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Archive for the ‘Southern California Beaches’ Category

Summery Day on the South County Shore

Posted by E.G.D. on July 22, 2014

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Robyn Waayers: 

Gary and I took a little trip yesterday to explore the beach just north of Imperial Beach and south of Silver Strand State Beach. A lot of organic material had washed ashore, including masses of California Mussels, as well as much kelp.

Mussel mass with surf grass

Mussel mass with surf grass

Some of the mussels had Leaf Barnacles attached.

California Mussel with Leaf Barnacles

California Mussel with Leaf Barnacles

This is a beach popular with clammers due to its concentration of Pismo Clams. What I presumed to be immature clam shells were here and there on the shore.

A small clam - about 30 mm in length

A small clam – about 30 mm in length

 

A larger specimen, but nowhere near the final adult size!

A larger specimen, but nowhere near the final adult size!

Most of the shells on this beach are heavily wave-worn, like this Chestnut Cowrie.

Chestnut Cowrie, after much rolling around in the sand and surf

Chestnut Cowrie, after much rolling around in the sand and surf

The beach was surprisingly bird-filled, with Willets, Marbled Godwits, and Forster’s Terns being present in numbers (the Forster’s Terns in large numbers as they fished in the huge anchovy schools off shore). We also saw the occasional Royal Tern in full breeding plumage. A lone Long-billed Curlew graced the beach and we saw several more in the Tijuana Estuary area later.

Long-billed Curlew, with the Silver Strand and downtown San Diego, as well as the Coronado Bridge, visible in the background

Long-billed Curlew, with the Silver Strand and downtown San Diego, as well as the Coronado Bridge, visible in the background

We saw easily over a half dozen Snowy Plovers skulking in the higher, drier portions of the beach as well. Signs discourage people or dogs from walking in their territory, but no fences exist, as we saw in Oregon last month for the protection of this species. The plovers are extremely well camouflaged, and tend to move in short bursts of activity, as opposed to just meandering around as the Willets do.

Snowy Plover standing at the edge of a tire track!

Snowy Plover standing at the edge of a tire track!

We also saw a merganser hanging around the edge of the water, and occasionally entering the shallows. A scoter (probably a Surf Scoter) was seen fishing in the shallows, as well.

Scoter in shallow water.

Scoter in shallow water.

About the author: Robyn Waayers has lived in San Diego since 1977, and teaches biology at three local community colleges. In her spare time, she is a lover of all­ things ­natural­ history, roaming the region with her camera and an eye for new things. Her website is Shoreline Ramblings, to which she has also posted this articleAll photographs are the property of Robyn Waayers.

~~~

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Posted in Beach Birding, Featured Guest Writer, Pacific Coast Beaches, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Friendly Reminder

Posted by Jody on March 14, 2014

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

~ John Howard Payne

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge topic is “Inside.”

~~~

Related Link: Hermit Crab: A Different Kind of Beachcomber

Posted in Southern California Beaches, Tide Pools, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Tiny San Diego Beach Treasures: It Pays to Look Closely!

Posted by Jody on March 7, 2014

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Robyn W.

Tiny San Diego Beach Treasures: It Pays to Look Closely!

Some special little shells have washed up around the county in the past few weeks. I’ve been lucky to be able to sneak off to the beach here and there in the midst of a busy schedule, and was thrilled to find my first­-ever tusk shell in January on the sand at False Point, on the northern end of the Tourmaline Surfing Park. It is a Six­-sided Tusk shell, and there was only one. After looking for tusk shells on and off for the past 37 years in San Diego, this seemed pretty special.

Dentalium neohexagonum from La Jolla, California

Dentalium neohexagonum from La Jolla, California

Dentalium neohexagonum, the Six­sided Tusk shell. It is a little under an inch long. (January 2014)

Then, last week, I took a walk south from the southern end of Imperial Beach, and found a LOT of tusk shells in the drift debris at low tide. These were almost all the Indian Money Tusk, the shell that was prized as currency by the native peoples of the west coast in the past. Two little Six­-sided Tusks were found that day also.

