A group of oystercatchers feeding in the tidepools.
The bird on the right.
The bird on the left.
This sea star may be Dwarf Mottled Henricia. We found a few of these tiny sea stars, all bright orange and most somewhat mottled, all about 1" across. This was a bit smaller. They were found during a minus tide clinging to rocks, hidden in holes in rocks, and this one was attached to a California Mussel. We found six other species of sea stars in this area.
This Urticina coriacea or Stubby Rose Anemone was gorgeous with its shades of pink in a tide pool during the minus tide this morning at Salt Creek. It was about 3" across. Later I found a few more on rocks above the water, and their bodies were covered in specks of rock and shell, typical for this species. I'd never seen them before.
Hundreds of Tidepool Sculpins were swimming and hiding in tide pools at Salt Creek today during the minus tide. Most are about 2" long, and this one was larger, about 4" long. Their colors are lovely shades of green, gray, beige, black, white, and they blend well with the intertidal zone.
There were hundreds of Purple Sea Urchins visible in tide pools and in the intertidal zone during the minus tide today at Salt Creek. Most are about 2" across with bright purple spines. In my opinion, there were far more than last year or the year before, and I wondered if it has anything to do with Wasted Sea Star Syndrome decimating the predatory sea stars.
Amidst hundreds of Purple Sea Urchins and dozens of Green Sea Urchins were a few Strongylocentrotus franciscanus or Red Sea Urchins, the most dazzling of all the urchins. This one has the typical long brilliant red spines. The Red Sea Urchin is much larger than the others, up to about 4" across.
There were a few dozen Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis or Green Sea Urchins visible at the minus tide at Salt Creek today, as well as a few tests from departed urchins. They are typically about 2" across.
I was thrilled to find a Solaster dawsoni or Morning Sun Star today at Salt Creek during the minus tide. This had 13 arms, was about a foot across, and was lying atop a bed of California Mussels.
This beautiful Pycnopodia helianthoides or Sunflower Sea Star was the only one we found today, when we saw six species of sea stars at the minus tide at Salt Creek. This one appeared healthy (during this time of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome), about 12" across, on a bed of California Mussels.
The Gooseneck Barnacle (on this site Goose Barnacle) is a gorgeous barnacle, especially in groups on rocks. Thousands were visible during the minus tide at Salt Creek. They aren't found farther east in the Puget Sound, as they seem to like stronger wave action.
Good to see about 20 large and six or seven tiny Pisaster ochraceus or Ochre Sea Stars today during the minus tide at Salt Creek. They all (except for one) appeared healthy during this time of Wasted Sea Star Syndrome. The large ones, about 10-12" across, looked very pudgy and healthy. Most were a shade of purple, with two bright orange.
Could this be the pincer of a Pagurus samuelis or Blueband hermit crab? It was a live pincer but inside a hole in a rock, not inside a shell. We saw it moving. The pincer has beautiful bright blue untidy spots, and it was less than an inch long. We couldn't see the rest of the crab.
This Evasterias troschelii or Mottled Star was the only one we found today during the minus tide at Salt Creek. It was about 6" across. I wondered whether the white patch may have to do with Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, although the examples I've seen look different from this.
Lots of Mazzaella parksii on the rocks during the minus tide at Salt Creek. This seaweed is known as Yellow Seaweed, and it looks a bit like a small and scrubby Rockweed, about 1" tall.
It was fun to find a Leptasterias aequalis or Six-armed Star during the minus tide, when we found six species of sea stars at Salt Point. This beige star was about 4" across, and you can see it among Purple Sea Urchins in the photo.
This small chiton, almost an inch long, might be Lepidozona retiporosa or Little Lepidozona. It was attached to a rock in the intertidal zone at Salt Creek, visible during a minus tide. There were thousands of Black Leather Chitons, aka Katy Chitons on the rocks, and a few Mossy Chitons and Lined Chitons.
This Laminaria setchellii or Split Kelp was under water at the edges of the point when we walked out on the rocks during the minus tide. The stems are strong, adhering to rocks, and about a foot long, and the fronds can be a few feet long. I couldn't get close enough to examine them, but those I've seen on the beach are clearly deserving of the name "split kelp," as they are split down the middle.
Many rocks are covered in Hedophyllum sessile or Sea Cabbage that is visible during the minus tide in the intertidal zone at Salt Creek. It's a strong, tough seaweed with lots of holes and frills, a good name of Sea Cabbage!
Lots of Halosaccion glandiforme or Sea Sacs (Sea Sacks on this site) growing on the rocks in the intertidal zone at Salt Creek, visible during the minus tide. The sacs are about 1" to 2" long.