Search This Blog

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our Ospreys will be leaving the Coast soon.

Osprey calls still fill the air but it seems like some have already left for points south. Watching an Osprey fish is thrilling. Ken Bailey was on the bluffs at The Sea Ranch when he got this series of photos.

In the first photo you will see the Osprey has its talons ready to grab its dinner.

And this photo is titled "Got it!"
The Osprey stayed low to make sure it had the fish tight in its grip.
With the large fish secured, the Osprey begins to fly off.

Thanks to Ken for allowing me to share his wonderful photos with you here. To see some of Ken's underwater photography, here is the link to his website:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fanciful cloud photos, all taken by Don Spear.

I shared some of Don's sunset photos with you yesterday. Here are some fascinating cloud formations Don took from his deck in Gualala. Mother Nature is always putting on some kind of floorshow!

As summer winds down, we look forward to more dramatic clouds. Early storms to our north often give us magnificent sunsets. I bet Don will be ready with his camera!

Thanks to Don for allowing me to share some of his favorite photos with you here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Don Spear has captured some beautiful sunsets from his Gualala home.

Over the years Don Spear has photographed some beautiful sunsets and spectacular cloud shows. Here are some of his sunset photos.

Just magnificent! Thanks to Don for allowing me to share his photos with you here. I will share some of his cloud formations tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Gray Fox Kit - the essence of cuteness!

Kathy Bishop photographed a family of three Gray Fox Kits recently. In this photo it looks as if the young fox is smiling.

And below is another one of the kits, looking as if it just heard or saw something of interest.

Gray Foxes are year round residents of the Mendonoma Coast. They are great rodent hunters and especially love Gophers.

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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two dramatic photos from Ron LeValley of Gray Whales spy hopping.

Spy hopping is when a whale pokes its head out of the ocean and appears to take a good look around. Ron LeValley photographed several Gray Whales doing just that.

In the photo below you can see the Gray Whale's eye just above the water line if you look closely.
The other theory regarding spy hopping is that the whale is listening for the wave break so it can best align itself on its long migration.

I was on the bluffs at the southern end of The Sea Ranch on a wildflower hike several years ago. There were six of us, including my husband, Rick. I happened to glance out at the ocean and saw a Gray Whale spy hop. I almost couldn't believe what I saw. No one else saw it and when I looked again it was gone. A sweet memory for me.

Lucky for us all that Ron had his camera at the ready. I thank him for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see much more of Ron's photography, here is his website:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Brunch in a tide pool.

Peggy Berryhill enjoys exploring Cook's Beach at very low tides and she sees amazing things. Recently she saw an Ochre Sea Star eating a Dungeness Crab.

She also saw a juvenile Dungeness Crab.

Too small, perhaps, to capture the attention of a hungry Sea Star.

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Bobcat was photographed by Jane Larrow on The Sea Ranch.

We never can get enough of good Bobcat photos. Bobcats are thriving on the Mendonoma Coast. Here they hunt in the daytime, giving photographers a chance to get a wonderful wildlife photo. Jane Larrow did just that.

And here the Bobcat turned to look back at Jane.

Bobcats are about twice the size of a house cat. They have tufted ears and bobbed tails. Gophers are among their favorite snacks.

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rufous Hummingbirds are migrating through the Mendonoma Coast.

It's practically impossible to tell an Allen's Hummingbird and a Rufous Hummingbird apart. Even experienced birders have  difficult time. Let's face it, they look the same to me! Ron LeValley suspects this is a Rufous, as they migrate through our area as this time of year.

If you look closely at Ron's photo, you will see a tiny spider on the hummer's beak. Great shot! Rufous Hummingbirds migrate north as far as Alaska and then return south in the fall - or in the case of the Mendonoma Coast, late summer - sometimes all the way to Central America. Quite a migration for such a tiny bird.

Rufous Hummingbirds are very feisty. Two have shown up in my garden in Anchor Bay. They are having aerial battles with the resident Anna's Hummingbirds. It's quite a show.

To hear the sound of this hummingbird, here's the link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Thanks to Ron for allowing me to share his beautiful photo with you here. I can almost hear this hummer's wing beats. To see much more of Ron's photography, here's his website:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monsoonal moisture is approaching the Mendonoma Coast.

A low pressure system brought a spectacular lightning storm off the San Francisco Bay area yesterday. It is slowly moving northward. Yesterday morning Craig Tooley took this photo at The Sea Ranch.

Craig entitled this photo "Morning Thunder." We hope the storm will stay offshore as dry lightning is never good news for California. Our rains usually begin in late October and until then we worry about the fire danger.

Nevertheless, the low pressure system is giving us beautiful clouds and cool temperatures.

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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Gualala River is low!

The Gualala River is as low as I've seen it. I recently took this photo showing the closed mouth of the river.

