Dark and light.
Polka dots and arrow heads.
|But they both have white bellies. So there's that.|
Gull and sandpiper, at Shelter Point. Tweet
Nature notes and photos from wanderings in BC, Canada, mostly in the Lower Fraser Valley, Bella Coola, and Vancouver Island.
When it takes all day to walk six inches, location becomes very important; you can't just up and leave if something's not right. This is maybe why plumose anemones congregate on the bottom of floating docks; the water is always at the same depth, the light is never too bright, there's always a current, as the tide rises and falls. No worries.
My plumose anemone made the mistake of parking on a clamshell on the sand near the low tide mark. And therefore, she* got harvested, and came to live in my tank. Where I try to keep her happy. I keep the water clean and cold, the pump and the bubbler running, the salinity level constant. I feed her shrimp pellets, which she seems to like.
|Short plumose anemone, Metridium senile, as she was when she moved in.|
|Metty, shut down, and fighting back.|
NOTE apparently, holding the anemone upside-down out of water causes it to extrude its acontia, which then hang down by gravity and can be measured. (From A Snail's Odyssey)
The filaments are endowed with highly potent nematocysts, are ciliated, and can crawl about on the anemone’s surface. (ASO)
|Still sulking, but the acontia are gone, and she's starting to open her mouth.|
|5 minutes later, she's decided to forgive me. Memories are short, and the pump is running.|
|Hiding behind the seaweeds. She's a little over 3 inches tall here, taller than she was six months ago.|
The last warm rays of afternoon sun at the marina:
|Reflections, with harbour seal, on his way down.|
|Squiggles and boats, but the seal is gone.|
The temperature is hovering around freezing; frost on the grass only thaws in direct sunlight. Spiders and beetles have gone into hiding. There are no flies to eat, anyhow.
And now, a tribe of tiny, fragile moths have come out to play in the cold. I found four on one window yesterday, not sleeping; when I touched them, they flew away.
A few days ago, I caught a slower-moving one.
|Bruce spanworm moth, Operophtera bruceata. ID'd by the line of single dots at the edge of the wing.|
Killdeer always look worried. Even in winter, when there are no nests to protect. Even on beaches loaded with goodies to eat. Even when that horrible photographer is keeping her distance and not moving.
|One killdeer, Oyster Bay|
It gets dark early these days, here at the 50th parallel north. Driving home this afternoon, I had to stop near Oyster Bay to look at the moon. It was only a few minutes after 5 o'clock. Sunset was at 4:27 PM.
|Taken with the little pocket Sony, using the car as tripod.|
A few weeks ago, searching for spiders for Arachtober, when we post a spider a day to the Flickr pool, I found a pretty, chocolatey cobweb spider under a brick, and brought her inside. I put her in a glass box, and she quickly made herself at home, building a messy web in the corner, and settling in to wait for sowbugs, her favourite food. I'd removed the brick, so I let her stay in the box, and have been providing her with groceries.
Two weeks ago, I found her busy making a blanket for a batch of eggs.
|Steatoda bipunctata, with egg case.|
|Egg mass against the window and blue sky.|
On a chilly afternoon, on Oyster Bay shores:
|Even the ocean is becalmed.|
|Barnacles and frost on a log|
|Frost and stonecrop|
Moon jelly, tossed up by the tide on Oyster Bay beach:
|Aurelia labiata. The purple gonads identify this as a male.|
The northernmost form, ranging from Puget Sound, Washington, to Prince William Sound, Alaska, have a pyramidal manubrium. .... The bells are peach or whitish, male gonads are dark purple, and female gonads pale brown. (From AnimalDiversity.org)
Individuals of this species from cold waters can survive being frozen solid in ice. (From WallaWalla.edu)
From Campbell River to the south, the highway winds along a coastal plain, dotted with farms, towns, resorts, and light industry. To the north and the west, the situation changes. A terrain map shows what my Mom called an upside-down tableland; many tables, all with their legs in the air.
|Google maps: terrain, mid-section of northern Vancouver Island. Campbell River is just off the map, to the lower right.|
"Port Hardy (population: 4,000) is the last bastion of civilization in the remote and wild north end of Vancouver Island." (Yes, they actually said that. Here.)
|Old BC Ferries' ramp supports. High tides reach to the top of the exposed metal.|
|View from the end of the road, towards Mt. H'kusam. With marina, and several rusting hulks.|
|Empty limpet shell.|
|An unusual pattern. This one's alive, and holding on tight.|
|Limpet on a stone.|
|Row of mask limpets (Tectura persona) on a rock. With two slipper snails, and another, possibly a ribbed limpet. Lottia digitalis. I had to move a rock to get at these.|
|The tide is low; at high tide, only the floating blades will be seen.|
|Keeping a few metres shy of the rocky shore. The water's pink, looking south, towards the setting sun.|
|From the old BC Ferries' dock, looking north. "My" tiny beach is in the shelter of that big rock on the left. Bare rock marks the high tide line. I was actually trying to take a photo of a loon, who, of course, dived just as I pressed the shutter. There's an eagle on one of the trees, though.|
I drove up to Kelsey Bay, 75 km north of Campbell River, following a winding road off the highway, through Sayward village (pop. 400) and on until I came to a dead end at a small, rocky, dark beach, slippery with rockweed and shreds of kelp, splashed with wind-driven waves. There, I went looking for critters, tripped and ended up in the water, froze my fingers until I couldn't feel the camera buttons, and then found the only local coffee shop closed. An interesting afternoon; a good day!
|Broken, empty green sea urchin, still retaining most of its spines.|
|Fragment of the shell, from the inside.|
I looked out the window. The sun was shining brightly from a blue and white sky. I walked down a hallway, and out into a grey mist, drove a few blocks, and dashed from the car to the museum door in a pouring rainstorm; my jacket left a puddle on the floor under the coat hook.
