Today I came across some very large By-the-wind Sailors (Velella velella) washing ashore on the beach.
Most of these individuals were 7-8 cm (~3 inches) across at the base of the float — see next photo. [With the mantle extended (the dark blue portion), they measured 10 cm (~4 inches) across.]
Although I submitted a 3-part series about Velella in March, I'm posting these pictures now because it's somewhat unusual to see Velella during the summer...and because I haven't seen Velella this large on Bodega Head in a long time (I think it's been years!).
The local ocean water is extremely warm right now — 62°F (16.7°C). Perhaps there's a different water mass nearby that's brought a population of Velella near shore at an unusual time of year?
It'll be interesting to see if anything else unusual shows up with this warm ocean water.
P.S. For more information about Velella velella, see previous posts: December surprise (2012) and Below the water line (2014).