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person holding a bottle with notes in it

Beach Watch-Beach 503: Gazos Creek Beach is rich in wildlife and history. The coastal bluffs are a stopover for migrating sparrows, and lead you to the beach where giant green anemones (Anthopleura xanthogrammica), black oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani), and nudibranchs (Nudibranchia) are equally at home in the tidepools. This beach also has a heavy dose of lore - our surveyors have found a message in a bottle here! It also offers views of Pigeon Point Lighthouse, named for the ship Carrier Pigeon, which wrecked 500 feet offshore of Gazos in 1853. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

two baby turtles on the beach next to each other

Psst! Did you know that there is a whole system of national marine sanctuaries and monuments? How many of them can you name? We'll be traveling through the sanctuaries and monuments over the coming weeks, stay tuned! Photo Credit: Mark Sullivan/NOAA Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Señoritas swimming through a kelp forest

Happy Marine Life Monday! Señoritas (Oxyjulis californica) are a small wrasse, reaching lengths of up to 10 inches. Their protruding teeth help them pick the bryozoans and hydroids that they feed on off of algae. Feeding by day, señoritas burrow in sandy bottom sediment with only their heads exposed for the night. Sleep tight! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

Wisdom a Laysan Albatross with her chick on the beach surrounded by other Laysan Albatross

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! This Mother's Day we celebrate our favorite seabird mom, Wisdom. This Laysan Albatross has successfully raised 30-36 chicks and at 67 years old she welcomed her newest chick in February. Albatrosses like Wisdom sometimes travel across the Pacific during the summer months to feed and bring food to their young. That's some impressive parenting! (Photo: Kiah Walker, USFWS)

kind on a pier looking through binoculars

Birding is just one of many ways to "Get into Your Sanctuary" and enjoy Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! What is the most interesting bird you've spotted? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

beach covered in rocks

Beach Watch-Beach 420: Pebble Beach is perfect for the geology lover and treasure hunter. Located on a stretch of the San Mateo coast dominated by marine-terracing, the beach is regularly filled with pebbles of jade, chert, agate, jasper, and moonstone (collecting is prohibited). The pebbles are backed by cliffs crusted with Tafoni- a honeycomb weathering process when salt air hits sandstone. There is an accessible nature trail and tidepools featuring Sunburst Anemones (Anthopleura sola) and sea urchins (Echinoidea). (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

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Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and leap into adventure! Home to humpback whales, dolphins, and more, this sanctuary is one of the world's premiere whale watching destinations. Learn how to visit at stellwagen.noaa.gov/visit/(Photo: Elliott Hazen/NOAA, under NOAA Fisheries Permit #14245)

a Cassin's Auklet resting on some rocks

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Cassin's Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) is a small, gray seabird with a distinct white spot above its eye. They breed on islands, including the Farallones, where they nest in rock crevices and build burrows by digging with their sharp nails! (Photo Credit: NPS)

people walking in a line along the coast

Hiking along the coast is a great way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! What is your favorite hiking spot near Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

a large number of birds on the beach

Beach Watch-Beach 417: For bird-watching, Pescadero Beach has it all. One of of the best examples of a large dune beach with stands of native plants, the diverse landscape also includes rocky shoreline and a wetland marsh. It is a major stopover on the Pacific Flyway and a crucial rest area between San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay. Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) and Red Knots (Calidris canutus) are often seen on the rocks; and birds that are considered rarities for San Mateo County are reliably seen here during migration - Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor), and Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva). Making this location even more special, are Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus). A threatened species, these birds nest inland of Pescadero in old growth redwoods, and forage at sea where they can be seen with a spotting scope just past the surf. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

a couple holding hands while snorkeling

Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary! Looking for a magical place to snorkel or dive? Look no further! The reefs of the Florida Keys sustain one of the most diverse communities of underwater plants and animals in North America. By booking a tour with a Blue Star operator, you can help promote sustainable diving and snorkeling practices and reduce your impact on these special reefs. Learn more at floridakeys.noaa.gov/onthewater/bluestar.html. (Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA)

a rose anemone feeding on a bat star

Happy Marine Life Monday! Is your Monday morning off to a rough start? Look on the bright side, you aren't this bat star! The white spotted rose anemone (Urticina lofotensis) has a distinct red column with white spots and grows to have a diameter up to 4 inches and a height up to 6 inches. It feeds mostly by catching small prey with its tentacles, although this one was ambitious with its choice of prey! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

two pelicans sitting on rocks with there beaks open

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Did you know a pelican’s throat pouch is called a gular? The gular on this California Brown Pelican can hold more than it’s entire stomach! That’s because they use it to scoop fish out of the ocean like a net. All that water? It drains out and the pelican then swallows the fish whole. (Photo: Peter Pearsall, USFWS)

a family walking into the ocean with their surf boards in two

Surfing is a fun way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! There are many good surf spots in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, but always check ocean conditions before you go! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

waves hitting the beach along a rocky shoreline

Beach Watch-Beach 414: Pomponio State Beach is one of the loveliest beach-walking beaches along the coast. High sandstone cliffs and a gentle sandy beach makes avoiding the crowds easy as you walk in either direction from the small lagoon. Walking on the cliff trails is worthwhile as well, as it’s a perfect vista during the California Gray Whale (Eschrictius robustus) migration. Steeped in local legend, the beach is named for José Pomponio Lupugeym, a Coast Miwok resistance leader. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

a pair of Black sea bass swimming above a reef with my smaller fish swimming around them

Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary where it's all about that bass! Located off the coast of Georgia, there are excellent opportunities for anglers, boaters, and divers. Black sea bass like these are among the fish that can be sustainably fished here. Learn more: sanctuaries.noaa.gov/visit/fishing.html. Photo: Greg McFall/NOAA

a Double Crested Cormorant

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Double Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) develops unique tufts as a part of its breeding plumage. It appears similar to other species of cormorants, but can be differentiated by its neck which is distinctively kinked when the bird is in flight and its longer and more pointed wings. Can you name the 2 other types of cormorants found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? (Photo Credit: P. Baxter, NPS)

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WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! (Photo Credit: NOAA/NMFS/PIFSC/ARMS)

people fishing of a rocky coastal area

Fishing is another way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! What is the most unusual thing you have caught while fishing in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? Learn more about fishing in your national marine sanctuaries: sanctuaries.noaa.gov/visit/fishing.html  (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

Pied-billed Grebe swimming

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) is a small, solitary and secretive grebe. They have the ability to sink gradually- which they do by changing their buoyancy as they expel air from between their feathers and body as well as from air sacs- and disappear from sight. While Pied-billed Grebe is generally used as their common name, they are also known as: dabchick, devil-diver, dive-dapper, hell-diver, and water witch. Which common name is your favorite? (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

northern elephant seal resting on the beach

Beach Watch-Beach 506: Año Nuevo State Park in San Mateo County is a wonderful part of the Beach Watch Program, and a longtime sanctuary partner in ecosystem protection. Every year, 10,000 northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) return to Año Nuevo Island and the sandy mainland to breed, have pups and molt. Being on a major migratory bird route, the mix of coastal scrub and prairie, wetlands, and dune beach habitat make this a great birding destination as well. You may also see a steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) peek out of the offshore rocks, as the park is at the southern end of it’s range.Note: Most of the year, the sandy beach is accessible only through an Elephant Seal Viewing tour. You can learn more through the Año Nuevo State Park. Learn more about Beach Watch. Photo credits: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA

albatross swimming with a shark about to take a bite from behind

Albatross Trivia: What type of shark is a top predator for albatrosses? (Hint- this amazing photo from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument should tip you off!) Fledgling albatrosses can be an easy target on the ocean’s surface. In some areas, this predatory fish may be responsible for taking out 10 percent of chicks reared each year! Photo by: Ilana Nimz/NOAA Fisheries Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program

a pair of Brandt’s Cormorant on rocks. one is showing off his gular pouch

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! What’s up? This Brandt’s Cormorant isn’t checking the weather, he’s showing off his gular pouch. The brilliant blue color attracts female mates during breeding season. Keep an eye out on the rocky cliffs of the coast because this mating display is going on right now! (Photo: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

close up view of a lobed compound tunicate on the bottom of the ocean

Happy Marine Life Monday! The lobed compound tunicate (Cystodytes lobatus) is a marine invertebrate; but surprisingly tunicates are more closely related to vertebrates (like humans!) than to most other invertebrate animals. This is due to a notochord (a flexible rod) and nerve cord tunicates have during their early development. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

a gray whale cow and calf barely breaching the surface of the water

Happy Earth Day! Sanctuary Explorations participants celebrated the ocean and the amazing marine life during a gray whale watching cruise. From seabirds to a gray whale cow/calf pair (look close for the calf!), we had a wonderful day and enjoyed mother earth and her amazing creatures! How are you celebrating the earth today? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

view of Cove Beach

Beach Watch-Beach 509: Cove Beach, in San Mateo County, lives up to its name. Closed in and secluded, you’ll often find it’s just you and the brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), as California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) surf the waves - along with the occasional surfing human, as well. This beach is particularly special, as it’s sandy cove bluff ‘banks’ and alluvial soils are important nesting habitat for bank swallows (Riparia riparia), a California Threatened Species. Learn more about Beach Watch. Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA

Northern Fulmar in flight

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is in a group of birds known as tubenoses. The distinct tubes seen on this fulmar's bill, contain its nostrils and aid this pelagic bird in finding food with an amazing sense of smell; a good trait when you live primarily in the open ocean! (Photo Credit: Sophie Webb, USFWS)

waterfall between rock at the beach

Beach Watch-Beach 510: Bradley Beach in San Mateo County is our most southerly beach, and one of a handful of places in California where you can see northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) and southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) enjoying a day on the coast. Remember to never approach marine mammals, and always give them at least 300 feet of space! The ranges of these two marine mammals overlap on this beautiful beach, where seasonal waterfalls give way to creeks running to the ocean. Surveyors have seen everything from murrelets (Alcidae) to western bluebirds (Sialia mexicana)  in the ocean waves and shrubby coastal bluffs. Learn more about Beach Watch. Photo credits: Beach Watch/ GFNMS/NOAA

Western Gull with a sea star in its beak

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Ever bite off more than you can chew? This sea star might not go down smoothly, but that doesn’t stop this Western Gull from trying! Though they mainly feed on invertebrates and fish, gulls will eat just about anything. (Photo: Enrique Patino, NOAA NMFS)

nudibranch

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Spotted Triopha (Triopha maculata) is a nudibranch (a shell-less mollusk!) that can be found along the West coast of North America from Canada to Baja California. This nudibranch can reach lengths of up to 7 inches but is more commonly about 2 inches long. How many different types of nudibranchs have you spotted in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary?(Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

waves crashing over rocks at the beach

Leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Beach Watch Program this coming fall, we will be featuring a 'Beach - a - Week' of all the beaches the program monitors. All beaches featured are accessible to the public, and are a great way to explore your sanctuary! Beach Watch is a long-term shoreline monitoring project which was founded in 1993 by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. A program of the Greater Farallones Association, this year-round ecosystem assessment program is conducted by dedicated volunteers who regularly survey an assigned beach within the Greater Farallones and NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.Volunteers collect data on live and dead species of birds and marine mammals as well as human activities. They also report violations, detect oil pollution, and collect oil samples. Beach Watch is the first volunteer program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and has worked for almost twenty-five years to provide: A baseline dataset on the presence of live and dead coastal wildlife and human uses; assistance to sanctuary management in the early detection of natural and human-caused environmental events; a network of volunteer expert surveyors who can respond to oil spills; education to the public about the coastal environment and how they can make a difference in protecting their beaches.