 Kayakers were spotted in the lagoon, where the water is deep enough to paddle.
There are many demands on this wild river. To learn about more about the Gualala River, here is the website for Friends of the Gualala River:

The Navarro River doesn't have the water demands that have caused the low levels in the Gualala. Here's a recent photo taken by Peter Baye of ruppia, an aquatic plant, in the full lagoon of the Navarro.

The ruppia is a good sign, a sign of a healthy river, according to Peter. I thank Peter for allowing me to share his photo with you here.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A little Pine Siskin, as photographed by Richard Kuehn

Pine Siskins are named for their love of seeds of Pine trees. They also are attracted to thistle feeders. Richard Kuehn recently photographed one near his home on The Sea Ranch coming for some water.

Pine Siskins are slightly smaller than American Goldfinches. They are year round residents of the Coast.
I love seeing these little birds at my thistle feeder. They seem to get along well with the Goldfinches that also feed there. And one enterprising Acorn Woodpecker has discovered the feeder as well, to the displeasure of the Siskins and Goldfinches.

To hear their call, here's the link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Thanks to Rich for allowing me to share his photo. To see a photo of a Pine Siskin that landed on George Anderson's finger, here is the link:

Friday, August 16, 2013

A big abalone was found by Jack Likins and he got to use his 11 inch gauge for only the second time.

Ten-inch abalones aren't uncommon for Jack Likins. Usually he ONLY takes an abalone that is ten inches or more. So you know he is a incredible diver. Most divers' dream is to find a ten incher. Recently Jack was diving off the northern Sonoma Coast with his friend and fellow diver, Roger Rude. Look what he found.

Jack's abalone measured 11 1/16 inches. He photographed the heavy shell, which shows the 11 inch gauge. That gauge doesn't get used often, that's for sure. Jack said, "I'm stoked!"

Thanks to Jack and Roger for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

To see a photo of Jack with a limit of three ten-inch abalones, here's the link: Also found on this link is Jack's important article about why abalone divers die in their hunt for red treasure.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

White Pelicans were recently seen at Bodega Bay and photographed by Carolyn André

American White Pelicans, big white birds with black on the undersides of their wings, were seen at Bodgea Bay. Carolyn André had her camera and took this photo.

I sent Carolyn's photo to Richard Kuehn and he wrote, “Those are indeed American White Pelicans in the center with Double-crested Cormorants in the front near the river. We’ve had quite a few Double-crested Cormorants on Gualala Point Island recently, as they leave their primarily inland breeding locales and come to the coast in the Fall and Winter. And if you look in the upper left of the pelicans, there are a fair number of Terns.”

White Pelicans breed inland and it's always nice to see the first groups return to the Coast. They eat mainly fish. They don't plunge dive from the air like the Brown Pelicans; they dip their heads under the water to scoop up fish.

To hear the call of a White Pelican, here's the link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A field of yellow flowers and the Point Arena Lighthouse - a vision of beauty.

Carol Hofer enjoyed a recent visit to the Point Arena Lighthouse. Locals, like Carol, and visitors climb the Lighthouse tower for unparalleled views. Carol took a photo from a different viewpoint, however. Her photo shows a sea of yellow flowers, members of the Aster family, and the Lighthouse behind. Just beautiful, almost like a painting.

Thanks to Carol for allowing me to share her photo with you here. To learn more about the Lighthouse, here's the link:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The sun is out and the living is easy at Anchor Bay Beach.

The fog has finally pulled back, revealing the ocean we knew was there! Eric Anderson photographed the happy scene at Anchor Bay Beach where a surfer rides the waves.

Here's a website to learn more about the hamlet of Anchor Bay -

And here's a recent sunset from our deck, just a little south of this beach.

Thanks to Eric for allowing me to share his photo with you here. Eric has a fantastic website for all things abalone. Here is the link:

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Mendonoma Coast has been hugged by fog.

It's been foggy on the Coast, that's for sure, though the fog is due to depart thanks to a high pressure system moving in today. I hope so because I would love to see the Perseids Meteor shower, which peaks tonight.

Craig Tooley got this beautiful aerial view of the Mendonoma Coast on Saturday afternoon. You can see the fingers of fog creeping up several canyons. And the Pacific Ocean is pretty much covered up by the white stuff.

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

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A newborn Grevy's Zebra has made an appearance at the B. Bryan Preserve.

A male Grevy's Zebra recently was born at the B. Bryan Preserve in Point Arena. Meet Lester!

His mother's name is Jewel and she carried him for more than a year. Below her little one is nursing.
Judy Mello tells me that these Zebras are more endangered than Black Rhinos - there are less then 3000 of Grevy's Zebras left in the wilds. So each addition to the herd in Point Arena is welcome news indeed.

Do you know what a herd of Zebras is called? A dazzle.

