Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tolmie State Park

Last month, we missed the lowest tide day due to scheduling conflicts.  We've been waiting a whole month to get over there.  We wanted to go so much, in fact, that we decided we would postpone finishing Mikaela's assessment testing if she wasn't done in time.  Fortunately, she was done in plenty of time.  Unfortunately, Madelynn started throwing up this morning, though not a lot and she wasn't acting sick other wise.  We figured we wouldn't be exposing other people out on the beach.  So, we went for a little while.

It was definitely worth the trip.  The kids were so thrilled that they want me to buy the new annual pass so we can continue going once the state's new fees begin on July 1st ($10 per trip or $30 annual pass per car).

Here are the highlights from our hour long visit:

There was a great blue heron standing just past the water's edge until a dog tried to get him.  The heron flew away with the dog barreling after him down the shore.  It was quite humorous.  The heron came back though.

Sam recognized the clam holes in the sand and tried to dig one up.  This far from the high shore line and without any tools made a futile effort.

There were hundreds of dead crabs on the shore.  This one was about the side of the ones you get on your plate at a seafood restaurant.  Sam explained to the rest of us that it was a female crab, pointing out the tell-tale abdomen size.

Despite not feeling well, Maddie had a ball.  She picked up and inspected this dead sand dollar.  There were hundreds, if not thousands, of them on the shore.

Mikaela was thrilled with her find of part of a moon shell.  We just learned about chonchology in our science textbook, which is why she was able to identify the type of shell she found.  She's begging us to help her make a beachcombing scoop for finding shells (the real ones are quite expensive) and says she wants to move to Florida because they have awesome shells there.

Mt. Rainier was beautiful in the distance.  If we ever move away, it will be weird not having a volcano on the horizon.

Sam just happened to notice a disturbance in the sand.  Digging around, he found an alive and quite feisty little crab.  It even pinched him a little.

Mikaela found this baby wolf eel on the sand.  They are pretty harmless until they get bigger.  Bigger wolf eels can give a painful, though otherwise harmless, bite.  They are also, apparently, yummy to eat.

What part of "stay out of the water" didn't they understand?

Sam picked up a handful of living sand dollars.

Maddie started going downhill so we had to leave pretty quickly, but we sure got a lot in in just an hour.  It was a perfect little field trip to go with our swimming creatures science studies.  We'll be back for more exploration another time.  

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Dan Hershman said...

your baby wolf eel image is actually a gunnel, probably a crescent gunnel. Its an easy mistake as gunnels do appear to be eel-like (but the wolf eel isn't really an eel)

here's a photo of a baby wolf eel.

Dan Hershman