About Raven

Amateur naturalist and photographer, professional pilgrim.


This weeks receding tides exposed a bunch of rock crabs whose scurryings about the bottom seemed an analogy to the crusty old guard Republicans who found their pools of stealth and wealth not so secure.

The streaming filament-like stuff in the upper right is actually sand drifting on an incoming current, adding to the crabs complacent camouflage.

Lava bedrock grants hold to all manner and color of life, all slimy to some degree or the other.

Shifting sands… last winter I came across this shipwrecked fishing boat, at that time in a large tidepool completely devoid of sand. There is about 6 feet of wreck below what is visible here, plus an incredible wealth of tide pool life. Return trips here after a couple of winter storms may see interesting changes.


on the rocks

A small freshwater stream enters the tide zone on the Oregon coast.

In a nearby pool, mussels, barnacles and small snails carpet the rocks.

Above them young gooseneck barnacles have gotten a toehold among larger barnacles and the mussels. They are about an inch long. The grass-like fibrous strings are part of the mussels apparatus for affixing themselves to the rocks.

Above it all, oystercatchers survey their realm from the top of the food chain.



A wave hits the rocks cradling one of my favorite tide pools at Cape Perpetua, Oregon.

A pair of sculpins and a hermit crab hang out in the quiet of the pool.

Green anenomes and feather boa kelp dine in the depths.

Another sculpin perfects its camouflage.

Mussels and gooseneck barnacles glean from the retreating tide.

One of the many shelters constructed from driftwood found along the local beaches. It appears to be a form of transitional art, some are very elaborate, and most only last till the next storm.

river motes

Canyon Creek in the Trinity Alps Wilderness of California, a rough and tumble torrent down through bedrock and a jumble of white granite boulders.

Warming up in the sun, this fuzzy fellow dropped by to sample my saltiness.

Finally going under, I found a curious cutthroat trout who became enamored of the bright silver and blue camera, then darted away when it became apparent it was inedible.

The sheer number and variety of butterflies here in northern California still amazes me.

Traveling on, and in, the river has become an adventure sport. Clad in wetsuit (the water is very cool, though not unbearably cold), old tennis shoes, sturdy staff and some nerve, I pick my way through the boulders and the rapids, seeking the deeper pools.

I’ve found the new camera takes pretty good video underwater, and am now plunging into that dimension…

sun day drive

One of my favorite shrubberies, the manzanita grows to heroic proportions here in the coastal ranges of Humboldt Co. Even more intriguing is the tree moss that festoons its sensuous limbs.

Unable to resist a patch of sweet pea in bloom, both I and this pollen gatherer had to stop and sample.

One of the first takes with the new waterproof camera, the hardest part was intentionally immersing it for the first time. A Canon D-20, I’m impressed overall, and it opens up a brave new world…


Butterflies line up to drink in a small pool just off the banks of the South Fork Trinity River, Trinity County, California.

Clear and cool, the river just below Hell Gate campground became a baptismal font for a dusty bird from the desert.

old souls

Slowing down and looking at the subtle forms in the geology, I encountered this sensuous sculpture in the sandstone, and added my own enhancement in the form of a rock for an eye.

Lazing at her feet, my eye missed this acolyte lounging in the afternoon sun till we were eyeball to eyeball.

Further on I found the remains of a previous pilgrim to the shrine…

river run

Early morning on the banks of the Colorado River just below Moab, Utah. Sandbars are the only convenient place to get out and stretch, much of the rivers course is lined with either steep rock walls, or impenetrable tangles of tamarisk (salt cedar), an invasive species introduced as a means of erosion control that has since gotten out of control.

Still early spring, yet an exceptional day with temps in the 70’s and no wind.

Nearing Gold Bar, a popular landing and campsite. The numerous sandbars are ever changing; and the steep sides of larger ones can be hazardous. They can give way unexpectedly into the river and create a significant wave, as I learned. Scared the crap out of me.

At journeys end, above the landing at Potash. From here there is no road access all the way to Lake Powell. River runners depend on jet boats to bring them back upstream. Edward Abbey wrote that he always felt better after getting downstream into the canyon proper; past the potash plant behind this photos vantage point. I’ll spare you folks the sight of that…

arch entity

Hanging out in Moab for a few days, allowing my life to dehumidify. Early morning is a magical time in Arches National Park.

