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Author Archive

Cabrillo Beach, California: a Monday Evening Walk

Posted by E.G.D. on February 21, 2015

Aloha, Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches world!  I know a good many of you have been asking “Hey, why haven’t Jody and Greg been posting as often?”  It is time for the big reveal: they were super-busy getting their business affairs in order so that they could go on the cruise of a lifetime!  Of course, now that they’re actually on said cruise, we all get to enjoy the fruits of their labor through their quite delightful photographs. Behold!  Cabrillo Beach:

Have a great day, preferably at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Birding, Beaches of North America, Pacific Coast Beaches, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Shell-plate-Frisbee

Posted by E.G.D. on February 1, 2015

Art by Liam and Oona, photo by E.G.D.

Art by Liam and Oona, photo by E.G.D.

To quote my niece, Oona, from a previous post about Sylvan Beach, “What we are going to do is making crafts out of the shells, like necklaces, and like paper and shells art, and coloring the shells on the paper with the shells.”  She elaborated on this brilliant idea a few days later.  She insisted that we make paper plate shell Frisbees, and she brilliantly decided that these shell-plate-Frisbees should be given to her daddy for his birthday.

What I especially appreciate about this delightfully original craft idea is that Liam and Oona had totally different approaches to the project.  As you can see in the photo above, Oona made a sort of collage with craft paper and shells, and Liam made a cute-patoot smiley-face.  They were both, not unnaturally, very proud of their work, and they agreed to let me share these with the viewing public here at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches.  Fun, right?  Incidentally, their dad thought these projects were pretty cool, too, which was a very large part of the point!

The kids with their projects (photo by E.G.D.)

The kids with their projects (photo by E.G.D.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaand because Oona was the founder of this brilliant idea, she asked that she have a picture with her plate Frisbee and without her brother:

The mastermind behind this craft (photo by E.G.D.)

The mastermind behind this craft (photo by E.G.D.)

Tada!  We hope you enjoy the fruits of our shell-hunting labor.  See you at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Treasure and Seashell Crafts, Seashells | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Walking With the Winter Waves at Sylvan Beach

Posted by E.G.D. on December 31, 2014

All the cool birds hang out here.  (photo by E.G.D.)

All the cool birds hang out here. (photo by E.G.D.)

Sylvan Beach in La Porte, TX, always a treat in the warmer months, can be equally awesome in the winter.  The waves crash with a little more violence and froth, the seashells are as abundant as ever, the clean public restrooms are still open, and the birds are a heck of a lot bolder than they are when there are more people around.  The other day, the kids and I literally had a pelican fly right up to us.  I warned the kids “don’t touch it!  It’s a wild animal,” and it was so close that it was actually necessary to say that.  Liam held up his fingers in a square and said “CLICK!” but by the time I went back to the car for a camera, the blue guy who’d nearly landed on our feet was gone.  We saw a yellow one by the bait shop later, though, and I did get a picture of him.  Anyhow, the entire purpose of this article is actually to give the kids a bit of the limelight.  I invited Liam (currently a second grader) to write an article on his winter beach experience, and this is what he wrote:

We had a great time at the beach.  We collected shells and saw two pelicans.  It was cold and windy.  We also saw baby seagulls.  The ocean was trying to catch me, but it couldn’t.  My feet stayed dry.  The end.

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona can only write her name without a reference, so she is going to dictate a story:

We collected shells.  We picked purple shells, and shells that are cool, and big shells, and clear shells, and it was a windy day.  I found, what is it called again? A sea bean.  I saw pelicans.  And we had a wonderful time.  And we went to the beach to also play in the sand.  At the water, the sand was cold and wet.  We had a nice time there, and I want to go again with Nana.  I hope we can go with Dadu, also.  We are going to do is making crafts out of the shells, like necklaces, and like paper and shells art, and coloring the shells on the paper with the shells.  We hope we have a nice time there again next time we go to the beach with Aunt Elisa.  I love the beach because it has the shells that I want to see.  The end.

