If you're interested in using any of these photographs in any way, please contact me. Send an e-mail to naturalhistoryphotos(at)gmail.com. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Sometimes you hear about mammalian scavengers feeding on marine mammal carcasses washed ashore, but I hadn't seen it myself until this past weekend.  

Joe stopped by to mention that he had just seen a coyote feeding on a seal.  Luckily, I had my large zoom lens on my camera at the time.  

I managed a few distant photographs, so here's one for the record:

Coyote (Canis latrans) feeding on a Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) carcass, 15 July 2018

P.S.  Many thanks to Joe for the wildlife alert!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Retro mystery -- Part 2

Okay, here's a partial answer to last night's mystery photo.  I'm going to reveal the identity of this animal quickly, so if you want another chance to guess, here's the close-up image:

And now here's the entire animal:

This is an intertidal sculpin photographed in the low intertidal zone on 15 July 2018.  (The fish is resting on a bed of sea squirts.)  Sadly, I'm not sure which species of sculpin it is, so if you are familiar with it, please let me know.  Thanks!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Retro mystery

A close-up mystery photo.  Can you guess what type of animal this is?

What an amazing pattern!  What beautiful colors!  

I'll reveal more about it tomorrow night.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer meander?

It's been foggy and a bit humid lately, but I was still surprised to see this little salamander approaching our front steps this morning:

It was early (~5 a.m.), so perhaps it was wrapping up a nighttime excursion?

I think this is a juvenile Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris), but it's paler than most of the individuals I've seen, so let me know if you think it's something different. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Kite in the clouds

I was sitting inside last night when I thought I heard a White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) calling outside.  I stepped out to confirm that it was a kite, and sure enough, a kite was displaying in the sky above our housecalling and fluttering its wings with its legs lowered.  And there was a bonus — the clouds were amazing!  Perhaps you saw some of these clouds, too?

Photographed in Cotati on 12 July 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Local jellies

A few nights ago, I promised to show a few more examples of the gelatinous animals that might wash ashore on local beaches at this time of year.  So...here you go!

Two jellyfish:

Pacific Sea Nettle (Chrysaora fuscescens) — note the golden brown color (beware, sea nettles can cause painful stings)

Moon Jelly (Aurelia sp.) — note the pale purple color

Now, two different hydromedusae:

Giant Bell Jelly (Scrippsia pacifica)note the red eye spots

Aglauropsis aeora — note the faint pink and blue coloration

And the swimming bell of a siphonophore:

Probably Praya sp. — note that in this species the "jelly" material retains its form, and overall this swimming bell has a shape somewhat like a large tooth, i.e., squared off at one end and with two pointed tips at the opposite end.

P.S.  I think I've written a little bit about all of these species before, so if you'd like to learn more about them, scroll to the bottom of the NHBH web page and use the "Search This blog" function.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

B & B

Whew, it's been a busy week, but here's a bee on a buckwheat for you!  Not sure which species of bee yet, but it's sipping nectar and acquiring pollen from Seaside Wild Buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium).  Photographed on Bodega Head on 11 July 2018.  [Click on the image for a larger version.]