Friday, May 28, 2010

grunion greeting, 2010 #3

Carmel Beach City Park
full moon cycle, 10:45-11:35pm, clear skies

To save you from having to read all this, we didn't see any grunion. No big surprise. This is a new grunion greeting beach for us; we figured researcher Liz and possibly Diane had Del Monte covered for the night. We looked for eggs here with Dr. Martin last year at the end of the northerly season (August, not July like in SoCal).

As you can tell by the first picture, there are almost no lights on the beach compared to Del Monte. The moon was all we had to help us look for grunion. Yep, we have a headlamp, but it's better to keep the eyes adjusted to the low lighting. It's funny how wrack suddenly becomes a potential animal in the dark. Since this is located around the peninsula on the ocean side, the waves are a little bigger and the air is saltier, not to mention we were discombobulated from the different location of the moon in relation to the beach. Interestingly enough, the high tide is listed as occurring 3 minutes earlier than at Del Monte.

Like I did with Seaside Beach last year, I'm including a picture of the warning signs. A tourist drowned here earlier this year in February from the sneaky rip currents. Fortunately, the waves were not out of control this night. I'm unwilling to check Carmel Beach during the pitch black of a new moon night.

Some people had a bonfire down the beach and were lighting off fireworks. Needless to say it was entertaining to watch while we were being skunked by the grunion. I don't think Monterey is on the official grunion greeting list this year. Indeed, last year was the first year for the program in our area. All my times listed above, now without parenthesis, show when we were out, versus previously posted times. As per Karen's request, I am still reporting my non-findings to the research program.

Oh! We did stop by Del Monte on our way home for about 15 minutes. No grunion and only a small group of high school girls taking pictures of each other. Guess it was too late to catch Liz, even though we made it home by midnight.

marsh crane fly
Tipula oleracea

The is a decent-sized crane fly, maybe the 2nd or 3rd largest I typically see in our stairwell each year. I'm making a huge guess as to species based on 1) its general look 2) the color markings on the wings and 3) the time of year. Initially, I thought it might be a common European crane fly (T. paludosa), but those only seem to fly in the fall. There's simply not much online information for CA crane flies. Powell and Hogue state there are 170 known Tipula species in CA.