Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lovells Island

We started our day by taking the boat from Boston Harbor to Georges island, and from there on to Lovells islands. In Lovells island we were greeted by Tim the park ranger. The blackburries that were on our way to the beach added a lot to this inviting island. Without loosing too much time we headed Westward.
Lovells island was a great experience for me. I had the chance to take a closer and more carefull look of the life in the intertidal zones. We were particularly lucky since we got there early in the dayt and the tide was at its lowest which revealed a very rich habitat. I found some striking differences with the Barking Club: the most important one being that Lovells island is a National Park and therefore a protected environment. The other major differenence is that the Barking Crab is a dock in Boston Harbor whereas the place we were looking at in Lovells island is a sandy beach. As a consequence the habitats were drastically different, especially in regard to what kind of life we found. For instance, in Lovells island we found a number of shells, periwinkels and snails that we didn't find at Barking Club.

In Lovells island the intertidal zone had a few intertidal pools in which we were able to find a number a of different living organisisms: we spotted a number of plants and animals. We looked for any living organism that could be senn which we observed, photographed, drawed and later looked up in guides.
We found a very interesting habitat that developed in the intertidal pools that were surrounded by ruined jetties that served the US military in the past. As you can see on the picture, the intertidal zone consists of a sand zone which extends to a very rocky area, with rocks of all sizes.

I am personally very proud of this. Although I've been in the ocean before and I have been fishing many times, I never had a great relationship with crabs. With the help of Hilary we caught this (alive) crab which is the first one that I actually touched. I was thrilled,
I will show you in a minute a much bigger one we caught alive. According to the Hitchickers guide this crab is an Asian Shore crab. The reason that makes me believe that is the resemblance in the picture and that this crab has three teeth.

This crab was found dead but I think I found out what he is. I looked him up on
the Natioanal Audubon Society Field Guide to Noth American Seashore Creatures. Originally I thought that it was a Say's Mudd Crab. However, the description made me doubt and I decided to double - check with the Hitchickers guide. If I am not mistaken this is the same kind of crab we've seen the day before in the Barking Crab, and I believe it to be a Green Crab.

For this I do not need a guidebook since I know pretty well what it is. It is a dead sea urchin. If it were alive I could also probably determine its sex. If we were ev
en luckier and it was a female we could have eaten the eggs which are one of my favorite delicacies.

I was a bit surprised we did not find many sea urchins, especially considering how rocky was the intertidal zone. Even when I walked on the jetties I couldn't see any although I expected there would be a big population of them. I am pretty sure that there is a good reason for that, but I just don't know it.

This was one of my favorite discoveries of day. Ted? caught this baby lobster which I had the chance to look at before we set it free. I looked it up in the guidebook and it turned out a bit more complicated than what I thought. To begin with my pictures are not that great since I was not too close. The s
hape of the tail as well as the fact that it has three legs make me believe that it is a Northern Lobster

For the first time in my life I sang to the periwinkle pictured on the side (I never thought I would actually do something like this). So I had the chance to closely observe it but all I could think of was the lunch that was waiting for me. Now I am trying to identify in the guidebook, however I realized that I only have pictures from the front side. However, from what I remember and what I read in the guide, I suspec and speculate that this is a Rough Periwinkle especially considering the comment
in the guidebook that it is found more than anywhere in New England.

After lunch, unfortunately we left the tidal pools and the intertidal zone and we went to look for snails. This is something that I have never done before, and I frankly think that I just needed to spend some more time with these lovely creatures.

We found a lot of these grove snails on trees. I assume that the humidity of these days does a lot of good to the snails. This assumption has to do with the fact that when we picked the snails from the trees and put some water on our hands, they would come out of their shell.

I was really impressed by their abundance. I just started reading about and exploring the world. Thanks to our course I am now able to appreciate their complexity and their role in the natural habitat.

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