Sunday, April 13, 2008

Walking on water

On the first really warm day of the year, every last resident of the BC lower mainland goes to the beach. Taking the dog, if there is one.

We're not immune to the bug. We ended up on Crescent Beach and lined up to park with all the others. The water was full of white sails, the dog section of the beach with people tossing sticks. Out on Blackie Spit, wheelchairs followed the main path and kids flew kites on the beach itself. There were no birds but one lone seagull and a quarrel of crows in the scrub bush. The rest had made themselves scarce.

We escaped the crowds only by skirting the salt marsh.

The footpath threads between a flat mud surface hidden by a mix of saltgrass, pickleweed, and sea arrow-grass, with scatterings of sea lettuce and rockweed, left by occasional very high tides. The odd crab shell lies tangled in the grasses, even on the higher parts of the marsh.

On the shore of the slough, with our backs to the marsh.

A couple of large puddles attracted our attention, and we went to look at them, walking carefully so as not to sink in the mud.

The water was about an inch deep over a brownish scum, scattered with bits of weed. Not much to see, at least with the naked eye.

I was about to turn away when I saw a white blob on a blade of drowned grass.

I don't know what it is. White, somewhat bubbly, with a paler rim. Maybe a quarter inch lengthwise.

Tiny midges flew over the water surface. While I watched them, a water strider scooted out from the shadows.

Only one? That's all I saw at the time. But, zooming in, look:

One waterstrider, but a bunch of tiny, tiny water walkers. Baby striders? Or something different? What do you think?

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