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!

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Sepia Scenes Impermanence

For more photography in sepia, please visit SEPIA SCENES!

Having been in South Carolina for nearly a month now, we’ve managed to walk Sullivan’s Island from top to bottom on the beach side.  The south end is fun because you can watch the container ships come in to port with their dolphin escorts and Fort Moultrie with all its history is down there. 

The north end, from whence these pictures were taken, is difficult to walk because of the jetties that try in vain to hold the beach in place.  Even with a pile of rocks every 50 yards, the ocean is still winning [never build on the north end of a barrier island–or just DON’T build on a barrier island period.  They are THE definition of change and impermanence]. 

The house below is still occupied.  There were a couple new-looking SUVs parked in the drive, music playing from a radio while someone worked or cleaned their car.  This scene struck me.  Mass consumer owned SUVs that consume excessive amounts of gas and over expensive houses that will be consumed by the sea regardless of the occupant’s wealth.  Such short lives we live, but we can make a great impact on the environment.  It’s our choice whether it’s sustainable or detrimental.

I’m not certain that this is a relic of the wars, but I think it might be.  Maybe WWI or II, but it looks like a base for a large gun where it could pivot and protect the channel.  I’m sure anyone in any war or hard time feels like it’s going to last forever, that the sun won’t ever shine the same, and they’ll never be the same.  Impermanence works both ways luckily. 

Such a small barrier island, but yet there’s so much that goes on there, human activity or otherwise!  In 200 years, will it still be there to tell any tales?

Sepia Scenes Morris Island

First Sepia Scenes post from South Carolina!

Below is the Morris Island Lighthouse near Folly Beach just south of Charleston, SC.

At first, when I made this into a sepia, I wasn’t fond of it because it looks like the lighthouse is floating.  But considering its history, the floating lighthouse seems to capture the transient nature of this seemingly immoveable man-made monolith.

The first version of this lighthouse was constructed back in 1767.  A larger one replaced it in 1838, but it was later destroyed during the Civil War over fears that the Union would use it as a spy tower.  [Guess they weren’t worried about getting into the harbour safely?]

The current one was built in 1876 and was placed 1200 feet inland, but by 1938 it was already at the water’s edge.   Now, even at low tide, there are waves crashing around it threatening to topple it into the Atlantic. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1962 and replaced by the more utilitarian Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, seen below.

Currently, there are projects in the works to restore the lighthouse.  All info gleaned from www.SaveTheLight.com and I didn’t verify, so I have no responsibility for the information except reposting.  Hope you enjoyed!

For more Sepia Scenes, click HERE!

Thanks for visiting!