This month as I wrote the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter, I really didn’t think I would find any snails to observe up close. Some topics are like that and I don’t anticipate having the opportunity to see the month’s focus topic in person. But, many times I am proven wrong and all of my preparation for the study is rewarded with an awesome experience.
Here is a short YouTube video that we uploaded showing the animal that lives inside the shell:Black Turban
This is the star of our nature study…the black turban which in real life looks quite blue or purple. We discovered the reason for this doing some research once we were able to get on the internet. Take a close look at who is living on the outer shell of this black turban! Amazing since the size of the snail shell is probably a little over an inch….it just looks bigger in my close up images. (click on the photo to really see it)
They get pounded by the surf and it actually wears away the outer shell to expose the colorful layers underneath. This image shows just how plentiful they are on this part of the coast. This is only exposed at low tide so the black turban actually can capture some water inside its shell and then “plug” it up with the operculum to keep itself moist until the tide rises again and they are under water. Amazing creation!
If you look closely at the images, you may spy some limpets and barnacles on the rocks surrounding the snails and also on the snails outer shell! This was not apparent to use until we looked at the images and is quite common.
Want to learn more about the Oregon Tidepools? Here is a wonderful and helpful link: Oregon Tidepools.
Just a sidenote: I found a wonderful page on the Monterey Bay Aquarium that features many invertebrates that you might like to share with your children. So many of these don’t look like they should be invertebrates so it may spark some interest in the topic for your family. Plus, it is a beautiful page! Invertebrates – Animal Guide
Here is my very sloppy journal page for our discovery…it is more about the learning than the journal at this point in my life. I hope it inspires you to create something after your snail study!
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Whether your family spends a few minutes a week outside or hours at a time, share what is going on in your world.
How Do You Join?
Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.
During our outdoor time this week we went….
The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
I added nature journal pages about….
I am reading…
I am dreaming about…
A photo I would like to share…
I will be posting my Outdoor Mom’s Journal entry once a month. Look for it during the first week of the month each month.
Outdoor Mom’s Journal – June 8, 2015
During our Outdoor Hour time this month we…..spent some time at the Oregon Coast during a negative tide where we could explore the many creatures that were exposed. Colorful seastars, anemones, and crabs were the highlights of the day! We try to time our visit to the ocean to coincide with a low tide so we can really see some interesting things. This page may prove helpful: Tides.com.
In the garden….we are planting herbs and veggies and flowers in pots. I am enjoying the process of watering a bit every day with our shower water and see the sprouts come up and flourish. I received quite a few different seeds from Renee’s Garden that say they are particularly for containers. I will let you know how it goes this summer!
A photo I would like to share….this is a magnificent snail we saw in the redwood forest. Isn’t he great!
The most inspiring thing we experienced….glorious sunset walks on Harris Beach. We lingered and watched. We strolled and talked. I savor those moments with my son…all grown up but he still appreciates the beauty found all around us.
Please join me! Share something that you have done lately….looking forward to reading your entries and comments!
We all were aching to get on the road and start our week long camping trip in Oregon. Part of the joy of driving to Oregon are the views along the Northern California and Southern Oregon Coast. Amazing! The photo above is between Arcata and Crescent City along a stretch of the coast that at this time of year is ablaze with lupine…the fragrance is divine as you walk through the vegetation to the sandy beach.
When the boys get out onto to the sand for the first time it is pure joy! They stretch their legs after a long car ride and enjoy the Northern California wide open sandy beaches. We walked a long way, looking for beach treasures as we went. Then it was back into the car for the last leg of the trip over the California/Oregon border and up to Brookings and our beloved Harris Beach.
Yes! This is our campsite this year which overlooks the Pacific Ocean…looking westward and perfect for watching the sun go down each day. We were surprised at how light it was late into the evening…sunset was about 9 PM each day but it was light much longer than that.
Two of the days we were there we were able to take advantage of the negative tide and do some serious tidepooling.
Lots and lots of anemones to be seen…large and small!
Look carefully in this image and you can see the sea star’s “feet” that are clinging to the rocks at low tide. There were so many sea stars of many colors, sizes, and types. I love being able to see up close all the things we learned about from books.
I brought along a Stomp Rocket for the family to use on the beach. This was a fabulous idea and the boys (and mom and dad) each had turns stomping the rocket and watching it propel off down the beach.
We spent many, many hours walking the beaches and collecting colorful rocks…sometimes my pockets were all filled to capacity. I enjoyed sorting my rocks by colors on the picnic table at the campsite. I left them out each night and in the morning the dew would make them shiny and shimmery again.
These were my favorites…the red, green, and gray ones.