Oona's shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona’s shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

OH, THE GRAMMAR!  Oh, to be five again and not to specially care about grammar!  As you probably already surmised, I edited both for spelling, but not for grammar or syntax.  They are totally authentic.  In any case, Happy New Year, everybody!

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

See you at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Happy New Year, Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches!

Posted by E.G.D. on December 30, 2014

WordPress is early with our statistics, this year!  Thank you all for your wonderful support.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches:

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 230,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 10 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

A Stroll on Bryan and Quintana

Posted by E.G.D. on November 29, 2014

Last month, I drove down to Lake Jackson to do a Halloween Mad Science event at the mall there, and I couldn’t possibly justify not going to the beach while I was at it!  Now, as some of you probably know, there are a good number of options in the area, but I wound up going to Bryan and Quintana because it’s the drive with the best signage (I didn’t need a map to get there, and I didn’t have to ask directions).  Now, I have no idea what part of the beach is Bryan and what part is Quintana.  The signs sit on opposite sides of the sand road leading onto the beach highway: quintanabryan

Basically, insert road here.  These signs are even angled so that they sort of face each other.  Anyhow, it was a spectacularly beautiful day!  I found a remarkable number of beautiful shell treasures, none of which I took home (I was in the middle of a move, and when I’m moving I have a pretty strong aversion to the acquisition of things, even if they are small things), and I saw a really amazing array of birds.

Seashells galore! (E.G.D.)

Seashells galore! (E.G.D.)

So many nice shells! (E.G.D.)

So many nice shells! (E.G.D.)

I saw plovers, pelicans, and a family of seagulls that included chicks!  At least they looked a lot like the seagulls in coloring, and they were hanging out with the adult gulls.  What do you think?

Baby Gulls?  (photo by E.G.D.)

Baby Gulls? (photo by E.G.D.)

Whatever they were, they were super-cute!  Anyway, aside from shells and birds, I came across a good many people picnicking, fishing, using metal detectors, walking dogs, and swimming, and I also came across a very clever and enterprising ice cream truck.  Here in Texas, a lot of our beaches are actually designated highways, so this system actually works:

Ice cream at the beach, anyone? (photo by E.G.D.)

Ice cream at the beach, anyone? (photo by E.G.D.)

I didn’t wind up buying anything, but I was amused.  In all, it was a really delightful walk, and I certainly get the impression that everyone on the beach that day was having a really wonderful time.

Fun times! (E.G.D.)

Fun times! (E.G.D.)

Right before I left for home, the shadows were getting long, and I got artsy with my camera.  I’m not going to insert a slide show here (though I probably could!  I got a whole series of seriously artsy shots), but for fun, here’s an interesting shot of a buried driftwood branch/log. DSCN0230Aaaaaaaaaand that’s the story of my most recent trip to Bryan/Quintana.  Fun, right?  It’s a lovely beach, and I recommend it to anyone, but bear in mind that there are no restroom or shower facilities, and there didn’t appear to be a lifeguard on duty.  On the other hand, there was ice cream!  If you’re going to have to choose your amenities, that might be the better way to go on a hot day. Have a great and beachy holiday weekend, everyone! Thanksgiving, not Halloween.  Better late than never- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Happy Beachy Birthday, Jody!

Posted by E.G.D. on November 13, 2014

As some of you might know, today is Jody’s birthday!  If you do not know who Jody is, you probably haven’t been reading our site for very long, because most of the articles we post are written by her.  Even in articles not written by her, we usually use her photographs. Anyhow, in honor of her birthday, I originally attempted to make a broach out of shells from Gulf of Mexico beaches we have visited together, but the resultant product was 1) way too big and 2) way too delicate to turn into a functional piece of jewelry.  So, I turned it into an art piece, instead!  Here it is: Mama Shell Doesn’t she look like she has a face?  And like she’s ready for the big birthday party dance/ball/cocktail party?  In maybe the 1920s?  Anyhow, all of these shells were collected on Gulf of Mexico beaches in Texas and Louisiana.  I hope you all enjoy my art project, especially Jody (who also happens to be my Mommy).  Happy Birthday! -E.G.D.

