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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A beautiful Sun Pillar appeared at sunset!

On Dec. 29th a beautiful Sun Pillar appeared just after the sun had set. It lasted long enough for me to find my camera (I ran right past it), go outside and snap a few photos. I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you.

A Sun Pillar occurs when light from the sun is reflected off thin ice crystal clouds high in the atmosphere in a spot or band pattern vertically above the setting sun,an amazing phenomenon.

I may not have photographed a green flash (yet!) but I'm happy to have photographed this Sun Pillar!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Robert Scarola joins the elite group of photographers to photograph a green flash.

I've been trying for years to photograph a green flash so, yes, I am a bit envious. Robert Scarola saw that there was a possibility for a green flash at sunset and was ready with his camera.

 And in the photo below - the green flash!

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Waves, sunlight and a beautiful sunset, all courtesy of Paul Brewer.

Paul Brewer recently photographed the same rock formation in the ocean. In the first photo the waves are cascading over and down the rock.

And the beautiful sunset with the rock in the foreground. The tide was much lower at sunset.

Today the ocean is LOUD! Big rollers are coming in. I can hear the ocean from inside my home, which is a half mile away from the ocean. Amazing.

Thanks to Paul for allowing me to share these photos with you here. To see much more of Paul's photography, here is his website:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Many critters drink from our birdbaths.

Birds do more than take a bath in the nice birdbaths we put out for them. They more often drink from them. Other critters drink from them too, especially this winter with our sparse rainfall to date. Janice Batchelder captured a photo of a Gray Fox getting some refreshment.

Jim Garlock took one of my favorite photos of a Western Scrub Jay taking a bath.
And below is our golden retriever, Huckleberry, taking a gravel bath after swimming in the Gualala River.

Thanks to Janice and Jim for allowing me to share their photos with you.
Some extra sightings from today - two adult Bald Eagles were perched on a snag in the middle of the Gualala River. I hope to share photos of them with you soon. Gray Whales continue to be spotted heading south on their long migration to Baja California, where the pregnant females will give birth.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Meet Mystery - the newest addition to the Point Arena Pintos!

Jacqueline McAbery adopted the Pinto herd and has cared for them for some time. Here's what she wrote about the newest addition to the herd.

"We misjudged when Polka Dot got pregnant - we have been waiting for a new foal since September.
He finally arrived on December 9th.  He is a sweet little thing and we named him"Mystery" since his arrival date was so mysterious. Below are photos of him one day old."

 Below Mystery is with his doting mother, Polka Dot.

To learn much more about these beloved pintos, here is Jacqueline's website:  If you don't have a 2014 calendar, check out the beautiful Point Arena Pinto calendars for sale. All proceeds goes to supporting the herd.

Monday, December 23, 2013

I love Nudibranchs!

At low tide the ocean sometimes reveals one of the exotic creatures that lives within. Jodi Goshorn photographed a Nudibranch, a sea mollusk that sheds its shell after its larval stage. They are commonly called Sea Slugs and they are uncommonly beautiful.

Thanks to Joni for allowing me to share her photo with you.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The sunset on Dec. 16th was a work of art by Mother Nature.

Craig Tooley caught this magnificent photo of the Dec. 16th sunset.

The beach, rocks, surf and the sunset just beginning, this photo has it all.

Thanks to Craig for allowing me to share it with you here. To see much more of Craig's photography, here is his website:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Octopus was tossed up onto the beach by high surf at The Sea Ranch.

When the Pacific Ocean works itself into a frenzy, strange things can happen. Noel Olson and her son found an Octopus tossed up onto the beach. It was alive and Noel's son got it back in the water. This first photo is what the octopus looked like when it got back in the water. It changed its color to match the coral and rocks.

 Below is what it looked like out of the water, a yellow-beige.

Hooray to Noel and her son for saving this Octopus! And thanks to Noel for allowing me to share her photos with you here.

There are dark clouds over the ocean and perhaps we will get some much-needed rain. The wind has picked up too after many days of calm weather. Do your rain dance!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bill Lange got a beautiful photo of the Jenner Grade.

Recently Bill Lange was traveling along Highway One. He captured this beautiful photo near the Jenner Grade.

The fog covers the Pacific Ocean and drifts up the bluffs - just lovely.

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recent Sunset photos - they are breathtaking!

Robert Scarola photographed a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds silhouetted by the setting sun.

And Bettye Winters photographed a magnificent sunset near Irish Beach.

Thanks to Robert and Bettye for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December on the Mendonoma Coast!

Yes, we need rain. But what we are getting are beautiful, sunny days, albeit very cold for the coast. Allen Vinson caught this lovely sight of Gulls in the water yesterday, near Walk On Beach on The Sea Ranch.

The sunrises and sunsets this past week have been heavenly. I will share some of them tomorrow.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The southward migration of Gray Whales has begun!

For the past four days the Pacific Ocean has been calm with no whitecaps. That has allowed many to see the vanguard of the southward migration of Gray Whales.

Yesterday this young Gray Whale, called a subadult, was seen just off Gualala Point Island. Richard Kuehn got this photo.

