Bird watching and tide pooling at Malibu Lagoon - December 2010

I noticed that the tide would be really low (-1.25) and I had some good news to celebrate so I decided to take a quick and spontaneous trip to Malibu Lagoon to check in with the birds and my tide pool friends. No one was available to come along, but it ended up being nice to go alone. No hiking involved to see these tide pools so there wasn't a safety issue. Just park and walk down to the beach.

Looking back I realized that I hadn't been to Malibu Lagoon since I'd taken K in January! Here's where I was:

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It was a kind of blustery day and looked like rain so the drive was a dream, I found free street parking and there was almost no one else tide pooling. Malibu Lagoon is great for bird watching because there are some wetlands nearby. This is where the Malibu creek meets the ocean.

The most exciting thing about the trip was that while I was looking away from it a great blue heron walked within 10 feet of me. I turned my head and there it was! Such graceful creatures.

great blue heron
(Ardea herodias)

Also, I saw a black sea hare for the first time. The sea hares I usually see are California sea hares (Aplysia californica) which are brown. This time I came across a HUGE sea hare - about 10 inches long and pretty wide - and I had this hunch it was a black sea hare (Aplysia vaccaria). I was right! These are the largest of the sea slugs and may be the world's largest gastropod. According to the wikipedia article, "The longest recorded specimen measured over 3 feet when crawling (and thus fully extended), and weighed nearly 30 lbs"!! Insane.

black sea hare
(Aplysia vaccaria)

Here are so more of the birds and tide pool creatures I found on the trip as well as some shots of the location and sunset.

American coot
(Fulica americana)

(Anas platyrhynchos)

limpet of some sort surrounded by thatched barnacles

double-crested cormorants
(Phalacrocorax auritus)

For more of my photos from Malibu Lagoon, click here.