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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Color film

The ocean has been pretty stormy lately, which often means there's foam near shore.  And where there's foam, there are bubbles.  And you know me — when there are bubbles, it's hard for me to resist taking a few photos.  So here you go a selection of bubble close-ups from 19 January 2019:

 Just amazing!

Thursday, January 17, 2019


I don't think I could ever come up with a proper tribute to Mary Oliver (10 September 1935-17 January 2019), my favorite poet.  But inspired by her, I can make a few promises:

I promise to keep walking.  I promise to keep trying to pay attention.  I promise to keep praising the Earth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

One foot

You might remember that last week I tried to find a salamander and failed.  Tonight (16 January 2019), I was successful!  

It's quite stormy (lots of rain and wind), but I went out for a few minutes to see if an amphibian might be out and about.  I bumped into this beautiful Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) in our backyard:

Here's a close-up of one front foot:

I think this brings us up to ~12 inches of rain so far this winter?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Soaring on the windward slopes

Last night, with a west well and an east wind, the gulls were actively soaring along the faces of the large breaking waves.  Although it was getting dark, I tried to take a few photos to document the behavior.  

It reminded me of watching surfers or bodyboarders.  After riding one wave, the gulls would soar up and over and fly out to catch the next one.  (Flying out to the next wave is a little easier than paddling out!)

I couldn't decide which pictures to show, so here's a random assortment.  You can click on the images for larger versions, and to make it easier to see the gulls when they're camouflaged against the waves.

(The gull in the photo above is close to the center of the photo.  It looks quite small against a very large wave.) 

If you're wondering — there were several species of gulls involved in this behavior, but most of them were Mew Gulls (Larus canus).  Mew Gulls are one of the smaller gulls in this area, with wingspans of ~45 inches (114 cm):

Monday, January 14, 2019

Distant showers

Dark blue-gray clouds to the west with passing showers on the horizon made for dramatic lighting in the late afternoon today (14 January 2019):

Especially eye-catching was the contrast between the white wave splash and the distant showers:

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Down on the rocks

American Pipits (Anthus rubescens) are often seen on sandy beaches in Bodega Bay, but sometimes we encounter them along the rocky outer coast.  Here's one on lichen-covered rocks just above the intertidal zone on 12 January 2019.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Squared seas

Ocean conditions were interesting today (12 January 2019).  The marine forecast called for "squared seas," when the wave height and wave period are similar.  

Around midday, the swell height was ~14 feet and the wave period was ~14 seconds.  Viewing the incoming waves from shore in these conditions makes it look like the waves are right on top of each other:

It was a good day to be beyond the breaking waves!