iNaturalist powered my California trip!

I am back in NYC now, after three very lively weeks in San Diego North County, Southern California, Although I was quite busy with other necessities, and although the trip was not primarily a vacation, I managed to spend a fair bit of time making about 450 iNat observations. Three quarters of the observations were of marine mollusk shells that had been washed up on the beaches close to where my husband and I were staying.

I worked much harder searching for interesting local shells than I have for many decades, motivated by knowing that my observations would be useful to science and to other naturalists. :)

Because of my increased dedication, I did very well, finding more species than I have ever done before in this area, including several that I had never seen before. I have to give full credit to BJ (@finatic) for letting me know about a particularly good spot that he discovered after he surveyed all the State Park beaches from Oceanside to the Border.

I also need to thank @jannvendetti , @cedric_lee , and @silversea_starsong (James) for coming all the way down from Los Angeles to meet up with BJ and myself, making that day into a wonderful iNat meet-up. :)

I should also "thank" the local authorities for replenishing the beach sand in the area a few times during recent decades. Yes, replenishing beaches is a bizarre artificial practice which presumably disrupts the intertidal and subtidal fauna, but on the other hand, because the sand is pumped in from 60 foot offshore, it brings up onto the beaches shells of several species that live at that depth, species that would almost never be found by a beachcomber like myself, except possibly after a major storm, and maybe not even then.

And of course I also give my sincere thanks to everyone who put an ID or a comment on any of my observations. Although I know most of the shelled marine mollusks quite well, it was great for me to learn something about the local plants, fungi, insects, and even mammals!

Posted by susanhewitt susanhewitt, October 07, 2016 13:11

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Ford Venus Globivenus fordii

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

September 29, 2016 04:30 PM PDT

Description

Another very worn shell of this interesting species. I assume it came in with beach replenishment sand.

Photos / Sounds

What

San Pedro Auger Neoterebra pedroana

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

September 29, 2016 04:40 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 2, 2016 05:00 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Hexagon Tuskshell Dentalium neohexagonum

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 2, 2016 05:00 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 2, 2016 04:45 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

White Venus Amiantis callosa

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 2, 2016 05:00 PM PDT

Comments

Thumb

Glad you had a good time! I enjoyed reading this report and hearing how iNaturalist was helpful!

Posted by marknenadov over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Susan, as always, it was great getting to spend a few days with you and learn more about not only the identification of the marine mollusks but of their life in the sea before they end up on the beach. I'm already looking forward to your visit next year.

Posted by finatic over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

It's been a thrill for me to see what cool new things are among your observations each day! I dearly hope we will meet someday too. The central coast has some great beachcombing spots...

Posted by gbentall over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Thanks Mark @marknenadov for your kind comments!

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Thanks BJ @finatic ! I would not have had nearly as much fun if you had not been there -- was it three times?

And I am quite envious to think of your being able to visit that area during one or more of the super low tides that are coming up over the next few months. I can guarantee you that there are many more fabulous species to find there... :)

Even on a moderate low, I hope you are able to sieve the sand under that area of small rocks -- that should yield all kinds of fascinating really small shells.

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Dear Gena, @gbentall, yes, it would be lovely to meet you if possible next year, or before too long, although Ed and I don't usually travel much when we are in California.

In NYC we don't own a car (as is the case with most Manhattanites), so driving becomes a rare and exotic activity, which is unfamiliar, and therefore difficult.

I am glad you enjoyed viewing my new posts each day! I certainly enjoyed finding the material!

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Driving in CA is the worst (until you are north of Santa Barbara anyway)! Maybe someday one of my trips to visit family back home in Laguna Beach and your trip to SD will overlap. Or maybe I can arrange for that to happen :-)

Posted by gbentall over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

I think @susanhewitt and Ed need to spend Thanksgiving out here and we'll all meet-up. Or we can all meet in Sanibel.

And @gbentall, Susan is looking at algae now. You've corrupted her in an oh so good way!

Posted by finatic over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Always happy to bring people over to the wondrous world of marine algae! I could easily be convinced that a trip to Sanibel was a good idea. Apparently I made a trip there in utero. The beachcombing there is part of my family's lore, although being a fetus, I have no memory of it.