On Thursday, Dec. 11th Gray Whales, Dolphins, Sea Lions and Gulls were feasting on what we think was a school of anchovies. All this action took place off The Sea Ranch. On Wednesday a pod of Gray Whales was seen off the Point Arena Lighthouse. They are on the move, headed for Baja California where the pregnant females will give birth in the weeks and months to come.

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Coyote is occasionally seen on The Sea Ranch.

A healthy Coyote has been seen recently on The Sea Ranch. Joni Goshorn took this photo of the handsome animal in November.

Their scientific name is Canis latrans, which means barking dog in Latin.Their favorite food is small mammals. The Sea Ranch has plenty of gophers to feed the resident Bobcats and this Coyote.

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

Do dogs watch the sunset? And a report of a Great White Shark sighting.

It sure looks like Hunter, Bettye Winter's dog, is watching this beautiful sunset.

And here is the sky after the sun went down as photographed by Bettye in Irish Beach.

Thanks to Bettye for allowing me to share her beautiful photos with you here.

Yes, there was a  Great White Shark seen off of The Sea Ranch, near Del Mar Point. It was Thanksgiving Day. The Shark took a Sea Lion or a "seal." Many people call Sea Lions "seals." No photos were sent in but I'm told the Shark was at least fifteen feet long.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Timber Cove Inn is adorned by a Peace Obelisk created by Benjamino Bufano.

On a bluff by the Timber Cove Inn stands this beautiful statue dedicated to peace, the Peace Obelisk. Richard Kuehn took this photo earlier this week.

It took seven years to build and Bufano died soon afterwards. It is also called "Madonna of Peace" and "The Expanding Universe." It is easy to see glimpses of this striking statue as you travel along Highway One. You can also park in the gravel parking area north of the Inn. There is a path that leads to the Obelisk.

Timber Cove Inn has a restaurant open to the public. Rich had stopped to have lunch the day he took this photograph. To learn more about the Inn, here is their website:

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

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dungeness Crab season is open off the Mendonoma Coast. Hooray!

The fishermen are out plying the waters off the Mendonoma Coast. The season for Dungeness Crab is now open. Deliciousness is headed our way.

The sight of a fishing boat against the setting sun is a beautiful one. Rob Diefenbach photographed such an event.

This was the view earlier in the day, also photographed by Rob. There is a kayaker in the forefront with a big bird overhead.

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

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A rainbow wave, as photographed by Tom Eckles.

Sometimes, if a photographer is lucky or talented or both, a wave can bring you the sighting of a beautiful rainbow. Tom Eckles photographed such a wave recently.

Thanks to Tom for allowing me to share this lovely photo. To see much more of Tom's photography, here's his website:

Monday, December 2, 2013

A sunrise evolves, as photographed by Paul Brewer.

Paul Brewer recently photographed a beautiful autumn sunrise.

What a treat to see this sunrise progress. A beautiful start for the Mendonoma Coast.

Thanks to Paul for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see much more of Paul's photography, here is his website:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Several Butterflies are migrating through the Mendonoma Coast.

Emily Nelson had two different butterflies recently feeding on her flowering rosemary bush. The first is a Painted Lady. It has been discovered recently that Painted Ladies migrate at 3000 feet elevation - amazing!

And the second butterfly is a California Sister.

Rosemary grows abundantly here on the Coast. It's nice to know that besides flavoring our meals, it feeds butterflies.

Thanks to Emily for allowing me to share her photos with you here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wow, was the Pacific Ocean in a tizzy yesterday - BIG surf!

Carolyn André took a series of photos of the crashing waves and big surf we experienced here on the Mendonoma Coast yesterday, Thanksgiving Day. The booming waves sent mist into the air, which then floated over Highway 1.

I took the photo below just north of Bodega Bay yesterday afternoon. It was quite a show for our ride back home, after celebrating Thanksgiving a day early with family.
When the Pacific Ocean is this rough you can hear it several miles away. It's best to keep your distance, that's for sure.

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Richard Kuehn photographed another green flash!

It's not easy to photograph the green flash - at least for me! But Rich Kuehn has done it again.

To see a green flash at sunset is always an exciting event. There were several green flashes this past week. It's considered good luck in some cultures to see one. May this photo bring all who see it the best of luck!

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fox Sparrows have arrived on the Mendonoma Coast.

Fox Sparrows are large sparrows, seven inches long. They can be seen on the Mendonoma Coast this time of year as they migrate to our area from points north. Bryant Hichwa photographed one recently.

Fox Sparrows eat mostly insects and have a distinctive "double scratch" motion. They hop forward and then back, dragging their feet through the leaf litter while they search for a tasty bug.

To hear their beautiful whistling song, here is the link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Remi Alexander caught a beautiful sunset.

Autumn sunsets on the Mendonoma Coast can be spectacular. And they often bring the chance for a green flash. Remi Alexander got this beautiful photo on Saturday as the sun was about to set. The sun created a golden staircase across the Pacific Ocean.

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Castle Rock - an offshore rock fit for a princess!

I can catch a glimpse of this rock formation as I drive into Gualala from Anchor Bay. It's named Castle Rock and you can see why.