view of a blackgill rockfish from above

Happy Marine Life Monday! Blackgill rockfish (Sebastes melanostomus) are a deep water species commonly found at depths of 400-2,500 feet. However, young blackgill rockfish can be found in shallower areas. Despite their prominent red coloring, the upper tips of their gill membranes are black, giving them their name! (Photo Credit: Kevin L. Stierhoff, NOAA/SWFSC)

seastar

3/30/18 - Hang in there! It's almost the weekend. Do you have any plans to explore your national marine sanctuaries? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

Pelican in flight

3/28/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Pelicans may lumber to become airborne, but once aloft they are truly experts at soaring. To save energy, they float up on pockets of warm air and drop downward in great circles. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Adam Li, NOAA NMFS SWFSC)

spotted dolphin

3/26/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! While extremely rare in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, they are found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. (Photo Credit: NOAA/NMFS/PIFSC)

Great Egret

3/19/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Great Egret (Ardea alba) is well designed for its wading lifestyle with long legs and a sharp bill to spear prey in the shallow waters of salt or freshwater marshes, ponds and tidal flats. Trivia Question: What key features distinguish the Great Egret from the similar looking Snowy Egret? (Photo Credit: Robert Schwemmer, NOAA)

brandt's cormorants

3/14/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Did you know Brandt's Cormorants cement their nests together using their own guano? Males collect nest materials like seaweed and eelgrass underwater and females do the building. Over time, the nest can turn into a tower! (Photo: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

skate

3/12/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Big skates (Raja binoculata) can reach lengths of up to 8 feet. They are typically found along the sandy seafloor where they can both hide from their predators (such as sharks) and find prey which includes shrimp, worms, clams and some types of fish. Big skates are known for the dark spots on their fins which resemble eyes and can confuse predators into thinking that they are much larger than they really are! (Photo Credit: Linda Snook, NOAA/MBNMS)

whitecap limpet

3/5/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The whitecap limpet (Acmaea mitra) is all white and is taller and more conical than many other limpets. It feeds on encrusting coralline algae- the pink that is covering its shell in this photo- a common site with this species. In this case, you WEAR what you eat! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Common Murre lays decidedly uncommon eggs

2/28/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! The Common Murre lays decidedly uncommon eggs. Not only are the eggs beautiful, the speckles and swirls on each egg are unique and help parents identify their offspring before they hatch. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo Credit: Brandon Saito, USFWS)

dead mans fingers seaweed

2/27/18 - If you see dead man's fingers while you're out tidepooling, don't worry! It's just seaweed ... that's not only sort of creepy, it might be invasive! LiMPETS helps to monitor several subspecies of this algae that are thought to be invasive along California coastal areas. This week, NOAA's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is raising awareness about a number of invasive species, learn more here (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart / NOAA MBNMS)

A warty sea cucumber

2/26/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Striped perch (Embiotoca lateralis) have distinctive red, blue, and yellow stripes and can grow to a length of about 15 inches. Their genus name, Embiotoca, is derived from Greek words meaning: "living within" and "offspring"; referring to their viviparous (bearing live young) mode of reproduction. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

A warty sea cucumber

2/19/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The warty sea cucumber (Parastichopus parvimensis) is quite fast for a sea cucumber and can move 3 feet in about 15 minutes! If the warty sea cucumber is threatened or handled roughly, it can spew out its internal anatomy, which it then regenerates over the course of a few weeks. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Baleen whales in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

2/15/18 - Happy Whale Week! How many types of baleen whales can be found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? Bonus points if you can name one type (or all of them)! (Photo Credit: NOAA)

seabirds on the Valentine’s Day

2/14/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! What do seabirds want for Valentine’s Day? Not flowers! When a male gull is interested in a mate, he regurgitates a meal for her to eat. Successful delivery can mean mating for life. How’s that for romance? To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive.(Photo: National Park Service)

The Osprey  is a large and distinctive hawk with a predominantly white underside

2/12/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a large and distinctive hawk with a predominantly white underside. It feeds almost exclusively on live fish. The Osprey is an incredible angler and has a unique, reversible outer toe that allows it to catch fish with two toes forward and two toes back to better grip its slippery meal! Have you ever seen an Osprey fishing? (Photo Credit: Enrique Patino, NOAA Fisheries)

A black and yellow rockfish

2/5/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The black and yellow rockfish (Sebastes chrysomelas) is a bottom dweller, most commonly found around rocky reefs from the intertidal to depths of 60 feet. This solitary and territorial fish feeds on crustaceans, mollusks and other species of fish using a nocturnal ambush strategy! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

Surf Scoter smashing into the water

1/31/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Surfs up! Instead of catching waves the Surf Scoter smashes through them. Why? For food! This diving sea duck searches for mollusks and crustaceans underwater and consumes them whole. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

whip-like gorgonian coral

1/29/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! A new species of whip-like gorgonian coral (Swiftia farallonesica) was discovered during a research cruise in 2014. It was found in an area of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary known as The Football, 23 miles west of Jenner and the mouth of the Russian River, in Sonoma County. This solitary coral feeds on plankton as they drift by with the currents! (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Bufflehead ducks swimming together

1/22/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is the smallest diving duck in North America. They breed in Canada and Alaska and are cavity nesters-utilizing the holes made by woodpeckers! They winter in much of the United States and central Mexico and can be spotted in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The males have a large black head with a white triangle covering the back of their head, while the females have a white oval on their cheek. How many males and how many females can you spot in this photo?(Photo Credit: Jim Bourke, NPS)

two gulls standing together

1/17/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Did you know some seabirds like the Western Gull have no problem drinking seawater? They have a special gland by their eye designed to flush out salt through their bill. It's like a built-in desalination system! To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to seabirds thrive. (Photo Credit: NPS)

elephant seals on the beach

1/16/18 - Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary was designated on January 16, 1981!

