Sunday, July 28, 2013


After 4 long day hikes in a short period of time the knees are telling me to slow's hard to stay out of the mountains on these perfect Summer days.
I choose Grand Park in Mount Rainier NP for the last of the 4 hikes even though the 3rd hike was to the same location.  Reason for such redundancy was my hiking partner who is nutso over frogs....and tadpoles.
The Grand Park hike has a large meadow pond that teems with tadpoles and frogs...and a few salamanders.
So it was an easy choice....I also though it would be easy enough to not stress out the knees too much for that line of illogical thought.
So we are back off the beach and into the watershed....but the frogs and tadpoles made it well worth the pain and my hiking partner went nuts...another bonus.


Meadow and Pond


Cascade Frog tadpoles


Noelle absorbed with tadpoles

so many tadpoles

and more

Cotton Grass

Indian Paintbrush

Flies stuck on Deer Fly tape

Stuck Deer Fly

Nothing tastes better for lunch on a hike

Cascade Frog

Here's looking at you..

And more 
Face of Nature

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Lately the number of Lacuna Snail (Lacuna variegata or vincta) egg masses on both eelgrass and seaweeds has exploded.  Eggs at all stages of development crowd on the eelgrass blades while mating snails can be seen in huge numbers....many laying eggs on the shell rather than on the eelgrass surface.  Eggs are yellow or green and there is likely some hybridization between species.  Egg masses swell and lose color as they age ending up looking like tiny white doughnuts.
Lacuna Snail

Lacuna eggs at various stages of development

Lacuna snails mating

Lacuna matings

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Epiactis prolifera, the Proliferating Anemone is found on Eelgrass in shallow water. Most anemones are separate sexes but Brooding Anemones are either female or hermaphrodites, there are no strictly male individuals.  Much reproduction by self fertilization so there is lots of inbreeding.  The eggs and young are brooded until time for them to go on their way.  The images show an individual with no young, an image with young, and finally an image with young in the groove at the base of the column and eggs (pink masses at right side of anemone).  The eggs will be brooded in the digestive cavity until they reach planula stage at which time the parent will move the planula to the groove at the base of the column for final development stages.  There are often young at various stages of development in the groove at the base of the column.
Food consists of mainly small crustaceans.  The anemone is in turn fed upon by the Shaggy Mouse sea slug, Leather Star, and some fish.

Anemone with no young

With young in groove at base of colunm

With young in groove and eggs being released at right side of anemone.
eggs will move to digestive cavity where they will develop to the planula stage.
The parent will them move the planula down the column to the basal groove where they will develop.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

SCHMITZ PARK 7-21&22-13

Schmitz Park provided its usual collection of flora and fauna at low tide.  However, there were a large number of Frosted Sea Slugs, (Dirona albolineata) commonly subtidal on the surface of large mats of seaweed.  They have a very catholic diet, feeding on small snails which the crack open with strong jaws; sponges, bryozoans, tunicates, and small crustaceans are also on the menu.  Sponge eating Sea Lemons, Moon Snails, Sunflower and Mottled Sea Stars, were also abundant.  Drifting Fried-egg Jellyfish were also common; coming to a sad fate as they washed ashore.  Tomorrow, July 22 offers a minus 3.1 ft. low tide followed by a minus 2.8 feet on Tuesday......good time to go exploring as these are the last best tides of Summer.
Some images are from Alki Beach Park - just a mile north of Schmitz....on the previous day.

Tentacles of Fried-egg Jellyfish

Fried-egg Jellyfish

Frosted Sea Slugs (Dirona albolineata)

Frosted Sea Slug

Graceful Kelp Crab

Lacuna Snail with egg mass hat

Lined Chiton (feeds on coralline algae)

Moon Snail siphon

Moon Snail

Mottled Sea Star

Oregon Cancer Crab

Eelgrass Isopod

Hairy Chiton

Monterey Sea Lemon

Rose Anemone

Yellow sponge on clay

Spotted Sea Slug

Spotted Sea Slug

Barnacle Eating Sea Slugs laying eggs

Chiton bulldozing Plumose Anemone off piling

Crescent Gunnel

Feather Duster Worm at low tide

Lacuna Snail eggs masses

Moon Snail siphon 

Moon Snail with siphon exposed

Mottled and Purple Sea Stars

Plumose Anemone

Mud Ribbon Worm

Spaghetti Worm 

Dwarf Teardrop Crab

Octopus den

Graceful Kelp Crab

Hairy Chiton

Heath's Dorid

Kelp Crab with barnacles

Shield Limpet on encrusting algae

Moon Snail laying eggs

Mottled Star eating False Jingle Shell

Mottled Star losing water

Noble Sea Lemon

Noble Sea Lemon

Piddock Clam in clay

Sharp-nose Crab

Sunflower Star with meal leftovers
Hairy Cancer Crab