Friday, July 25, 2014

July 14th - July 20th 2014

Daily Tides

Monday, July 14th
Low Tide: -1.5' @ 8:52 AM

Tuesday, July 15th
Low Tide: -1.2' @ 9:35 AM

Wednesday, July 16th
Low Tide: -0.6' @ 10:20 AM

Thursday, July 17th
Low Tide: 0.0' @ 11:05 AM

Friday, July 18th
Low Tide: 0.8' @ 11:54 AM

Saturday, July 19th
Low Tide: 1.5' @ 12:48 PM

Sunday, July 20th
Low Tide: 2.1' @ 1:48 PM


Notes from the week

Our big news this week comes from the Saddle, where the Black Oystercatchers were seen taking turns warming a pair of eggs. The pair lost their chick earlier in the season, so we're delighted to see that they're giving family life another try. If the eggs hatch, the chicks will be fed by their parents for about a month, and will stay with them for as long as six months.


  A black oystercatcher guards the nest. 
     Photo: Susan Glarum

HRAP staff took advantage of the relatively low tides on Monday and Tuesday to conduct sea star counts.  The data collected will be sent to the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Monitoring Network (MARINe), which is organizing such counts along the West Coast to monitor the effect of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. Like many sites along the West Coast, sea stars at Haystack Rock have been hit hard by this mysterious ailment (check out seastarwasting.org for more information).

The weekend was a busy one: on Friday, we were visited by a group of high school students from the Portland Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization's Upward Bound program. On Saturday, we had our highest visitor count of the week: 183 people exploring the intertidal, visiting the Needles, and using the spotting scopes. That evening was our annual Summer Potluck for staff and volunteers, where we got together to eat burgers, compare baked bean recipes, and learn more about coastal ecology.


Creature Highlights

While this wasn't a week filled with particularly low tides, we still managed to see some less abundant sea slug and crab species, like Leopard sea slugs, Red Rock crabs, a Sharp-nosed crab, and a Granular Claw Crab (pictured below).


                                                     
The Granular Claw Crab. 
Photo: Susan Glarum.  
A close relative of the hermit crab, this "warty little crab" has an unusually fleshy abdomen and grows up to 2 cm long. 

On Wednesday, we found a small White Sea Cucumber on the north side of the rock. This cucumber is common on floating docks as well as in the rocky intertidal. Like many sea cucumbers, the White cucumber will eviscerate itself-- eject its guts-- if handled roughly. This is bad news for the cucumber, but great news for the specialized parasitic snail that lives in its gut cavity, which is now free to infect other cucumber guts.

                                                     
The White Sea Cucumber can grow up to 10 cm long, but is secretive and hard to spot. 
Photo: Susan Glarum.


Birds


  • Black oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani). Seen with two eggs! (See above.)
Intertidal
  • White sea cucumber (Eupentacta quinquesemita) (See above.)
  • Leopard sea slug (Diaulula sandiegensis)
  • Red rock crabs (Cancer productus)
  • Sharp-nosed crab (Scyra acutifrons)
  • Shaggy mouse nudibranchs (Aeolid papillosa)
  • Granular claw crabs (Oedignathus inermis)
  • Decorator crab 
  • Porcelain crab (Petrolisthes eriomerus)
  • chitons
  • Purple sails (Vellela vellela)-- While their bright purple bodies have decomposed, their sails are still present on the beach. See last blog entry for details and pictures.
Mammals
  • Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) pup

References

Elphick, C., Dunning, J., Sibley, D. (eds) The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, 2nd ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

Kozloff, E. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast: An Illustrated Guide to Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, 3rd ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993.

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