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Tag: "Jan Sattler"

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Shore Scene

Shore Scene

Don’t Wreck the Wrack Until the 1960s, thick kelp forests grew along the Southern California coast with the largest kelp bed in Orange County just off Main Beach. Over the ensuing years, normal El Niño / La Niña cycles and storms ravaged the kelp. With the cumulative impact of pollution, run-off, sedimentation, over-harvesting and climate […]

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Shore Scene

Shore Scene

To Whelk or Not Occasionally one comes upon a particularly large white spiral shell deposited on the beach or in the tidepools. This beautiful shell is the hard protective covering of the largest gastropod (snail) found in Laguna, the Kellet’s Whelk (Kelletia kelletii). Capable of reaching a maximum of seven inches in length, the shell […]

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Photo by Mike Altishin

Photo by Mike Altishin

Consider the Bonita Chiquita Señorita A fish abundantly found in the waters of Laguna Beach is the señorita (Oxyjulis californica).  With its two other locally found relatives, the California sheephead and the rock wrasse, it belongs to the second largest family of marine fishes, the wrasses.  They inhabit the open water around rocky reefs and […]

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Shore Scene

Shore Scene

Peeping at a Prickly, Purple Pincushion Who would suspect that a prickly, purple pincushion looking thing we see on the rocks would hide a beautiful pale green shell that we find rolling in the waves? This is the test (external skeleton) of the purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) that remains after its death. The animal […]

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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 […]