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!