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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Bright green

Every now and then we encounter a really bright green Sunburst Anemone (Anthopleura sola).  
P.S.  Are you kidding me, Celtics?  Back to Boston we go!  :)

Thursday, May 25, 2023



Peter asked if some of the paler flowers in the last photo were Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa) with almost no yellow.  Well, the more distant view and the camera didn't really pick up the color pattern, so here's a closer view showing the petals with yellow bases and fun white tips.

Cheery little flowers, aren't they?  :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Coastal colors


Spring wildflowers in northern Sonoma County, 20 May 2023.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Lean on me

California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus), 20 May 2023
[You can click on the image for a larger version.]

Thursday, May 18, 2023



A quick shot, but it's always useful when you can compare several species in one photo.

From left to right: Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus).

Photographed in Bodega Bay on 13 May 2023.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Sailor at sea


By-the-wind Sailor (Velella velella) during the offshore boat trip on 7 May 2023.  We encountered quite a few convergence zones with lots of Velella sailing over smooth seas.  [You can click on the image for a larger version.]

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Visitors from the South Pacific


I finally found a few minutes to look through my Murphy's Petrel (Pterodroma ultima) photos from the offshore boat trip last weekend (7 May 2023).  These aren't stellar shots, but they're the best I have from the day, and I think they're still helpful for learning about different field marks for this species.  Murphy's Petrels are generally rare on day trips from shore, but on this day we observed over 40 individuals.  It was quite a show!

Some individuals were close enough to see the combination of brown and gray feathers on the back and upper wings.  The patterning of silver highlights on the back appeared to be unique to an individual.  (Sometimes it was hard to tell whether some individuals made multiple passes by the boat, but looking at feather patterns in the photos I could distinguish different individuals.)

Although the lighting was tough for photos and I ended up with a lot of silhouettes, you could still see the pale panels under the wings, and some of the white mottling/frosting on the chin:
Murphy's Petrels are active flyers and although there wasn't much wind this day, they would still arc high above the horizon:

And sometimes bank at strong angles:

It was a good day for learning overall shape — note the relatively large head and thick bill (especially if you are comparing them to a Sooty Shearwater):
Murphy's Petrels are visitors from the tropical south-central Pacific.  Although in the northeast Pacific during their non-breeding season, they'll return to nest on islands in the South Pacific, e.g., Austral, Tuamotu, Pitcairn islands. 

Wish them luck on their journey!