Friday, August 27, 2010
While out birding last Saturday, our group got quite a scare as we crossed over to the Sound side at Opel Beach. There were large mats of what we thought were tar balls washing ashore with the sea weed. We contacted a ranger and reported what we had found and someone came to investigate. Turns out they were not tar balls at all (Whew!) but some sort of vegetation. Once home, the research began and turns out what we were looking at were either sea squirt casings (http://collierseagrant.blogspot.com/) or Black colonial tunicates of the genus Eudistoma or filamentous blue-green algae broken off from underwater algal mats. (http://www.sccf.org/content/184/Clumps-on-Island-Beaches.aspx) Whatever they were, we were all very happy to know they were NOT tar balls.