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This week I finished making the appointments that I will need during our brief stay in the Chicago area in mid-November.

We’ve also dug deeply into our “Hikers Hip Pocket Guide to the Mendocino Coast,” a wonderful book, and found paths that we had not yet visited and small beaches to visit (see Jonathan’s Facebook page for more photos).

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Beachcombing was excellent, as well. I found another abalone shell entangled in a bank of seaweed, a bright orange corner sticking out of a tangled mass. I pulled the seaweed away from the shell in a mighty tug—and found that under the seaweed were a whole bunch of bugs. Ick!!! I rinsed it out with seawater and carried home my prize.

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The deposits inside the shell washed out very well.

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Wednesday was the monthly bird walk hosted by the Mendocino branch of the Audubon Society. Great company and lots of birds, even on an overcast/foggy day at the Botanical Garden.

Mendocino Coast Audubon Society:

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https://i1.wp.com/www.gardenbythesea.org/site/templates/images/mcbg-logo.png

Wednesday afternoon we went looking for the pileated woodpecker on a path between Hwy 1 and McKerricher state park that is marked by a pale green house that is called the “turquoise house”. We saw a couple of wingbeats, but didn’t get a good look.

Jonathan woke me up at 7 am to look at the raccoon on the deck, raising hell with the bird feeders. (He was a very chubby raccoon). He managed to tear apart and eat much of the najjar seed that I had dangling from a branch in a sock-like holder. Yesterday was the first time that the “right” birds visited it–goldfinches that held on to the sock with their feet while pulling out seeds. Now it’s history. The raccoon also managed to dump birdseed out of the “squirrel-protected” feeder onto the deck and settle down for a browse. He left in what Jonathan described as slow-motion. This is definitely in the cute….but…. category.

Thursday we explored for tidepools near Virgin Creek beach north of Ft. Bragg before Jonathan visited the dentist.

On our way home we made a detour to the Caspar Cemetery. This is one of the most beautiful cemetery sites I’ve ever seen. It is a small plot, a bit more than 1/4 acre with tombstones that go back to 1860. The cemetery is completely surrounded by thick forest and is quiet and peaceful–also a good place to look for birds. We saw forest edge birds, chickadees, brown creeper, and perhaps nuthatch. There are crossbills that visit this spot because some of the trees around the cemetery are Sitka spruce. According to Tim, our Audubon group leader, this is one of the southernmost occurrences of Sitka spruce and it’s seeds are  preferred food of the crossbills. We didn’t see them, but the place was very much worth a visit.