Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How recognition changes what we notice

We decided this year to get a season's fishing license (as opposed to buying by the day). We later found out the "season" begins in April, so we have nearly a full year to get our money's worth.

Our first foray to the ocean on Friday was met with high winds and echinoderm-eating birds, so the calmer weather on Sunday tempted us out to the pier at Ambleside Park. We expected a low tide, making for easy picking of bait foods (mussels and crabs).

As kids, we made many trips to the intertidal zone, much of it on areas outside the city core. On our explorations, we recognized the crab as king in terms of biomass, cuteness, and miniature toughness, but pretty much ignored everything else as unfamiliar to us. Now, when I visit our urban beaches, I am surprised by all that biodiversity I must have missed while flipping over rocks as a child.

neon green

In about 30 minutes of scouring the low tide mark, we found quite an assortment of critters:

Isopod on the left (at the edge of the reflection). Larger than the terrestrial sowbugs. Sea urchin on the right.

An eel-like fish, later identified as a gunnel, next to a ribbon-like worm

Took me about three minutes to pick up the slippery gunnel.

We didn't end up getting any bites, probably because of a couple of harbour seals hanging about for a free handout.

Friday, April 2, 2010

a bird's fashion sense

Just yesterday, I got a chuckle out of seeing the new 2010 spring collection from Mr. Mallard. It doesn't seem to be an isolated incident, however. During this, the most blustery day in recent memory, D and I decided to confront the wind in White Rock. At the pier, while watching a juvenile gull try to get pickings from a sea star.

I noticed an odd looking adult.

Only after viewing this on my computer did I realize the pickle that this guy is in. Swallowing the thing would be the easy part...I can only imagine his pain in about 12 hours.