Archivos de diario de junio 2022

12 de junio de 2022

Dockfouling at Ventura and Channel Islands harbors

I had never been dockfouling before, and when I learned of the activity, I immediately had to try it. I picked a cool, cloudy weekday and headed over to Ventura Harbor.

Now, I knew from my research that others had been foiled by the fact that Ventura's docks are private. ( However, I had a simple plan: I rented a kayak, thanks to Ventura Boat Rentals. Please note that I did NOT use the kayak to trespass on private docks or examine the hulls of privately owned vessels, and I would ask that no one else do so either!

My initial thought was that I would take the kayak out to a road underpass where there would be pilings and possibly concrete walls to explore (that would not be private property), and I would suggest this approach to anyone attempting a group outing, as the docks by the kayak rental would be overcrowded by several people trying to explore them at once. I can't suggest any locations for group exploration, though -- I didn't go more than a couple hundred feet. I wound up staying close to the kayak rental facility and exploring their dock from the sea, which gave me access to a variety of locations that would have been blocked from the land side by equipment and overhangs. I did receive the attention of a few concerned passers-by who wanted to make sure I was not having a heart attack or other emergency event. I thanked them for checking on my safety.

I easily occupied the hour of the kayak rental examining the dock, then returned the kayak and settled down on an out-of-the-way corner of the rental dock with the camera to explore from the land. I figured they would not object to a paying customer taking up some space on their dock, and they did not seem to mind. The only attention I got was from a few passers-by who wanted to know if I was looking at an interesting fish. Upon learning that I was looking at invertebrates, they quickly lost interest. People have such a bias for creatures with backbones!

In the late afternoon, I drove over to Channel Islands Harbor. There, I visited the dock belonging to the Channel Islands Kayak Center. I didn't want to rent a kayak so late in the day, but the staff there were friendly and tolerant of my exploration of their dock. I asked for their info and prices, and will rent a kayak from them on my next visit. Channel Islands Harbor is beautiful and well worth exploring by kayak, and their prices are extremely reasonable.

If I inspire others to use this method of exploring the docks in areas where they are mostly private, I have a few suggestions:

  1. The water clarity changes dramatically based on the current. I found it to be best during slack water. Predicting slack water can be tricky as it depends on the shape of the harbor; on the 10th I found that the water was too cloudy for photography just before the 12:36PM low tide, and was much clearer for the hours around halfway between low tide and high.
  2. If you plan to rent a kayak (which I highly recommend, as it provides more opportunities to explore and also will help the kayak rental staff view your presence favorably) then you are going to want to bring a change of clothes. Ventura Harbor Village, where the rental agency is located, has public restrooms. I am not as sure about Channel Islands Harbor.
  3. There is not much room on the dock. Only one person can lie down on the dock at a time without blocking pedestrian traffic (please don't block pedestrian traffic!)
  4. Please be polite to the kayak rental staff so that the kayak rental agencies view us weird invertebrate lovers favorably and don't mind our visits. :) If they ask you to leave, please do. The dock is a private business and we can only use it if they permit us to.
  5. Please do not trespass. You CAN access areas from the water that you couldn't access on land, such as private docks and privately owned vessels, but it doesn't mean you SHOULD. Trespassing could have serious legal consequences or even risk your life. Please exercise the same caution that you would when observing on land.
  6. Be prepared to answer questions from people who want to know what you're fishing for and whether or not you are dying! :) Even on a quiet day, there are a lot of people at the harbor and they are very inquisitive.
Publicado el junio 12, 2022 04:30 TARDE por wildnettle wildnettle | 36 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

An evening visit to Castaic Lake

The annual pass to Castaic Lake that I bought last year expired, making it much harder to justify brief trips to the lake for observing wildlife. I'm not re-purchasing an annual pass when I'll only be here another 2 months and too busy to spend time at the lake, so I waited until after sunset to go to the 24 hour fishing pier and spend a brief period exploring the lake shore. It was too hot to be out during the day anyway!

The main purpose of my visit was to see what I could find in the lake at wading depths. I saw a number of small fish resting in the shallows, but there was no visible algae growing, and I didn't see any Hydra on the rocks either. Water samples held up to my head lamp contained copepods but no Daphnia, though I have only seen Daphnia here during the day.

As I was getting ready to return to the car, I spotted some spiders beneath a tree and stopped to watch them. As I did, a small creature that I initially took to be a very long millipede crawled up and began exploring my foot. It quickly decided I wasn't a good hiding place and moved over to a tree root instead, when I suddenly realized it wasn't an invertebrate. I bent down and snagged a couple pictures of the adorable little snake, but decided not to bother it by fishing it out to get a closer look.

That inspired me to do a bit more exploring, and I found many actual invertebrates around the lake, mostly wolf spiders. It was a very pleasant way to spend the evening, and it was wonderful to be able to do some observing after dark when it was a reasonable temperature out. If I liked hot weather, I wouldn't be moving to Seattle!

Publicado el junio 12, 2022 04:45 TARDE por wildnettle wildnettle | 10 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de junio de 2022

NO dockfouling (observation) at Redondo Beach pier/international boardwalk.

Per rental agency staff - Floating docks are strictly off limits, no loitering whatsoever even at the docks owned by the rental agency, due to requirements of the private slip owners.

Even if that were to change, the docks are very narrow and it would be difficult not to block traffic.

I'm told that this is a good place to observe sea lions. Garibaldi can be observed in the shallows, and there are some exposed pilings below what appears to be a closed restaurant. But no observing at the dock.

Publicado el junio 27, 2022 03:13 MAÑANA por wildnettle wildnettle | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de junio de 2022

It's never the ants you're observing who sting you

It seems to be the time of year to be stung by ants. A lot of people I know have gotten stung this week. I got stung this morning while looking for bees, probably by one of the red harvesters that are ubiquitous where I live.

Meanwhile in the hills, I've noticed quite a variety of ants in the evenings. I've been trying to make a point of taking pictures of some of them, even though I'm not great at identifying ants. I've been out most weekday evenings the past couple weeks, saying goodbye to the land around here. If you asked me a few years ago whether I'd miss SoCal when I left, I'd have told you no, but I will. I'm going to miss scented nights under the Milky Way, shimmering with the chorus of so many different kinds of insects singing together. I'm going to miss the dizzying diversity of insects in the scrub, the way it seems like everywhere I look there's a different kind of ant. Huge red ants, little black ants, tiny yellow ants you can barely even see if you don't put your face right up into their trails. Ants with short legs and ants that seem to be all leg. Sugar ants keeping watch over clusters of aphids and scale insects, fire ants going to the carcass of some small mammal, harvester ants dragging seeds several times their own size. I'm told the forests up north don't have anything like such a diversity of ants. (I'm also told I can expect to get bitten by angry Pogonomyrmex a lot less, which I will probably appreciate.)

Publicado el junio 29, 2022 05:54 MAÑANA por wildnettle wildnettle | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario