Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay is something of a holy grail for nudibranchs. For years I have watched friends on Twitter share their images of the many wonderful nudibranchs they have found at Pillar Point and I longed to visit. Over a year ago, I began making plans to take a trip south. Then the pandemic hit. My grand nudibranch adventure was put on hold indefinitely.
Once I was fully vaccinated, I revisited my original plans and finally made the pilgrimage to California. To be extra safe, I drove and camped which allowed me to stop at Cape Arago in Oregon near Coos Bay to visit low tides on the way down. In an early morning low tide there, I found dozens of huge gumboot chitons all over the tidepools, but only a single, hard to reach nudibranch. Two days later I…
Low tides have come and gone while I sat at home looking at the tide charts, wondering what I was missing during the pandemic. But with the easing of restrictions here in Washington, I finally ventured out to my regular haunt in West Seattle for the first two times this season. My first outing was not very exciting, I found only a single nudibranch and not a whole lot else. This week however, I had more success in not only finding a few nudibranchs, but also making some discoveries new to me.
Summer has officially begun in Seattle, and this week offered sunny weather and remarkably calm water for searching the tidal zone. It wasn’t long before I found the first nudibranchs, but at first I didn’t see them because the rock I had…
This is a slightly silly, but fun slideshow presentation I made about a nudibranch I see here in Seattle, Tritonia festiva using my own photos.
Earlier this spring I picked up my watercolors and began sketching and painting nudibranchs. Over the last few couple of months I’ve continued painting and finished a number of new nudibranchs. I’ve also ventured into other subjects, some of them featuring in my recent articles, others just for fun. Although I’m not painting nudibranchs as often, I’m still trying to paint several times a week on whatever draws my attention. Below are a few more nudibranchs I’ve painted since the last time I featured them. This time I ventured into highlighting some behavior, including a pair of Glossodoris species mating, and Tyrannodoris leonis eating another of the same species.
Nearly all of my reference photos came from the wonderful book Nudibranchs of the World by Helmut Debelius and Rudie Kuiter.
Watercolors have long felt out of reach for me. I am not a natural artist, but I learned to sketch and draw while doing my landscape degree and dabbled in nature journaling, even going so far as to take a watercolor sketching class. Despite my lack of success with watercolors, I am still drawn to them.
Recently, I began sketching in a journal with a black brush pen and had so much fun using it that I started to sketch nudibranchs. It wasn’t long until the allure of watercolors returned to me as I looked at the nudibranchs I had sketched. Nudis are so colorful it seemed wrong to leave them as simple black and white illustrations, so I dusted off my watercolor set and my partially filled nature journal and set to work.
My first attempt…
When a couple of Twitter friends met in Bali recently to search for invertebrates together, I was naturally overcome with jealousy missing out on their fun adventures finding nudibranchs and all kinds of fascinating insects. We decided that since all of us invertebrate geeks couldn’t get together in person to search for spineless creatures, we’d do it remotely. So Maureen Berg, Franz Anthony and I created #InverteFest, a time when we could all go on an invertebrate hunt wherever we were in the world and share what we found on Twitter. We invited everyone to join in on the weekend of September 28th and were overwhelmed by the response.