Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stars, for starters

"Our" beach, the beach just below the Edgewater motel, on the south end of Campbell River, is the main reason we return to the area every chance we get. It's flat, but stony, seaweedy, slippery, treacherous. No place for swimming or wading, except with extreme caution. But every inch of it is alive.

Because of Laurie's injury, this beach was almost off-limits for us this trip. There's a long staircase down the cliff face; 113 steps, then a scramble across the upper edge of the beach before the walking gets easy. We dared it only once, stayed for a short hour, and climbed back up, stopping for a long rest half-way.

Up top, Laurie went directly to bed; it was too much for his ripped leg, which was bleeding again. We didn't risk a second trip.

And still, in that cautious hour on the beach, we turned up an astounding number of animals. I've just about finished sorting my photos from that morning and there are two dozen worth posting, still needing resizing, etc. And I've still got Laurie's collection to review and mix in.

For now, I've resized only this one; I'll start posting the rest tomorrow.

Starfish pile-up

These are Pisaster ochraceus, which translates as "ochre starfish". In English, they are called either ochre starfish or purple starfish. Orange or purple, they're the same species.


Reminder: Rock Flipping Day is Sunday, September 9th. Instructions, history, etc.


  1. Lovely shot!
    Are you aware of any recent research done on their color variation? I uncovered one study that suggested it was influenced by diet, but I never saw any follow-ups...

  2. I read a few articles about this. The gist of them is, "We don't know." It could possibly be diet (mussels vs. barnacles or snails) (4th paragraph, research study 2) or temperature, or salinity, water motion, genetics, etc. ("Colour Polymorphism ... UBC, 2006").

    Take your pick.

  3. Ah, ecology! "We could answer this question in one of 17 ways and might be right." I love it.

    Thanks for the references!


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