renaissance

Shore Scene

Consider the Bonita 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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...
12