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.)

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/

Amazing Agave Flower Stalk

Agave Flower Stalk Starting to Grow (August 12, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Starting to Grow (August 12, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Rising (August 18, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Rising (August 18, 2014)

Richard Beside Fast Growing Agave Flower Stalk (September 4, 2014)

Richard Beside Fast Growing Agave Flower Stalk (September 4, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Branches Opening Out (September 16, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk Branches Opening Out (September 16, 2014)

Richard Beside Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 1, 2014)

Richard Beside Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 1, 2014)

Richard Looking up at 16 Foot Tall Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 6, 2014)

Richard Looking up at 16 Foot Tall Agave Flower Stalk (Nov. 6, 2014)

Agave Flower Stalk at End of Bloom (Jan. 24, 2015).  Sandhill Crane is on Left.

Agave Flower Stalk at End of Bloom (Jan. 24, 2015). Sandhill Crane is on Left.

Comparison Between Asparagus and Agave Flower Stalks

Comparison Between Asparagus and Agave Flower Stalks

Agave Flowers Attract Honeybees

Agave Flowers Attract Honeybees

Agave Babies May Grow from Flower Stalk Branches after Blooming Ends

Agave Babies May Grow from Flower Stalk Branches after Blooming Ends

Close-up of Baby Agave

Close-up of Baby Agave

In August our 2-year-old agave plant surprised us, and starting sending up a massive flower stalk. It is staggering how quickly it grows. Final height has reached 16 feet – it is quite the show-stopper! Agave are members of the asparagus family (which includes yuccas and ponytail palms). Although the mother plant dies after the plant flowers, there are always several baby plants clustered around the base to take its place. Sometimes an agave will also grow baby plants straight off the flower stalk branches. Products of agave include nectar (a light liquid similar to honey) and tequila. Agave are often called century plants, but happily they don’t actually take a century to bloom!

Florida: Flower Garden in January

Passion Flower - Side View

Passion Flower – Side View

Blue Sky Vine Flower

Blue Sky Vine Flower

Whirligig Daisies

Whirligig Daisies

Powder Puff Flowers

Powder Puff Flowers

Pink Hibiscus with Rain Drops

Pink Hibiscus with Rain Drops

Fancy Orange Hibiscus

Fancy Orange Hibiscus

Aloe Flowers

Aloe Flowers

Stapeliad Starfish Flowers

Stapeliad Starfish Flowers

Agave Leaf with Rain Drops

Agave Leaf with Rain Drops

Agave Spine with Rain Drop Magnifying Plant Below

Agave Spine with Rain Drop Magnifying Plant Below

Mammillaria Cactus with Tiny Pink Blooms

Mammillaria Cactus with Tiny Pink Blooms

Cactus Spine Patterns

Cactus Spine Patterns

Purple Shamrock Flowers (Love Plant)

Purple Shamrock Flowers (Love Plant)

Our Fountain at Dusk

Our Fountain at Dusk

One of the advantages to living in Florida is that you can garden year round.  That is a big plus if you like flowers!  We just bought a new batch of plants today.  Here is what’s in bloom in our yard (click on any picture for more information or to enlarge).

Florida: December at McKee Botanical Garden

Pink Bromeliad Blooming (Friendship Plant)

Pink Bromeliad Blooming (Friendship Plant)

Close-up of Friendship Plant Flower

Close-up of Friendship Plant Flower

Orchid Tree Blooming

Orchid Tree Blooming

Purple Waterlily with Spotted Lilypad

Purple Waterlily with Spotted Lilypad

Giant White Spider Lily (Crinum species)

Giant White Spider Lily (Crinum species)

Palm Frond Patterns

Palm Frond Patterns

Holiday Flamingo with Pom Poms on Head

Holiday Flamingo with Pom Poms on Head

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Christmas Balls

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Christmas Balls

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Pink Ribbon

Holiday Flamingo with Beads and Pink Ribbon

Inflated Snowman Resting on Lawn

Inflated Snowman Resting on Lawn

There is always something blooming at McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach, Florida.  It is especially fun to visit in December when the holiday decorations are up.  Florida truly is the “Land of Flowers”.  More info is at:  http://www.mckeegarden.org/index.php

Florida: December at Bok Tower Gardens

Christmas Garden by Historic Home

Christmas Garden by Historic Home

Holiday Path to Historic Home

Holiday Path to Historic Home

Red Poinsettias

Red Poinsettias

Pink Poinsettias and Amaryllis

Pink Poinsettias and Amaryllis

Holiday Dining Room in Historic Home

Holiday Dining Room in Historic Home

Silver Holiday Table in Historic Home

Silver Holiday Table in Historic Home

Christmas Tree and Harp in Historic Home

Christmas Tree and Harp in Historic Home

Christmas Tree Decorated with Red Hibiscus and Crocheted Garland

Christmas Tree Decorated with Red Hibiscus and Crocheted Garland

Christmas Tree Decorated with Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Christmas Tree Decorated with Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Close-up of Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Close-up of Knitted Red Poinsettia Flowers

Welcome Pineapple on Door Composed of Sweetgum Seed Pods (also called gum balls or porcupine eggs)

Welcome Pineapple on Door Composed of Sweetgum Seed Pods (also called gum balls or porcupine eggs)

Bromeliad Christmas Tree in Visitor Center

Bromeliad Christmas Tree in Visitor Center

Bromeliad Wall and Poinsettias by Visitor Center

Bromeliad Wall and Poinsettias by Visitor Center

Bok Tower Gardens is especially beautiful in December (located in Lake Wales, Florida).  Plenty of flowers are always in bloom, and each room in the historic home on-site is decorated for Christmas.  It is well worth a visit!  More info is at:  http://boktowergardens.org/christmas/

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