He had walked all the way out to open water without being sure of what to look for in terms of evidence of clams. It was a darkly cloudy afternoon, lightened a little toward evening, and then got dark so quickly just as the tide turned, that he would not have been able to find the shoes he'd left beneath the cliff if they hadn't been white. Without shoes, his return would have been painfully slow, and it would have been a race between a search party and the tide, which comes right up on the cliff, leaving no place to walk when it's high.
My artist's eye is so excited by the sweeping bands of red and blue in this scene, that I'm grinning all the while I'm painting it. This is the other side of the river mouth from last evening's view, and it's interesting to hold them together as their moods are so different, but the patterns of channels in the tidal flats appear to correspond and you can tell it's the same place!
In the foreground of my painting you can see the tracks of a crab in the wet red clay. Adam reported seeing many little hermit crabs in pools and channels yesterday. There is not much tide pool life to be seen on these vast flats of mud because the substrate is constantly shifting, but wherever there are rocks there are various forms of algae, encrusting them and clinging to them - and invertebrates sheltering in the algae. Of course there's a diversity of animal forms moving about in the mud as well which we don't see much evidence of - sea worms of different kinds, and Fred reports that he's seen Corophium volutator, a little digging amphipod about 5 mm in length.
Adam has just returned with a nice bag of about 50 clams, but very few of them are the "regulation" size of two and a half inches (63.5 mm). We are told by the local people that when the commercial harvesters were allowed to buy licenses for Soft Shelled Clams (Mya arenaria) and the size limit established, large clams (which would be upwards of 10 years of age) became very scarce.
Large birds which would be an easy target for pot-shots are fearless here, as if several generations removed from threat of guns. An adult Bald Eagle flew unconcerned over Fred, closer than he's been to a Bald Eagle since we were on Haida Gwaii, and a Great Blue Heron flew close overhead as well.