Peter wrote, “I have a quirky and very uncommon shore sighting for you. My visiting son, Isaac, and I walked down the storm-eroded beach and found five of these massive objects that look like a cross between a blubbery carcass and a giant, juicy, gnarly sea-turnip.
“It took me a while to recognize what they were and where they came from. They are a couple of feet across and were a strain to lift! They are the massive taproots of Marah, also called Man-root or Wild Cucumber. They erode from coastal bluffs when there is major erosion. During the drought, shorelines were stable or grew, and no roots eroded.”
You can see from the photo of Isaac how huge this taproot is. Here's a photo of one still embedded in the bluffs.
We have had a lot of erosion due to our big winter. And more rain is on the way.
Thanks to Peter for allowing me to share his photos with you here.
The Gualala River breached the sandbar yesterday, Oct. 26th, on a calm, sunny day. Usually we are watching in the rain for this event, but not this year. Unfortunately I missed it, but others were there and I'll be sharing photos of it in a few days. Rick and I walked out to the Gualala Bluff Trail this morning to take a look, and it was lightly raining. Here's what we saw:
Every year it seems to open in a different spot. Peter Baye photographed one year where it opened at the north end.
And Martin Steinpress photographed the opening of the river last year, this time further to the south.
The latter part of October is early for the river to open, but it's a testament to the lovely rains we been receiving. As Rick and I watched the river flowing into the ocean today, we saw a group of Harbor seals, or possibly Sea lions, happily hunting steelhead in the mouth of the river.
More rain for the Mendonoma coast today. We're loving it!
Thanks to Peter and Martin for allowing me to share their photos with you here.
Cathleen Crosby photographed a CA Coffeeberry bush with berries in various stages of ripeness.
When I researched these berries on Wikipedia, I read they were used for making jam and such, and the bean inside the berry could be used to make a coffee-like drink. This prompted a discussion with botanist Peter Baye as to whether the bean inside the berry could be used as a coffee substitute. Peter wrote, “It’s medicinal, not a coffee substitute! Woe unto the drinker.” Peter sent me information that the Kashaya Pomo used the bark, or a small number of berries, as a laxative. The bark and berries were also used as an emetic, to counteract poisoning.
So we'll leave these beautiful berries alone. Some birds do eat them, with apparently no harmful side affects!
Thanks to Cathleen for allowing me to share her photo with you here.
Peter Baye noticed this Great Blue Heron in an unusual position. It was sitting in a grassy meadow with its wings extended. We think the heron was doing this to cool off.
And here's a photo taken by Robert Scarola of a Great Blue Heron looking for a meal.
Great Blue Herons are year round residents of the Mendonoma Coast.
Thanks to Peter and Robert for allowing me to share their photos with you here.
Peter Baye wrote, “I found a new rare plant at the Stornetta Lands along the P’da Hau [Garcia] River estuary last week, Humboldt Bay owl’s clover, Castilleja ambigua, subspecies humboldtiensis.”
This plant is found in tidal marsh locations and was originally thought to be endemic to Humboldt Bay, hence its common name. But it’s been found in Mendocino County at Big River. And now it’s been found at the Point Arena-Stornetta Lands.
Peter wrote further, “The surprises of the Stornetta Land’s varied habitats have only been open to botanical exploration for a few years. Perhaps more botanical gems await discovery!”
Thanks to Peter for allowing me to share his photo with you here. I look forward to new discoveries in the special Stornetta-Point Arena Lands.