I would like to share with you some of the secrets and the delights of living on the beautiful Mendocino/Sonoma Coast. From the majesty of the Gray Whale migration to the smallest wildflower blooming in a Redwood forest,
let's explore all these wonders together.
Since I needed to create a website - with the invaluable help of Jay and Krystal Hipps - I am moving this blog to the website. The new address for my website and blog is http://www.mendonomasightings.com/ If you received today's other post of Peggy Berryhill's rainbow, you are all set and you will continue to receive Sightings posts. If you didn't receive the rainbow post then you need to subscribe on my website.
I hope to see you there!
This last post here is of a California Tortoiseshell Butterfly. Butterflies have appeared with the warm weather we are having. This one was feeding on laurel in my garden.
Shirley Mitchell saw a charming sight. She called these Pine Siskins "whale riders."
Pine Siskins arrive on the Mendonoma Coast about the same time the beautiful male Goldfinches. They both love to eat at thistle feeders filled with niger seed. Below is a photo taken by Dean Schuler of male American Goldfinches at one such feeder.
Siegfried Matull took this lovely photo of three Goldfinches on a branch and a Pine Siskin in the air.
Thanks to Shirley, Dean, and Siegfried for allowing me to share their photos with you here.
Bobcats are being seen more frequently the past couple of weeks. It appears the mothers are hunting for "real" food for their kittens. Janet Burch recently photographed one on The Sea Ranch.
You can see the Bobcat is looking right at Janet and her camera. This cat with the tufted ears and bobbed tail is a year round resident of the Mendonoma Coast. Look for them in grassy meadows hunting for their favorite food - gophers!
Thanks to Janet for allowing me to share her photo with you here.
It's that time of year - Harbor Seal pups are being born. Carol Hunter got a photo of one of the very first pups of 2014.
Harbor Seal pups and their moms bond right after birth. It is quite endearing to see. Below is a photo from last year of a pup nuzzling its mom. It was taken by Craig Tooley.
After birthing, the mother Harbor Seal will leave her pup on the beach while she hunts for fish. Never try to "rescue" a pup or any other marine mammal. If you believe one needs help, call the Marine Mammal Center at 415) 289-7325 or 415)289-SEAL.
Thanks to Carol and Craig for allowing me to share their photos with you here.
To see much more of Craig's nature photographs, here is his website: www.ruffimage.com
It amazes me that King Boletes are being found in April. They "normally" fruit in the fall after the first rains. But this hasn't been a normal weather year. The rains we had in February and March have prompted a very late bloom in some places.
Alon Fish and Tony Gatchalian found some beauties near Manchester.
This delicious edible mushroom is also called Porcini or Cep. Cece Case found one too, this one near The Sea Ranch
Lucky mushroom foragers! I do wonder what will happen in the fall - will there be a strong fruiting of King Boletes? Time, of course, will tell.
Thanks to Alon and Cece for allowing me to share their photos with you here.
Several people reported seeing this Buck and Annie Beckett got a photo.
We don't know how it was injured. It could have gotten caught in a gopher trap or it could have been hit by a car. We do know it survived this injury.
Annie wrote, "I’ve never seen anything like this! Imagine the healing power of this Buck to be able to heal on its own, without antiseptic, antibiotic, pain killers, after an injury that took off hoof and leg below the hock. Astonishing!"
I thank Annie for allowing me to share her photo with you here. So far the young Buck is doing fine on The Sea Ranch despite his injury.
Red-tailed Hawks are year round residents of the Mendonoma Coast. When the sun hits their tail just right you can see why they got their name. Craig Tooley captured the moment this Red-tail took flight.
Thanks to Craig for allowing me to share this photo with you here. To see much more of Craig's nature photography, here is the link to his website: www.ruffimage.com
John Sperry recently photographed a field of Zigadenes, Zigadenus fremontii.
Cece Case captured a Calypso Orchid, Calypso bulbosa.
And on the Point Arena-Stornetta Lands Rozann Grunig found this lovely wildflower with the unlovely name of Western Skunk Cabbage, Lysichiton americanus.
This plant loves water and is one of the few native species in the arum family. The plant is called skunk cabbage because of the distinctive "skunky" odor that it emits when it blooms. The odor of the blooms attracts its pollinators, scavenging flies and beetles.
Many more wildflowers will be blooming in the days to come as we have had the perfect equation for them to bloom.
Thanks to John, Cece and Rozann for allowing me to share their photos with you here.
I'm going to let Jerry Rudy tell this story. He wrote several weeks ago, "You will remember the Silk Moth that ended up on my back door about a year ago. She laid a bunch of eggs on a native azalea in our yard. These hatched into larvae that John Sperry and I kept fed with Ceanothus until they built their beautiful cocoons. The cocoons were attached to sticks and I placed several in our garden that is protected by netting and waited for the next stage of their life.
"Three days ago moths began to emerge from those cocoons; a female and two males so far. This is the female shortly after she emerged from her cocoon. She has inflated her wings and is ready to mate."
Jerry continues, "That night several males showed up and we found them hanging on the garden netting trying to enter the garden. We picked them off the netting and placed them near the new female. The female is still hanging onto her cocoon on the far left."
The female has moved away from her cocoon. One of the visiting males has attached his abdomen to hers and he hangs below her. Notice the difference in the size and shape of the male and female antennae."
"They remain attached for several hours as the male transferred seminal fluids to the female. By the end of their mating, the male's abdomen has shriveled up, while the female's became much plumper. Note how worn the male's wings are as a result of his efforts to find this female.
