Friday, July 19, 2024

The Beauty of Low Tide on the Mendocino Coast—A Dispatch from Mendonoma


The following is an article written by Jeanne Jackson for her blog Mendonoma Sightings where she documents the wildlife, the land, and the waters of our coast.

Hermissenda crassicornis, a gorgeous Nudibranch [All photographs taken by Janet Flink]

Janet Flink wrote, “I have participated with Bonney Ely for the last three years in Snapshot Cal Coast, which is an annual  project through the California Academy of Sciences. Here is a link to their explanation of this event. https://www.calacademy.org/calcoast

“This year we went to four local beaches during the lowest tides of the year to gather data and take photos of their “most wanted species” and any other species we found interesting or rare. I focus on invertebrates and algae.  I post the photos and data to iNaturalist for verification by other experts.  These “BioBlitzes” help contribute to the knowledge of ranges of different species and especially any non-native or invasive species.”

“The first is Hermissenda crassicornis, a gorgeous Nudibranch, about two inches long and found in a tide pool at Shell Beach.  This “sea slug” breathes through the feathery gills on its back, and has a very soft body.  It’s not common on our rocky shores, due to the heavy wave action.

“This nudibranch’s common name is Thick-horned Nudibranch. fyi, nudibranch is pronounced “nudibrank,” Why? I dunno. Back to Janet’s great sightings.

The local sea star known as Pisaser ochraceus

She wrote, “The second is our locally common sea star, Pisaser ochraceus, from Black Point Beach.   I just found the voluptuous pose of this one to be comical!”

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These Stars, which come in various colors, are called Ochre Sea Stars. They used to be called Starfish, but they aren’t fish!

Aggregating Anemones

Janet continues, “The third photo, taken last year at Shell beach depicts two stunningly beautiful pastel-colored Aggregating Anemones (Anthopleura elegantissima) from different colonies fighting for territory underwater.”

“They do this with special club-like white tipped tentacles that shoot barbs at the enemy.  You can see the white clubs of the individual on the left, which has turned itself sideways, attacking the one on the right, which looks as if it is cowering and pulling away even as it’s beginning to brandish it’s own clubs. Toward the bottom of the sideways one, you can see a club from the one on the right“landing a punch”!”

How amazing to see and learn more about these fascinating inhabitants of the intertidal zone. Thanks to Janet for allowing me to share her photos with you here.

Another toasty warm day, with high clouds streaming in. In Point Arena yesterday, those closer to the ocean never saw the sun, but today the sun broke through the fog mid-morning.

How Can You Support the Efforts of Mendonoma Sightings?

  • Buy Jeanne Jackson’s book Mendonoma Sightings Throughout the Year here. The 270-page, full-color documentation of our coast’s beauty would make for a great gift or coffee table conversation piece.
  • Jeanne Jackson has also written two children’s books: Sunny Loves Spring on the California Coast and Sunny Loves Summer on the California Coast. These playful children’s books were written to instill within children a love of nature. Jackson will be publishing the other two seasons this year. Those books can be purchased at http://sunnylovesnature.com/
  • Check out Craig Tooley’s incredible photography of our coastline here. Buy some prints of his photos, get them framed, and bring the Mendonoma coast home.
  • “Follow” and “Like” the Mendonoma Sightings Throughout the Year Facebook page for direct access to Jackson’s dispatches of life on Mendonoma.
  • If you have your own Mendonoma Sighting, contact Jeanne Jackson at mendonomasightings@gmail.com to submit your narrative and photograph so she can document the experience.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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