California Beach Treasures

California Coast South of San Francisco

California Coast South of San Francisco

Long Exposure of Rocky Coast

Long Exposure of Rocky Coast

Long Exposure of Ocean Waves

Long Exposure of Ocean Waves

Sea Foam on a Windy Day

Sea Foam on a Windy Day

Tafoni Rocks

Tafoni Rocks

Interesting Rock Patterns

Interesting Rock Patterns

Colorful Pebbles and Orange Turban Shell

Colorful Pebbles and Orange Turban Shell

Japanese Fishing Float

Japanese Fishing Float

Acorn Barnacles and Red Algae (Nori)

Acorn Barnacles and Red Algae (Nori)

Salp and Seaweed

Salp and Seaweed

By the Wind Sailor  with Green and Blue Sea Glass

By the Wind Sailor with Green and Blue Sea Glass

Green Anemone in Tidepool

Green Anemone in Tidepool

6 Armed Purple Sea Star

6 Armed Purple Sea Star

Agates Collected on Beach

Agates Collected on Beach

Agates Glowing under UV Blacklight

Agates Glowing under UV Blacklight

Agates after Polishing in Rock Tumbler

Agates after Polishing in Rock Tumbler

The California coastline south of San Francisco is very rocky and scenic. At low tide there are all sorts of interesting things to see on the beach and in the tidepools.  A day at the ocean anywhere is always fun!  A good link with info about biodiversity on California’s central coast is:   http://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/intertidal-and-subtidal-species.html  (Click on the pictures above for additional stories and links.)

Florida: Sea Glass and Ocean Gems Symposium

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach

Boardwalk at Barrier Island Center

Boardwalk at Barrier Island Center

Entrance at Barrier Island Center

Entrance at Barrier Island Center

Signpost

Signpost

White Bowl of Sea Glass

White Bowl of Sea Glass

Blue Bowl of Sea Glass

Blue Bowl of Sea Glass

Red Bowl of Sea Glass

Red Bowl of Sea Glass

Sea Glass on Table

Sea Glass on Table

Old Auto Headlight Sea Glass Fragment

Old Auto Headlight Sea Glass Fragment

On Saturday we attended the First Sea Glass and Ocean Gems Symposium at the Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach, Florida.  The Center is located in the heart of Archie Carr Refuge, a major nesting site for sea turtles. The festival celebrated not only sea glass, but also sea life and all treasures found at the beach.   There were educational displays, along with arts and crafts on the back deck overlooking the ocean.  The sea glass displayed was collected on local beaches over the past 40 years – some of it washed in from ancient shipwrecks! More info about the Center is at:  http://www.brevardcounty.us/EELProgram/Areas/BarrierIslandSanctuary/Home

Purple Martin Update

Purple Martin Update, Winter 2015, Back Cover

Purple Martin Update, Winter 2015, Back Cover

Purple Martin Update, Winter 2015, Front Cover

Purple Martin Update, Winter 2015, Front Cover

We are pleased to see the Winter 2015 issue of Purple Martin Update magazine has our sunrise photo on the back cover!  It shows our nesting gourd rack silhouetted against a dramatic pink sky (taken in mid-December 2014).  The front cover of the magazine shows a purple martin with a geolocator tag.  The miniature tag allows scientists to track the birds to their migratory home in Brazil, and thus help with conservation.  The first purple martins arrived in our yard for nesting season on February 3. Now the purple martins are going in and out of the gourds and singing all the time.  Spring has arrived here in Florida!  If you would like to host martins, more info is at:  http://www.purplemartin.org/

Monterey Bay Aquarium is the Best!

Leopard Shark in Kelp Forest

Leopard Shark in Kelp Forest

Rockfish in Kelp Forest

Rockfish in Kelp Forest

Pink Fish-Eating Anemones

Pink Fish-Eating Anemones

Pink-Tipped Green Elegant Anemone

Pink-Tipped Green Elegant Anemone

Sand Dollar Bubble Tank

Sand Dollar Bubble Tank

Open Sea Exhibit with Sea Turtle

Open Sea Exhibit with Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle Swimming

Sea Turtle Swimming

Spotted Comb Jelly

Spotted Comb Jelly

Transparent Moon Jelly

Transparent Moon Jelly

Stinging Sea Nettle Jellyfish

Stinging Sea Nettle Jellyfish

Fluorescent Coral

Fluorescent Coral

Monterey Bay Aquarium in California has the best exhibits!  It has been rated best in the nation for kids.  Ocean life is rich and diverse, and the creatures that live there are utterly fascinating.  I can never get enough!  All of our posts featuring Monterey Bay Aquarium are at:   https://naturetime.wordpress.com/category/california/northern-california/monterey-bay-area/monterey-bay-aquarium/

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Fantastic Tentacles Exhibit!

