Seaside Stroll

A stroll down the beach on a warm fall day.

Though most of the tourists are gone, there are a few fishing and crabbing along with the locals. Every time we’ve been to Breach Inlet lately, there has been a juvenile Brown Pelican begging at the feet of the fishermen and families crabbing.

While it seems harmless, even helpful, to toss this beggar a few scraps of bait, or even a bait ball [which he steals now], this fellow is wasting his invaluable learning year on being hand fed.  Pelicans have a specialized method of feeding that isn’t inborn, they have to learn it over time. Adults have a higher feeding success rate than juveniles, suggesting not only that juveniles need time to perfect their technique, but that it’s also harder for juveniles to get the required caloric intake. So are you REALLY helping wildlife when you give handouts?

Anyway. Moving on…beaches are the best for looking at invertebrates. A neat pair we found on our stroll was a Grey Sea Star and a Long-wristed Hermit Crab in a tide pool.

The Sea Star seems to have had a rough time holding on to his arms. The Grey Sea Stars don’t have suction cups on their tube feet like other sea stars do, but instead they use their tube feet to dig in the sand for clams.

Here is a good view of the underside and the tube feet. I’m not sure what is protruding out of his belly, but sea stars only have a mouth, so anything that goes in and can’t be digested is regurgitated back out…lovely thought, eh?

Though not whole nor alive, this was still a neat find: a Calico Box Crab!

Much more lively was this Speckled Crab. His camouflage is pretty good, but he’s much better at burying himself until only his eye stalks are showing! Works well to hide from gulls and fish, but doesn’t do much good in avoiding being stepped on.

By far the best find while on the stroll was this fellow:

A Ghost Shrimp! They are responsible for the plethora of holes you find on the beaches here in the Lowcountry, though they almost never come out of them. In fact, a researcher working with these guys said they would die within three hours of being excavated out of their burrows, though they were adequately accommodated. This individual is probably Callianassa major since it was so large! It seemed really disoriented, but eagerly went down the burrow once I put his head in it.

Every now and then you’ll see a curious person try to dig out and discover what makes all the little holes. Unfortunately for them, the burrows of ghost shrimp can go down 6 feet, and they are fast, so finding one is pretty tough. A really awesome and rare find for us, I am sure it was terrifying for the shrimp.  Though called a shrimp, this fellow cannot swim and is more closely related to another non-swimmer, the hermit crab, instead of its namesake cousin the swimming shrimp. The exoskeleton isn’t hard by any standards and though most ghost shrimp have one large claw, it won’t provide much defense.

That find topped off our Seaside Stroll. Hope you enjoyed!

Beach Scenic Sunday

For more beautiful photography, please visit Scenic Sunday!

Wow, time flies! I missed Sepia Scenes this week and somehow it’s already Sunday!

Have you ever wondered what’s under your feet when you walk on the beach? Beside the sand, of course! I guess there is a whole mirco-world down there, just waiting for you to take a peek.  And there are the things you can see easily, as well, if you just dig some. Lots of beach worms are below your feet, as well as whelks and 5 hole key-holed urchins [live sanddollars!] and ghostshrimp and crabs.  When the weather warms and my fingers won’t freeze, I’ll start digging, but for right now, I’m going to settle with what’s above the sand.

Folly Beach is a good place to collect fossilized shark teeth! Here’s an odd fact: fossils will stick to your tongue, rocks will not. Best way to get a laugh out of a group of kids is to demonstrate this!

More Folly Beach

Maybe a periscope worm tube? No one was home since it was detached from the sand.

HUGE horseshoe crab! Probably was a female by the sheer size of it.  I don’t have small feet, by the way, those are size 8 shoes!

Someone is home in this whelk, so back to the ocean it went. Maybe it was trying to deposit the 50 beach cents at the bank?

A nice place to sit on the Isle of Palms and it seems the mockingbird agrees! The mockingbirds seem a little quiet and lethargic this time of year.

By the way, if you ever want a really good, in-depth book on South Carolina’s coast, try “A Coast for All Seasons: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Coast of South Carolina” by Hayes and Michel.

Scenic Sunday IOP Style

For more beautiful shots, please visit SCENIC SUNDAY!

Hello All!  Missed last week, catching up this week. 

Have you ever seen those black and white oval place stickers, the ones with abbreviations for famous, or not so famous, places?  I guess they started out as “International Country Codes”, like ES for Spain, etc, but they’ve of course spread all over the United States. 

Famous ones like OBX for the Outer Banks and HHI for Hilton Head Island can be seen on the backs of many cars, but around here I’ve seen IOP.  IOP? I thought? ‘International Oceanic Paradise’ is the best I could come up with at first.  I was off.  Isle of Palms sounds like a road name, but it’s an actual island with palms strategically planted along all the roadsides.  It’s considered the “college” beach hotspot, so we’ve been trying to get our time in on it now before Spring Break comes around. 

Here are some scenic IOP sights for you, without all the party goers!

Someone’s lost feather.  I hope they aren’t missing it too much!

An osprey looking for fish…or his feather!

Love, in Isle of Palms Fashion [aka what my bored husband does while I take a picture of a seagull]

The ‘Magic Hour’ of Light on the Sand

Sunset on the south end of IOP

Thanks for visiting and thanks for the fantastic comments you all left previously! I need to be better about responding to those.