Date: 5/27/18 2:05 pm From: Jeff Gibson <gibsondesign15...> Subject: [Tweeters] Down at the Pier
I have found the ideal plankton watching partner - my dear old demented mother.
Now, most people are bored to tears watching plankton and probably my mom is too, yet she is able to amuse herself by all the sights down at the pier and is easily distracted by people on the pier and particularly light reflections. She could probably spend all day down there, thus allowing me plenty of time down on the float to watch plankton. She does enjoy watching fish.
My mothers most used phrase these days is, "gee, never seen anything like that before!", which of course is because she cant remember anything in present time longer than about 30 seconds.She's all over West Seattle in the 30's and 40's though.
Anyhoo, plankton watching has been good for me this spring - an amazing variety of creatures. There is an old concept (I think it was pointed out by Shakespeare) of "Sea Change": the notion of a wholesale change of conditions in any given place as the sea moves thru it. That certainly applies to plankton, which are carried hither and yon by tides, current, storms, etc. Here today and gone tomorrow.
Fish too. Every day different. One day near the end of April my sister and brother-in-law were in town and we went down to the pier. The most abundant fish down there were thousands of the aptly named Shiner Perch flashing down in the eel-grass inside the pier. Suddenly a big Harbor Seal appeared (having snuck through a gap in the pilings) and all those perch scattered over the eel-grass instantly galvanized into a dense ball.
The seal was zooming around just below us humans watching from the pier so we were treated to a great show. It was amazing to see the seal completely surrounded by fish, most of which managed to keep about a foot away from the seal as it zoomed about. Some but not all. The seal got it's fill and left, but later (like an accipiter doing sporadic stealth attacks on a bird feeder) we saw it from down the beach sneaking in for another shot at it (insert the shark music from "Jaws" here).
Some of the coolest plankton floating by were Comb Jellies, which are not the same as yer typical jelly. I think of them as "The Jello Electric": unlike the pulsating movement of jellyfish they move by moving rows of cillia around their bodies which (like a hummingbird's gorget) are refractive and just need some exterior lighting to put on a stunning lightshow of rippling color in all the colors of the rainbow plus a few more.I noted about 4 species - the most ever for me.
Well I've got more ;purple martin, rock doves, and guillemots were the birds at the pier that day with 8 Turkey Vultures (this was 4/26 Diann ), a Peregrine soaring with the TV's overhead, and surprise ! a Golden Eagle with a Raven its tail coming inshore from out over the sound.
Well my typing going to hell, so I'm done. One of the things I've acquired since I last posted is Parkinson's Disease which sometimes interferes with typing. So it goes.