"Typical Campbell River weather," someone said. Nothing unusual about it.
|All glittery. Warm sun; a "lazy"* wind.|
If you find yourself in the unfavourable situation of being in Campbell River and a southeasterly is already in progress, do not attempt to leave the harbour. (Desolation Sound Yacht Charters)
|Cape Mudge, the southernmost tip of Quadra Island. Cormorants on a graffiti'd rock, scoters floating beyond them.|
" ... in 1792. On sailing past Quadra Island, Captain Vancouver wrote in his journal “Numberless mer-maidens, enjoying the season, were playing about the ship in every direction.” This was corroborated by Captain Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra who wrote that many of his fiery blooded Spanish sailors were so enthralled by the sight, that they willing threw themselves into the sea with the purpose of cavorting with these maidens, only to drown in the whirling waters." (From Catherine's Corner: Captain Vancouver)
I'm flabbergasted. I've never seen this behaviour before.
Spiders are predators, right? They eat insects, other spiders, even birds, if they're big enough. They don't eat fruit. So what was this one doing with papaya?
|Young male philodromus dispar. Apparently eating papaya.|
The spider is about 5mm long; it feeds on flies and other insects. It does not build a web, but hunts its prey by remaining stationary in ambush and awaiting prey to come near it. (Wikipedia)
Adult male crab spiders hardly eat at all. They live mostly on energy from food they captured before maturity. Finding and guarding females can take a lot of effort, though, and some recent studies have found that male crab spiders sometimes dip into flowers and drink nectar, which would provide considerable energy without the extended effort of capturing prey.
Simon Pollard and fellow researchers propose in the journal Animal Behavior that
nectar may also provide male spiders with much-needed liquid. All spiders drink rainwater and dew to replace the body fluids they lose through evaporation. But males lose water faster than females because of their relative size, and they do not gain liquids from consuming insects as females do.
(From Charlotte without a Web)
Because I like the patterns:
|Rushes growing in Echo Lake, Hwy 28|
Menzies Bay, Seymour Narrows.
|Looking northeast, towards Ripple Rock.|
The explosion took place at 9:31:02 am on 5 April 1958. 635,000 metric tons of rock and water were displaced by the explosion, spewing debris at least 300 metres in the air which fell on land on either side of the narrows. The blast increased the clearing at low tide to about 14 metres (45 feet). (Wikipedia)
My critters and I have been in Campbell River a month now, so yesterday, when I changed the water and cleaned the tank, I did a quick inventory to see how well they have coped with the stress of the move.
|"Doing just fine, thanks!"|
I stopped for coffee in a beach shack with a plank and plywood lean-to for shelter from the weather. In spite of the sunshine, the wind was chilly, and there was a roaring fire in an airtight stove in the lean-to; every seat was taken. I took my coffee and walked down the shore, scrambling over piles of driftwood and rolling stones, holding a camera and a hot coffee cup.
|Loose rocks, with tiny snails that I tried not to step on.|
|And there are snails here, too. Click for the full size view.|
|Critter art. A sunrise over the water and hills, carved by mining beetles.|
|Green-eyed monster, trapped in a log jam.|
Under the firs, where the moss thins out over rocks, lichens take over. These two were sharing a small pile of stones.
|Pixie cup Cladonia. A few have red fruiting bodies on the rim of the cup.|
|One of the reindeer lichens. I increased the contrast, to make it stand out from the bright mosses and pixie cups around it.|
|Zooming in to show the red fruiting bodies on the tips of the branches.|
I give up. I've pored through websites and books until my eyes gave out, and I'm no closer to identifying my mushrooms than I was when I took the photos. There are too many choices, too many look-alikes, too many "needs microscopic examination" descriptions, too many missing details, because I didn't want to disturb their environment by digging them out, turning them over, breaking them off. They didn't see me coming; they didn't notice when I left.
It doesn't matter. What, to me, is important about these mushrooms is that they are beautiful. So here's the lot. (For size, compare the bits of moss and the evergreen needles, about 1 to 1.5 inches long.)
|Very small, gilled mushrooms, growing on mossy rocks under Douglas fir.|
|This one's cap has the texture of an orange peel. With haircap moss.|
|Definitely pink, and moist. The green branches are another moss.|
|A deeply textured cap. The cone behind it is Douglas fir.|
|A slightly larger 'shroom, with gills and a stem ring. And two kinds of moss.|
|These are so perfect and delicate, that I didn't even want to breathe deeply near them.|
|A group of larger mushrooms, pushing their way up through the moss blanket.|
|Interesting patterns on another emerging mushroom.|
|And a couple of tiny flies. The flies seem to like these moister mushrooms.|
|The young ones have a round, smooth cap, and that furrowed stem, (bottom right), but as they age they twist and contort until they barely look like mushrooms at all. (upper left)|