Antalis pretiosum, the Indian Money Tusk

Antalis pretiosum, the Indian Money Tusk

Antalis pretiosum, the Indian Money Tusk. The largest is a little over an inch long. (February 2014)

Back at False Point in January, there were tiny Tinted Wentletraps washed up here and there on the sand. The largest in the photo is about ¼ inch long.

Epitonium tinctum, the Tinted Wentletrap

Epitonium tinctum, the Tinted Wentletrap

Epitonium tinctum, the Tinted Wentletrap. (January 2014)

One more San Diego beach treasure…but from a while ago, are these trivias found in the shelly debris at low tide way back around the year 2000. They were found at Torrey Pines State Beach, and I have never seen them since. They are about ¼ inch long.

Trivia californiana from Torrey Pines, Califoenia

Trivia californiana from Torrey Pines, California

Trivia californiana, the “Coffee Bean”.

Keep an eye out for San Diego’s tiny beach treasures ­ you’ll find them where you least expect them!

~~~

Robyn, what fun! You have quite an eye. These tiny beach treasures are absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your beachy times and your amazing treasure trove with us! I feel as if I’ve just had a great day at the beach too! ~Jody

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Friday Finds, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

The Royalty of San Diego’s South Bay: Imperial Beach

Posted by Jody on February 19, 2014

Imperial Beach, California – Heading for the pier.

When I think of Imperial Beach, California, I think of everything surfing: from genuine Southern California surfers riding the waves to the community’s public art, the outdoor “Surfboard Museum” and even the surfboard shaped bus stop benches!  This town always brings to mind classic Beach Boys surfin’ tunes.

Imperial Beach, California

Imperial Beach has so much more to offer than surfing, though.  Here you’ll find 3 ½ miles of clean, white, sandy beach stretching southward to the US-Mexico border. With splendid views of San Diego and Coronado to the north, somehow Imperial Beach never seems crowded. It’s less than 13 miles from Downtown San Diego, so Greg and I are always happy to either make the drive or hop on the bus and head on down to this lovely stretch of beach. If we had to choose, we’d likely tell you that this is our favorite strand of San Diego’s “South Bay.”

According to the their official website, the City of Imperial Beach is “the most southwesterly city in the continental United States.  Flanked by the Pacific Ocean and South San Diego Bay, our town is nestled between miles of uncrowded beaches, big surf and unparalleled open space and wetlands teeming with wildlife. Because this town is one of the last untouched beach towns in Southern California, we are known as Classic Southern California®.”

Imperial Beach, California

Beachcombing is lots of fun here. We always find something interesting on the sands of Imperial Beach.  Once Greg and I came home with a lovely collection of multicolored Donax clam shells, very typical of Southern California beaches. The last time we visited, we found large, heavy clam shells, sand dollars and California mussels.

From what I have been able to search out, these sturdy clams are Common Washington Clams (Saxidomus nuttalli), also known as Butter Clams. Our largest Washington Clam find on Imperial Beach measures 4 ¾” wide,  but we have found these particular seashells up to 5 ¼” wide on other South Bay beaches. Their range is from Humbolt Bay, California to northern Baja California.

Imperial Beach Treasures (California)

This area is well-known for year round coastal birdwatching (a printable map of birdwatching areas is available online).  For the botanist,  there is an interesting variety of coastal vegetation, too. Of course, swimming and sunbathing are also very popular pastimes!  With all that Imperial Beach has to offer, I’d say it’s “One Shell of a Find!”

“Spirit of Imperial Beach” by James A. Wasil, 2008

If you’d like to learn about the interesting history of surfing at Imperial Beach and the big wave break “Tijuana Sloughs” that made this area famous in the surfing world, you’ll want to check out “Riders of The Tijuana Sloughs,” at LegendarySurfers.com.

Bus Stop Bench in Imperial Beach, California

Surfin’ USA

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U. S. A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like Californi-a
You’d see ‘em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ U. S. A.

~Brian Wilson/Chuck Berry

We’d love to hear about your favorite Southern California beach!

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells, Southern California Beaches, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Hermosa Beach Rocks!

Posted by Jody on February 2, 2014

Here’s an interesting beach treasure found by Karen Williams on a recent visit to Hermosa Beach, California:

“Walking on the beach in Hermosa on Monday…”

Beach Treasure! (Photo by Karen Williams)

Beach Treasure! (Photo by Karen Williams)

“Found an interesting rock that appears to be 2 different kinds of rock fused together!”

Hermosa Beach, Southern California (Photo by Karen Williams )

Hermosa Beach, Southern California (Photo by Karen Williams )

“Beautiful weather in the 70’s and no one around!”

We asked our two very favorite geologists for their opinions on Karen’s beach treasure. This is what they told us:

“I think the rock’s finder is correct. This is two rocks fused together. It almost appears to be a quartzite (gray and white) fused together with a volcanic rock, perhaps a rhyolite, or andesite. One thing I can clearly make out is that the crystal sizes are much larger in the gray portion and much finer in the black portion.  I think for this fusion to happen, the volcanic rock or ‘melt rock’ had to have ripped a piece of the ‘wall rock’ off without fully melting it. This means that the temperature of the melt rock was not high enough to fully melt the quartz-rich gray portion and instead incorporated it into its structure as an ‘inclusion’.”

Here is a reference in case you need something: http://www.minsocam.org/msa/collectors_corner/arc/tempmagmas.htm

~Ryan McLin (Geologist, Owner McLin Petrographics)

AND ~ Kristie McLin, Ph.D. says: “It looks like a metamorphosed bedding plane to me. Fine grained shaley rock (black) in contact with sand then becomes metamorphosed, changing to schist and quartzite.

We should say either could be the case, and it is hard to tell from a picture what it really is.”

