between the tides

more photos from my October trip to California and Oregon

One of the items on my trip wish list was to spend some time at tide pools along the Oregon Coast. Unfortunately, the cold, rainy weather of October played havoc with our plans. However, in the final days of our trip, my friend and I did manage to spend a couple of hours photographing tide pool creatures at Yaquina Head near Newport (see above, click on all photos for larger views). The following photos are identified to the best of my knowledge, making use of Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest by Andy Lamb and Bernard Hanby.

Perhaps mose impressive were the Green Surf Anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica). Some of these were spectacular in size – perhaps up to about 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter. They’re very strange and beautiful at close range.

Goose-neck Barnacles (Pollicipes polymerus) such as those in the above photo, were found in large masses on the intertidal rocks among clusters of mussels, where they were exposed to the air for a few hours a day. According to Lamb and Hanby, these barnacles have bright red meat inside the stalk that tastes “not unlike lobster.”

Also found in clusters were Purple Sea Urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus). Lamb and Hanby comment that these urchins use their spines to excavate holes in soft rock so that they will be protected from strong wave action on the coast. In the above photo, you can see how these creatures are resting inside of holes in the rock.

This is a closer view of a couple of Purple Sea Urchins.

Pacific Sea Stars (Pisaster ochraceus) were found singly but more often in aggregations such as the above. I would first notice one sea star, and then, after studying it for awhile, I’d find that there were more and more in a range of colours, all massed together. Lamb and Hanby comment that this sea star often forms huge winter spawning aggregations.

Other creatures photographed were a couple of kinds of crabs including the odd-shaped, dark brown Northern Kelp Crab (Pugettia producta), and various snails, mussels and other aquatic invertebrates.

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22 Responses to “between the tides”

  1. Larry Ayers Says:

    Wonderful photos, Bev, especially for this mid-continent observer and photographer! It’s been too long since I’ve seen an ocean. My daughter lives in Portland, OR …. perhaps next year I’ll get out there.

  2. John Says:

    Wow! Those photos are among the best I’ve seen! They take me back to the few times I’ve seen anemone…incredible stuff.

  3. am Says:

    The tide pools are just as I remember first seeing them as a child growing up not far from the Pacific Ocean. Splendid photos!

    I love the long late-in-the-day shadows of the people on the sand near the tidepools. Where I live on the inner Northwest Washington coast, the shadows are not that long because there are islands between us and the horizon.

  4. Wayne Says:

    What an amazing menagerie. The green anenomes are beautiful and offset so well by the others and the starsfish. That first photo is very fine indeed.

    I think tidepools are completely charming habitats, especially the rocky ones.

  5. robin andrea Says:

    How wonderful to see the tidepools in Oregon, bev. The diversity of life in them is always so surprising and interesting. We were just out yesterday in the minus tide and saw some of the green anemones here. We were looking for an octopus or two, but they eluded us. So many vibrant colors just beneath the surface, but somewhat clouded by an unusual red tide here. Your pools are sparkling and beautiful.

  6. bev Says:

    Larry – Run, don’t walk, to make a trip out to Oregon. You’ll have a wonderful time.

    John – Thanks!

    am – Thanks! It was a great afternoon to be down in the tidepools. The sunlight was a little tricky for photography, but it was a glorious day regardless.

    Wayne – There were so many creatures in those tidepools – quite a number of which I didn’t capture with my camera. When you’re looking into them, at first, you don’t see that much, and then you start to see a few things, and then you *really* start to see things. I’ve had some fun examining some of my photos at full size — I keep finding things that I didn’t see when I shot the images. Lots of fun!

    robin – The richness of the tidepools is truly amazing. I’d love to spend a couple of studying them on another occasion. The water in the pools at Yaquina was very clear making it ideal for photography.

  7. Andrée Says:

    You were so lucky to be able to photograph such rich tidal pools. I have never seen any like that. It is amazing and I am glad you posted the photos.

