Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 22nd, 2014 - Welcome Back HRAP!

Low Tide: 1.4' @ 11:57 AM

Our first day back on the beach in 2014 was sunny and beautiful. Our highest visitor count was 105 people.

Besides the usual sea stars, anemones, and muscles, we found our first nudibranchs of the season. The queen of nudibranchs and staff interpreter, Lisa Habecker, sighted an Opalescent nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis) after searching the tidepools. This species is identifiable by the bright orange projections (cerata) on it's back, colorful yellow-green body, and clear blue line along it's sides. An interesting fact about H. crassicornis include it's ability to incorporate the stinging cells (nematocysts) of hydroids they ingest into their cerata. By the end of the day we had seen 3 of this species.

An Opalescent nudibranch out of the water at low tide

Another notable nudibranch we found was a Rufus Tipped (Acanthodoris nanaimoensis). Identified by its yellow tipped cerata covering a white or gray body, with red tipped antennae-like rhinopores. We found two in the tidepools.

We were briefly visited by a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and we also spotted our Black Oystercatcher (Heamatopus bachmani) parents and fledgeling on the north side of the Rock. Between the needles and Haystack, we spotted a Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) diving amongst the waves.

It was a wonderful first day on the beach and we are looking forward to many more this season. Hope to see you in the intertidal and keep checking back for more sightings!

HRAP staff and volunteers educating visitors about intertidal ecology


1 comment :

  1. What a beautiful day! I was glad to be a part of the first beach day of the season!

    ReplyDelete