August 20, 2012

tide pool creatures

exploring the beach
When my boys and I were visiting my parents in July, we went clamming one morning at Fort Stevens State Park. My boys had been clamming before with them, but I hadn't. It was an amazing morning, bright and sunny, and we ended up taking our coats off by the end because it wasn't even windy and cool.

Andrew was very interested in actually getting clams with the clam "gun". But Steven was more interested in checking out the sandy tide pools left by the low tide. I love seafood, but that doesn't include bivalves (and there weren't enough clam guns for all of us anyway), so I gladly followed Steven on his leisurely wanderings.

Andrew using the clam gun

Most pools of water were barren. But he spotted a few with small shrimp. They were fun to watch swim around and burrow into the sand. They really blend in. Some pools had a few full-grown shrimp, and other pools were filled with hundreds of tiny ones. We found a hermit crab in a small white shell, and some tiny snails making trails in the sand underwater. And we found something that I now know is called a sand flea or mole crab. I had seen them once before and wondered what in the world it was (I thought it looked like a shrimp without a tail!), but didn't get a photo of that one.

small shrimp in tide pool

hermit crab in tide pool

The patches of water in the vast sandy beach didn't look like they would have much in them, not like the rocky tide pools with starfish and urchins one usually imagines. But they turned out to be interesting in their own right!

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