I'm back home now, after my too-much-fun visit with friends who also happen to be California drivers (a sub-sub-species of Homo sapiens automobilius). The elections are over at last. I hope that political parties can all get along from now on but I am afraid that hope will prove to be just a pipe-dream.
Reef dwellers lives are complicated each time an outgoing tide exposes them to the intensely different environments of pounding waves, drying wind, heat and UV radiation from the sun, diluted ocean salinity from rain, and a whole new set of predators. Reef dwellers are survivors, shaped by eons of evolutionary change and so able to adapt to adverse conditions. They thrive.
Giant green anemones - sand and shell fragments may stick to the creature making you wonder if it is in fact an anemone. So you tickle it and find out!
We didn't see an octopus.
|Hermit crab (Pagurus samuelis) is the type most often found in Turban and Periwinkle snail shells. Hermits are not true crabs but are more closely related to shrimps.|
|Turban shells and some other shore detritus |
(scaled worm shell on left is actually the shell of a type of snail)
We identified keyhole limpets and dunce cap limpets. We saw woody or mossy chiton and lined chiton.
We saw blue California mussels in colonies. I picked up a fragment of a Purple urchin shell.
We identified communities of barnacles: volcano-shaped acorn in colonies (when underwater or a wave washing over, they reach out with feathery barbed legs to strain out plankton and absorb oxygen) found from the Aleutian Islands to Mexico; brown buckshot - tiny and abundant and also found from Alaska to San Diego; white-tipped Goose.
Cathy saw Lined Shore crabs in the high tide zone; I spotted the remnant of a purple shore crab.
We saw some small fish in pools but were unable to identify them. I discovered an amazing fact about the fish: Tide pool fish have strong homing tendencies, almost always returning to a home pool as the tide drops. Did anyone else know this?
|Pink and purple algae|
|Pink and purple algae, sponge weed|
And of course there were the birds...
|Brown pelicans soar overhead|
|Some kind of Dowitcher (probably short-billed)|
|Gulls hanging out|
The day just happened to be John's birthday. What a special place to spend the afternoon with friends!