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Monday, October 16, 2017

Breaking the surface

A few more dolphin photos to help you get through your week:


Pacific White-sided Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) near Cordell Bank (~27 miles offshore) on 15 October 2017.

Many thanks to Rick and Owen of the New Sea Angler for hosting the Redwood Regional Ornithological Society boat trip.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dolphin leap

Pacific White-sided Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) photographed near Cordell Bank on 15 October 2017.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Up at 1 a.m. for a fire update and a check on evacuation status, and noticed the moon rising on the eastern horizon:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Smoky sunrise

Smoky sunrise from Cotati on 10 October 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fire and smoke

I'm so sorry for everyone affected by the fires in the North Bay today.  The damage to people's homes and hearts has been devastating.

Recently I've been reading a book about volcanoes.  The book describes how the smoke and soot from large volcanic eruptions affects the atmosphere and light levels and air temperatures.  I haven't been around an intense volcanic eruption, so it's hard for me to imagine what it feels like.  But the fires and smoke and ash in Sonoma County on 9 October 2017 made me wonder if some of the conditions we experienced today were similar.

Everything felt strange and unfamiliar and scarythe dim light throughout the day...the ash and leaves falling from the sky...the color of the sun, both in the sky and its reflection in the water.

Here are three quick photos for the record.

An example of a burnt and blistered oak leaf that had fallen into our front yard in Cotati (taken ~8 a.m.):

The fiery mid-morning sun (taken ~10 a.m.):

Unusual golden reflections of the sun in an ocean wave (taken ~3 p.m.):

I hope the winds will be favorable for the firefighters tonight.  

Please stay safe.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

We just returned from a trip to New England to visit with family...so I'm wondering, what did I miss while I was away?

Looking at the ocean temperatures that recently dipped to ~11°C (~52°F), I'm guessing there were some strong winds during the past week?

Following up on an earlier poston 2 October 2017 I posted some photos of a large flock of Tree Swallows in Massachusetts.  If you read that post and wondered how many birds were in the last photo, I decided to count them tonight.  Here's the photo again:

Earlier I had done a rough count (by 10s) and estimated that there were somewhere between 300-400 swallows in the photo above.  Tonight I carefully counted every individual I could see and came up with...398.  This was just a small portion of the entire flock.

And back in California, here are a couple of photos from Cotati that I hadn't had a chance to share yet:

This bee was visiting a sunflower in our yard on 2 September 2017.  As you might remember, I'm slowly learning about our local bee species.  I knew that I hadn't photographed this species before.  The yellow "underbelly" really stood out.  Because I wasn't sure which species it was, I did a quick Internet search for something like "bee with yellow under the abdomen" and was quickly pointed to leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.).

Unlike many other bees that carry pollen on their legs, leafcutter bees are known for carrying pollen on the underside of the abdomen:

P.S.  Fun fact: The genus, Megachile, means "large lipped."  It refers to the large mandibles in this group of bees that are used for cutting pieces of leaves or petals to bring back to their nests.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon, photographed from Orleans, Massachusetts, on 5 October 2017