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

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Just after sunset, from Bodega Head, 28 November 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Afternoon reflections

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), Abbotts Lagoon, 27 November 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Purple spines

We have some exciting marine invertebrate discoveries to share, but I need a little time to sort through the photos.

For now, I'll share one of my favorite pictures from a tidepooling excursion today:

This is a small juvenile Giant Sea Star (Pisaster giganteus).  It was only ~6 cm (2.3 inches) across.  Can you see the short, purple-colored spines?  [Click on the photo for a slightly larger version.]  That's one way to differentiate a Giant Sea Star from an Ochre Sea Star.

For some close-up images of Giant Sea Star spines, review the post from 26 April 2013.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Brrrr!  The air temperature reached near 30°F this morning in Cotati.  It was fun to see these "frosty evergreen trees" on our windshield.  Do you see them?  (Or something different?)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  Stay warm!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Good tidings

These pictures were taken at work today to document the "King Tide" on 24 November 2015.  The tide was predicted to reach about 6.58 feet at 8:56 a.m. this morning (which is a higher high tide for the Bodega Head region).  Tomorrow will be slightly higher = 6.66' at 9:38 a.m.  [For anyone who is curious, it looks like Dec. 24th will be the highest tide of the year = 6.68' at 9:18 a.m.]

I tried to capture a variety of shoreline settings.  See what you think!

Looking north along Salmon Creek Beach:

Looking south along the outer coast of Bodega Head:

Towards the south end of Horseshoe Cove: 

Gaffney Point salt marsh in Bodega Harbor.  Note that the salt marsh, between the foreground and the signs, is almost completely covered.  (That's the town of Bodega Bay and Mount Roscoe in the background.)

And one more, although not really of the high tide.  The light on the ocean was fantastic after the front passed through.  The wind was blowing ~25 mph from the north northwest:

P.S.  If you'd like to see another example of a local "King Tide," you can review the post from 13 December 2012.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Spiralling in

Channeled Topsnail (Calliostoma canaliculatum), photographed along the Bodega Bay shoreline on 23 November 2015.

Here's a view from the side as the snail was crawling.  The tentacles and a small dark eye are visible on the right side.  You can also see the foot speckled, with a fuzzy-looking texture.  And if you look closely, there's a partial view of the operculum ("trap door") golden and circular (although only half is in view below the back edge of the shell).

Here's one more view from below, when the snail was trying to right itself.

What a pretty foot!  And a beautiful snail.  I love the iridescence along the spirals.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The small singer

Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) near the Lydia Park Community Garden in Rohnert Park on 22 November 2015.

A male is above, while a much paler female is below.

The "Lesser" in their common name refers to their small size about 1/2" smaller (in length) than an American Goldfinch. 

Someday I'll have to record the intricate song of Lesser Goldfinches.  Their species name, "psaltria", means "singer."