Not really sure if the ID can be resolved here, but whatever, this was a pretty neat find. This tiny fish was about 1 cm and found swimming in a very warm, very shallow puddle in a road rut that was filling with water at high tide. Not a sanddab, as I'd first guessed, since that's a lefteye flounder and this is clearly a righteye.
Couple of these in the same warm puddle as the snails and the flounder.
This is like the junco or Yellow-rumped Warbler of dragonflies.
We saw hundreds if not thousands of these in a road rut serving as a high intertidal mud puddle. Light's Manual says, "Populations in the San Francisco Bay are endangered; they now live in high intertidal marshes, having been displaced by Ilyanassa obsoleta." Similarly Cohen and Carlton (1995) write, "The introduced Atlantic snail Ilyanassa obsoleta now occupies the Bay mudflat areas formerly occupied by the native snail Cerithidea californica. Each spring the two populations of these snails collide, and by mid-summer the exotic Ilyanassa restricts the native Cerithidea to high-marsh salt pannes (an environment too high in salinity for Ilyanassa and thus providing a habitat refuge for Cerithidea) through egg-string predation and direct competitive interference." This population seemed to be booming, but as they described, it was right a the high tide line, and the pool was very warm and probably very salty.
There was a bunch of eelgrass washed up on the beach, almost certainly from the bed on the north side of the highway right where the Bay Bridge meets land. You can actually see the bed in the 2014 Google Maps imagery. There's also a good map in this 2004 eelgrass inventory by CalTrans and NOAA.
These two guys were fishing out at the end of the radio road, and they had a cooler full of leopard sharks. The chatty one said they ate them, but that cleaning them was a pain, involving boiling off the skin, thinly filleting the flesh, and grilling it with butter. He said he didn't know how to do it, but his parents did. He also said they eat bat rays, even though most people through them back. He said people also catch 7- or 9-gilled shark there (he couldn't remember which), and that fishermen didn't like them b/c they were mean.
Coats the marsh under the grindelia and between the pickle weed
Nice to see this native thriving in a relatively invaded spot.
Sitting by boring gulls.
Lots of yoys out.
I always think of late summer and fall in the Bay Area as being like February back east: dead, dormant, quiet. But, like temperate winter, Mediterranean fall has vibrancy if you know how to look. Coyotebrush is in full bloom right now, and while it looks barely less humble than it does without flowers, it rewards closer inspection. Bolster that beauty with the fact that this hardy native lies at the heart of many of our coastal chaparral ecosystems, that it hosts scads of native insects, and that it seems persist against the odds in places like abandoned gas stations and trashed salt marshes, and you've got a seriously amazing plant.