Birding (and Anemone-ing) at Ala Spit

Only days remain in the winter crabbing season, so I decided to take my crabbing net along on a dog-walk with my family at Ala Spit. In the past couple of years, restoration work has been done at the spit. The first thing we noticed was was a wide log-less sandy section at the entrance to the spit, which is in contrast to the past. I took the two bottom photos in this collage on the same day in late September.

Ala Spit

Ala Spit

Now, the same area is almost bare of logs.

Entrance to Ala Spit (December 2014)

Entrance to Ala Spit (December 2014)

Entrance to Ala Spit (December 2014)

Entrance to Ala Spit (December 2014)

It was nearly dusk and we didn’t see a single crab (nor did the one other person out there crabbing at the same time), but there were some birds, like the Black oystercatcher.

Black oystercatcher at Ala Spit

Black oystercatcher at Ala Spit

Black oystercatcher at Ala Spit

Black oystercatcher at Ala Spit

Black oystercatcher at Ala Spit

Black oystercatcher at Ala Spit

We also noticed the Black turnstone, a bird that looks really neat when flying (they seem to dart and turn as a unit).

Black turnstone at Ala Spit

Black turnstone at Ala Spit

Most of the time (though not on this day), you’ll also notice cormorants skimming along the water (or flying really high) nearby.

Cormorants above Ala Spit

Cormorants above Ala Spit

Besides the super common seagulls, you also typically see heron, like this one.

Heron at Ala Spit (August 2013)

Heron at Ala Spit (August 2013)

The coolest thing, however, that I noticed on this day (December 27) was something I’d never seen there before: anemones! They were living right at my feet along the northeast corner of the spit. Since it was getting dark, I didn’t have much time to explore, but in the 20 minutes or so that I did, I saw four. When I (just now), tried to figure out the name (searching “green anemone”), I quickly found the answer:

Buried green anemone, scientific name Anthopleura artemisia. They are also known as moonglow anemone, for obvious reasons.

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

Buried green anemone at Ala Spit (December 2014)

This time of year, with low tides typically occurring at night, it isn’t easy to beach comb, but I was able to see these during about a +3.9 foot tide. I hope to get the chance to see them again soon.

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