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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Bright spot

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), Bodega Head, 31 October 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Sit-down lunch

A couple of quick photos from the UC Davis Arboretum this afternoon.  The setting was a bit shaded, but it was a nice view of this Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) sipping from a sage flower while perched:

Up close, you could see lots of pollen grains on the hummingbird's bill and throat:

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Asleep in a sycamore

Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) asleep in a sycamore tree in Davis, CA, on 29 October 2019.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Along the creek

Whew, it's been a hectic few days.  I'm so sorry that so many people in Sonoma County are having such a difficult time right now.  Yesterday (27 October 2019) we evacuated due to wildfire concerns and drove to Davis, CA.  Today I went for a short walk in the UC Davis Arboretum.  I've been on edge since the fire started, but walking today helped a lot.  I finally felt like I could take a deeper breath.

With the hope that some nice photos will help other people, too, here are a few images from Putah Creek this afternoon:

 Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

 Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

 Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)

 Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

P.S.  A world of thanks to all of the firefighters and the incredible team of people who have been working so hard to fight the Kincade Fire and to coordinate and communicate with everyone in the community.  Our appreciation is hard to express.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

In appreciation of flight

Last night (21 October 2019) I spent a few more minutes watching one of the White-tailed Kites (Elanus leucurus) that's been actively hunting on Bodega Head at the end of the day.  The lighting was beautiful up high where the kite was hovering, but it was shaded down low where I was standing, so I don't think the kite noticed me.  Several times it was hovering almost directly above me.  The views were pretty special, and I couldn't choose a favorite photo, so here's a selection.  Enjoy!  [You can click on the images for larger versions.]

Monday, October 21, 2019

Striped mystery revealed

Okay, remember last night's mystery photo?  

Here's another view:

Meet Taylor's Sea Hare (Phyllaplysia taylori), a wonderful marine mollusc that lives in local Eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds.

This one washed up along the shoreline of Bodega Harbor, but I moved it to a small pool on the tidal flats:

Although this sea hare stands out against the gray/brown background of the mud, they're usually found living on blades of Eelgrass, so the green coloration with black and white stripes is excellent camouflage in its typical habitat.

P.S.  If you're wondering, the flap on the back right side is the opening to the gill cavity.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Striped mystery

I haven't shared a mystery close-up photo in a while, so here's one (or two) to ponder.  Can you guess what type of organism this is? 

(I'll reveal the answer tomorrow night!) 

Saturday, October 19, 2019


Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina), 15 October 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019


Common Raven (Corvus corvax) scratching its head.

And in profile:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Beautiful lines

At the end of the day today I had a lucky encounter with a young White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus).  Such a beautiful bird!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

On the move

 Sanderlings (Calidris alba) in Bodega Harbor, 12 October 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A little rusty

Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris), photographed on Bodega Head, 12 October 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Hooked tips

Descending Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) flukes, offshore of Bodega Head, 6 October 2019.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

For the record

I had kind of an "off" day for bird photographs during the pelagic boat trip to Bodega Canyon and Cordell Bank on 6 October 2019.  I was often in the wrong place for photos, or the birds were at odd angles or just out of focus.  But for the record, here are some shots that were interesting for various reasons:

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster), a rarity in Sonoma County:

Flyby Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis):

Flesh-footed Shearwater (Ardenna carneipes), an uncommon visitor from Australia or New Zealand:

A "ballet" of Buller's Shearwaters (Ardenna bulleri):

A Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) and the moon:

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Velvety brown

An immature Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata), photographed offshore during our return trip from Cordell Bank on 6 October 2019.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Views of Blues

Some of my favorite Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) shots from the pelagic trip on 6 October 2019.

I love their beautiful mottled patterning:

Two views of the tiny dorsal fin:

Two whales surfacing:

With Point Reyes (and the lighthouse) in the background:


Sunday, October 6, 2019


Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) flukes, photographed on the way back from Cordell Bank on 6 October 2019.  (During the week, I hope to share a few more photos from today's offshore boat trip.  Stay tuned!)

Friday, October 4, 2019

Coastal scenes

A few more coastal scenes from our visit to Cape Cod and the South Shore of Massachusetts:

From Chatham:

From Provincetown (including wild cranberries):

From Humarock: