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Tag: "Jan Sattler"

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Stepping Around a Sticky Situation

Stepping Around a Sticky Situation

In the last few weeks, some sticky blotches of a black tar-like substance have been appearing on several beaches in Laguna.  Many people assume that this phenomenon is being caused by industrial pollution associated with the extraction, transportation and storage of petroleum. In fact, as much as 50 percent of it is naturally caused by […]

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Secret Cash Stashed Offshore

Secret Cash Stashed Offshore

Although we seldom find evidence of them on the beach, many coves of Laguna Beach have a secret treasure residing on the sandy bottom just off shore. Getting its name from the similarity it has in size and shape to the silver dollar, it is the Pacific sand dollar (Dendraster excentricus). Colored in shades of […]

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 Master of Migration

Master of Migration

  Twice each year, thousands of Pacific gray whales closely follow the coast and pass by Laguna Beach. This is the longest seasonal migration known as they travel more than 14,000 miles roundtrip between their winter warm-water breeding grounds in the lagoons of Baja California and their summer cold-water feeding grounds in the Bering Sea […]

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Master of Migration

Master of Migration

Twice each year, thousands of Pacific gray whales closely follow the coast and pass by Laguna Beach. This is the longest seasonal migration known as they travel more than 14,000 miles roundtrip between their winter warm-water breeding grounds in the lagoons of Baja California and their summer cold-water feeding grounds in the Bering Sea and […]

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Shell Hunters Harming Limpet Population

Shell Hunters Harming Limpet Population

So named because the inside of the empty shell is glossy and colored with a dark and light silhouette that is supposed to resemble an owl, the Owl Limpet (Lottia gigantea) is the largest member of the order patellogastropoda, the true limpet group found in North America.  A mollusk that is found in the mid […]

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California Gold

California Gold

The brightest colored fish in our local waters is the garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus).  It was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 – 1882), an Italian revolutionary hero because of the red shirts that he and his followers wore. The Garibaldi is uniformly brilliant orange in color with green eyes. Males and females are similar in appearance […]

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Diving Bird Arrives for Winter

Diving Bird Arrives for Winter

In addition to the winter migrants willets and sandpipers, the eared grebes (Podicep nigricollis) have arrived to Laguna. Being the most abundant species of grebe, the smallish bird averages 12 inches in size, has a small dark bill and red eyes.   When it is seen locally, it displays its winter plumage with a dark gray […]

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Gooseneck Barnacle

Gooseneck Barnacle

For the past two months, we started to experience daytime negative tides, a seasonal phenomenon where the tide becomes low enough to allow tidepool visitors to see organisms that are normally covered in water or inaccessible due to strong wave action.  One of these creatures is the gooseneck barnacle (Mitella polymerus), a crustacean found living […]

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Shore Scene: Watching the Western Willet

Shore Scene: Watching the Western Willet

By Mia Davidson and Jan Sattler  Now that the summer crowds have dispersed, the Western Willet (Tringa semipalmata) has arrived on the beaches of Laguna. The mottled bird is colored light gray-brown with a pale belly, a long, dark straight bill and gray legs with partially webbed feet. It is the most common of the […]

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Shore Scene:  September’s Sunshine Stinger

Shore Scene: September’s Sunshine Stinger

By Mia Davidson and Jan Sattler The round stingray (Urobatis haller) is one of the two most common rays found in Laguna Beach. It is scientifically classified with skates and sharks because its skeleton is made of cartilage instead of bone. Reaching a maximum of 22 inches in total length, it has a circular flat […]

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Shore Scene: The Ocean’s Oxymoron

Shore Scene: The Ocean’s Oxymoron

By Mia Davidson and Jan Sattler  The California sea hare (Aplysia californica) derives its name from the four protrusions on either side of its head that are suggestive of rabbit’s ears. The slow moving gastropod resembles a giant slug and is typically eight inches long but can reach up to 16 inches.  Colored a mottled […]

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Laguna Shore Scene: A California Hermaphrodite

Laguna Shore Scene: A California Hermaphrodite

By Mia Davidson and Jan Sattler The California sea hare (Aplysia californica) derives its name from the four protrusions on either side of its head that are suggestive of rabbit’s ears. The slow moving gastropod resembles a giant slug and is typically eight inches long but can reach up to 16 inches.  Colored a mottled […]

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Laguna Shore Scene: Eyeballing a Whale's Eye

Laguna Shore Scene: Eyeballing a Whale’s Eye

By Mia Davidson and Jan Sattler   The giant keyhole limpet shell (Megathura crenulata) was used as wampum by Laguna’s original residents. They found the five inch buff to white domed oval shells with an opening at the apex (a keyhole) in the water and washed up on beaches. The limpets, sometimes known as whale’s […]

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Shore Scene: Starring in the Tidepools

Shore Scene: Starring in the Tidepools

By Mia Davidson and Jan Sattler   Due to its bright coloring and star shape, the ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus) is one of the most beloved animals regularly seen along the Laguna coast. They live in ocean water of up to 300 feet deep but because they are tolerant of air exposure, they are […]

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Shore Scene: Spotting a Winged Carnivore

Shore Scene: Spotting a Winged Carnivore

By Mia Davidson and Jan Sattler   Laguna Beach supports a large number of resident bird species and one of the more distinctive species sighted is the Brandt’s cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus).  Found only in North America, Brandt’s cormorants are marine birds that are mostly permanent residents of the Pacific coast and congregate in colonies on […]