It's been downright hot if you get a little ways away from the bluffs and beaches, though today it cooled off a bit. Butterflies have been flitting through, delighting our senses. Recently Mary Hunter photographed a Pale Swallowtail Butterfly.
This beautiful butterfly was feeding - nectaring - on Mary's lavender blossoms. Pretty as a picture!
A close relative is a Western Tiger Swallowtail, with similar markings. This butterfly is feeding on a native wildflower, Leopard Lily, and was taken by Peter Baye.
Thanks to Mary and Peter for allowing me to share their photos with you here.
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.