Orange cup coral

1/15/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Orange cup coral (Balanophyllia elegans) can be found along the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to Baja California. The females brood their larvae until they are about 2mm long. The larvae are then released from their mother's mouth and crawl to a nearby surface where they will settle for the rest of their life. In this case, the orange cup coral really doesn't fall far from the tree! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

wooly sculpin

1/8/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The wooly sculpin (Cilinocottus analis) is a small fish (2-7 inches long) that is commonly found in the intertidal. This amazing animal not only changes color, like many sculpins, to camouflage with its surroundings but it is also capable of surviving out of the water for up to 24 hours! (Photo Credit: Cabrillo National Monument)

Rhinoceros Auklet

1/3/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! What New Year's resolutions do seabirds have? To fatten up! Before the start of nesting season in spring, birds like this Rhinoceros Auklet spend months foraging in the open ocean for crustaceans and small fish. To learn more about - California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Nial Moore, NPS)

cockscomb nudibranch

1/1/18 - Marine Life Monday! Rivaling most colorful explosions of fireworks, this little creature is actually a mollusk. The cockscomb nudibranch or Santa Barbara Janolus (Janolus barbarensis) can reach lengths of about 2 inches and can be found from San Francisco to Baja California. Several thousand species of nudibranchs have been discovered worldwide, how many species have you seen? New year, "new"dibranch!? (Photo Credit: Ken Bondy, NSF)

 Winter King Tides

12/30/17 - Keep your eyes open for another set of King Tides, the highest winter tides along the entire California coast, on January 1 and 2, 2018. Check your local tides here: tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov The California King Tides Project seeks to document the impacts of flooding events during King Tides and show what the daily water levels of the future will look like with sea level rise. This allows us to take action to reduce coastal hazards that impact both our communities and economy. To learn more about the California King Tides Project and how you can get involved, visit our website (Photo: Brian Johnson, NOAA/GFNMS)

Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

12/25/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! While we don't have a snowy white winter along the California coast, we do have the Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)! This small, pale plover has a tan back and white underparts which help it blend into its sandy habitat. It has suffered a major decline in population due to recreational activities on beaches, habitat loss from development and predation. The nest of a Snowy Plover is just a small indent in the sand and often goes unnoticed. These small birds flee from their nest when frightened and may not return for hours; their eggs can get crushed or eaten while they are gone. Tread carefully the next time you might be walking through plover habitat! (Photo Credit: Jessica Weinberg McClosky, NPS)

California seabirds

12/20/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Do you have big travel plans this holiday season? So do seabirds! Many seabirds return from summers nesting in the Arctic to winter on the Central California coast, like these striking Horned Puffins. Anyone else headed south this winter? To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird/. (Photo: Lisa Hupp, USFWS)

Setchell's kelp (Laminaria setchellii)

12/18/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Setchell's kelp (Laminaria setchellii) is a brown algae that can be found in the low intertidal and upper subtidal zones along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California. Cross sections taken of this kelp reveal concentric rings, much like the rings of trees, that are formed annually and can be counted to determine age. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Snubnose sculpin (Orthonopias triacis)

12/11/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The snubnose sculpin (Orthonopias triacis) can found from the intertidal down to depths of about 30 meters. This small fish grows to be about 4 inches long and can be differentiated from other sculpins by its extremely short snout. Like most sculpins, this master of camouflage can change color to match its surroundings! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

deep-sea coral communities

12/8/17 - Happy corals week! Did you know that we have deep-sea coral communities in the national marine sanctuaries along the West Coast? Our deep-sea coral curriculum takes students into the deep sea to identify the soft corals, hard corals, invertebrates and fish found in these communities and to investigate the unique biology of deep-sea corals. Learn the threats these animals face and what we can do help protect them. https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/education/teachers/deep-coral-communities/

a group of pelicans is called a Squadron

12/6/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Fun Fact: a group of pelicans is called a Squadron. Squadrons of California Brown Pelicans can be seen resting on coastal rocks or flying in formation along the crests of waves. Talk about squad goals! To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird/. (Photo: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Bamboo corals

12/4/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Bamboo corals, in the family Isididae, are cosmopolitan-meaning that they can be found in waters all over the world including the cold, deep waters of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! Along with jellyfish and anemones, corals are members of the Phylum Cnidaria. Some species of bamboo corals, such as the one pictured here (Isidella tentaculum) have fleshy "hula skirts" of elongated tentacles which may be defensive “sweeper” tentacles to ward of nearby settlers and predators! (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration)

King Tide

12/1/17 - King Tides, the highest winter tides along the entire California coast, are taking place December 3, 4 and 5, 2017 and January 1 and 2, 2018.Check your local tides here: tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov The California King Tides project started in 2010 to raise awareness about the potential impacts of flooding events and future sea level rise. What impacts do the King Tides have on your community? To learn more about the California King Tides Project and how you can get involved, visit our website (Photo: Brian Johnson, NOAA/GFNMS)

 Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister)

11/27/2017 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) are commonly found from the low intertidal down to depths of about 600 feet and prefer habitats with a sandy bottom or eelgrass beds. They feed on other small invertebrates and small fish. The Dungeness crab fishery is extremely important along the West Coast. In recent years it was the highest revenue fishery in Washington and Oregon, and the second most valuable in California. (Photo Credit: National Park Service)

Buller's Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri)

11/22/2017 -Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Happy Thanksgiving! While seabirds don’t celebrate the holiday they sure do feast. At this feeding frenzy (pictured) Pink-footed Shearwaters and Western Gulls are fighting over a cornucopia of Pacific mackerel. A school of fish can attract hundreds of birds and other animals like whales and pinnipeds who all share in the nutritious bounty. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb, NOAA/SWFSC)

North Pacific right whale

11/20/2017 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) is the rarest of all large whale species and among the rarest of all marine mammals. These baleen whales reach lengths of about 45-55 feet and weigh up to 70 tons. The population of right whales was heavily depleted by commercial whaling and continues to face threats from shipstrikes and entanglement. Little is known about their migratory patterns, although it is thought that they migrate from high-latitude feeding grounds in summer to more temperate waters during the winter. (Photo Credit: John Durban, NOAA)

Buller's Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri)

11/13/2017 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Buller's Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri) has an estimated population of 2.5 million birds; all of which breed on just one small island group off New Zealand. The Buller's Shearwater migrates north after breeding and can be spotted feeding on fish, squid, and crustaceans off the coast of California from June to November. Several Buller's Shearwaters were spotted on a recent Sanctuary Explorations Farallon Islands & Wildlife Watching trip! (Photo Credit: Steve N. G. Howell / NOAA CBNMS)

Pacific viperfish (Chauliodus macouni)

11/8/2017 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Long before the infamous “Birdman” of Alcatraz met his feathery friends in prison, the island was home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Even the name Alcatraz was derived from the word 'alcatraces' given to the island by early Spanish explorers due to the plentiful seabirds living there. Today, the island is a haven for over 5,000 nesting birds like these Brandt’s Cormorants.To learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Wendy Kordesch, NOAA/GFNMS)

Pacific viperfish (Chauliodus macouni)

10/30/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! There is no shortage of halloween inspiration in the ocean with deep sea creatures like this Pacific viperfish (Chauliodus macouni). The viperfish can reach lengths of 12 inches and has extraordinarily long teeth. Its teeth are so long that when it closes its mouth, the bottom teeth curve up over the outside of its head! The Pacific viperfish has a long dorsal spine with a photophore (a light-producing organ) at the end of it which acts a lure to help it catch prey in the dark of the deep sea. (Photo Credit: David Csepp, NMFS/AKFSC/ABL)

Tufted Puffin

10/25/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Still looking for the perfect costume? The Tufted Puffin is always Halloween ready with it's candy-corn colored beak and snow-white mask. To learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird. (Photo: Peter Hodum, WDFW)

Ringed or Leopard Dorid

10/23/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Ringed or Leopard Dorid (Diaulula sandiegensis) is an intertidal species that grazes on sponges. You may spot these nudibranchs displaying a range of colors from white, to pale grey, brown, or even yellow. Most are 'spotted' with rings or spots (earning them their name!) but occasionally these patterns are absent. They lay long, delicate egg ribbons (as seen here) that are often hidden in crevices. Tell us what your favorite nudibranch is in the comments below! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Brandt's Cormorant

10/16/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) is the most common cormorant along the California coast, can you name the other 2 cormorants found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? They are great divers and can dive 50 meters deep when pursuing prey! After a dive, you may spot them with their wings spread out to dry, as their feathers are not completely waterproof and become soaked. Having less oil on their wings helps reduce buoyancy and allows the cormorant to forage deeper under water. (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

humpback whale tail breching the water surrounded by shearwater
10/11/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Humpback whales feed by rounding up schools of fish in rich offshore waters and seabirds, like these Short-tailed Shearwaters, reap the benefits. Dinner is served! To learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit seabirdprotectionnetwork.org (Photo: Brenda Rone / NOAA)
Turkish towel
10/9/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Turkish towel (Chondracanthus exasperatus) is a red alga that acquired its name because it is covered in small bumps (called papillae) giving it a unique towel-like texture! Turkish towel contains carrageenan, which is used as a thickener in ice creams, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, pasta, pet food, pancake syrup, and toothpaste among other common household items! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)
blackeye goby
10/2/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The blackeye goby (Rhinogobiops nicholsii) is a small fish, reaching lengths up to 6 inches, that is found mainly from the subtidal to depths of 500 feet. There are 2,000 goby species worldwide with at least 14 in California. Blackeye gobies are protogynous hermaphrodites; this means that they are born female, but become male when they reach a length of about 3 inches! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Blue Shark
9/28/17 - There are at least sixteen known species of sharks in the sanctuary! Do you know what type of shark this is? To find out more join us for Sharktoberfest on September 30! (Photo Credit: Walter Heim, NOAA/SWFSC)
Puffin
9/27/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Puffins in San Francisco? Just 30 miles offshore, the Farallon Islands are home to a whole colony of tufted puffins. And they're not alone. The Farallon Islands host the largest breeding colony of seabirds in the continental US with over 250,000 birds! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb / NOAA SWFSC)
White Shark
9/26/17 -Did you know that White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) can reach lengths of 21.5 feet! Find out more about sharks at Sharktoberfest, Saturday September 30th, 11am-4pm! (Photo Credit: Steven K. Webster/Monterey Bay Aquarium)
Long-beaked common dolphins
9/25/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis) are usually found in large social groups that consist of 100-500 animals! They feed on small schooling fish, krill and squid and are capable of diving to depths of at least 900 feet! They are a relatively small dolphin reaching lengths of 6-8.5 feet and weighing 160-500 pounds. The long-beaked common dolphin is easily confused with the similar looking short-beaked common dolphin; and the two were only separated into distinct species in the mid-1990s. (Photo Credit: Bernardo Alps, NOAA/SWFSC)
Leopard Sharks
9/23/17 - Leopard sharks have a gray body, white belly and black spots when they are young and living in shallow waters, but as they grow older these spots can fade. Who says a leopard can't change its spots? To find out more about the sharks living in our sanctuary, join us for Sharktoberfest. (Photo Credit: Adam Obaza/NOAA)
White Shark
9/19/17 - Sharktoberfest is coming! Save the Date! Saturday, September 30th, 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm, outside of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary offices at Crissy Field. (Photo Credit: Peter Winch)
Moon Jellies
9/18/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Moon Jellies (Aurelia aurita) are named for their translucent moonlike bells that can grow up to approximately 15 inches across. Unlike many jellies that have long tentacles, the moon jelly has a short, fine fringe that sweeps in its planktonic food. The color of a moon jelly can change depending on diet; a crustacean heavy diet gives the jelly a pink or lavender tinge while brine shrimp turn it a light orange. (Photo Credit: Bill Goodwin/NOAA)
Pigeon Guillemot
9/13/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Feeling the end of summer heat? So are seabirds! Just like many humans, seabirds hop right into the water to cool off. With water temperatures in the low 60s, you can expect this Pigeon Guillemot cooled off right away. So make like a seabird and jump in! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb / NOAA SWFSC)
Blue Heron
9/11/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) can be found in a wide range of habitats, as long as there is some water nearby. It is the largest member of the heron family and can stand up to 4.5 feet tall with an almost 7 foot wingspan! They feed primarily on fish but will also eat frogs, insects, crustaceans, snakes, turtles, rodents and small birds. (Photo Credit: Will Elder, NPS)
American White Pelican
9/4/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) prefers the brackish estuaries and lagoons of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and is not commonly seen near the open sea. Unlike the Brown Pelican, also seen in the sanctuary, the American White Pelican does not dive from the sky to fish. Instead they scoop up prey from a floating position on the water! (Photo Credit: Benjamin Sandford, NOAA/NWFSC)
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8/30/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Racking up frequent flyer miles this summer? So is the Laysan Albatross! These expert flyers soar hundreds of miles a day and can stay out at sea for years before touching down on land again. That is a lot of miles! Laysan Albatross visit the rich waters of California in summer in search of tasty squid, which is where this one was spotted. Learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo:Laura Morse/NOAA)
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8/28/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The smooth urn sponge (Leucilla nuttingi) is found from British Columbia down to Baja. These small animals form clusters of vase-shaped tubes that are only 1-2 cm tall. Sponges are unique in that their bodies are a collection of nearly independent cells, lacking organs and tissues like most other animals. Of a probable 10,000-15,000 sponges worldwide, only about 5,000 species have been described and named! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
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8/21/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The colonial tube worm (Dodecaceria fewkesi) creates a large mass of calcareous tubes to serve as its home. A colony is started by a single founder who then reproduces asexually. Each worm can reach a length of approximately 4 cm and feeds with small dark brown to black tentacles, which can be seen extending from the tubes in this picture! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
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8/16/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! The Common Murre uses its wings to "fly" underwater to depths of 600 feet. What does it do down there? Catch fish! Murres love to eat herring, cod, and capelin. They are often seen carrying food in their bill--like this squid! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb / NOAA SWFSC)
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8/14/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Gopher rockfish (Sebastes carnatus) are solitary and extremely territorial. They are nocturnal predators that feed mainly on crustaceans and will ambush their unassuming prey. Juvenile gopher rockfish, like this one, are often preyed upon by adult rockfish and lingcod. Good luck little fish! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
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8/12/17 - We are headed out into Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary for a day of whale watching!  How are you spending your Get into Your Sanctuary Day? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
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8/11/17 - Don't forget to grab your camera when you celebrate Get Into Your Sanctuary Day this Saturday August 12th! Enter your best shots to the Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest anytime until August 31! There are 3 categories: *Sanctuary Views *Sanctuary Life *Sanctuary Portraits. The best photos will be highlighted on the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries website! Please be careful not to disturb the wildlife that calls our sanctuaries home while taking your photos! Have fun getting creative and remember to take only photos, and leave only footprints (or bubbles!). For more information please go to our website. (Photo Credit: Joe Hoyt, NOAA)
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8/10/17 - Don't feel crabby, we still have a few spaces left in the 1:00-2:30pm Crab Family workshop on Saturday August 12th! Attention all creative crustaceans! It's Get Into Your Sanctuary Day so prepare your claws and carapaces for a family event devoted entirely to crabs! Learn about crab anatomy with our crab dress-up costume. Look and touch real live shore crabs and sand crabs. Use crab traps to fish for rock and Dungeness crabs off of our classroom pier. Contact Sara Heintzelman to reserve our Get into Your Sanctuary Events. (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
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8/9/17 - Are you planning a final road trip for the summer? There are 15,333 square miles of national marine sanctuaries to explore along the West Coast! Visit NOAA Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary or NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and celebrate Get into Your Sanctuary Day on August 12th in one of these incredible locations! Where will you Get into Your Sanctuary? Find Get Into Your Sanctuary Events. Plan your own sanctuary adventure. (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA)
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8/7/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have a widespread distribution and are one of the most well known species of marine mammals. They have a lifespan of 40-50 years, and females as old as 45 have given birth! Bottlenose dolphins have an unusual feeding strategy called "fish-whacking", where they'll use their fluke to whack a fish and knock it straight out of the water! (Photo Credit: NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center)
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8/5/17 - Are you still looking for ways to celebrate Get Into Your Sanctuary Day on August 12? There are fantastic spots to tidepool in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! Explore the amazing intertidal habitat at the edge of the sea where animals and algae survive under ever changing conditions. (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA)
Social media image 8/3/17 - Bingo!! Stop by the Greater Farallones Visitor Center on August 12th or 13th, 10am-4pm to borrow a bird bingo game sheet. Take a walk at the nearby beach and marsh and bring your completed bingo board back to the visitor center for a prize! (Photo Credit: Roy W. Lowe/USFWS)
Social media image 8/2/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! The Trinidad coast is home to one of California's largest colonies of Common Murres; with over 60,000 birds nesting on Green and Flatiron Rocks alone! To help save future generations of these birds, a new North Coast Chapter of the Seabird Protection Network has been formed. Please join us in welcoming them to our team! Keep an eye out for these birds, and if you live in the Trinidad area consider volunteering to assist with Citizen Science! To learn more about seabirds and what the Seabird Protection Network is doing to help seabirds thrive along the northern California coast, visit the website. (Photo: NOAA/OCNMS)
Social media image 8/1/17 - We want to see your photos of the beautiful scenery in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! Submit your favorite sanctuary views to the Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/31/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Monterey doris (Doris montereyensis) can reach lengths of 15cm and is usually a lemon-yellow color; however it can range in color from a brighter yellow-orange to nearly white. It lays ribbons of eggs that can contain up to 2 million individual eggs! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Social media image 7/29/17 - Raise a hand (or fin!) if you want to go whale watching! Plan a Get Into Your Sanctuary whale watching adventure in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on August 12th or 13th. (Photo Credit: Ed Lyman/NOAA Permit #15240)
Social media image 7/27/17 - Feeling crabby? Don't worry, there is a way for the whole family to enjoy Get into Your Sanctuary Day on Saturday August 12th! Join us for a morning or afternoon Crab Family Workshop. Attention all curious crustaceans! Prepare your claws and carapaces for a family event devoted entirely to crabs. Learn about crab anatomy with our crab dress-up costume and naturalist-led dissection of invasive green crabs. Look and touch real live shore crabs and sand crabs. As a grand finale, we will be using crab traps to fish for rock and Dungeness crabs off of our classroom pier. For more information or to register, contact Sara: sara.heintzelman@noaa.gov Check out all of our Get into Your Sanctuary Events. (Photo Credit: Kate Bimrose, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/25/17 - If the ocean makes you jump for joy too, submit your favorite sanctuary portraits to the Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/24/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Belted Kingfisher (Cerle alcyon) has a long, pointed beak, a dark blue head and a white throat. Females, such as the one in the picture, have a rusty colored band on their belly and sides. Kingfishers can be spotted diving into the water to catch their primary prey, small fish. Keep your eyes out for Belted Kinfishers if you visit the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center, this one was spotted close by! (Photo Credit: Will Elder, NPS)
Social media image 7/23/17 - Kayaks are a great way to explore your national marine sanctuaries! Plan a Get Into Your Sanctuary Day paddle adventure in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/21/17 - Looking for a whale of a good time? Join the Sanctuary Explorations program for a Farallon Islands & Whale Watching Trip on August 12 to celebrate Get into Your Sanctuary Day! Or find another Get into Your Sanctuary event near you. (Photo Credit: Peter Winch, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/20/17 - It isn't too early to start celebrating Get Into Your Sanctuary Day! The photo contest is open now and you have until August 31st to enter. Submit your best images of the abundant sanctuary life; from invertebrates to birds, fish to marine mammals! There is no shortage of inspiration in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Remember to be respectful of these marine critters and their homes! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/19/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Keep an eye out for Double-crested Cormorants this July and August. Unlike most seabirds, Double-crested Cormorants don't have oily feathers for waterproofing. To dry their feathers after a wet swim, they stretch out their wings and face the wind. Good weather isn't required for drying, but it must help - which means Double-crested Cormorants might enjoy the summer sun as much as you do! Learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Dick Daniels/NPS)
Social media image 7/17/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was named for its relatively large head, which supports powerful jaws and enables them to feed on hard-shelled prey, such as whelks. Although hatchlings only weigh 20 grams, full grown adults can reach weights of 250 pounds! Pacific loggerheads migrate over 7,500 miles between nesting beaches in Japan and feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico! (Photo Credit: GP Schmahl/NOAA)
Social media image 7/15/17 - Get Into Your Sanctuary Day is August 12th! From a day-long adventure at sea, to family workshops, or drop-in activities- there is something and some way for everyone to participate in the Get Into Your Sanctuary celebration with Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. How will you celebrate Get Into Your Sanctuary day? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/14/17 - You're invited! On August 12th, we'll be holding a nation-wide "Get Into Your Sanctuary" celebration. From a walk on the beach to a surfing adventure, a visit to an aquarium or a sanctuary staff-led event, there is something for everyone and many ways to enjoy your national marine sanctuaries! To figure out where to go, what to do and get a sneak peak of what you might see, check out our Visit page.
Social media image 7/12/17 - Celebrate the upcoming Get Into Your Sanctuary day by getting out and taking photos that show off the natural beauty and importance of our marine sanctuaries! The photo contest has officially opened! You can enter anytime until August 31! There are 3 categories: Sanctuary Views, Sanctuary Life, and Sanctuary Portraits. The best photos will be highlighted on the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries website! Please be careful not to disturb the wildlife that calls our sanctuaries home while taking your photos! Have fun getting creative and remember to take only photos, and leave only footprints (or bubbles!). (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA, ONMS)
Social media image 7/10/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Grass rockfish (Sebastes rastrelliger) can be recognized by their red-rimmed eyes, which are closely set and located toward the top of their large heads; these features can give the impression that they are cross-eyed! They are masters of camouflage and tend to stay in the same crack or crevice. While they are hard to spot, once you locate one, chances are that the same individual will continue to be found in that location time after time! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Social media image 7/5/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Strike a pose! This Common Murre is poised and undeniably beautiful! Learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Dick Daniels/NPS)
Social media image 7/3/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The sea-clown triopha (Triopha catalinae) is a distinctive nudibranch with its pale body and bright orange spots. It feeds on bryozoans in mid to low rocky intertidal areas. The sea-clown is one of the largest nudibranchs that is able to crawl on the underside of tide pool surface films, usually a feat only accomplished by smaller nudibranchs! (Photo Credit: Greg McFall, NOAA/CBNMS)
Social media image 6/26/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Despite its appearance, the American Coot (Fulica americana) is not a duck but in the Family Rallidae, which included rails, gallinules, and coots. A unique feature of the coot is that it has lobed toes rather than webbed feet. Coots can be seen running across the water, beating their wings for quite a distance to get themselves airborne! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Social media image 6/21/17 -Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Point Reyes National Seashore is a treasure for many reasons, not least of all because it’s prime habitat for seabirds, including tens of thousands of common murres. If you haven’t seen them yet, grab some binocs, a windbreaker and check out the colony near the lighthouse - not to mention the big blue expanse of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary beyond! Learn more about common murres and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sandy Rhoades/USFWS)
Social media image 6/19/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Green Pin Cushion Alga (Cladophora columbiana) may look just like moss, but it is a green alga found in the mid to high intertidal. Its spongy filaments help it effectively hold water, allowing it to survive long periods of exposure to the air and sun. This is one of the species monitored by the LiMPETS program! Find out more about LiMPETS (Photo Credit: Monika Krach, Greater Farallones Association)
Social media image 6/18/17 - Happy Father's Day! We know that there are a lot of incredible fathers out there and Common Murre dads are among them! Did you know that Common Murre chicks leave their rocky, cliffside nests just 3 weeks after hatching? First the fathers coax the flightless chicks to jump from the cliffs down to the sea, then the fathers spend the next 2 months teaching their chicks how to survive life as a seabird. Good job dads! (Photo Credit: OCNMS, NOAA)
Social media image 6/12/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The fragile pink urchin (Strongylocentrotus fragilis) is a deep sea species and is usually found at depths of 300-1600 feet. The fragile pink urchin feeds on bits of plants and animals that drift down to its deep environment. Like other urchins, it has tiny tube feet and spines that it uses to pass the treasured food scraps to its mouth which is on the bottom of its body! (Photo Credit: IfAME MBNMS MARE TNC)
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6/8/17 - Happy World Oceans Day! Looking for a way to celebrate World Oceans Day? Come visit Greater Farallones education staff at the San Francisco Zoo from 10am-3pm this Sunday, June 11th! (Photo Credit: Kate Thompson/NOAA)

Social media image The spotted ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei) is a chimaera and has some characteristics of sharks (cartilaginous fish) and some characteristics of bony fish. This deep sea species can be found as deep as 1000 meters and can be spotted cruising along the seafloor looking for shrimp, clams, worms, sea stars, or other fishes to feed on! (Photo Credit: Jean DeMarignac / NOAA MBNMS)
social media imageThe Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is well known for its amazing annual migration. With a wingspan of 25-29 inches and a weight of only 3-4 ounces, this small bird migrates around 22,000 miles from Arctic breeding grounds to its wintering grounds off of Antarctica! (Photo Credit: Ken Conger, NPS)
social media imageIn 1994, seabird biologist Harry Carter had a vision: to restore the common murre colony at Devil's Slide Rock, which had been completely abandoned as a result of an oil spill and gillnet fisheries. Carter assembled a daring team, piloted zodiacs in rough seas, and climbed the rock to place decoys he hoped would attract the murres back to their old home. Year after year, that work continued, and more birds started breeding on the rock. Thanks to this long term commitment over the past twenty years, the colony today is now home to 2,000 nesting common murres.

social media imageFrom striving to thriving, the Brown Pelican is an endangered species success story! Nearly extinct in the 1970's they have rebounded to healthy numbers since DDT was banned. The Endangered Species Act made this possible and the California Brown Pelican was delisted in 2009. (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh/NOAA)

 

social media imageThe North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) population has been rebounding in Northern California in recent years after historic declines due to pressures from hunting, pollution and habitat loss. Although somewhat similar in appearance to their relatives the sea otter, the river otter does not float on its back and is much more agile on land. They reach lengths of about 4 feet (including their tails!) and weigh 10-30 pounds. They can be found in a wide variety of marine and freshwater habitats where they search for fish, sea stars, crabs, mussels, amphibians, and bird eggs to feast on. (Photo Credit: NPS)
social media imageShortly after hatching, common murre chicks stretch their wings for their first... swim! Common murres learn to swim and dive before they fly. In fact, they are such incredible divers and swimmers that they are often described as “flying” through the water. Make sure you give common murre chicks space as they enter Greater Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries for their very first time. (Photo: RJ Roush)
social media imageThe shag-rug nudibranch (Aeolidia papillosa) can be found in the low intertidal and subtidal zones from Alaska through central California. Their shaggy appearance mimics the sea anemones that these nudibranchs feed on! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
social media imageThe copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) has pronounced spines and the rear two thirds of its lateral line is distinctly light which helps distinguish it from similar looking rockfish species. The copper rockfish can reach lengths of approximately 26 inches and has been know to live for 50 years!
(Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)
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I spy, with my little eye, a giant, soaring black-footed albatross. Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Black-footed albatrosses are “medium-sized” albatrosses, but they're nonetheless huge birds with 7-foot wingspans. These birds can be found off California year-round, but they're more abundant during our upwelling season, April-September, when our coastal waters are most productive and full of yummy seabird food. Please join us in welcoming many black-footed albatrosses back to our California sanctuaries! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: NOAA)