Thanks to Judy for allowing me to share her photos with you here. To learn much more about the Preserve, here is the link to their website:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Salmon Shark was found at Manchester State Park Beach.

Bettye Winters regularly walks the north end of Manchester State Park Beach with her dog, Hunter. This is what Bettye had to say, “This morning there was another first waiting for me. I’ve never come across a shark on our beach. It was small and still alive. I put Hunter on a down/stay. I tried to get it back in the water by rolling it with a big stick but it would just get washed right back to the sand. It was thrashing around and those teeth were awfully sharp looking.”

High tide was coming in and Bettye hoped the tide would take it further out to sea so it could survive but that wasn’t to be. The next day she found its body down by Alder Creek, about a mile from where she originally spotted it.

This was a Salmon Shark, Lamna ditropis. They eat salmon, squid, sablefish and herring. They resemble a Great White Shark in that their eyes are close to their snout. The Salmon Shark, however, only grows to ten feet long.

The question is why this shark died up on the beach. Eric Anderson had a good theory. He wrote, "I talked to a state biologist a few years ago because one had washed up on Anchor Bay Beach. I took it down to the Bodega Bay labs. The shark biologist told me they get about ten a year that wash up on beaches. He suspected they eat other fish that have eaten too much plankton.”

So, while we are sad this Salmon Shark died, we feel lucky we got the chance to see it. Thanks to Bettye for allowing me to share her photos with you here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Boletus edulis that fruited in...July???

A choice, edible mushroom that *normally* blooms in the fall, usually in November, has fruited on the Mendonoma Coast. Cathleen Crosby had a half dozen pop up near her home in Gualala

This is exactly what you look for - a big, fat mushroom with a thick, white stalk and a brown cap. Under the cap is a sponge rather than gills. This mushroom is a joy to find and delicious to eat. Now I wonder what will happen when our fall rains begin. Will we get a normal bloom of King Boletes?

Our summer edible mushroom is The Prince, Agaricus augustus. It is blooming on schedule as Leslie Hoppe's photo shows you. The Prince often pops up near roads and trails. When it is young it tastes sweet and almondy; when older it tastes more "mushroomy."

Thanks to Cathleen and Leslie for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Another mushroom pops up - this time a beautiful Dyer's Polypore.

You'd expect to find Prince mushrooms on the Mendonoma Coast in summer. And, in fact, they are fruiting. But with the unusual heavy rain we received the end of June, we've have autumn mushrooms fruiting now - King Boletes, Chanterelles, a lone Sweettooth Hedgehog and several Cocorras. Now a Dyer's Polypore has fruited, at least a month earlier than normal. Is this the new normal? Time will tell. Nan Brichetto photographed this beauty Saturday in our forest in Anchor Bay.

This fungus helps the forest by decomposing dead wood. It is prized by dyers of yarn. When young, like this specimen, it dyes yarn yellow or orange. As the polypore ages it will dye yarn a warm brown.

Thanks to Nan for allowing me to share her photo with you here. I will enjoy watching this mushroom evolve and plan on sharing photos for you to see in the weeks to come.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Juvenile Dungeness Crab, as photographed by Peter Baye

Here's Peter Baye's experience recently on a kayak trip on Ten Mile River, north of Fort Bragg.

“Will Erickson and I found innumerable small crabs covering the eelgrass beds of the estuary, and running over the bottom on the flood tide as though stampeding! We estimated at least 50 per square yard. They looked like little Dungeness Crabs, and it turns out that’s exactly what they are! The eelgrass beds seem to be a nursery.”

A Dungeness Crab nursery, how wonderful is that? Dungeness Crab from the waters off the Mendonoma coast is delicious. Knowing that there are so many baby crabs in the estuary is like having money in the bank!

Ten Mile River is found ten miles north of the mouth of the Noyo River in Fort Bragg.

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

Saturday, August 3, 2013

An Anna's Hummingbird, as photographed by Rozann Grunig

Rozann Grunig saw this Anna's Hummingbird feeding on Watsonia and captured this beautiful photo.

Anna's Hummingbirds are only found on the Pacific Coast. They are year round residents of the Mendonoma Coast. They weigh no more than a nickle.

When the sun hits the throat of a male Anna's, the beautiful iridescent reddish feathers are revealed. Craig Tooley's photo shows this.

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

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Several recent photos of the enchanting White Fawn.

To see the white fawn on The Sea Ranch is like seeing something you can't quite believe. Several residents snapped photos recently. Darla Buechner got a nice close-up of this special fawn.

And below Rosey Beall got a cute photo of the fawn jumping.
It is usually found near the 8th or 9th hole of The Sea Ranch golf links. We're not sure if this fawn is partially leucistic or if its a towhead, which means it would eventually color up. Time will tell!