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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Resting on the beach

Sanderling (Calidris alba), 27 July 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

Exploring rocks and pools

Can't tell you how grateful how I am for the presence of River Otters (Lontra canadensis) in the world.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Little floats

Some juvenile Bull Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) has been washing ashore recently (photo above from 27 July 2019).  It made me wonder — What's the smallest Bull Kelp I've photographed?

Here's one from August 2016 that's a fairly similar size to the one pictured above. (Although there's a very small individual that doesn't have a float yet hiding behind Eric's finger.)

And here's one from May 2012 that was growing in a tidepool in Mendocino County.  The float wasn't fully formed yet, and the blades attached to the float hadn't split:

I'll have to keep better track of the young individuals.  What's the smallest Bull Kelp float you've seen?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Clearing fog

It took a while today (27 July 2019), but eventually, in the late afternoon, the coastal fog layer started to clear.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

At the top of the oak

Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus), 25 July 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ladder of color

This morning, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a beautiful spider web in our backyard.  I ran out to take a few photos before leaving for work, but tonight I'm having trouble deciding which photo I like best.  So, here's a spider silk series from 24 July 2019.

The first two images show the same strands, just from slightly (very slightly) different angles.  By comparing them, you can see how small adjustments can change how the colors appear:

The next three images are the same "color ladder" running up the web, but framed differently, with more or less of the web showing around the lit up strands.  See what you think!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Plane to see?

Can you miss something that you've hardly ever seen?  Sometimes I think back to this discovery of a "rafting crab" in 2016.  That's the only time I've seen this species of pelagic crab.  I wonder if I'll ever see another one?

Planes sp., found on a piece of driftwood washed ashore on Salmon Creek Beach in March 2016.

P.S.  See earlier post about this species called "Rafting out at sea" on 9 March 2016.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Anemone art

It was a busy weekend, but here's a Moonglow Sea Anemone (Anthopleura artemisia) from last week (17 July 2019).  I'm slowly working on a collection of photographs showing the amazing color variations in this species.

Friday, July 19, 2019

A visit to the Sea of Tranquility

Happy Anniversary, Apollo 11! 

Thank you for 50 years of inspiration!

Full moon photographed in the eastern sky from Cotati on 16 July 2019.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Mottled like sand

Arrow Goby (Clevelandia ios), Bodega Harbor, 18 July 2019

I was looking for Ghost Shrimp on the tidal flats today and noticed a few Arrow Gobies.  Fun to see them up close!

Their common name describes their long slender bodies (and ios is Greek for "arrow").

Their genus, Clevelandia, was named after Mark Cleveland, a co-founder of the San Diego Society of Natural History.

Arrow Gobies are smallthis one was ~2 inches (6.3 cm) long.  They live in the burrows of other invertebrates, such as Ghost Shrimp (Neotrypaea californiensis), Blue Mud Shrimp (Upogebia pugettensis), and Innkeeper Worms (Urechis caupo).  Check out the beautiful colors and patterns on their eyes and face:


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Waking up with phoronids

I encountered some beautiful phoronids today.  Above is a close-up of Phoronis vancouverensis photographed on 17 July 2019.

And here's a group of individuals highlighting their graceful feeding tentacles:

I've written about phoronids before, but I can't help sharing photos of these wonderful invertebrates. 

For an introduction to (and more photos of) phoronids, you can review these previous posts:

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A few more tips

Black-tipped Spiny Dorid (Acanthodoris rhodoceras), 16 July 2019. We've seen a few individuals of this nudibranch recently, all with this very dark coloration.  Note the two long rhinophores tipped with reddish-brown, and the prominent gill plume (it looks a bit like a flower).  There are also nice gold highlights along the edge of the mantle.  Thanks to Eric for spotting it!

P.S.  Interestingly, when we were seeing this species several years ago (in 2015), most of the individuals we found were much paler.  For an example (with video), see the post called "A few tips" on 6 June 2015.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Pretty cool (or not)

Bands of fog and light on 14 July 2019.

Remember the mussel die-off I posted about on 18 June 2019?  Well, ever since then I've been wondering (and lots of people have been asking) about how unusual the air temperatures were in early June.  

