Bob Rutemoeller spotted this lovely butterfly which had landed on one his wife's native plants. The butterfly posed for Bob, showing top and bottom views. It is a Lorquin's Admiral Butterfly.

The host plant for these butterflies is willow. I purchased a wonderful waterproof booklet for butterfly identifications. It's titled Butterflies of Central and Northern California by Jim Brock. It shows the caterpillars of each butterfly too. I got mine at the Four-Eyed Frog Bookstore in Gualala. My favorite independent bookstore has a sale starting today...hint, hint! Here's a link to the Frog: http://www.foureyedfrog.com/

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

It's called fledging when the chicks leave their nest, testing their wings for the first time. Sometimes the beginning flying lessons can go awry. But in the case of a group of young Pacific Wrens, according to John Batchelder, they were hopping around in several bushes, doing just fine.

John commented that this fledgling's beak looks too big for its head. I agree! But we know he or she will grow into that big break. Here's a photo of an adult singing, taken by Craig Tooley.

We loved this photo so much, we included it in our book, Mendonoma Sightings Throughout the Year. This bird used to be called a Winter Wren. They have the most lovely song, which echoes through the forest in the spring and early summer. You can hear it here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pacific_Wren/sounds

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

 

The young of our resident Gray Foxes are awfully cute. Once in a while they will make a den under a deck or wood shack. That's what happened for Michael Tilles at his place on The Sea Ranch. There are four kits in Michael's photo.

Then Janice O'Conner let me know she had a family of SIX kits at her place in Gualala. That's a large family, for sure.

  Gray Foxes live on the Mendonoma Coast year round. Thanks to Michael and Jan for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

A very unusual sighting happened on the beach at Gualala Point Regional Park a few weeks ago. Doug Forsell wrote, “There is several hundred thousand Euphausiids, Krill, washed up on the beach. They are Thysanoessa spinifera, which are the most common nearshore species in California."

‘These are small shrimp-like animals that feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton.  They can form large swarms providing food for whales, birds, and fish. They are an important link in the ocean food chain, and many species are dependent on them. The unusual thing about the stranding is the winds have been calm, and the surf low for the past couple days. Perhaps it was so calm there was no surf to warn them away from shore. All of these animals appeared very fresh.”

Doug said there were over five hundred “fat and happy” Gulls and a handful of Turkey Vultures gorging on the Krill. He watched a Peregrine Falcon take a pass at the feasting Gulls, but the falcon didn’t nab one. And out on the water he could see Surf Scoters, Loons and other birds that appeared to be eating Krill.

I sent Doug’s photos to whale expert, Scott Mercer. Scott wrote, “Watch for feeding Blues and Humpbacks. That's prime Blue Whale dinner. Sounds like prime avian dinner too.  What a bonus for the vultures. I've never seen euphausiids wash up like that.”

So, thanks to Doug, we learned of this event. It's wonderful to know the Pacific Ocean is filled with these creatures that feed so many animals, including the biggest of them all, the Blue Whale.

Thanks to Doug, also, for allowing me to share his photos with you here.

Members of the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians are trying to have the Garcia River renamed to the original Pomo name, which is P'da Hau. Since Rafael Garcia had a land grant in the mid-1800s and didn't even stay in the area long, it seems like a good idea to give the river back its original name. Rick and I were recently out on the northern portion of the Point Arena-Stornetta Lands and looked down from the bluff on the P'da Hau, watching it flow out into the ocean. Manchester Beach is to the north of the river.

Looking up river, we saw a River Otter come out of the river.

The Otter then proceeded to roll in the sand! Perhaps it was taking a sand bath.

After rolling several times, the River Otter headed back to the river, as if to say, "Okay, I'm done."

We also saw a family of Canada Geese, with young goslings, strolling alongside the river bank.

There is always something to see here on the Mendonoma coast!