All Anemones Great and Small

A giant green anemone sits beside a colony of aggregating anemones in a tide pool in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

There are two species of anemones in this tide pool at Enderts Beach, the big green one is an aptly-named giant green anemone. The clustered little ones are aggregating anemones, they can reproduce multiple ways but this colony would likely consist entirely of clones. Giant green anemones are sometimes seen in tight groups but if there’s room they often spread out.

The Oystercatcher

A black oystercatcher stands on a rock covered with goose barnacles and California mussels in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

A black oystercatcher stands in what must feel like heaven to a bird that eats mollusks, a rock covered in goose barnacles and California mussels. When the tide comes in this rock will be underwater, something I still have trouble wrapping my head around. I love watching and listening to oystercatchers as they hunt in the tide pools so it was a special treat to get to photograph this one so completely in its element. After watching them at several places in California and Washington, I began to wonder why some of them had extra black spots next to the pupil of their wondrous orange-ringed yellow eyes, leading me to a paper that suggests you can fairly reliably determine whether the oystercatcher is male or female by these eye flecks. I suspect this one may be a male since it had only small specks next to its pupil, they were hard to see unless I zoomed in on the picture.

Assorted Candies

A black turban snail nestles into a gap between aggregating anemones int a tide pool at Enderts Beach in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

When I visited the tide pools in Redwood National and State Parks, I didn’t know much about most of the creatures I was photographing, I was just taking pictures of things that caught my eye and planned to read up on them later. I was taken by the shapes and colors of these aggregating anemones that were clinging to a rock at Enderts Beach, like a box of assorted candies. Then I noticed where a black turban snail had nestled down between the anemones and took my favorite picture of them. Once I looked more closely I noticed other little creatures in the scene, from the goose barnacles in the upper right to the black limpets on the snail’s shell (almost invisible since they were on the dark part of the shell).