If you live near Bodega Bay or have visited, you know that it is a pretty cool place (literally).  My impression was that the hot temperatures in early June 2019 were rare, and there were other signs pointing to that because there were record-breaking air temperatures throughout the Bay Area for those dates.  But I hadn't seen an analysis of air temperatures at the coast in Bodega Bay.  I've been busy during the last few weeks, but this past weekend I finally had a chance to review some local air temperatures.  I found the results interesting, so I'll share some below.

This is based on air temperature records from the Bodega Marine Laboratory for the last 10 years (20082018).  (Air temperatures vary depending on where they are taken; these are from a sensor adjacent to the Bodega Marine Lab on Bodega Head.)  Note also that these are first-cut calculations, but I think they'll help provide some perspective about air temperatures in Bodega Bay.

Below I'll pose some questions so you can ponder the answers, and then I'll provide the answers after the questions.

(A) In Bodega Bay, during the last 10 years (2008—2018), on how many days did the air temperature reach over 80°F?    Answer: Two.

(B) In Bodega Bay, during the last 10 years, on how many days did the air temperature reach over 75°F?    Answer: Four.

(C) Of the days over 75°F, how many were in April-May-June?    Answer: One.

(D) In Bodega Bay, during the last 10 years, on how many days did the air temperature reach over 70°F?    Answer: Thirty-seven.

(E) Of the days over 70°F, how many were in April-May-June?    Answer: Six.

(F) And of those days over 70°F in April-May-June, how many were in June?    Answer: Zero.

(G) In Bodega Bay, during the last 10 years in April-May-June, how many times has there been a period of at least two consecutive days with air temperatures that reached over 70°F?    Answer: Zero.  The episode on 10-11 June 2019 appears to have been the first time during 20082019.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Offshore fog

Fog bank off of Bodega Head, 13 July 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

Arm's length

Luis spotted a wonderful Coast Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans terrestris) this morning (12 July 2019).

We felt very fortunate to get a close look at this beautiful snake.  

Many thanks to Luis for his sharp eyes and quick hands!

P.S.  You can click on the images for larger versions.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

More red than purple

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) near Salt Point on 6 July 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Yellow highlights

A nice little nudibranch, Ancula gibbosa, photographed at Pinnacle Gulch on 5 July 2019.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Purple olive

Purple Olive Snail (Olivella biplicata), 8 July 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Moon glow

Oh, you know me — I can't get enough of the moon...

...or of Moonglow Sea Anemones (Anthopleura artemisia): 

Both photographs from 4 July 2019.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Perched in the pines

Silhouetted and distant, but it still seemed worth documenting a Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) near Salt Point today (6 July 2019).

I heard one bird, photographed it perched in two different locations, and then it flew off.

P.S.  I first wrote about Red Crossbills in a post called "Nomads" on 9 December 2012, and also shared some photos from Bodega Bay in "Crossed at the tip" on 14 December 2017.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Pools of color

Close-up of a sculpin in a shallow pool, 4 July 2019

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Bodega fireworks

How appropriate that we encountered a wonderful hydroid today (4 July 2019) whose tentacles look just like a fireworks display.

We hadn't seen the polyps of this species before, so I'll share additional details about it in a future post.

For now, we chose a few images to celebrate the holiday.  If you're curious, these hydroids are small the individuals pictured were ~15 mm (0.6 inches) long.  We found them in the low rocky intertidal zone.

Below is a view showing the entire polyps, from the base attached to the rock to the rounded cluster of capitate tentacles at the top.  Meet Hydrocoryne bodegensis, which was originally described from specimens collected on one of the Bodega Harbor jetties.

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Monday, July 1, 2019

Orange through and through

Eric spotted this interesting ribbon worm, or nemertean, on two different days in the field during the last couple of months.  We hadn't noticed this species before, so we took a few photographs for the record.  The individual above is from Bodega Head.

Here's another example from a tidepool on the Big Sur coast:

We had trouble identifying this ribbon worm, so Eric reached out to Svetlana Maslakova at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology.  She identified it as Cephalothrix sp. (possibly in the cryptic species complex Cephalothrix "simula").

Eric filmed the individual from Bodega Head, so we've included a short video clip below.  [If you're reading this via e-mail and don't see the video player, click on the title of the blog post above to see the video on the website.]

It's always fun to add a new species to the Bodega Head marine invertebrate list.

P.S.  Many thanks to Svetlana for sharing her ribbon worm expertise!