  8. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Beautiful, Bev. I clicked on the pictures. I hadn’t initially seen the people on the beach. They really helped establish the scale of the scene.

    I think I’d have to ‘pass’ on that bright red meat of the barnacles. Ewwww.

  9. Xris (Flatbush Gardener) Says:

    Beautiful. It really feels like visiting another planet, certainly another world.

  10. Jennifer Says:

    Awesome Ocean Critters! I’ve only seen such things in museums.

  11. DougT Says:

    Wonderful photography. I’m constantly amazed at the diversity of invertebrate life in the West Coast tidepools. A few years back, I had lunch at a yacht club in Port Ludlow, WA. The undersides of the floating docks were absolutely covered with critters: anenomes, snails, tubeworms, sea stars and a whole bunch of other stuff. You and your camera would have been kept busy for a very long time.

  12. pablo Says:

    Makes me want to take another trip to Oregon. To see my daughter, of course!

  13. barbara Says:

    These are wonderful. Not something I see in Wisconsin, but your photos let me share in a world I can’t reach. A lovely trip.

  14. pohanginapete Says:

    Your photos convey beautifully the diversity of life on rocky coasts, Bev. I’ve just returned from a few days on the East Coast of the North Island, where the beaches were mostly sandy, interspersed with sections of huge, jumbled blocks of soft rock fallen from the adjacent cliffs. All wonderful, but not quite the same as a wild rocky coast with tide pools like these to fossick among.

  15. bev Says:

    Everyone – thanks for your comments about the photos and tide pools. I’m glad to have been able to share them with everyone. I’ll try to get some more photos posted soon.

  16. celeste Says:

    Hi Bev!(my laptop gave up the ghost, so I’m back now) I’m SO glad you got to Yaquina Head! Did you have fun teetering on the rocks, with the knowledge of certain bloodshed if you tripped? It’s quite the yogafied workout to be the human tripod to get close but not wet ;0) I really liked your wave post too. Next time(!!!) try using a long exposure, the kind that smooths out running water–you’ll get some interesting new ways of seeing how waves flow. I’ve seen some really neat pix done like this at sunset–very otherworldly. This last weekend with the storm there were 40′ waves out there(I would have SO went and sat on the beach to watch! but hub would never let me) and gusts over 100mph, quite a ride! I usually get the full monty at my house too, but this time my place was in a weird pocket of ho hum–I was very disappointed!

  17. Nina Says:

    I’ve never explored the tide pools of the west coast. But, always snoop around whenever we find ourselves along the Atlantic. In all my attempts, I only found sea stars and anemones once, last year–your find is a goldmine!

  18. mon@rch Says:

    It had to be amazing exploring the tide pools while snorkeling! These photos turned out perfectly!

  19. bev Says:

    Celeste – Yes, the tide pools at Yaquina Head are a rather precarious place to wander around, aren’t they? I’d like to spend more time on wave photography. It’s quite fun. Yeah.. 40 foot waves.. those can be a little on the treacherous side!

    Nina – I’ve explored tide pools on the Atlantic side as well, but haven’t found nearly the invertebrate diversity as on the Pacific. Very different ecology for sure.

    mon@rch – All of those photos were shot with my camera hand held while, as Celeste has mentioned a couple of comments above — teetering on very sharp rocks where a fall could have very nasty results. However, I would love to try snorkeling somewhere along the California coast if the conditions were right for doing so as you could move a little further out into a different tidal zone to see a whole different range of creatures.

  20. Dave Says:

    Bev, I was out there last week. My brother and I stopped by Yaquina lighthouse as well! We had about a day and a half of nice weather before that big storm came in. I didn’t get to see as many cool tiide pools as you did. Only saw one starfish out on a rock – too far for a photo!

  21. Paul Decelles Says:

    These are wonderful! What a treat.

  22. bev Says:

    Dave – Glad that you got out to the Oregon coast!

    Paul – Thanks!

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