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Monday, December 31, 2018

Setting sun

Hard to believe the sun is setting on another year.  Happy New Year to all!  Best wishes for a 2019 filled with natural history adventures!

Sunday, December 30, 2018


Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa) feeding on the tidal flats in Bodega Harbor, 29 December 2018

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Year-end reflections

Mixed shorebird flock in Bodega Harbor, 29 December 2018 — primarily Sanderlings (Calidris alba), with a few Least Sandpipers (Calidris minutilla) and Dunlin (Calidris alpina).  [You can click on the image for a larger version.]

Friday, December 28, 2018

Tucked in

Sanderling (Calidris alba), Salmon Creek Beach, 28 December 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Underwater scene

I couldn't walk by this frost pattern without taking a few pictures.  

The frost had formed on the inside of a large glass fishing float.  The patterns reminded me of an underwater scene with kelp fronds waving in an aquamarine sea.  Two more close-ups:

Photographed in Humarock, MA, on 26 December 2018.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Morning visitor

This Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) stopped briefly in the backyard yesterday.  I tried to take a few photos before it flew off, but I hadn't realized my camera settings were way off for the situation.  When I was reviewing the pictures to see if anything was presentable, I thought this one still seemed like an interesting portrait:

Christmas morning Cooper's Hawk, Walpole, MA, 25 December 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018


So happy to see some snowflakes today.  Photos taken in Walpole, Massachusetts, on 24 December 2018.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Among the bark and lichens

Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) foraging among lichens in Sharon, Massachusetts, on 23 December 2018.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Full cold moon

Full moon rising viewed from Hull, Massachusetts, on 22 December 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018

Season of light

Hmmm...what to show to help celebrate the Winter Solstice?  How about something to do with light?

Here are a couple more wave photos from 13 December 2018:

And here's a fun one.  Can you find the bear in the surf?

[You might find a different one, but the bear I noticed is in the lower right corner, sitting down (with its two arms above its legs), and looking forward, with its gaze following the direction of the surf.]

I hope you enjoy this special time of year.  Happy Solstice!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Female Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perched across the street from the Bodega Bay Post Office on 15 December 2018.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

West swell -- Part 2

Okay, here we go a few more pictures to document the large swell on 17 December 2018.  I had trouble deciding which ones to show, so here's a selection — mostly from the morning, and one from sunset when the waves were still in the 16-20 foot range. [You can click on the images for larger versions.]

Monday, December 17, 2018

West swell

Nice west swell today (17 December 2018) — the offshore buoy was reading ~16-17 feet this morning.  I ran out of time for reviewing photos tonight, but here are a few teasers.  [You can click on the images for larger versions.]

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Out in the rain

We were on our way to work yesterday (15 December 2018) when we noticed a couple of animals out in the rain:

Coyote (Canis latrans) on a dune ridge.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) in the grassland.

Looks like we've received a little over an inch of rain during the last two days.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Rising above

I got lucky yesterday, and ended up with some nice pictures of waves, so here are a few more.  

Sometimes I try to take "clean" pictures of waves, without anything else in the photo, but then it's hard to judge the size of the waves.  In this set of images, I took advantage of the gulls that were surfing the waves and the beautiful low-angled light.  [Click on the photos for larger versions.]

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Incoming swell and an offshore breeze

I've been doing a lot of desk work lately, so I was grateful there were some nice waves to look at during a short break today (13 December 2018).

This was a 12-foot northwest swell, with east winds at ~12-15 knots:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Pattern in the sand -- Part 2

Okay, remember the mystery tracks that I posted last night?  I'll reveal the animal that made them in the photo below this one:

We followed the tracks until we got to the end, and this is what we found:

A rain beetle (Pleocoma sp.)!  It makes sense, because this was 24 November 2018 and it had rained the two days prior to this.  But I'm not sure how often these beetles are seen at the beach?  (We noticed several that night.)

Here's the beetle in Eric's hands. This is a pretty large beetle, but the width of the tracks in the sand is due to the reach of the beetle's legs:

An even closer view showing the wonderful antennae:

I wrote about rain beetles back in October of 2013 (when I was at a meeting at ~6000 feet elevation).  If you'd like to learn more about these intriguing beetles, check out the post called "Triggered by rain (or snow!)".

And here are more of its beautiful tracks:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Pattern in the sand

A couple of weeks ago we encountered this interesting pattern in the sand:

We followed it and eventually found what was responsible, but I thought I'd give you a chance to guess.  

If you need some sense of scale, the width of the pattern (measured across the markings from top to bottom) is ~3.5 cm (~1.5 inches).   

The answer will be revealed tomorrow night!

Monday, December 10, 2018

In the harbor

Brant (Branta bernicla), Bodega Harbor, 7 December 2018

P.S.  I first wrote about Brant ~5 years ago for more information about them (including an audio clip), see the post called "Do you like my necklace?" on 18 January 2013.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Kind of blue

A Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) to start your week.  (Photographed on 6 December 2018.)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December shadows

Along the Sonoma Coast on 8 December 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018


River Otter, photographed 5 December 2018 (you can click on the image for a larger version)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"Living Coral"

In-tro-du-cing...the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year..."Living Coral"!  

The first local species we thought of when we saw that Living Coral was named color of the year was this distinctive sponge found in the low rocky intertidal zone:

There are lots of animals in this picture, but notice the patch of pink sponge in the lower left corner. (I'm not a sponge expert, but I think this is Aplysilla glacialis.)  What do you think?  Is the color a pretty good match for Living Coral?  See more on Pantone's web site about the 2019 Color of the Year.

It'll be fun to keep an eye out for this color next year.

P.S.  Maybe some coral reef biologists will be able to add to the list of species that highlight this vibrant color!

P.P.S.  Long-time readers of the NHBH will recall past posts with Pantone colors of the year, e.g., Ultra Violet 2018Greenery in 2017, Rose Quartz and Serenity in 2016, and Marsala in 2015.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Rain shower blues

Showers off Bodega Head, 4 December 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018

Something fishy

After finishing some surveys in the rocky intertidal zone on 26 November 2018, we looked around a bit more and encountered a few nice fish.  (Sorry that I'm not sure which species these are, but they're beautiful, so I thought it would still be worth sharing the photos.)

 If you have any thoughts about the identifications, I'd be interested!