Bay Laurel, with Coast Redwoods and Bishop Pines close by.

And the first Coccora appeared several days ago, Amanita calyptroderma. This edible mushroom has a poisonous look-alike so you must be very knowledgeable and experienced to tell them apart. They are a beautiful mushroom to observe. The main area of Coccoras on our property has not yet fruited. This was growing on a neighbor's land in the sun and under Bishop Pine Trees with a Redwood or two nearby.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The storms have moved on but here are a few photos of the magnificent waves by Robert Scarola

The storms that hit Northern California brought high surf, enormous waves and swells. Robert Scarola went out just after the last storm and capture these images.

Looks like there's a Brown Pelican in the bottom right hand corner of Robert's photo.

Now we are in for a stretch of dry weather. Our seasonal creeks are running strong and full of beautiful cascades. Wild mushrooms are popping up seemingly everywhere. It's a wonderful time to be on the Mendonoma Coast.

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

California Sea Lion and a friend - Coastal photographer Craig Tooley strikes again!

Male California Sea Lions are migrating now. In recent months the males have been hanging around the females on Fish Rocks, which is just off Anchor Bay, and a few other locations. Now the males are leaving, some going only as far as The Sea Ranch. Craig Tooley photographed a magnificent male with a Common Raven looking over its shoulder.

Thanks to Craig for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see much more of Craig's Coastal photography, here's the link:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Edible wild mushrooms - a gift from Mother Nature

Matsutakes, the prized wild mushroom that smells of cinnamon, are continuing to appear.

 It's important to carefully dig up this mushroom to see the complete stem. It does have a very bad lookalike so only forage for this mushroom if you are very certain of your identification.
And here is one of my favorite edibles, a Queen Bolete, Boletus aereus.
Yet another storm is hitting the Mendonoma Coast. But this weekend is forecast to be sunny. We will be ready for some of that yellow stuff!