Posted in Beachy Keen Art | Tagged: , , | 23 Comments »

Summery Day on the South County Shore

Posted by E.G.D. on July 22, 2014

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Robyn Waayers: 

Gary and I took a little trip yesterday to explore the beach just north of Imperial Beach and south of Silver Strand State Beach. A lot of organic material had washed ashore, including masses of California Mussels, as well as much kelp.

Mussel mass with surf grass

Mussel mass with surf grass

Some of the mussels had Leaf Barnacles attached.

California Mussel with Leaf Barnacles

California Mussel with Leaf Barnacles

This is a beach popular with clammers due to its concentration of Pismo Clams. What I presumed to be immature clam shells were here and there on the shore.

A small clam - about 30 mm in length

A small clam – about 30 mm in length

 

A larger specimen, but nowhere near the final adult size!

A larger specimen, but nowhere near the final adult size!

Most of the shells on this beach are heavily wave-worn, like this Chestnut Cowrie.

Chestnut Cowrie, after much rolling around in the sand and surf

Chestnut Cowrie, after much rolling around in the sand and surf

The beach was surprisingly bird-filled, with Willets, Marbled Godwits, and Forster’s Terns being present in numbers (the Forster’s Terns in large numbers as they fished in the huge anchovy schools off shore). We also saw the occasional Royal Tern in full breeding plumage. A lone Long-billed Curlew graced the beach and we saw several more in the Tijuana Estuary area later.

Long-billed Curlew, with the Silver Strand and downtown San Diego, as well as the Coronado Bridge, visible in the background

Long-billed Curlew, with the Silver Strand and downtown San Diego, as well as the Coronado Bridge, visible in the background

We saw easily over a half dozen Snowy Plovers skulking in the higher, drier portions of the beach as well. Signs discourage people or dogs from walking in their territory, but no fences exist, as we saw in Oregon last month for the protection of this species. The plovers are extremely well camouflaged, and tend to move in short bursts of activity, as opposed to just meandering around as the Willets do.

Snowy Plover standing at the edge of a tire track!

Snowy Plover standing at the edge of a tire track!

We also saw a merganser hanging around the edge of the water, and occasionally entering the shallows. A scoter (probably a Surf Scoter) was seen fishing in the shallows, as well.

Scoter in shallow water.

Scoter in shallow water.

About the author: Robyn Waayers has lived in San Diego since 1977, and teaches biology at three local community colleges. In her spare time, she is a lover of all­ things ­natural­ history, roaming the region with her camera and an eye for new things. Her website is Shoreline Ramblings, to which she has also posted this articleAll photographs are the property of Robyn Waayers.

~~~

Posted in Beach Birding, Featured Guest Writer, Pacific Coast Beaches, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I Found the Beach at Lake Livingston!

Posted by E.G.D. on July 17, 2014

It was no easy feat, but I found them: the beaches of Lake Livingston.  After failing to find a beach at Lake Conroe a couple days earlier, I was absolutely determined to find something equating a beach at Lake Livingston State Park, which is around two hours north of the northern reaches of Houston, Texas.  You see, I was passing through Livingston on my way home from Diboll, TX, where I was performing a Mad Science show for the local library.  For those of you who are familiar with that stretch of Texas, Diboll is squarely between Lufkin and Livingston, which are both fairly sizable towns with a lot to offer a visitor.  None of the listed locales, however, boast a beach in any of their tourist literature.  Soooooo, I paid the $5 entry fee for the state park, hopped out of my car, and went off-trailing (the on-foot equivalent of off-roading) around the edge of Lake Livingston in hopes that a swimming pool and an in-lake swimming area edged by a boardwalk were not all the lake had to offer.  Behold!  This is what I found:

This counts, I tell you! (Photo by E.G.D.)

This counts, I tell you! (Photo by E.G.D.)

This one was sort of behind and below the area with the swing-set.  Those are the best directions I can give, because I had to get a bit creative to find it.  Here’s a shot without ducks:

See?  It's totally a beach! (photo by E.G.D.)

See? It’s totally a beach! (photo by E.G.D.)

I hopped around the rocks for a while at this little beach, and then I moved on.  The other beach I found was behind and below the campsites for campers (the sites with water and electric hookups):

This one's rocky, too. (photo by E.G.D.)
This one’s rocky, too. (photo by E.G.D.)

Whether or not you are looking for a beach there, Lake Livingston is quite lovely, and I recommend it to anyone who happens to be in the area.  There were many families cycling around the trails (apparently bikes are welcome pretty much anywhere in the park), enjoying the swimming hole, hiking, fishing, grilling… the usual state park camping sort of things.  I get the feeling it’s the local population’s favorite way to beat the heat in the summer.  And hey, there are beaches!  I know.  I found them.

Have a great day (hopefully at the beach) – E.G.D.

Helpful links: Lake Livingston State Park: “At Lake Livingston State Park, you can swim (in the lake or pool), fish, boat, hike, bird, camp, picnic, mountain bike, ride horses, geocache and study nature. We have activities for the whole family!”

Alligator Safety Tips (YIKES!)

Texas State Parks Swimming Safety Tips