 

Tentacles Entrance Sign

Tentacles Entrance Sign

Tentacles Exhibit Sign

Tentacles Exhibit Sign

Tentacles "Myths Prevailed" Display

Tentacles “Myths Prevailed” Display

Octopus Attacking Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 Movie "It Came from Beneath the Sea"

Octopus Attacking Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 Movie “It Came from Beneath the Sea”

Tentacles "Early Influences" Display

Tentacles “Early Influences” Display

Octopus Petroglyph, Easter Island, Chile

Octopus Petroglyph, Easter Island, Chile

"Night of the Ammonites", Ray Troll, 1998

“Night of the Ammonites”, Ray Troll, 1998

"Colossal Octopus" Pen and Wash Drawing, 1803

“Colossal Octopus” Pen and Wash Drawing, 1803

"Gamochonia" Octopus Scientific Illustration by Ernst Haeckel

“Gamochonia” Octopus Scientific Illustration by Ernst Haeckel

Minoan Vessel with Octopus Motif, Crete, 9th Century BC

Minoan Vessel with Octopus Motif, Crete, 9th Century BC

Giant Pacific Octopus 1

Giant Pacific Octopus 1

Giant Pacific Octopus 2

Giant Pacific Octopus 2

Giant Pacific Octopus 3

Giant Pacific Octopus 3

Mechanical Octopus Display

Mechanical Octopus Display

Bigfin Reef Squid

Bigfin Reef Squid

Broadclub Cuttlefish

Broadclub Cuttlefish

Stumpy Cuttlefish

Stumpy Cuttlefish

Purple and Yellow Australian Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Purple and Yellow Australian Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Chambered Nautilus

Chambered Nautilus

Squid Eggs

Squid Eggs

Richard's Cephalopod Selfie Video taken at Tentacles Exhibit

Richard’s Cephalopod Selfie Video taken at Tentacles Exhibit

We just got back from a visit to California, and tremendously enjoyed seeing the new Tentacles Exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  The exhibit features animals in the cephalopod family, including octopus, cuttlefish, squid, and nautilus.  They are masters of disguise and quick color change artists – it has to be seen to be believed!(http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-news/how-octopuses-and-squids-change-color)

Octopus are known for their intelligence (https://orionmagazine.org/article/deep-intellect/), and are said to be as smart as cats.  Each one has its own unique personality.  Octopus recognize and greet their favorite people (and sometimes they deliberately squirt people they do not like).  A link to one of my favorite pictures posted last year by the aquarium is at:  http://montereybayaquarium.tumblr.com/post/17955182992/why-were-so-attached-to-the-giant-pacific 

A few years ago one of the night watchmen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium saw an octopus crawling on the floor.  Apparently at night it would leave its tank and travel to other tanks for a midnight snack!  That solved the mystery of the missing fish.  More info about the Giant Pacific Octopus is at:  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/octopus-and-kin/giant-pacific-octopus 

The Tentacles Exhibit is the best!  More info about these amazing animals is at:  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-experiences/exhibits/tentacles  As usual, click on any of the pictures in the post to enlarge and get more detailed information.

UPDATE:  An amazing video and pictures of squid egg cases are at this link:  http://deepseanews.com/2015/03/whats-this-viral-video-mystery-blob-hint-its-not-a-pyrosome/

Florida: Pretty Turkeys!

Turkey Pair

Turkey Pair

Turkey's Iridescent  Feathers

Turkey’s Iridescent Feathers

Male Turkey Walking

Male Turkey Walking

Wild turkeys are displaying now in Florida.  These pictures were taken in our backyard this past week.  Male turkeys puff up and fan their feathers to impress the females.  They also stamp their feet and turn around in circles.  Usually the females pretend to be unimpressed and pointedly ignore them.  Turkey feathers are beautiful and shimmer with colors in the sun (bronze, gold, purple, and green).  A turkey’s gobble can be heard over a mile away, and is unique to each one.  They are intelligent  social animals that form lasting bonds.  Baby turkeys flock with their mother all year.  I am always surprised by how fast they can run and fly.  What a treat to see them every day! 

 

McKee Gardens: Amazing LEGO Sculptures!

LEGO Hummingbird

LEGO Hummingbird

LEGO Almost 7 Foot Tall Rose

LEGO 7 Foot Tall Rose

LEGO Close-up of Rose Petals

LEGO Close-up of Rose Petals

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly in Bamboo Grove

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly in Bamboo Grove

LEGO Dragonfly on Pond

LEGO Dragonfly on Pond

LEGO Koi and Waterlily

LEGO Koi and Lilypad

LEGO Frog on Lilypad

LEGO Frog on Lilypad

LEGO Victoria Waterlily

LEGO Victoria Waterlily

Real Victoria Waterlily

Real Victoria Waterlily

LEGO Flying Bee

LEGO Flying Bee

LEGO Rabbit and Fox

LEGO Rabbit and Fox

LEGO Fox in Woods

LEGO Fox in Woods

LEGO Bison and Calf

LEGO Bison and Calf

LEGO Life Size Gardener

LEGO Life Size Gardener

LEGO Life Size Lawn Mower

LEGO Life Size Lawn Mower

LEGO Sprouting Acorn

LEGO Sprouting Acorn

LEGO Goldfinches at Feeder Filled with LEGO Birdseed

LEGO Goldfinches at Feeder Filled with LEGO Birdseed

There is a  special “Nature Connects, a LEGO Brick Exhibition” currently on display at McKee Gardens, Vero Beach, Florida, from January 16 – April 12, 2015.  The sculptures are incredible!  Artist Sean Kenney has transformed children’s toys into real works of art.  His pieces have been shown at galleries, museums, tourist attractions, and on television.  More info about Sean and his amazing LEGO art is at:  http://www.seankenney.com/  Info on visiting McKee Gardens is at:  http://www.mckeegarden.org/  Click on any of the pictures for more detailed information about each art piece.

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