|People and boats in the distance, on Centennial Beach. Looking north towards downtown Burnaby.|
Everywhere we looked, last Saturday, the beach was crowded with people, far in the distance to the north, south and east, some in the water, but most on the sand.
Humans weren't the only ones congregating in crowds. Here's another of those anchor buckets:
|Hermits and snails, mostly. There's a fish hiding under the rope.|
On the upper levels of the beach, most of these mud snail shells contain mud snails. Here, at mid-tide level, where rocks are few and the sand is clean, almost any snail I pick up turns out to be a hermit. They didn't find their shells here; the hermit shopping mall is quite a hike for a little critter. But they're fast, and determined.
If you look closely at these shells, you can distinguish several hermits by their visible big pincer and the "V" of eyestalks. Others only show up as a pair of hair-thin dotted lines; the antennae of Hairy hermits, Pagurus hirsutiusculus. (You might want to click on this to see it full size to find these, or go to Flickr and click on Full screen.) And see if you can find the little green hermit out of his shell, probably recently molted. His abdomen, usually hidden, is reddish purple, and curls in a tight spiral.
On the far right, there's a slipper snail on a slipper snail, on a hermit.
And over to the left, on the rusty upper lip of the bucket, a couple of hermits are wearing periwinkle shells. These are fairly rare on this beach, and only to be found in the upper intertidal zone. These hermits will walk a long way for a stylish outfit!
When the tide comes in, the hermits will leave their cozy bucket and scatter over the sand, looking for supper. And maybe the naked one will start the long hike back to shore for a new shell.