The rocks and islands off the Mendonoma Coast are all part of the California Coastal National Monument. They are important resting stations for birds, Sea Lions, Harbor Seals and other critters.

Richard Hansen sent along this photo and I thank him for allowing me to share it with you here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The beautiful bluffs at The Sea Ranch.

Craig Tooley captured this photo of the striking bluffs at The Sea Ranch. It almost looks like a painting!

We had a good, soaking rainstorm earlier this week. 2.6 inches at our house. Now warm weather has swept in. With no clouds on the horizon last night, Rick and I saw a green flash at sunset. It looks like tonight will be another chance to see one.

We are waiting to see if there will be a Boletus edulis bloom. We are wishing and hoping for one.

Thanks to Craig for allowing me to share his beautiful photo with you here. To see much more of Craig's photography, here is his website:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Big Rock - a huge sandstone rock formation on private lands.

Margaret Lindgren and Harmony Susalla had permission to hike to this magnificent rock, which is off of Ten Mile Road in Mendocino County.

The two women climbed the rock, but it wasn't an easy assent. Margaret took this photo from the top. She said they could see the Point Arena Lighthouse in the distance.
A dramatic photo of Harmony being embraced by the sun on top of this rock will be in tomorrow's edition of the Independent Coast Observer.

Thanks to Margaret for allowing me to share her photos with you here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Several edible mushrooms have fruited.

We are waiting for a rainstorm that is due in late tonight. It has been very dry until now but I didn't think it was dry enough for Prince mushrooms to fruit! They are considered a summer mushroom. But right alongside our road, six Prince mushrooms popped up yesterday.

I have noticed a fresh bloom of Oyster Mushrooms on a standing dead Tan-oak tree in our forest. Here is a photo Ron LeValley took of several pristine Oyster Mushrooms. Ron advises getting them while they are young and delicious.

Thanks to Ron for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see much more of Ron's nature photography, here is his website:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The dunes at Walk-on-Beach are works of art - courtesy of Mother Nature.

Margaret Lindgren was struck by the beauty of the wind-sculpted dunes at Walk-on-Beach, which is on The Sea Ranch. This lovely beach is found via the public access trail of the same name.

Thanks to Margaret for allowing me to share her photos with you here. To learn more about Margaret's Mendonoma hikes, here is her website:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Monarch Butterflies have migrated south but Siegfried Matull got one last photo for us.

Beautiful Monarch Butterflies migrate through the Mendonoma Coast in the autumn. Several weeks ago Siegfried Matull captured this photo of two Monarchs feeding on his sage plant.

These Monarchs are of the Methuselah generation, the generation that lives for seven months or so.

Barbara Rice studies these butterflies. She wrote, “The overwintering Monarchs, which travel through our area in the fall, will not be laying eggs on their way. In the spring they head inland to look for milkweed and lay the first eggs of the three to four generations. Native milkweed species in Sonoma County are found further inland, such as Lake Sonoma.”

What is important here on the Coast is to plant native nectar plants for butterflies. Barbara advises that long blooming species in the Mint – Sage comes to mind - and Aster families are beneficial. Even better are our native Manzanitas, as they bloom in the winter. Erysimum, also called Wallflower, is very beneficial.

Barbara adds, “Coyote Mint is a great butterfly and hummingbird plant. In a garden you can keep it blooming a long time if you ‘deadhead’ the spent flowers. Coast Goldenrod is also a good late fall Monarch plant and two local Manzanitas – Hairy Manzanita and Fort Bragg Manzanita.”

Monarch Butterflies are down in numbers due to pesticide use and loss of habitat. Anything we can do to help them is well worth doing.

Thanks to Siegfried for allowing me to share his photo with you here. And thanks to Barbara for her good advice.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This morning's sunrise was exquisite!

It is easy to rave about autumn sunsets but autumn sunrises can be just a breathtaking. This morning Paul Brewer photographed the sunrise over Gualala.

Just magnificent. I thank Paul for allowing me to share his beautiful photo with you here.

To see much more of Paul's photography, here is the link to his website:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bowling Ball Beach is always fascinating!

John Sperry recently visited Bowling Ball Beach. At low tide the "bowling balls" are revealed. John photographed some that are waiting their date with gravity.

Here's what the beginning of a low tide reveals at this beach as photographed by John.

Bowling Ball Beach is adjacent to Schooner Gulch State Beach. The pathway down to Bowling Ball is closed due to erosion but I know some agile hikers have taken it. If you take the path to Schooner Gulch State Beach at low tide you can usually walk over to Bowling Ball. Here's a link to learn more about these two magnificent beaches:

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sea Anemones as photographed by Ken Holmes

Low tide is the time to tide pool. With the Pacific Ocean pulled back, many treasures are revealed. Ken Holmes recently saw this large group of Sea Anemones.

Ken wrote, “Maybe you have seen these patterns before...almost in rows and columns, a bed of young anemones waiting for the sea to return.”

Sea Anemones eat small fish and shrimp. They have venom that they use to paralyze their prey. Though the vast majority is not harmful to humans, it’s best to admire them without touching.

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