Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Yesterday was such a beautiful day.  We went to our music lessons near Sebastopol and then decided  to drive over to Bodega Bay for lunch at the Tides Restaurant. We were seated right in front of the window which looks out on to the bay.   During lunch I noticed a curious thing.  Every once in awhile I would see the surface of an area of water start to roil.  What was this?  There was no wind and the bay was smooth as glass.  This made the disturbance on the surface of the water very noticeable and unusual- UNTIL- wham up came the head of a shiny black seal.  With the seal came dozens of 6 inch silvery fish flying up into the air.  The fish were trying to escape the jaws of the seal.  Chuck thought they might be anchovies.  It was a sight to see and was repeated numerous times as the seal cruised back and forth in front of our front row seat in the window.  He certainly had a successful fishing day.
After lunch we drove up to Bodega Head State Park.  We parked our van so that we could open the back and lay about in the back and look out at the ocean.  The weather was perfect.  I got out of the van and started looking around for my raven pair that live at the park.  No raven pair in sight.  This was unusual as they are generally cruising the area looking for food.  It was then that we noticed a large lone raven sitting on a pile of dead vegetation on the edge of a cliff.  What was so odd about it was that very near raven was a large group of people whale watching with noisy dogs and kids.  Normally a raven would not hang around this bunch.  But there raven sat.  
We then decided to go for a walk up the cliff path and passed the raven.  From this vantage point I could look at the pile of vegetation where raven was sitting.  We thought as improbable as it might be, that perhaps it was a nest.  But no, it was not a raven nest.  When we came back down from our walk, raven was gone. This gave me an opportunity to go over and look at the spot where raven had been sitting on the vegetation. And there I saw it, the remains of a mature raven.  I moved away from the spot and raven came back and took up the watch.  It appeared that he did not want the seagulls to get to the raven remains.  I talked to a couple who had been at the park the day before.  They said that raven had been sitting there all day that day also.  It was a sad spectacle.
I wondered what this behavior signified.  Was it mourning?  Was it to protect a food source?  When I got home I looked in my numerous books on Corvus corax and could not find a reference to death of a mate.
Perhaps I will gain an understanding of this behavior one day.  For now I can say it was a sad day for raven and for me on Bodega Head.