Know your beach: end-of-season report

#6 in the 2017 series of guest blog posts by Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists Bobby Arispe and Jen Strongin.

Wow. I cannot believe our beach season is over already! It feels like we just got started. Thank you to everyone who came out to visit and explore the beach with us—it was a blast.

I’m always amazed, as I look back over my photos at the end of each summer, how the highlights change from year to year. 2016 was definitely the year of the octopus. I think I will always remember this year, 2017, as the year of the fish. We had the exciting event of herring spawning on South Alki beach and tide pools teeming with juvenile fish of all sorts, including flatfish, gunnels, sand lances, sculpins and even salmon. Some of my other favorite sightings this year include ten-tentacle anemones (ten tens!), gumboot chitons, California sea cucumbers, so many shrimp, a few sunflower stars (glad to see them around) and the cutest baby octopus.

Join me on a visual tour down memory lane of another great beach season:

Herring! Really, this was THE highlight of the summer. Here is the first visit to see the eggs:

Here is the next visit, the following week. You can see not only the eyes developing, but the tail is also starting to poke out of the egg!

Fish spotting in the tide pools on Constellation Beach was bananas this year! More juvenile flatfish than I have ever seen before.

More eggs of various kinds.

There was a major skeleton shrimp party early in the season during our lowest tide on Constellation Beach.

Lots of moon snail sightings

California sea cucumber

Ten-tentacle anemone

Sunflower star

Great blue heron foraging at low tide

Red rock crab eating a kelp crab

Baby octopus

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I hope to see some of you at our night-time low tide walks this coming winter. Until then, I will be dreaming of tide pools…

About Jen:

Jen writes:

“I ventured westward from Albany, NY and fell madly in love with our city from the moment I arrived. It was 21 years ago this August when Seattle first charmed me with its lush, forested parks, beautiful beaches, and water and mountain views (when the skies are clear enough) all around.

I spent the first half of my 21 years here immersed in Seattle’s wonderful coffee culture. My husband and I owned and operated Victrola Coffee on Capitol Hill until 2008. We sold our business that year to spend more time with our newborn son and I have been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama and budding photographer and naturalist ever since! It started with me taking my young son to the beach, gazing into tide pools and wanting to know more about what we were looking at. Soon, I was going to the beach by myself, every low tide I could, and following the Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists around asking questions. 🙂

I signed up to be an interpretive volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium in 2013, became a beach naturalist volunteer in 2014, and this will be my second year as an official member of the Seattle Aquarium staff as a beach captain. My favorite place to be is on the beach, with my camera, sharing my love and knowledge of our intertidal dwellers with the hope that I will inspire others to love and protect the Salish Sea and the ocean beyond.”

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2 Responses to Know your beach: end-of-season report

  1. Katy Keiser says:

    I love your reports. As I don’t live there and only visit occasionally…how about a map showing where you explored…at each blog. I would love to visit Constellation Beach but I have NO idea where it is… Thanks.
    Katy Keiser

  2. Carol Gagner says:

    Love your photos. I have learned so much reading your blogs. Would the aquarium be interested in creating a yearly calendar with your photos? That would be awesome .

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