I also like this colorful kind which sort of looks like wood. I have a couple more rock related entries to share with you next month as part of my nature study goals and collecting various kinds of rocks. This was a great way to keep nature study at the forefront of our trip..love a good goal.
Mr. A was my fellow photographer at the tidepools. He was willing to really get out where he might slip and get wet to capture some great images of his own. He uses his cell phone camera and they turn our really great.
Here is a shot of my other photography buddy…Mr. D. He is more of an artist with his camera and takes his time to get just the right shot with the right setting. His images are amazing. This was also the very first time that our Kona dog has gone camping with us. She settled right in and had a great time. The wonderful thing about Oregon is that dogs are allowed on the trails as long as they are on a leash. She was able to take every hike with us…love Oregon!
We spent two different days in the redwoods hiking in the quiet stillness. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and it was so very refreshing. I already miss it. I am checking off another new hike on my 2013 Nature Study Goals, two down and two to go!
Can you just imagine how far you can walk on this Oregon beach? It was a windy day but it wasn’t cold so we took advantage of the open space and just roamed for a very long time. (I collected a few rocks too.)
Hello Mr. Snail!
Oh wow! These ferns were amazing! I loved seeing the black stems and the graceful way the fronds grow.
Aren’t they just incredibly pretty? I knew that our California Maidenhair fern had a black stem so I though maybe they were related. I looked it up when we got home and sure enough! This is the Northern Maidenhair fern.
On our last day we visited Crissey Field State Park which has a wonderful visitors center. We spent some time viewing all the nature displays and gathered some pamphlets for future use. We had a picnic lunch and then adventured out to the beach which is so very beautiful. Driftwood, dune plants and flowers, and a nice sandy beach are just what we needed to end our trip on a high note.
We were so happy that our trip turned out with gorgeous sunny skies for the majority of the week. We were able to do a lot of hiking, a lot of exploring, and enjoyed each other’s company while visiting the Southern Oregon Coast.
Until next time….
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We spent four days hiking several sections of the Oregon Coast Trail……a trail that extends from the California border to the Washington border along the Pacific Ocean.
This trail has some fabulous and surprising views and the sections we hiked were mostly within the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor. If you ever have the chance to even hike a mile or so along this trail, grab it and enjoy the tall trees, the green ferns, and the views of the rugged and awesome Oregon Coast.
We camped at Harris Beach and four out of the five evenings were just like this….clear, sunny and filled with beautiful waves. We walked on the beach every night after dinner and then we would go back to the campsite and build a big campfire and roast marshmallows.
The first section we hiked started at Indian Sands and just like its name suggests, it has some huge sand dunes. The trail is a little sketchy at some points and you have to really hunt for signs but it is worth the effort. The dunes were perfect for running down or rolling down if you preferred.
Just around the corner from the dunes, the trail turns into a narrow path through wildflowers and Sitka spruce. Yes, that is the trail right along the cliff’s edge. It was a spectacular section of the trail and the wildflowers are so thick you have a hard time seeing them all. Wild strawberry, Indian paintbrush, wild iris, clover, daisies….I can’t even remember all the different flowers. We came back a second time to rehike this section because it was awesome.
The foxglove was dazzling and the forests were dotted with purple blossoms here and there. I love purple.
Another section of the trail leads down to China Beach. The trail was not well worn and was very narrow in sections but the wildflowers were spectacular. I loved this place and spent lots of time looking at all the different wildflowers. While I was busy doing that, the boys were busy doing something else.
Another day we drove farther north and caught up with the trail at Cape Blanco. It was a little cooler and definitely more windy here and if you look closely in the background of the photo above, you will see the lighthouse. This was a fantastic place with a huge campground. We would like to come back to Cape Blanco some day and camp for a few days to explore more. This time though we hiked the bluffs and then headed down to the beach to see if we could find some tidepools.
Monkey flower, clover, and lupine all make a lovely mix of colors.
We did find a few tidepools and these snails in the splash zone. We watched them climb around for a few minutes and then we had the most fabulous time watching the birds at the beach. We saw mostly crows and turkey vultures but a few swallows, gulls, and songbirds as well.
The next morning found us hiking along the section of the Oregon Coast Trail at Thunder Rock. The trees were so thick along the path that it was quite dark and eerie. We had the trail to ourselves and when we broke out of the trees, we saw the view above. A spectacular cove with an arch rock and pretty clear water.
This invertebrate was crossing the path and he was the most beautiful snail that I have ever seen, if that is even possible for a snail to be beautiful.
The turn around spot on this section of the trail was a place called Secret Beach. The water was here and the beach, although small, was very nice.
I encourage families to consider a trip to the Oregon Coast and try some of the Oregon Coast Trail….you will not soon forget the beauty and the wonder of this unique place.
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