Monday, June 24, 2013

Reaching the boundary

As the planet experience's this year's supermoon, the tides swing in the greatest direction.

Saturday's tide was a low 0.4 metres.  For the tidal flats at Boundary Bay, this meant we could walk a kilometre before hitting the water's edge, or a mile out to reach the cairn marking the Canada / US International Boundary Survey Monument.

On the way out, we saw beds dense with live sand dollars.
The tube feet and spines can clearly be seen here
 In the eel grass beds, I saw this fish with bulging eyes.  I have no idea what it could be.

I used to think of anemones as a rarity in lower mainland beaches.  Today, I saw more species of anemone in a single day than ever before on a beach.
Anemone species 1, budding.  diameter about 1cm

Anemone species 2 - a burrowing anemone. Diameter 4 cm
Crabs were abundant.  Crabbers were out in force with their hip waders and tongs.

On the way out to the cairn, I saw several metal posts positioned horizontally.  It is an oasis of sorts for the creatures that need solid footing.

Anemone species 3 and 4 on some metal structures at the cairn. Diameter about 15 cm
Crabs have amnesty when it comes to international boundaries. This one was found on the cairn, which marks the US/Canada boundary
 I used to think that a cockle's natural place was buried deep within the sand, like other clams.  I saw enough filter feeding right off the surface of the sand at Boundary Bay to make me re-evaluate this perception.
Species #5, in the fast flow of the outgoing tide. Diameter about 3 cm
I also saw a midshipman for the first time.  They don't have the wide head of sculpins, and the rays on their fins are not as pronounced.
A plainfin midshipman, a first for me.
Here it is, burrowing itself in the sand.

Boundary Bay hosts quite a few different habitats - the mud flats, the sandy bottoms, eel grass beds, and a solid hunk of concrete.  There are still a number of low tides left this summer...many discoveries await to be found.


Susannah Anderson said...

How deep is the water at low tide out at the cairn? I've never quite got there before the tide came back.

Tim said...

It was waist deep...maybe 2.5 feet?

Susannah Anderson said...

Oh. A little too deep for me, unless I'm wearing a swimsuit.
Beautiful photos! Knee-deep in the eelgrass, I've seen the crabs and fish, but never all those anemones!

Tim said...

Yup, I was basically wearing swimwear. I'm hoping to snorkel out when the water gets warmer.

Howard said...

Well done Tim! It was a great time. Till next low tide. :)

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