Posted by gbentall over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Susan, Thanks for the posts and sharing your finds!
I would love to plan a beachcombing trip anywhere in CA with all of you @gbentall @susanhewitt @finatic
The Western Society of Malacologists meeting (hosted by @jannvendetti ) is in Los Angeles June 19th-23rd......
http://westernsocietymalacology.org/conferences/upcoming-conferences/

Posted by rebeccafay over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

It was a pleasure finally getting to meet you and BJ! I'm glad that you got to see the Rumina decollata in person. Also, thanks for the crash course in some of our local marine mollusks. I feel much more confident in identifying them now.

Posted by cedric_lee over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@gbentall.... and anyone else who is interested: Sanibel, which is a barrier island off the coast near the city of Fort Myers, in the southwestern part of the Gulf Coast of Florida, is truly shell heaven, as well as being bird heaven, fishing heaven, and all-round nature heaven. It's very beautiful.

But it is mostly rather expensive to stay on Sanibel or Captiva, even out of season. However, it is inexpensive to stay in Fort Myers Beach, and pay $8 each day to drive over the causeway to Sanibel. There is no public transport at all on Sanibel, so without a car you must ride a bike. There are plenty of nice bike trails. The island is flat, but it is 12 miles from end to end.

Although Sanibel really does have a zillion billion million shells, it also has a LOT of shellers who are active all day every day. So the really big, flashy-looking, most colorful shells tend to get gathered up quite rapidly. The smaller, less-dramatic-looking shells get left untouched however. :)

Ed and I will be on Sanibel for two weeks from December 8th to December 22nd this year. We will probably also be there at the same time next year. I try to make sure we have a few good low tide days while we are there.

Sanibel has a wonderful shell museum, and I am on good terms with with the curator, having given the museum quite a number of shells of species from the island that they previously did not know were present there.

http://www.shellmuseum.org/shells/southwest-florida-shells

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@rebeccafay , I would love to do another nice iNat meet-up in CA. However, I don't normally go to any conferences because they cost as much as shelling trips.

Until we get too old and infirm to do all this traveling, Ed and I have been going to to Nevis, West Indies for a month in the spring, to California for 2 or 3 weeks in late summer or early fall, and to Sanibel for 2 weeks in the middle of December.

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@cedric_lee. Yes, it was really nice to finally meet you, (as well as seeing that old shell of the decollate snail!). I wish I had had enough time to learn more from you about the land snails!

I am glad you were able to absorb some info about the marine shells in such a short time!

We must do something like that again if we have the chance. :)

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@rebeccafay Come on down any time. I plan on meeting with @gbentall over Thanksgiving somewhere in or between San Diego and Orange County. And hopefully the next time I make it up north I'll be able to get together with you and others from that area.

But, if you only plan on making one trip down this way, make it during one of @susanhewitt's visits. You'll learn more in a few hours than you would think possible. Plus she's just fun to be around.

Posted by finatic over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Ah, BJ, you are a sweetheart.

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

I think your travel schedule sounds amazing! Let's try for something in Southern California next Summer/Fall. My family is in Southern California (Thousand Oaks and Santa Barbara) and I would love to meet you all there or San Diego or anywhere in between.
Let's keep it in mind as @susanhewitt gets her plans set.
I will let @finatic and @gbentall know when I am in your necks of the woods.

Posted by rebeccafay over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Woohoo, Mollusca Meet-up!!!

Posted by finatic over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

I am already penciling it in for next summer/fall....

Posted by gbentall over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

:) !

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Although Ed and I may come in next year to stay in Encinitas at almost exactly the same time as this year's dates (which were Sept 13th to Oct 4th) that does depend on how his mother does in the interim; she just turned 98 and she currently still lives in her own home in Carlsbad, and takes care of herself. That all could change over the next year, but maybe not, who knows.

If I do have a choice about when to come, I will try to make sure it includes some low tides.

Posted by susanhewitt over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Awesome. I didn't find out you were out there until the last minute. I may have been able to arrange to meet up but it ended up being and epic journey across he country and can't wait to post my finds. I to have to thank James Bailey and Cedric Lee, for showing me around Southern California, and BJ and Gordon Snelling for the location recommendations. Im ready to plan my next trip.

Posted by berkshirenaturalist over 4 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@berkshirenaturalist too bad the timing didn't work out where I could have meet you in person. Hopefully that will happen at some point in the future. I hope my recommendations worked well for you. I can't wait to see what you found on your journey.

Posted by finatic over 4 years ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments