Thursday, March 18, 2010

Greeting the Grunion on Green Day!

You can't pinch this St. Patrick's Day picture! There's enough green in it to start an environmental movement.

These alligators were hungry for a bedtime story, so their wrangler reads them a yummy tale-- A Fish Out of Water, written by Helen Palmer (first wife and editor of Dr. Seuss) and illustrated by P.D. Eastman. You, too, can visit this special alligator sanctuary at the Harbor City- Harbor Gateway Branch of the L.A.P.L.

This just happened to be the first book the alligator wrangler selected from a basket full of books in the children's room. Not only did it especially captivate his audience, it also helped set the stage for the quintessential spring SoCal Irish tradition of greeting the grunion at Cabrillo Beach.

For those not in "the know," grunion spawn during the spring and summer months by wiggling onto the beaches of southern California during late nights hours, calibrated precisely according to lunar phases and tidal patterns.

They become "fish out of water" for up to twenty minutes to complete their fascinating reproduction cycle.


Check out this cool tattoo I let my son get at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium's "Meet the Grunion" event. Well, it's actually a stamp, but the racy image of spawning fish sure makes it tattoo-worthy.

Here are a couple of excited grunion midwives. Just shake the jar full of grunion eggs vigorously and voila! If you enlarge the photo, you can see teeny-tiny baby grunions swimming above a bed of as-yet unhatched eggs. Grunion eggs must be agitated in order to hatch.

After viewing a Beverly Hillbillies episode titled "Grunion Invasion" at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium's John M. Olguin Auditorium earlier in the evening, I couldn't help but chuckle when these little silver fellers slid up the beach.

This little grunion said that she wished she had feet so that she could wear boots as crazy as mine. I guess I'll take that as a compliment.
By the way, taking along a copy of Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies could be a fun pre-Grunion Run read. After all, it's very likely you might actually see some bats at the beach, considering that grunion love spawning around midnight.

3 comments:

Eva M said...

How cool - I've always wanted to meet a grunion!

Candace Ryan said...

Hey Eve,

It's funny you should say that. From what I've been told, grunions have always wanted to meet librarians. I think it's high time (or high tide) the two groups met!

Candace Ryan said...

Woops, make that "Hey, Eva." My sloppy fingers got away from me on that one:)