~~~

Either way, it’s one great find!

Many, many thanks to Karen, Ryan, and Kristie. We just love to share!

What’s in your beach bag?

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Southern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Warm Winter Wishes!

Posted by Jody on January 8, 2014

Greetings of the Season!

Warm Winter Wishes!

~~~

Don’t forget your hat!

~~~

“Snowman” created by Courtney of San Diego State University.

Posted in Beachy Keen Art, Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

No Such Thing as Bad Weather

Posted by Jody on December 21, 2013

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;

there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

~John Ruskin

The Crystal Pier Hotel Cottages at Pacific Beach

The Crystal Pier Hotel Cottages at Pacific Beach

Do you see what I see?

Yep, that’s a Christmas tree way out there on the end of Crystal Pier!

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

Greetings from the Rotary Club!

Christmas Greetings from Pacific Beach

… and from the Pacific Beach (aka: P. B.) Town Council

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

Someone else who didn’t seem to mind the rain!

Merry Christmas from Pacific Beach!

Merry Christmas from Pacific Beach!

View from the Pier at  Pacific Beach

Looking Toward Pacific Beach and Mission Beach from Crystal Pier

Ever-funky Pacific Beach, California, was unusually sleepy on the recent stormy afternoon that Greg and I visited. The three mile long (typically lively) boardwalk was as quiet as it could be. The soft sands were completely deserted, and the famous Crystal Pier didn’t entertain even one fisherman. Only a smattering of the customary wet-suited surfers were braving the gray waves.

Dodging bands of frigid rain to reach the end of the pier (heading out and turning back a number of times), we finally decided to just make a run for it. It was well worth it! The Crystal Pier offers fantastic views of the surrounding Southern California beaches and coastline, no matter the weather.

