Thursday, May 19, 2016

Shoulda, coulda, didn't

It's a mistake to be too easily satisfied, too quickly beguiled by the obvious. Flipping rocks at low tide, there's a tendency to say, "Look, a clingfish! Look, a pretty anemone, an angry crab!", to take a few photos and go on to the next rock without stopping to really pay attention.

And so doing, I miss out.

At least in some of my photos, taken with a wide enough view, and with a minimum of hand shake, zooming in back at home, I can discover many of the beauties I should have seen in situ.

This was supposed to be a photo of the rose anemone.

Busy scene.

Once I zoomed in, look at what I found:

You may want to click on this and enlarge it.

There's a juvenile wolf eel in there. And I had never seen one before; I wish I had noticed it while I was on the beach.

Another one; this was supposed to be a photo of the clingfish. But there's a complete brittle star, out in the open; I missed it live.

Two starfish, orange and purple, two large snails, several tiny ones, a kelp crab, two grainy hand hermits, pieces of gorgonian, pink and purple encrusting stuff, a long calcareous tubeworm, baby sea urchins, an adult sea urchin, spiral tubeworms, assorted polychaete worms, and the brittle star. Oh, and the clingfish.

About those baby sea urchins; really tiny sea urchins, barely visible in this photo, even at full zoom.

There are at least 5 sea urchin babies here, besides the medium-sized juvenile. I've saturated the red stuff, so as to highlight the pale pinhead urchins.

A purple sea urchin may live up to 70 years. The green sea urchin, a bit smaller than the purple, and more short-lived, grows about 1/2 inch per year. I found both of these, green and purple urchins, on this visit to the beach. A scuba diver told me he's seen thelarger red sea urchins here in the subtidal zone; they grow to about a foot across, counting the spines, and may live up to 200 years. I don't know what species the babies are, but they must be only a few months old.

One more photo; worms that I didn't notice, in a photo of an unco-operative gunnel.

A purple ribbon worm, three different polychaetes (one is striped, upper left), and a spaghetti worm (upper left, orange and yellow). And a four-armed green starfish, a hermit, two purple crabs, an urchin, and a brittle star.

Next visit to the lower intertidal zone, I think I'll sit me down in one spot and look at everything. Easier on my back, too.


  1. Hi, Susannah. I do the same thing all the time. In the field, I just have trouble getting in the right position to have my eyes focus on what I'm looking at. I'm just glad to have a digital camera that so easily captures those things I miss.

  2. It's quite amazing what you can miss. I was recently visiting Emiquon NWR and missed at least one Black-necked Stilt and a Pied-billed Grebe whilst photographing coots. I'm fairly certain this happens to everyone. That's why we take so many pictures.


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