Monday, June 6, 2016


We recently decided to take a break from regular life and go up and visit the redwoods in Mendocino County.  On arriving at our destination, I found a RAVEN feather as soon as I exited the car!  Wow- I knew this would be a wonderful visit.
There are ravens wherever you go up along the Mendocino coast.  They are flying from the redwood trees down to the beach and back.  Quite a display BUT the most incredible display of ravens was found just outside of Point Arena at the Garcia Indian Casino.
We decided to take a ride to the casino for a lark and I wanted a coca cola.  It is located on a bluff above a beautiful valley.  It is a tiny casino and I decided to pay my respects by playing $5.00 in the penny slot machine.  After a considerable time I had a balance of $5.04 on my account. So I decided to cash in- I was up 4 cents and I got a free coke.  So we decided to depart.
On going outside we were met with the most incredible raven sight ever!  There must have been over 100 ravens flying around in the sky overhead.  They were flying this way and that in a clump, then would split off and come back together.  Many were flying in pairs.  The pairs were doing aerial displays, flying, twisting, flying upside down, spiraling down toward the ground.  The Blue Angels have nothing on these guys.  It was an incredible display of flying power!
Sometimes a great group would land in the meadow and all raven stomp around looking for something and then they would all take to the sky again.  We stayed in our spot in the parking lot for 45 minutes watching as the ravens had a great time.  I have never seen so many ravens in one spot in all my life.  I have seen many mated pairs along the coast and in the trees near our abode.  But this was a conclave of juveniles all having a good time and perhaps selecting mates.  Many were flying in pairs and doing the most incredible aerial displays.  Wow- it was the sight of a lifetime.
What was amazing to me was that people were coming and going in the parking lot and not one lifted their eyes to the sky to see this wonderful display of nature.  It was sad really.
On the home front- I hear raven most days.  He is flying high over our house and sometimes lands in the trees along Redwood Creek.  Redwood Creek is right next to the house next door.  For this reason we see a lot of birds that like water for a habitat.  I put two chicken eggs out every day and some peanuts in the shell hoping to attract raven.  The eggs and peanuts disappear every day.  I do not know what is getting them but there are no egg shells left behind.  If it were a crow there would be shells left behind since they cannot pick up the egg and fly off like raven can.  We have many creatures around so something is having a good lunch.  Unfortunately for me, the deer are eating my hydrangea plants and nibbling at the camellias, so creatures are happy with the food supply.  We also have a bee hive in the redwood tree.  The tree has a split at the top and the arborist says we need to put a brace with screws to hold the split together.  So we need to get the bees removed.  We had a swarm from that hive last May.  A beekeeper was very happy to come and get it because it was only 9 feet above the ground, over the sidewalk and under the street light.  How convenient was that?  He parked his pickup under the hive, got on a ladder and at dusk he clipped the branch holding the swarm and it fell right into a cardboard box!  I do not think we will be so lucky with this bee removal job.  It has to be done so that the tree guys can get up into the tree.  We will call the beekeeper again and see what he recommends.
So life goes in Napa Valley.  I get reports of Bold and Shy up there on Mt. Veeder- 9 miles up the road.  They are doing fine, poking in people's compost piles, getting treats from others.
I read an article in the Audubon magazine the other day about crow funerals.  It was noted that crows hold what appears to be a funeral.  They gather where a fellow crow has died.  This confirmed my impression of the raven I encountered  at Bodega Bay that was standing over the remains of its mate.  It had been standing there for most of three days as told to me by observers of wildlife there at Bodega Head.  Humans are not the only ones that miss their departed mates/friends. And so I end on that note, thinking of our friend Dick that we lost in the past year.  Enjoy life as you can as it appears to be fleeting- go watch some wildlife!

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