 ~~~

E.G.D., you are absolutely right! It does count. The definition of a beach according to Merriam-Webster is “a shore of a body of water covered by sand, gravel, or larger rock fragments.” :-) We beach fans take them where we can get them!

Thanks so much for sharing your find!

Posted in Inland Shores, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Most of the Way to LA: McFaddin Beach

Posted by E.G.D. on June 17, 2014

Beautiful Day at McFaddin Beach (Photo by E. G. D.)

Beautiful Day at McFaddin Beach (Photo by E.G.D.)

The Sign (Photo by E.G.D.)

The Sign (Photo by E.G.D.)

The other day, one of my many jobs sent me to Nederland, TX, which is about two hours east of the part of Houston in which I live. I needed to be in Nederland for a grand total of two and a half hours. Crazy, right? I drove a total of four hours for a job that lasted fewer than three! Suffice it to say, I felt the need to justify all that driving with a bit of fun, and I wound up driving an extra 20 minutes east so that I could visit McFaddin Beach (and I highly recommend you click that link, because the article is EXTREMELY worthy of note, especially if you are interested in finding fossils on a beach). McFaddin Beach, also known as the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, was on fire last time I passed it by. Mom (known more commonly here as Jody) and I tried to visit Sea Rim State Park on our way to Louisiana last summer, and we didn’t make it very far because there was an extremely smoky brush fire raging there. McFaddin is immediately past Sea Rim State Park on the same road, and I am happy to report that it was absolutely fire-free this time around.

High Tide (Photo by E.G.D.)

High Tide (Photo by E.G.D.)

In fact, I had the great good fortune to enjoy it on a truly beautiful day! I was at first disappointed that I arrived at high tide (the water was all the way up to the knee-high, three-yard-wide pile of seaweed that separates the parking area from the water), but over the course of the two or three hours I wandered there, the tide receded somewhat, and I found a startling array of truly remarkable shells! I found no fewer than nine whole and completely undamaged angel wings, two brightly colored and unoccupied shark-eye snail shells, and some very nice whelk pieces, among other things. I even found a very nice piece of green sea glass.

While I wandered, I passed kids playing in the silt, a good number of adults wading, swimming, and sun bathing, and an older gentleman searching the beach with his metal detector. I watched whole flying and floating flocks of some sort of very large bird I never managed to identify. I discovered a weathered coconut, looking rather lonely and a bit out of place on a Texas beach. I startled a few ghost crabs back into their holes, and I returned a couple of beached, live snails to the water (those were actually before I discovered the two unoccupied shells). I will say, though, that I did not pass anything at all along the lines of bathroom facilities, showers, or lifeguard towers. If you plan to visit McFaddin beach (and if you happen to be anywhere near Port Arthur, you really should), bring a jug of water to rinse your feet off and go to the bathroom before leaving town! While you’re at it, I recommend that you pack a picnic, sun block, a hat, and an extra large bag in which to stow your shelling treasures. You’re in for a fun and productive day at the beach!

