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Monday, March 31, 2014

Ferne Fedeli's donkey, Jack, puts up with Common Ravens shearing hair right off his back!

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.

Perhaps the loveliest of them all, Calypso Orchids are blooming in untouched forests.

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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Two Rothchild Giraffes, as photographed by Emilie Raguso.

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: As their website states, Africa on the Mendocino Coast.

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Allen's or Rufous Hummingbird? Only the experts know for sure.

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.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Stornetta Lands waterfall is back in all its glory!

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:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mission Bells - they are difficult to find but Frank Drouillard found them.

I have not yet seen these perennial wildflowers. They grow near oaks and can be hard to spot. Frank first noticed the stems and then went back to capture this magnificent photo.

Mission Bells, also called Checker Lily, are members of the Lily family. Their scientific name is Fritillaria affinis. Below is a closeup of the flower.

In Reny Parker's wildflower book she writes,
 "Mission Bells
  the sound in the forest
  no one's around to hear."

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

The first Ospreys have returned to the Mendonoma Coast.

Oh, to live where Ospreys choose to nest is such a joy. On March 10th the first Ospreys, males, returned to the Mendonoma Coast. Paul Brewer photographed one of the first ones. The Osprey has nabbed a Seaperch.

And as of Sunday some females have arrived. There is a nest to our west that we can watch through our scope. Sure enough, a male and a female were seen. It will be fun to watch them work on rebuilding the nest, mating and hopefully starting a new family.

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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Moonset in a pastel sky - Ron LeValley captured the lovely sight.

We had a full moon last week and skies were clear to enjoy it. Ron LeValley captured the moon in the early morning hours a little before it set.

The day before Ron photographed the high surf, back lit by the sun.

So there you have it - the moon and the influence of the sun!

Thanks to Ron LeValley for allowing me to share his photos. To see much more of Ron's nature photography, here is the link to his website:

Friday, March 21, 2014

A bevy of Western Trilliums, as photographed by Phil Wendt.

Western Trilliums are blooming in the forest. Phil Wendt recently photographed a nice group of these delicate wildflowers.

Below is a Trillium kissed by raindrops. It's darker, pink blossom tells you it is older. Trilliums are white when they first bloom.
Never pick this wildflower. If you do, it will not receive the nutrients it needs to bloom again next year. It takes years for a Trillium to recover from being picked. Just leave them be and they will bloom for many days.

Thanks to Phil for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see Phil's website, Life on the Edge, here is the link:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Black Bear will occasionally ramble through here on the Mendonoma Coast.

Terry Bold was hiking near the Garcia River when she came across the print of a Black Bear.

Soon thereafter she found scat. No actual sighting of the Bear though. Below are two photos Terry took of the river.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carolyn André has been photographing the wild Pacific Ocean

High surf advisory is what we've been hearing lately. Waves have been pounding the Mendonoma Coast. It's awesome to see the power of the Pacific Ocean. Carolyn André recently photographed the big waves off of The Sea Ranch.

When mist rises from the top of waves we call them rooster tails.
Here's a particularly good rooster tail.
And the waves continue their relentless pounding of the bluffs on The Sea Ranch.
With the February rains, the bluffs have greened up, a very welcome sight after our dry January.

What a wild day on the beautiful Mendonoma Coast! Thanks to Carolyn for allowing me to share her photos with you here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Point Arena - Stornetta Lands are now part of the California Coastal National Monument.

We've been very excited to have the beautiful Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands be the first land-based part of the California Coastal National Monument. Last Tuesday President Obama made it official by presidential decree. Mendonomans Merita Whatley, with her white hair, and Leslie Dalhoff traveled to Washington D.C. along with Larry Stornetta and Eloisa Oropeza (not pictured). Congressman Jared Huffman, second from the right, and Mike Thompson next to him, took up this cause in Congress.

On Wednesday a dedication ceremony was held. Look at the beautiful weather we were having. Here is the new sign with the Point Arena Lighthouse in the distance, photographed by Ron LeValley.
Here is an enthusiastic Leslie Dalhoff, former mayor of Point Arena, is addressing the crowd of over three hundred, photographed by Emily Nelson. Both Leslie and Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, were very animated and obviously excited to be a part of this day.
Charlie Ivor photographed Patty Stornetta Woodruff (middle) addressing the crowd. She talked about what it was like to grow up on this land. She and other family members worked together to have these lands transferred to the Bureau of Land Management, thus protecting them from development and giving all of us a priceless gift.

Thanks to Ron, Emily and Charlie for allowing me to share their photos.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A beautiful photo of the Sonoma coastline by Bill Lange

Bill Lange was recently traveling along curvy Highway One when he saw this scene.

Last December Bill stopped at the same place and took this photo - the ocean is shrouded in fog.  
Thanks to Bill for allowing me to share his photos with you here.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Many creatures are headed north - the spring migration is in full force.

Gray Whales have been seen the past several days, many are mothers with calves. On Wednesday we watched a pod from our deck in Anchor Bay in the late afternoon. One whale did a complete breach! Here is a photo taken by Ron LeValley that shows you what a Gray Whale breach looks like. When the whale hits the water there is a BIG splash.

Also migrating north are thousands of Aleutian Cackling Geese. Richard Kuehn photographed several large flocks this past week consisting of over two hundred geese in each flock. The flocks look like undulating ribbons in the sky.
Rich took a close-up of them. They used to be called Canada Geese but they are smaller than Canada Geese and have the new name of Aleutian Cackling Geese. And, yes, they are quite noisy as they migrate. It's really fun to hear them approaching, cackling away.

Thanks to Rich and Ron for allowing me to share their photos with you here. To see much more of Ron's nature photography, here is the link to his website:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The blessed rain brought to life the hidden waterfall on the Salal Trail.

The Salal Trail is a public access trail that starts at Gualala Point Regional Park. Once you pass the pay station, park at the first parking area on the left. The trail head is to the left. The trail goes between Highway One and The Sea Ranch Golf Links. It then turns west, meandering through some lovely trees and bushes. The trail eventually brings you to a very special waterfall. Robert Scarola hiked the trail just after one of the big February rain storms. This is what he found.

It's a magical place to visit when the creek is full. The trail eventually ends at a small beach, a perfect end to a wonderful trail.

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We've had some spectacular big surf!

We take a break from a series of storms that brought much needed rain to California. This week is forecast to be dry and warm, a perfect time to visit the Mendonoma Coast.

When the storms were arriving, the wave action was beautiful to behold. Allen Vinson was out with his camera and got these wonderful photos. First a rainbow wave.

 The surging Pacific Ocean is in plain sight.
 And here storm clouds gather over a silver ocean.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mushrooms are popping here on the Mendonoma Coast.

After one of our recent storms, Wendy Bailey found this branch down in her garden. It's beautifully decorated with Lichens and Turkey Tails.

Belly Button Hedgehogs are up, as are Winter Chanterelles. I've had a report that Sweet Tooth Hedgehogs are appearing too. And the first Black Trumpets. Here is a photo by Eric Kritz taken a few years ago of my friend, Rachel Kritz, holding a Sweet Tooth Hedgehog, a delicious edible mushroom.

And here Rick shows you the difference between a huge Sweettooth and the smaller Belly Buttons.

Thanks to Wendy and Eric for allowing me to share their photos with you here. Happy foraging!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Monarchs are beginning to appear, gracing us with their presence.

It's always a special moment when we see Monarch Butterflies appear. This is the long-lived generation, the Methuselah generation. They have migrated many miles and the females will soon migrate inland to lay their eggs on native milkweed. Here on the Coast, where milkweed isn't native, these beautiful butterflies are feeding on other native plants, such as Manzanitas.

Nancy Scarola noticed one in her Sea Ranch garden last week and her husband, Robert, photographed it. Notice its tattered wings from the many miles it has traveled.

I saw one in my garden today - my first one of the year. Journey North tracks these butterflies. If you would like to participate in this citizen science project, or just see the sightings that other people have posted, here is their link: You will see they track many other migrations, including Gray Whales.

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

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mother Nature built a sandcastle!

Bob Schwein was at Hearn Gulch after one of the recent storms. This is what he found.

Here's what Bob had to say about this: “I found this natural pagoda sandcastle at Hearn Gulch. Apparently the rocky area became filled with sand during a storm. As the tide/water receded, the ‘castle’ was left atop a boulder. The wonderful things we see on our coast!”

It is surely now gone, washed away by the high surf we've been having. But we have Bob's photo to show us this work of art, courtesy of Mother Nature.

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Mendonoma traffic jam!

Elizabeth Lane was traveling on Highway One when she had to stop her car for nearly fifteen minutes. Two Bulls were pushing and shoving their way across the highway.

One Bull got the better of the other and they finally parted ways. No harm, no foul.
That's a true Mendonoma traffic jam.

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Big waves hit the Mendonoma Coast on Saturday.

The waves were huge and the warnings of high surf went up on Saturday. Richard Kuehn photographed Gualala Point Island being hit big a big wave.

Rich says Gualala Point Island is about sixty feet high. That makes this wave more than a hundred feet high.

There were beautiful clouds that day too. I took this photo from our deck in Anchor Bay. A storm was headed our way.

And another welcome storm is hitting the Coast this afternoon. We just say no to a drought! At my home we have had 28.85 inches of rain so far this season, a miraculous comeback. On Feb. 1st we had just 5.65 inches. We still have a ways to go but we're getting there, thank goodness.

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

Before the storms...a brilliant sky and several lovely sunset photos.

Carolyn André was near Point Arena when she pulled over to take a photo of the spectacular sky.

Drew Fagan photographed the sunset over Sail Rock.

And Don Spear captured this beautiful sunset.

There is always something beautiful to see here on the Mendonoma Coast!

Thanks to Carolyn, Drew and Don for allowing me to share their photos with you here.