A view of the ocean from a cliff edge with large boulders in the foreground

What’s in the Tidepools? – May 2021

What’s In the Tidepools? – May 2021

(NPS Photo/P. Geisler)

Our dedicated volunteers at Cabrillo National Monument take photos of the exciting flora and fauna down in the tidepools! We want to try and capture the wonderful photos that volunteers are taking in the tidepool area. This blog post is published on a monthly basis, but we need your help. We encourage you to contribute by submitting your memorable photos and/or short videos to cnmvipvoice@gmail.com. These can be of tidepool critters, fauna, bluff collapses, sunsets or anything you consider special. Make sure you include who took the photo and the location, if possible. Will you help?

As we move away from the traditional tide pool season that runs from approximately October through May, we will include more photos of other flora and fauna throughout the park. Thank you once again to all individuals who helped out at the boat incident that occurred earlier this month.

Here are some highlights from this month!

Globose Kelp Crabs are most commonly observed on very low tide days, often hiding in the surf grass. It is rare that they are found higher up in the splash zone, but this individual was likely dead.

A reddish purple crab among small rounded rocks and sand in shallow water
NPS Photo/P. Geisler

Sand Wasps can be seen at the end of the Spur Trail digging tiny holes in the side of the sandy bluff as they hunt and/or lay their eggs. Although they are capable of stinging, Sand Wasps are not aggressive towards visitors who stroll by.

A black and white striped bee digs in sand
NPS Photo/K. Gerace

In the spring, many wildflowers bloom alongside the trails. This is Encelia, more commonly known as the Bush Sunflower, commonly seen throughout San Diego.

A yellow flower with black center
NPS Photo/P. Geisler

These bees are located along the Coastal Trail. They are on a lemonadeberry plant just north of the Spur Trail. They have been observed in this spot for several weeks. Watch your step as you go by.

Orange and black striped bees clump together on a bush
NPS Photo/P. Geisler

While you are out roving the Coastal Trail, keep a look out for bird tracks as shown here. What type of bird was this, a seagull, perhaps a cormorant? Any guesses out there? Leave a comment below.

Bird tracks in sand.
NPS Photo/P. Geisler

TPERP Patrick found a lot of grunion in the tidepools. Apparently the sea gulls found them as well, and they were hungry.

Interesting Fact: TPERP Bob pointed out that the beach between Zones 1 and 2 was historically referred to as Grunion Beach. This is referenced in one of the original Engle and Davis reports, which ultimately led to the creation of the TPERP Program.

Hundreds of cylindrical fish swim in shallow water
NPS Photo/P. Raetzman

And we leave this month with the park at sunset now that extended hours continue until Labor Day. Although the sunset was well hidden behind our May Gray, it is still a peaceful time at the tidepools after hours. If you haven’t done it yet, come out on a weekend. It’s not crowded and enjoy our park!

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