♫ Seems it sometimes rains in Southern California! ♫ San Diego actually has only 42+/- days of rainy weather each year, leaving a whopping 323 days for somewhat less soggy fun at the beach!

~~~

Related links:

Pacific Beach

Crystal Pier

Lightning Safety at the Beach

Posted in Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Low Tide Beachside Yuletide!

Posted by Jody on December 17, 2013

Late afternoon shadows on the sandy beach at Coronado's Ferry Landing

~ Late afternoon shadows and the coming of low tide at the sandy beach next to The Coronado Ferry Landing ~

Coronado Ferry Landing and Beach

It’s a very clean little beach…

View of San Diego's skyline from the beach at Coronado's Ferry Landng

…with fabulous views of the the beautiful San Diego skyline!

This way to San Diego via the ferry. ----->

This way to San Diego via the ferry —–>

Here comes our boat!

Here comes our boat!

And who might that be?

And who might that be?

Ho, ho, ho!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

“Santa!!! Over here!!!”

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Coronado's Ferry Landing Beach

I do believe there were even more excited adults than eager children on deck to welcome Santa Claus to Coronado!

A quiet December evening on the beach at Coronado's Ferry Landing

Once again all is quiet on a gorgeous December evening on the beach at The Coronado Ferry Landing.

~Leaving the beach behind~ We're off to San Diego!

Leaving the beach behind, we’re off to San Diego!

A lovely little sandy beach, a Santa Claus sighting, and a ferry boat ride! How cool is that?

~~~

Helpful links: Coronado Visitor Center, San Diego.org, Surprise! A Quiet Little Beach!

Posted in Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Seasonal Seaside Style with The Sandcastle Man

Posted by Jody on December 10, 2013

The Beach at the Hotel del Coronado

The Beach at the Hotel del Coronado

Coronado Beach, Southern California

Coronado Beach, Southern California

The Sandcastle Man

The Sandcastle Man

At the Beach with the Sandcastle Man

At the Beach with the Sandcastle Man

The Sandcastle Man at Play

The Sandcastle Man at Play

Look who's here!

Look who’s here!

Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

You can visit with The Sandcastle Man on the beach just outside the Hotel del Coronado!

~OR~

Check out the live webcam at the Hotel Del to see if you can spot him on the beach today!

~~~

Posted in Beachy Keen Art, Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Colors of Sunset: Gould’s Wedge Seashells

Posted by Jody on August 19, 2013

A while back, Alaina and I visited family in Gardena, California. Of course, when we had some free time, we made a beeline for the beach!  Redondo Beach is situated on the Santa Monica Bay, about 7 miles south of LAX. It was practically a straight shot from our hotel, so off we went to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf of the beautiful Southern California coast.

The City of Redondo Beach has a marvelous beachfront.  Redondo County Beach has a friendly neighborhood feel to it that is quite refreshing.  Joggers, friends walking and chatting, and parents pushing smiling babies in strollers were all out enjoying The Esplanade, which overlooks the beautiful, wide sandy beach and the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean beyond. Down below, people had the same happy demeanor on The Strand, the paved path along the sand.  Everyone seemed quite cheerful. Maybe that’s because the beach was surprisingly uncrowded and parking was very easy to find.  Perhaps it was the Southern California sunshine or gorgeous views of the Palos Verdes Peninsula to the south. Or maybe, like us, it was simply because they were at the beach!

Redondo Beach ~ View From the Esplanade

Redondo Beach ~ View From the Esplanade

Beachcombing was our plan, and we were very pleased with our morning of shelling.  This is what we found: Gould’s Wedge Shells (According to The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Shells: Donax gouldii, aka: Bean Clams)!  But if I were to name these seashells I would call them “Sunset Shells”. Gould’s Wedge Shells are the all the colors of a beautiful Southern California sunset: gorgeous pinks, and blues, and purples, and oranges, and yellows. No doubt there were also California Donax, or Wedge Clams, in our mix. The California Donax seashells lack the colored rays and bands and are a little more elongated than the Gould’s Wedge Shell.  And, just like sunsets, no two are the same.

Beach Treasures from the Sands of Redondo Beach, Southern California

Beach Treasures from the Sands of Redondo Beach, Southern California

Gould’s Wedges are little (5/8 – 7/8″) bivalves that are found in sand on surf-washed beaches from Monterey, California to Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula. They live in the intertidal zone, where the sand stays wet, submerged just about an inch or so below the surface. Look for these small, colorful beauties as the waves pull back into the sea and the clams scramble to dig deeper into the sand.

Now that’s “One Shell of a Find!”

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

 
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