"Since these pictures were taken the female has laid several clutches of eggs that we intend to move to a nearby Ceanothus bush. Thus the circle has closed."
Occasionally two Gray Whales can be seen mating off our coast. Larain Matheson was on a whale watching trip out of Fort Bragg. The two whales, assisted by one other whale, were mating quite close to the boat Larain was on.
Larain said it was quite rough on the ocean but she was thrilled to see this event.
Most local Abalone divers have not gone out yet, as conditions are pretty rough. Wind and swells make it tough on divers. That hasn't stopped some visitors to the Mendonoma Coast though. There are divers in the water today.
To whet your appetite, here is a photo taken by Mark Simkins from late last year. Randy Jones got a 10.5 inch Abalone. So that's why he looks so happy!
Below is a photo Craig Tooley took showing the beautiful iridescence in the inside of the shell.
We have received a lot of blessed rain here on the Mendonoma Coast. Every drop is welcome. On Tuesday a wild and windy storm hit the Coast.
It is fun to watch showers over the ocean. Several of these showers reached us as they headed east.
Thunderstorms sweeping over the coast.
The next day, yesterday, the swells were big, creating big waves. Rick and I went to the Point Arena Lighthouse to watch for Gray Whales with friends and I photographed some of the beautiful wave action. You will have to imagine the sound of the crashing waves. And, yes, we did see some Grays!
Swell after swell rolled in. It can be mesmerizing to watch the Pacific Ocean!
Today we await a smaller storm. The weekend is to be clear and warm. I'm wondering if abalone divers will be able to go on their first hunt for red treasure this year!
Birds are gathering nesting materials on the Mendonoma Coast. But two brazen Ravens are taking their gathering of hair to a new level. Ferne Fedeli caught them biting/shearing the hair off the back of Jack, the donkey. The Ravens actually leave about 1/2 inch of hair on Jack, according to Ferne.
Below you will see the back end of Ferne's Icelandic Horse. The Raven has scored some nice soft horse hair though the horse wasn't pleased about it. While the donkey was fine with the harvesting, the horse tried to bite the ravens. Still this raven has a mouthful of hair for its nest and a rather smug look on its face!
Maybe it feels good to Jack, as if being groomed. We know Common Ravens are very intelligent. These two have found an easy way to gather nesting materials.
Thanks to Ferne for allowing me to share her fun photo.
Jinx McCombs is fortunate indeed. She has what she calls a messy forest. In that untouched forest is a group of Calypso Orchids. They won't grow just anywhere. They need a fungus in the soil to grow, hence they cannot be transplanted.
These exquisite wildflowers are very small. Here is one with Jinx holding a piece of bark. You can see by her thumb how small they are.
They have a slender leaf that is found growing on the forest duff - I more often see the leaf first, rather than the flower itself.
Always a joy to find, this delicate orchid is blooming now on the Mendonoma Coast. Thanks to Jinx for allowing me to share her photos with you here.
Giraffes in Point Arena? You bet! The B. Bryan Preserve has a group of these endangered giraffes. Emilie Raguso recently visited the preserve and took these photos. The first photo is entitled "Getting a leg up."
I so admire what the Mellos are doing here. Along with these giraffes, they have zebras and antelope, all endangered in their native lands. By appointment you can visit this wonderful place at feeding time. There are also guest cottages. To learn more about the preserve, here is their website: http://bbryanpreserve.com/ As their website states, Africa on the Mendocino Coast.
Thanks to Emilie for allowing me to share her photos with you here.
Allen's and Rufous Hummingbirds look so similar that sometimes even the most experienced birder can't tell one from the other. I've been advised to just call them Selasphorus Hummingbirds and I'll always be right. Siegfried Matull recently photographed what he believes is an Allen's Hummingbird. Whatever you call them, they sure are beautiful!
These feisty, slightly smaller Hummingbirds migrate through the Mendonoma Coast in the spring and again in fall. They fight with our year round Anna's Hummingbirds, darting here and there like kamakazi pilots. When my chives are in bloom, one of these beauties likes to feed on the purple blossoms.
Thanks to Siegfried for allowing me to share his photo with you here.
There is a beautiful waterfall on the Point Arena-Stornetta Lands. However several years ago the waterfall "broke." The water no longer cascaded off the high bluff but it found a way down inside the rock. I'm happy to report that the waterfall is once again flowing over the bluff. In fact it is spilling off the bluff in two waterfalls. Margaret Lindgren recently photographed them.
To see this waterfall, which has been refreshed by the wonderful rains we are having this week, go down Lighthouse Road. Before you reach the pay station of the Point Arena Lighthouse, you will see a parking area to the left with a porta potty. Enter there and hike south along the bluffs. The scenery is magnificent there, with a sinkhole.
As you can see by the photo, with our golden retriever, Huckleberry, the sinkhole is huge!
Continue heading south - it might take fifteen minutes or so - and you will come to a seasonal creek. You need to hike down, cross the creek, and then climb back up. Go a little further south and look back. Here's a photo I took some time ago, before the waterfall disappeared for several years. You might be able to see the Lighthouse in the distance.
And below is a look at the waterfall when it fractured and the water went inside the rock face.
I am so glad the waterfall is flowing where we can see it. And because these lands are protected as the first land based part of the California Coastal National Monument, they are preserved for all of us to enjoy.
Thanks to Margaret for allowing me to share her photo with you here. Margaret leads hiking tours here on the Mendonoma Coast. Her website is: www.unbeatenpath.weebly.com