A couple of views of Partition Arch, in the Devil’s Garden area. I’m beginning to take exception at some of the most beautiful, intriguing and gnarly of Nature’s phenomenon being tagged as “the devil’s” this and that. Places that are hard to get to, rough, and unsuitable for development have more opportunities to commune with god than say, for example, ordered and irrigated fields and ostentatious cathedrals.

shifting sands

So ends my sojourn to the Pacific shore as I await the dawn. Paths untraveled yet remain as I wander back to a familiar rutted track, eyes and ears open to see where the Universe leads. Tread lightly, test the stones with each step; and know that the tides will remove all trace of my passing. Accept a gift, give in return; give another, not expecting the same. Treasures found kept small and light, a rock for the pocket, sea’s song for the mind. Memory gems to polish, keep dear; knowledge is strength that drives away fear.

low stress housing

As a solution for the pitiable Wall Street bankers struggling to get by on $350 K a year, here’s an ocean front abode with these amenities:

Unlimited running water, a renewable supply of raw materials to add more space should you need, and no cost landscaping with each frequent storm. Dish washing and laundry, also free of charge, is easily handled twice daily, simply put them at the low tide mark and retrieve them 12 hours later. Insurance bills are a thing of the past! You can’t even get insurance living at the foot of a cliff in a neighborhood prone to landslides and earthquakes. Redecorating is a snap! Brand new previously owned furniture, appliances, utensils, cookware and even clothing is conveniently brought to your doorstep, and you’ll never ever have to shop for flip flops again. Act now, this one won’t last!

Did I mention the pool?

an-otter day at the beach

A cormorant guide was on hand…

Returning to the wreck of a fishing vessel, I was focused on it when anotherĀ  beachcomber swam into view. Very elusive on this part of the coast, I only got this slightly blurry photo before it went back the otter way.

Seagulls swallow starfish alive and whole, taking sushi to another level.

On the rocks in a hard place, the boat was approximately 30 feet in length, there are numerous other pieces of it on the bottom of the tidepool.

In a crevice at the pools edge lays one of the spark plugs from the engine, which somehow ended up around the point about 100 yards away.

A fun day, had a couple of good conversations with other beachcombers. Sat with one fellow for awhile as we sifted for agates and discussed rocks and unemployment, another gentleman came along later, looking for the humming boxes recently dropped off by UFOs here on this stretch of the coast. Told him I hadn’t seen any. “Some people find all the good stuff, eh?” We laughed.

pebble puzzle

Lava flow fingers stretch into the ocean and catch treasures in their webs. In this small pocket are the remains of fish, birds, mammals and molluscs. A few glowing agates too, my only addition to the trove. I did minimal arrangement for the photo, only bringing things in closer to each other.

Having spent an hour or so in the same spot among the rocks, looking at very small things; I looked up to find this dapper Harlequin drake calmly keeping an eye on me.

Corvi-dae Bird Count

Looked around this week for a local Christmas Day Bird Count, but it appears they are not actually on Christmas day, there was one last weekend, and one next. Guess everyone is to busy eating them today. I’d be out, except that it’s very windy and rainy, I’ve gotten spoiled with the beautiful (and apparently unusual) December sunshine and don’t go out in fowl weather. It’s been a lot of fun, birding in a new environment, many new species and lots of familiar friends. Yesterday I found 3 Eurasian Wigeons (ducks) mobbing about with a large resident flock of American wigeons. No good photos yet. This Hooded Merganser is a regular down at the dock. Anyone with any bird tails?

A bufflehead in just the right light to catch the iridescense of its plumage.


An early morning beach hike encountered a flock of surfbirds (their actual name) foraging along the rocks at low tide.

They seemed to be focused on a type of seaworm among the rockweed, and weren’t above going after a neighbor who found one…

Lots of wing stretching, limbering up for the day. A long patient wait among the rocks allowed the flock to come very close, and gave me a chance to get these photos.

quark quark

Black Oystercatchers at Cape Meares NWR, Oregon. Actually feeding mostly on small mussels, they are very adept at dodging the surf as they pick along theĀ  rocks. As we wait for news from Cern about whether or not the elusive “god particle” is spotted wearing sandals and a beard, creation will go on about it’s business of picking amongst the flotsam and jetsam for whatever it needs to spin on.

Another mussel consumer, the surf scoter.

The Watering Hole Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In a Pacific tide pool a well camouflaged sculpin tends its garden of purple sea urchins. An exceptionally calm day allowed me to take this photo from above the waters surface.

BP has filed suit against Halliburton for destroying evidence of its sloppy work that resulted in last years Gulf oil spill. We’ll see what happens.

This is our Daily Open Thread. Your comments on corporate malfeasance, tawdry business practices or the days expected political melodramas are encouraged!