Fall has hit the Oregon Coast. This means the crowds have dwindled, the sun goes down sooner and we’ve had some rain. None of this is a bad thing.
Since it was not a rainy day, I decided to do a beach walk after work. I had an errand uptown, so it was the perfect opportunity to walk the Road’s End beach and check out some tide pools. Who knew I be doing a presentation on the beach…
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.
It was a perfect afternoon for a walk. Blue sky, light winds and a distinct lack of people
My goal was to get to the far north end of the beach and see what I could find in the tide pools. I bough along the GoPro for fun.
While I was sitting there playing with the GoPro and checking out the sites, I saw a group of ladies coming closer. They were checking out the tide pools and talking. So, as I do often, I let them know I had spotted some starfish.
I thought I’d take a second here to let you know that finding them isn’t always that easy. Take a look at this wall
I will tell you there is a starfish there.
If you didn’t know where to look, though, or know what you were looking for, they are easy to miss.
I have found in my beach walks that most people are excited to see starfish. They seem to be the rockstars (pun intended) of the tide pools.
So, when they got close enough, I pointed these guys out.
They were tucked down low and all grouped together.
Well these ladies were from all over the states, they were in town for a birthday trip. None of them had ever seen a tide pool.
Well my plan had been to point to the starfish and leave. However, it turned into a: Tidepool Talk with Tony!
First they wanted to know if the starfish would die out of water. I explained that as long as they were secure to a rock and weren’t exposed for too long, they be just fine. However, finding one unattached or on the sand high and dry, usually meant they were gong to be seagull food!
Turned out they paid attention to this part…
Then they asked what these green things were.
I then explained that they were anemone’s. And then found them ones that were open.
They had seen these and thought they were flowers. That of course led into the whole talk about these are animals and not plants. When they are open the tentacles sting tiny sea creatures that they eat. OK this may seem silly, but I swear if they had paper and pencil, they woulda taken notes!
I answered a few more questions, telling them about mussels and barnacles, and then went on to the farthest part of the beach to look for agates (I struck out)
When I got back they were still checking out the tide pools. When they saw me, one ran up with a story.
Some kids had been checking out the pools, and when the ladies walked over after they left, they found a starfish off the rock and upside down. One remember I said they need to be attached, so she waded in and grabbed it and put it on a rock.
I went over to see it, and it looked ok. And even if it hadn’t , I wasn’t going to tell her any different!
“Good job! You saved a starfish!” She was beaming and he friends were excited for her! It was cute. And honestly, there is a good chance she did save it. If nothing else, it had a better chance to live with her help.
I let them know about the whales I’d spotted recently in Depoe Bay, and they started making plans to get up early and go spot them.
And then I headed for the car about a mile or so away.
My Mobile Naturalist night was not quite done though…
As I got close to the car, I was still looking for agates and taking my time.
A guy came up out of the blue and asked if he could ask me something. (I refrained from saying, “well you just did!”)
He pointed out one of these guys, which were all over the beach
And asked what they were.
I wanted to ask why he would ask me when there were others around. Do I look that much like a science geek???
Instead, though, I explained these were jellyfish, and there are a lot of different sizes and shapes. The winds and waves combine to beach them.
He turned to the lady he was with and said, “You were right! They ARE jellyfish” and we went out separate ways.
OK, I have to admit it was fun giving a tide pool talk. People who go to aquariums and science centers have someone there to answer questions. But, if you are luck enough to be somewhere like this in wild
Who are you supposed to ask questions to??
Evidently, tonight it was me!
I wonder if I can get Lincoln County to pay me to be a bike riding, beach walking mobile Naturalist. Helping educate the world one whale or one starfish at a time!