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Posts Tagged ‘sea stars’

Morro Bay, California – Sea Stars, Sand Dollars & Surfers

Posted by Jody on October 15, 2013

We just love returning to the beaches of Morro Bay, California. Nestled on the Pacific Ocean about half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay is home to one of the most fascinating coastal environments you’ll find anywhere.

Sea Star, Morro Bay, California (Photo by Jody Diehl)

Our family loves exploring the tide pools near “El Morro” (aka: Morro Rock). We’re never disappointed with the rich variety of marine life we find near the rocky breakwater.

Heading out to explore the tide pools in almost any weather is well worth the time and energy. You’ll be so glad you did. Keep your eyes open! You’ll have to look under and around rocks to spot the beautifully colored sea stars and sea anemones. Smaller crabs will scurry into the riprap, waving and drumming their pincers to warn you off. It’s a really cool sound (Don’t worry about embarrassing them, though – they never seem put off that you’re laughing at their bravado)! The larger crabs won’t pay you any mind at all. Years ago, Greg and I even came across a young seal resting on the sand. That was a real bonus!

The Crab Who Didn’t Care, Morro Bay, California (Photo by Jody Diehl)

On the way back toward town, check out the bay side water to see if you can catch a glimpse of the very entertaining otters.

If bird watching is your jive, the Morro Bay area is home to over 250 species of birds (including peregrine falcons), a fact that this quaint fishing village celebrates each year with the Winter Bird Festival weekend.

Beach and coastal activities are numerous in Morro Bay. If you check out the beach to the north of Morro Rock, you’ll inevitably find surfers, even if they’re just hanging out waiting for the next set of waves. This strand is also where a bounty of sand dollars can be found (be careful not to collect the live ones).

If you look to the south of Morro Rock toward the placid waters of the protected bay, you’ll see kayaks gliding amongst the moored sail boats.

Kayak in Morro Bay, California (©Jody Diehl)

It always seems to be a bit misty when we’re visiting Morro Bay, and mornings can be pretty nippy out on the water. You might want to wear layers and bring along rain gear, just in case. Your sturdy beach-trekkers will be perfect for climbing over the uneven rocks around the tide pools.

Where is your favorite tide pooling spot? We’d love to hear about it!

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Northern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Travel Theme: Animals – Tidepooling in Bandon, Oregon

Posted by Greg on October 10, 2012

This way to the beach! Sunset in Bandon, Oregon

Jody and I just returned from the Oregon coast where we did two of my favorite things: exploring tidepools and seeing the grandkids (more on that soon)! The best tidepools we were able to visit close to low tide were in Bandon, a small sea coast town in southwestern Oregon, about 90 miles north of the California boarder. We stayed at a nice motel right at the beach on Coquille Point,  where we,  in shorts and water sandals, were able to head right down the stairs to investigate the beach. The late evening air and cold ocean water combined to create a numbing effect. Boy, did we freeze our fingers and toes! We were undeterred, though. The landscape was amazing, and the amount of life in the tidepools was impressive.

Take a closer look! Do you see the sea stars already?

These were the brightest green sea anemones I had ever seen. It looked like the sea stars enjoyed the real estate around the anemones, because large quantities had settled in between them. I was like a kid in a candy store! There were caves and passages in and through the huge rocks, and they were all full of tidepool animals.

We hope you enjoy these photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!

Go ahead, get even closer!

You’ll have to get your feet wet here.

Bandon’s tidepools and rocks are teeming with colorful marine life!

Sea stars, sea anemones, mussels and barnacles in Bandon’s tide pools.

Colorful sea stars and sea anemones on Bandon’s beach.

How many sea stars?

Sea Anemones

Fellow tidepoolers enjoying a sea star supper in Bandon, Oregon.

A farewell salute from a Bandon local.

Bandon, Oregon

If you would like to read more about tide pools and tide pool animals, here are a few related posts:

Tidepool Etiquette 101 

Starfish or Sea Star?

Southern California Sea Anemones

A Visit to the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument

What Will You Find in a Southern California Tide Pool?

This week’s “Travel Theme: Animals” comes from Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack?

*Another tag-team post by Greg and Jody*

~~~

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Pacific Coast Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments »

Starfish or Sea Star?

Posted by Greg on November 30, 2011

"Red-knobed Starfish" Photo by Adrian Pingstone (Wikimedia Commons)

Starfish, as sea stars were previously known, come in more varieties than I once thought. For one, they sometimes have more or fewer legs than the five we typically think of, and for another, there are thousands of species of this beautiful sea creature.

According to National Geographic, “marine scientists have undertaken the difficult task of replacing the beloved starfish’s common name with sea star because, well, the starfish is not a fish. It’s an echinoderm, closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. There are some 2,000 species of sea star living in all the world’s oceans, from tropical habitats to the cold seafloor. The five-arm varieties are the most common, hence their name, but species with 10, 20, and even 40 arms exist.”  Some species have only four arms.

Giant sea star (sand star). Photo by NOAA (Wikimedia Commons)

Eleven Armed sea star. Photo by de.Benutzer:Hase (Wikimedia Commons)

Sea Stars come in many different, often brilliant colors. They use color to camouflage themselves for protection or to scare off potential predators. Another interesting fact from National Geographic is that “beyond their distinctive shape, sea stars are famous for their ability to regenerate limbs, and in some cases, entire bodies. They accomplish this by housing most or all of their vital organs in their arms. Some require the central body to be intact to regenerate, but a few species can grow an entirely new sea star just from a portion of a severed limb.”

Sea Stars are frequently found in tide pools. Please follow “Tide Pool Etiquette” while studying them in their element. *You might also be interested in our post on Morro Bay tidepooling*

Happy Sea Star searching!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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