Thursday, July 2, 2015

Have you ever seen anemones play, on Canada Day...down by the bay

The first new or full moon after the solstices typically bring the strongest tides of the year. Tonight's full moon signals the lowest summer tide (otherwise known as the lowest convenient tide - the winter one is about 2 inches lower, but it's miserably cold and near midnight) will be tomorrow, but with today being a national holiday, today was just as good.  So we set off with our tongs in search of some crab, with my eyes peeled for what other wildlife we might stumble upon.

Every time we visit Boundary Bay, we notice something completely new.  Today was no exception, though I'm sure we must've seen these before - they were everywhere - but I've never made note.  Conveniently, I was with someone who knew - I met Wanderin' Weeta who identified these as lug worm egg cases.  Lug worms are responsible for the coiled extrusions of mud (not only do they look like poop, they technically are poop) on mudflats that pique the curiosity of children and adults.  They digest microbes living in the mud and sand, but must excrete everything else.  They live in burrows reinforced by mucous (see the foreground of the photo), and seasonally create gelatinous avocado-sized egg masses that are anchored to the burrow itself.

Beds of sand dollars
Further down the intertidal zone, were beds of sand dollars, so thick I needed to watch my foot steps.  I should've swum down and covered myself in them to see what swimming in money really feels like.

Anemone pouches
This was the final destination, the concrete cairn marking the USA/Canada border (the municipal division between Port Roberts and Delta).  I wanted to get a good look at the starfish to see whether they were recovering from the starfish wasting disease, and this is where I met Wanderin' Weeta who had the same idea.

Starfish seemingly in good health, and the anemones happier to be beneath water

In a bay of mud, any anchorpoint, such as this metal pole, is prime real estate

On the crab front, they were probably enjoying the Canada Day festivities.  I saw only one large live crab, but it was quite lethargic, and was an inch too small to keep.  I noticed the water quite a bit warmer than last year, which might explain their absence.

Quite a few youngsters running around though:

"Where does the water go when the tide goes out?" "It runs towards the mountain to cause it to float."

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to celebrate Canada Day? A trek to the Boundary.

Still deciding what to do Canada Day? We are approaching the lowest tide this summer at Boundary Bay where we can see some of these critters :

Low tide between 11 and 11:30am (depending on which tide chart you consult).  Remember your sunscreen!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Venus in bloom

I replanted my Venus Flytrap this year.  It was a bit of risk - the last time I did so, over 10 years ago, my flytrap died a quick death within a month.  I felt better equipped this time.  I had repurposed a clear, plastic box many times larger than the circular cylinder as it's container.  It seemed to thrive in its moisture rich environment, so the container would need a lid, which was provided by a perfectly fitting Ferrero Rocher box.  I had also saved up some moss to add as a plant medium.  Now, about three months after its replanting, it has lost most of its original leaves, and the new ones growing back are much smaller (making it more difficult to feed).  I had used some outdoor potting soil which I had hoped would've had most of its nutrients leeched out, but that still might be too nutrient rich be burning the roots.  I'll try adding a layer of pine needles as some have had success with that.

I was cheered when a month ago, I saw three flower stalks coming up.  Two of them withered, but the strongest has produced a single flower.

I'm not sure whether it's pre-bloom, or post-bloom.  I've been checking on her every day, and she went from a bud on Sunday to this today.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Even birds sleep in on New Years

We arrived at 9am at Boundary Bay.  At -2 degrees C, we made sure to bundle up warmly before rolling out of the car.

The early morning light bathed the bay in a warm glow.  Even the birds seemed to need a bit of warming up, as we saw little action in the first hour.

We had come to see the birds of prey, and as the ground thawed, so did the wildlife activity.

Cooper's hawk

Juvenile bald eagle

Northern harrier

Hawk vs eagle

Northern harrier

Purple finch

Song sparrow

A non-mallard (mallard females will have a horizontal stripe on each side of the eye)

Baldie with captured prey

We didn't end up seeing any owls...could've been a combination of the time of year, and the early time of day.