Monday, September 10, 2012

International Rock Flipping Day

For a second year in International Rock Flipping Day, I returned to Bellingham Bay. This time I chose a different beach. I went to Boulevard Park between downtown Bellingham and the community of Fairhaven. It's a strip of grass and paths along an artificial rock embankment that protects the railway bed and cliffs above.

I should have known better, but I thought maybe this side of the bay might have more intertidal activity. I picked a pocket beach at the end of the park and found a large rock at the high tide line to flip. The pebbly shore was interspersed with broken mussel shells, so I had hopes of finding something alive beneath.

Maybe if the tide was low, a different zone with living critters would have been exposed. But here at the high tide mark I only found more pebbles (beautiful and wave pounded smooth) and broken shells. Incoming waves rushed to fill the space I had just exposed.

One important thing I did find was Eelgrass blades captured under the rock's edge. That must mean there is a sandy or muddy section nearby. Eelgrass provides an important intertidal habitat for lots of fish, crabs, birds, animals, not to mention a plethora of invertebrates.

A sign on the nearby trail said there would be an eelgrass replanting project in this area in the near future (pending funding of course). That will go a long way to return this man altered shore to a more natural, ecologically sound state. Even though I found no visible life, I replaced the rock just in case there was someone down deep waiting for their roof to return.

Would you like to participate? There's still a bit of time left. I learned about Rock Flipping Day from the current organizer, Susannah over at Wanderin' Weeta, but it was started by Dave Bonta and Bev Wigney in 2007. Here's how it goes.

  • Sometime on Sunday, find a good rock or rocks and flip it/them over. If Sunday's impossible for your people, Saturday or Monday is fine.
  • Record what you find. Take a photo or video, if possible.
  • Replace the rock as you found it.
  • Write a post on your blog, in any format you are happy with (someone suggested haikus this year), and add your photos. Or load your photos to the Flickr group. (So even if you don't have a blog, you can join in. You can write a note describing your experience with any photo you add to the Flickr group, too.) If you're on Twitter, Tweet it, too; the hashtag is #rockflip.
  • Send me a link to the blog post or Flickr photo.
  • I will collect the links, write up a blog post including them all, e-mail participants the list, and post it for any and all to copy to your own blogs.
  • There is a handy badge available for your blog, here. (Or copy it from this post.)
It's flipping fun! - Margy


  1. Oh, I wish I were near the ocean. Beautiful photos, Margy!
    I'm a little confused about rock-flipping day, though. Was it yesterday, or is it next Sunday? If it's next weekend, I could overturn a prairie rock and see what's under it. (Not a big rock, not looking for rattlers.)

  2. I have never heard of rock turning day, but it sounds like a great idea. Who knows what you might find? :)

  3. Kay - It was yesterday (Sunday), but Susannah's directions say that you can do it on Saturday or Monday as well. - Margy

  4. And Mark, of Behind the bike shed, in the UK, says he's operating on the Celtic calendar, so he'll do it next week. (He also has a really good excuse, but I'm sure Kay can scrape one up, too.)

  5. What about the lovely maple leaves in that second shot!! Oh, wait, I have been reading silliness, and leaves are not animate (unless you are a cat...)
    I really like the leaves and pebbles in that second shot!

  6. Judy's right. Who says we're supposed to ignore anything not made of protein?


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy