November 2, 2019
It has been a busy few days with being out of town and catching up with normal work and family responsibilities, but I took a vacation day since the kids were off due to one of those random Professional Developmental Days. I was able to leave for my quick jog to the shore, and spent 45 minutes wandering along the coastline since there was no drop-off this morning. Midway along my walk with only 1/3 bag full, I spied something I had never seen before!
Yes dear readers, it was a stingray! I took pictures trying to get the water in the background. As a lifelong Southern Californian, I hate to admit that I had never seen this before. When I got home, I showed my children and then posted it on my personal Facebook page. Mr. Plastic Picker and our daughter thought it was a horshoe crab. Then Mr. Plastic Picker and a high school Facebook friend who is an architect mentioned that it may be a skate. Through the magic of google, I read up on skates . I think its unlikely to be a skate because the Pacific White Skate lives in deeper waters at 800-2000m on the continental slope.
Here is a closer view.
I had noticed that the waters had been very calm lately. Two evenings ago, I felt like I could walk into the heart of the ocean. The waters had retreated back and the shoreline so expansive. It was Mr. Plastic Picker’s high school friend and college classmate who was always known to be brilliant. She immediately replied on Facebook with a reference that it was a stingray. She is a lawyer now but was a science major in college, and had wanted to be a marine biologist when she was younger. Indeed, it does look like a stingray. You can see that it’s stinger is gone. There is a rectangular portion of it’s mid thorax missing. A scavenger perhaps? I did gently push it with my tennis shoe to see if it was alive.
Dear readers, I think this is the first indication to drplasticpicker of the warming coastal waters in the Pacific Ocean. Stingrays can swim in shallow waters but it is November in the Pacific. The water is not supposed to be this warm! I may need to let the Scripps Institute of Oceanography know about this finding. I will let them know that drplasticpicker is a citizen scientist aided by an attorney who is in her heart a marine biologist, and through the power of social media connectedness will continue to report any usual happenings on this half mile stretch of beach!
Be careful if you are wading in the waters. Although drplasticpicker loves the ocean, I always wear tennis shoes when I walk along the sand. Here is a picture of a beautiful shell I also saw that day. I love how it looked very mysterious and the color blended into the sand.
Update November 5, 2019. I sent a Facebook message to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography letting them know about the dead stingrays.
“Hello! I am a local resident in PB and I usually take morning walks along the beach and pick up ocean plastic debris. I have a blog at https://drplasticpicker.com But I wanted to let the SIO know that I have found 2 dead stingrays the last week. I left them there. Just wanted to let you know. I did blog about it. ” Inserted blog post link! Come read about their response on November 13, 2019 https://drplasticpicker.com/thornback-guitarfish-how-my-hyperbole-garnered-attention-from-the-scripps-institute-of-oceanography/