Anyone Know What These Birds Are? (Photo by E.G.D.)

Anyone Know What These Birds Are? (Photo by E.G.D.)

Treasures (Photo by E.G.D.)

Treasures (Photo by E.G.D.)

Fun stuff!  Have a great day, hopefully at the beach. -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sylvan Beach Park ~OR~ Who would go to the beach to use the internet!?

Posted by E.G.D. on February 12, 2014

Beautiful Sylvan Beach Park

Beautiful Sylvan Beach Park

Sylvan Beach Park

It’s super clean!

Sylvan Beach Park

Lots of Grassy Space

Last month, when my mom and dad were visiting for my nephew’s birthday, I managed to reach whole new echelons of busy.  I’m not going to go into detail here, but suffice it to say that I have four jobs, and they’re all over the very large Houston metropolitan area.  Happily, one day during my parents’ visit, I had a five hour gap between jobs C and D.  I met the family in town for lunch, and then we poked around on my brother-in-law’s cell phone to see what we would do with the rest of my little pocket of time.  Long story short, we found a beach really close to my late-afternoon job and made a bee-line for it.

Our Birthday Boy

Our Birthday Boy

Sylvan Beach Park is a lovely, quiet little beach on Galveston Bay (on the mainland side) in La Porte, TX.  While we were there, the beach was clean, the sand was soft, and the facilities were remarkable.  There was plenty of parking, more than one well-maintained public restroom, a playground, a boat ramp, a rinse-off shower, and a (crazy-expensive, I’m sorry to report) recently renovated fishing pier.  We didn’t pay to go on the pier, but we had a great walk on the beach, and the tide was low enough to make shelling possible.  We found some really nice shells, including some lovely, undamaged barnacles.  I don’t think I have ever found nicer barnacles in my shelling experience to date, and the little niece and nephew were pretty excited.

The very expensive pier

Recently Renovated Fishing Pier

A Walk at the Beach

An Afternoon Walk

Beach Treasures from Sylvan Beach

Beach Treasures from Sylvan Beach

While on our walk, we noticed signs announcing that the beach park was also a wireless hotspot.  I couldn’t help but wonder out-loud, “who would come to such a lovely beach and use the internet?”  Well… apparently the answer is “me,” because a week or so later, I was stuck on the far-east side of town, and I really needed to turn in some paperwork to one of my jobs on the west side, and I was faced with the following choice: either I could show up at work in Pasadena three hours early and use the internet in the computer lab (functional, but not very atmospheric), or I could go to the beach.  I had my scanner in the back seat of my car, so I opted for going to the beach.

What?

Say WHAT?

It was a drizzly sort of day, but when I arrived at Sylvan beach, there were four other cars parked right at the entrance to the beach, where the view of the ocean is best, and in all four cars were people with laptops propped up against the steering wheel and/or tablets in hand.  Car windows were rolled down, radios were playing, and everyone was doing their internet business beach-style.  Who knew that sort of behavior was trending?  Anyhow, I got my internet stuff done and went for a walk on the beach between drizzles (it was high tide, so I didn’t find any good shells that time, but the walk was still lovely).  Before I headed to work, I rinsed off my shiny black work shoes in the rinse-off showers, and I arrived at work sand-free, glad for both the opportunity to submit some paperwork in style and to enjoy the little bit of free time in my afternoon.

Sylvan Beach Park on Galveston Bay

Sylvan Beach Park on Galveston Bay

Next time you happen to find yourself anywhere near La Porte, I highly recommend Sylvan Beach Park!  Whether you want to shell on the beach, swim, or check your e-mail, it is a lovely place to be.

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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