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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.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ah, autumn sunsets!

Paul Brewer recently photographed this sunset. Autumn sunsets are the best - layered with gold and orange, turning the Pacific Ocean into liquid magic.

This is the type of sunset that could have a green flash, as the horizon is clear. However not every clear horizon sunset results in a green flash. But what a joy to experience an autumn sunset on the Mendonoma Coast.

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

California Sister Butterfly, as photographed by Gail Eddy.

Autumn is a good time to see several species of Butterflies. One of them is the beautiful California Sister, Adelpha californica. Gail Eddy recently photographed one in her garden in Gualala.

 The photo below was taken by Robert Scarola and lets you see this butterfly with its wings fully extended.

This butterfly is only found on the west coast - in Oregon, western Nevada, Baja California and, of course, California, where they are most likely to be seen. The host plants for the eggs of California Sister Butterflies are Oaks. An interesting fact is that this diet makes them unpalatable to predators.

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fantastic photo of a Doe and a Gray Fox playing.

Linda Morley-Wells watched as a Doe and Gray Fox confronted each other and began playing. Then the Doe lunged at the fox. Linda's photo shows what happened next.

The little Gray Fox threw itself sideways and ran over to Linda. The Doe wandered off in one direction and the fox in another and the show was over for the day.

You never know what kind of wildlife experience you will have on the Mendonoma Coast. The lesson is to keep your eyes open and camera close at hand!

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Growing older doesn't mean giving up what this quartet loves to do - abalone dive!

Jack Likins tells this story. He wrote, “I had the honor of taking what might be the oldest living quartet of current abalone divers diving on Tuesday. We dove at one of the public beaches at The Sea Ranch where everyone could easily get to the ocean and into the water – sometimes the hardest part of an abalone dive. The conditions were calm and the visibility was eight to ten feet.
“Each of these divers was able to find and take his/her limit of three abalones on the hour-long dive. What’s even more amazing is that each one of them got at least one abalone over nine inches. The divers are Don Stupfel [85] of Timber cove, Lee Walton [78] and Susan Walton [72] of Morgan Hill, and Gary Rose [77] from Gualala. I just hope I can do what they are doing when I am their ages.”

What a foursome! I hope they continue to break the rules of what a senior citizen is suppose to be able to accomplish. Thanks to Jack for allowing me to share his photo and story here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Starships disguised at least that's what Drew Fagan says!

Just look at these clouds. They do look like starships. Drew Fagan took this photo Tuesday from his home in Gualala.

Cloud watching is a Coast tradition. No matter what walk of life you come from or what age you are, using your imagine to see objects in clouds is a fun experience.

Thanks to Drew for allowing me to share his photo with you here. To see Drew's art, his website is