Field Journal: Sea Squirts & More

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…

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Tritonia festiva: A Nudibranch Presentation

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.

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More Nudibranch Paintings

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.

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Field Journal: A New Nudibranch

This time of the year, I check my tide app almost as much as my weather app. Low tide in Seattle means the chance to find marine life that is harder to spot when the waves are higher up on our beaches. My standard go-to beach to explore during these low tides is Alki Beach, but yesterday I went somewhere different to look for nudibranchs and whatever else I might find.

In a little known park, under the dock where a ferry arrives and departs many times a day, live bright colored Orange Sea Pens. These large animals consist of a colony of small polyps and resemble, as the name implies, a feather quill. They wave back and forth in the tide, which becomes rough during the arrival and departure of the large…

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Field Journal: Low Tide Nudibranchs

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I visit Alki Beach at low tide, I always discover something new. This weekend the spring low tides were just on the minus side, the weather was dry and I headed to the beach to explore. I hadn’t been since the low night tides during the winter and I was happy to get back out there again. There were few people on the beach and I had plenty of room to search by myself.

Lacuna sp. snail eggs

The first thing I noticed were tiny yellow donuts scattered around on the kelp. They felt soft to my fingers and I took photos of them to look at later. Once on the computer I could enlarge them enough to see they were rings of eggs and some where…

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Field Journal: Late Winter at Alki Beach

Despite being a certified pluviophile, this long, gray winter (and autumn for that matter) has been starting to get old. Seattle has been a city in monochrome for months and while I’ve found many noteworthy things this winter, I’m starting to hope for a bit of sun and color. But as a true northwesterner, I never let the weather stop me from heading outside and yesterday I packed my bag and headed for Alki Beach with the low tide. Naturally, as soon as I started out, the rain began. At least it wasn’t a downpour like we’ve seen so often, but a drizzle. 

When I arrived, I quickly noticed a large flock of tiny birds working along the tide line, Sanderlings. As I watched them I noticed two darker and slightly larger birds foraging with the Sanderlings, Dunlin. As I walked north along the rocks a small group of large…

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