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Sunday, August 20, 2017

White wing flashes

South Polar Skua (Stercorarius maccormicki) near Cordell Bank, 20 August 2017 

For a little more information about skuas, check out the post called "Pirates and marauders" from 31 October 2012.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Baird's x 3

We had some nice view of Baird's Sandpipers (Calidris bairdii) on Salmon Creek Beach tonight (17 August 2017).

They appeared to be feeding on amphipods along the upper beach:

There were at least three Baird's Sandpipers, often in view together:

It's always nice to see this species.  For some (better) photos and a little more information about Baird's Sandpipers, see the post called "Long wings and feathers like scales" on 22 August 2016.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Holding on

A young Sierran Treefrog (Pseudacris sierra) holding on to a bur-reed leaf in Bodega Bay on 16 August 2017.

P.S.  You might know this species as a Pacific Treefrog or Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla), but there have been some taxonomic changes during the last few years.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Buteo above

Sometimes when the news is getting you down, it's nice to look up.  

In the face of such sadness, I'm thankful to the natural world for strength, inspiration, and hope. 

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Bodega Head, 12 August 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bands of light

Well, I didn't have a chance to take any pictures today, but here are a couple more spider silk photos from yesterday.  Sometimes it's fun to think about what the color combinations remind you of:


Sunday, August 13, 2017

The thread continues

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I might not be sharing photographs of spider web threads for a while (see "Shifting sun" post from 31 July 2017).  However, I searched a different spot in the backyard this morning and I found a nice orb web with the sun hitting it just right in a few places.

I continue to puzzle over these dramatic colors.  And I've been wonderingas the angle of the sun shifts with the seasons, will the colors in the spider web strands change? 

Perhaps not, but it will be fun to explore.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Deep-sea highlights

It was hard to choose among the many photos from the E/V Nautilus dive at Bodega Canyon yesterday (11 August 2017).  Here are a few of our favorite screenshots.  [Click on the images for larger versions.]

Crinoid, or feather star, probably Florometra serratissima

Deep-sea nudibranch, Tritonia tetraquetra

Although Tritonia seems to have been the most common nudibranch species observed on these dives, a few other species have appeared.  

Finding the nudibranch in the next image is harder.  The ROV was focused on the primnoid coral (see white branches at right side of photo) covered by beige and yellow zoanthids (the dominant animals in the image).  But look for the small white nudibranch in the upper left corner! 

[In case you're wondering, zoanthids are cnidarians with features similar to corals and anemones, but they don't have hard skeletons and their tentacle arrangement is different from most anemones.]

The views of deep-sea bamboo corals were spectacular:

Bamboo corals are in the family Isididae.  I'm just learning about these corals, but I think the individuals pictured here might be in the genus Keratoisis.  Although bamboo corals are named after their beautiful skeletons with a banding pattern similar to bamboos, it was fun to see these living corals, with their dense peach-colored polyps:

The next coral species is Isidella tentacula.  The "tentacula" part of the name comes from their distinctive 'sweeper tentacles.'  Look for them at the base of coral:

Here's a close-up of the sweeper tentacles near the holdfast of the coral (see below).  It's thought that these tentacles are defensive, containing concentrations of stinging nematocysts.

Many thanks again to the E/V Nautilus crew for sharing these wonderful deep-sea communities with us.  It's been a gift to join you in exploring Bodega Canyon!

P.S.  We hope you get in at least one more dive before you head north.  And if you happen to see this post, we'd love a few more close-up views of a stalked crinoid (sea lily).  :)