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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Color in winter

How lucky we are that Townsend's Warblers overwinter on Bodega Head.  It's always nice to see them — small, bright flashes of intense yellow among the Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis).

This may seem random, but the bright coloration reminded me of a couple of other animals I saw this past weekend.

Young male Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii) in the shrubs below Diekmann's Store in Bodega Bay on 12 January 2013.  (It was first reported there on 11 January 2013).  It's rare for Bullock's Orioles to winter here.

I liked the deep orange patches on the plates of this chiton.  It might be Mopalia ciliata, but I'm not certain.  Microscopic examination is required to confirm the identity of most species in this genus.  But it's still easy to appreciate the colors on its plates (including the narrow, jagged brown and green stripes) and the lavender girdle (the fleshy portion encircling the chiton).

[If you look around the photo, you may find a few other animals: a snail (Nucella ostrina), barnacles, and tiny spirorbid tube worms (upper right corner).  And if you're really careful, perhaps you'll discover a nemertean or ribbon worm — it's tough to see, but look to the left of the chiton; the ribbon worm is long, slender, and silvery gray.  More about them in future posts!]

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