Friday, November 05, 2010

That Was Then

There have been distractions and procrastinations: just now reporting on the monthly seabird survey for COASST on October 16, which may not have been the last sunny day we had, but all of the subsequent sun days have been on work days...

Ellen Creek Is Running Again, October 16, 2010, Rialto Beach (Click for larger image.)

It was gorgeous out.

Rialto Beach, Looking North, October 16, 2010. (Click for larger image.)

No pelicans. Formally, I report: there were no beached birds. Now to the important part. My secondary assignment was to gather some bryozoans and hydroids, the marine invertebrates I've been obsessing on, to have in a display at the COASST volunteer appreciation event. Other people also were being recruited to bring some specimens of what they find on their beaches, for a 'what you might find on your beach since there are no dead birds to identify' display. The wrack along Rialto Jetty was almost entirely composed not of seaweed but of washed-ashore teensy colonial animals:

It's All Aglaophenia and Flustrellidra (Click for larger image.)

Later in the week, I brought a dishpan full of already pretty stinky specimens to the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary office, for MS to do her identification magic on them; she wasn't there, had delegated LA and EB (whose specialties are NOT marine invertebrates, but resource preservation and marine mammals, respectively) to help. We failed to pin the critters down firmly enough to make ID cards part of the display. Then they were wrapped up and stored in the OCNMS/NOAA office refrigerator, to wait for the party. I can't tell you how giddy with delight it makes me to be rubbing shoulders with real scientists, who know stuff and think about it all the time...

In the OCNMS/NOAA office (Click for larger image.)

On the 23rd was the party for us volunteers. Socializing, appetizers-salad-deserts, pizza, talks, and a table full of stuff to look at with piles of identification books to refer to (outside in the dark, alas, on account of the stinky invertebrates). People brought rocks, a pelican beak, a jawbone of maybe a wolf eel, shells, seaweed, coralline algae (cool: seaweed that looks like invertebrates to have in the display with invertebrates that look like seaweed.) SP brought wonderful tiny sand dollars, a chiton valve, and a perfect small sea urchin, from her Makah beaches. After the party, people gathered their treasures; we composted the hydroids and bryozoans. SP offered me her tiny specimens. Trying not to be greedy, I accepted only half of what I wanted, and have been moving the chiton valve and sea urchin around the apartment ever since. They seem to have settled on the kitchen table, on a beach of Rialto pebbles.

The Beach On The Kitchen Table (Click for larger image.)

I'm going to have to start obsessing on chitons. They have sense organs called aesthetes on the tops of their valves; they move around at night to feed, then clamp firmly to a rock in the day time; they... But I don't get them on the Rialto beaches. Will have to start haunting SP's Northwest Corner beaches. Waatch, Hobuck, Sooes.

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