Family trip to Malibu Lagoon tide pools - February 2011

Day two of the Teresapalooza birthday extravaganza . . .

Some of my family came to visit me for my birthday and I wanted to do something they wouldn't be able to do where they live (Las Vegas and Michigan) so we went whale watching one day (see the previous post) and to the tide pools the next day.

I'd been wanting to take my parents and friend to see the tide pools since I enjoy them so much. My sister had been with me the very first time I went but that was years ago and she was ready to see more. We decided to go to Malibu Lagoon because it's pretty user friendly (my parents aren't exactly spring chickens!). No hiking down to the pools and you can see quite a bit without scrambling on any rocks. Plus, it's near a lagoon and marsh so there are always great shorebirds.

Here's where we were:

View Larger Map

The low tide was at 7:45 am (0.38 feet) and it was kind of rough getting everyone out there so early but even though we got there as the tide started to come in we still got to see quite a bit.

On this trip, the birds stood out. We saw a few types that I'd never seen before (or never noticed).

As we were heading to the beach we saw a group of herons that I thought we great blue herons. I thought it was strange to find them in a group (usually solitary) but we didn't have much time to look closely. I snapped a few photos and we moved to the beach to try and beat the approaching tide. They turned out to be black-crowned night herons which I'd never seen before.

Black-crowned night heron
(Nycticorax nycticorax)

(here's a closer photo my friend took)

Another first for me was seeing tons of snowy plovers just perched in the sand. You could get surprisingly close without them flying away. There were easily 30 or so.

Snowy plovers
(Charadrius alexandrinus)

Here are some other birds we spotted:

Black-bellied plover
(Pluvialis squatarola)

Green-winged teal - male and female
(Anas crecca)

Snowy egret
(Egretta thula)

There were also some mallards, a willett, pelicans, cormorants and American coot which I'd highlighted in this post.

Also, for the first time, we saw some dolphins from the shore.

We only saw one urchin and two ochre sea stars and not any sea hares, but there were quite a few chitons and anemone as well as some tube snails, limpets and hermit crabs. I was mostly happy to show them one of my favorite things to do.


Align Centersome sort of snail shell and thatched barnacles

great colors

tube snails

I'll be taking a trip to Santa Catalina Island soon so if we do any wildlife adventure things I'll be sure to write about them here.

Check out more of my photos from Malibu Lagoon on Flickr.