Fossil Seashells: Hidden Beauty

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Similar Shells Today

Similar Shells Today

A recent scientific article describes how hidden patterns can be revealed by viewing fossilized seashells under UV light. I had to try this myself! I dug out our box of Florida fossils and looked at the chalky white seashells under a UV blacklight. Like magic – the patterns appeared! Nature is truly amazing. The detailed article on glowing shells is at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0120924.

Space Station Flyover

Moonrise in Florida

Moonrise in Florida

Long Exposure of Space Station Flyover

Long Exposure of Space Station Flyover

Airplane Trails 1

Airplane Trails 1

Airplane Trails 2

Airplane Trails 2

View of Pacific Cyclone from Space Station (streamed by ISS Above to our TV - click for details)

View of Pacific Cyclone from Space Station (streamed by ISS Above to our TV – click for details)

We had an extra bright flyover of the International Space Station on Friday evening.  It was a gorgeous warm night with a full moon rising.  As I was taking the pictures, I could hear mama owl singing by the pond.  For better photography next time, I’m looking forward to a nice dark night so that I can take a longer exposure.  If you want to see the Space Station, check flyover times at: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ Remember that the Space Station emits a bright continuous light (the reflection from the solar panels), and airplanes emit flashing lights.

Screech Owls are Nesting!

Screech Owl in Nest Box

Screech Owl in Nest Box

Screech Owl with Erect Feather Tufts

Screech Owl with Erect Feather Tufts

Screech Owl's Round Yellow Eyes

Screech Owl’s Round Yellow Eyes

Screech Owl Wink

Screech Owl Wink

I did some gardening yesterday after work, and had a wonderful surprise.  I looked up and saw mama screech owl watching me!  She moved into her nest box right on schedule for spring.  Amazingly she continued to pose while I took pictures.  Lucky day!  Eastern screech owls pair up and remain together for life.  Other posts about screech owls are at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/?s=screech+owl 

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!

%d bloggers like this: