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: 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 by E.G.D. on November 13, 2014
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.
Some of the mussels had Leaf Barnacles attached.
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.
Most of the shells on this beach are heavily wave-worn, like this Chestnut Cowrie.
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.
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.
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.
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 article. All photographs are the property of Robyn Waayers.
Posted in Beach Birding, Featured Guest Writer, Pacific Coast Beaches, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, California Mussel, Chestnut Cowrie, Imperial Beach, Snowy Plover | 2 Comments »
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 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:
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):
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!)
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 by E.G.D. on June 17, 2014
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.
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!
Fun stuff! Have a great day, hopefully at the beach. -E.G.D.
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: Angel Wing seashells, beach, beachcombing, McFaddin Beach Texas, sea glass, Shark Eyes, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 2 Comments »
Posted by E.G.D. on February 12, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: beach, beach near Houston Texas, beachcombing, Galveston Bay beach, La Porte Texas, Sylvan Beach Park | 9 Comments »
Posted by E.G.D. on November 15, 2013
Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Doug Raymond:
While talking about Florida’s beautiful beaches, we can’t overlook one of nature’s coastal treasures, the Indian River Lagoon. It is home to many species of plants and animals, including sea turtles and manatees. Visitors and residents alike should take a few hours to drive the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway and stop to enjoy its majestic beauty.
What is a Lagoon?
A lagoon is a shallow body of water that is separated from the ocean by islands that parallel the shoreline. Small inlets allow water to come in and out of the lagoon. There are three different types of lagoons called leaky, chokes, and restricted. The Indian River Lagoon is a restricted lagoon which means that it has multiple channels to the ocean and a good circulation of water coming in and out.
Plants in the Indian River Lagoon
According to the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce website, “the lagoon’s habitats support more than 3,500 documented species of animals, plants, fungi and protists.” The Sea Rosemary and the Caribbean Apple Cactus are just two of the many endangered plant species that are able to thrive in this habitat. Other plants in the estuary include mosses, a variety of ferns, and many types of grasses. There is ample opportunity to take pictures while you enjoy the simple beauty of the plants, and you can enjoy their unique aromas when visiting the lagoon.
Animals Living in the Lagoon
Favorite residents of the lagoon are the playful dolphins and majestic manatees that inhabit the area. Hundreds of bottle-nose dolphins from various dolphin communities call this place home. Sea turtles, many different lizards, and the endangered American Alligator are just a few of the reptilian residents at Indian River Lagoon. Sharks, sting rays, and otters reside here too. You may even spot a black bear. It is home to many animals, including both those that are endangered and those with thriving populations. The lagoon provides a specific and unique environment.
Enhancing the Space Coast Lifestyle
If you love the outdoors and ocean life, then you will love the Indian River Lagoon. All east Florida residents should take the opportunity to visit this estuary. Although it is beautiful and provides a home to many animals, it is fragile and sees the occasional threat like plant overgrowth. It can also sometimes suffer from pollution. It is important to enjoy nature’s treasure, but also to keep in mind that it must be respected. If you’re just a visitor, or one of the lucky people who get to call Florida home, don’t miss out on this gem.
About the author: Doug Raymond grew up in Idaho, and has worked in and around home construction and real estate for most of his life. He is interested in home building, construction, architecture, interior design, landscaping, green living, writing, blogging, internet marketing, sports, and the outdoors.
A note from our treasure hunters:
We simply love to share when it comes to beaches, treasure hunting, beachcombing crafts, and beachy tips. How about you? Do you have a favorite beach you’d like to share with us? Maybe you have some great tips for beach picnics, seaside safety, or seashore activities. Please check out our Submission Guidelines for info on jumping into the fun at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches. You may be our next Featured Guest Writer!
Posted by E.G.D. on July 31, 2013
Today’s Featured Writer is Thaynara Alves Goulart.
Praia do Amor – Love Beach
I had the amazing experience of traveling through the Brazilian northeast region with my family, and one of the places we visited was the city of João Pessoa, the capital of the state Paraíba. The beach I chose to talk about here isn’t exactly in João Pessoa, but in Jacumã – 15 km/9 miles away from João Pessoa, and because it is so close, I’d say it’s better to stay there than Jacumã.
The city of Jacumã is really small, 16.008 residents, and doesn’t offer that much for tourists (or residents in general) aside from it’s gorgeous beaches. I figured this beach deserved recognition because as well as being beautiful, it has a fun myth with one of it’s peculiar attractions: the Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone). And what is it? It’s a volcanic stone that, in ancient times when Brazilian indians lived nearby and made their wedding ceremonies, they went inside the rock. According to them, couples passing through the stone brings joy and add a lot of years to the relationship.
When you get there, there’s a free parking lot, and you walk a while until you reach the ocean. There are some bars and restaurants too, and they serve delicious food and snacks. The ocean is easy and warm; the perfect place for those of you who have babies and children.
Praia Bela – Beautiful Beach
I have to mention this beach, and the reason why I am going to is because it is on the same coast as Love Beach – what separates them is nothing but stones, volcanic rocks and some seaweed. This one is more low-key when compared to Love Beach, but it has bars and restaurants of it’s own.
It is dangerous to visit these places at night, the tide is high and it takes over this entire sand area.
Brazil’s northeast region is beautiful, truly enchanting. The variety of beaches is huge and what is around them, 90% of the time, is extremely pleasant. Receptive, kind people + great food + fun is what I found visiting João Pessoa, especially these two places mentioned in this post. Whoever is interest and wants to see more of it, I found a video on youtube that shows how amazing it looks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTQbkavy97U. Enjoy!
About the Author: I’m a 19 years old Brazilian law student, and due to my dad’s profession I lived in 8 different cities so far. I travel around Brazil and I know 90% of it’s states now. Traveling is a passion of mine, and learning about different cultures and languages came along with it, I think. People say I’m very spontaneous and fun, because I try to make new friends wherever I go. My blog is at www.cametofind.wordpress.com.
Thanks, Thaynara, for sharing these amazing beaches with us! What fun! I’ll make it a point to give these a visit if I ever find myself in Brazil – E.G.D.
Posted by E.G.D. on July 23, 2013
Yesterday, Mom (A.K.A Jody) sent me some really remarkably fun info for today’s “Tuesday Tally.” Apparently, Australia has a slogan and a media campaign to encourage people to protect themselves from sun damage, and I would venture to say that they’ve made the whole information distributing process a heck of a lot of fun!
Let’s start with the slogan: Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, and Slide.
That, my friends, is some incredibly fun alliteration, and it trips nicely off the tongue. Seriously, try saying that ten times fast! And how about getting your kids to say it ten times fast? This slogan can easily be turned into a game, and it will help everyone remember the following 5 tidbits of vital sun protection advice (from the Sunsmart website):
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen – make sure it is broad spectrum and water resistant. Apply 20 minutes before you go outdoors and reapply every two hours.
- Slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
Advice can’t get any sounder than that! Also, there is an adorable animated ad you can check on the website. It features a catchy jingle and a sun-smart duck. What’s not to love?
Apparently, the American Cancer Society has also jumped on the bandwagon, but they opted to break the alliteration series with a non-alliterative rhyme: “Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap,” they write on their website. I must say, that is A) not nearly as cool as the original and B) way too heavy on the exclamation points. Why on earth would they put full-stop punctuation after everything but the last two words? Give me the Australian tongue twister and commas any day!
So, next time you plan a day of fun in the sun, why not play it safe and start with Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, and Slide? Sun safety seems seriously smart to me! -E.G.D.
~Originally published on July 12, 2012
Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: beach sun protection, Family Beach Safety Tips, Kid Friendly Beach Safety Tips, slogan for sun safety, sun safety slogan, Sunsmart Australia | 7 Comments »
Posted by E.G.D. on July 19, 2013
I was reading an article this morning about bird photography on the coast of Marco Island. Apparently, at the island’s Tigertail Beach, that sort of thing is a serious spectator sport, in that not only did the journalist seem to be watching the birds, he seemed to be watching the photographers, and he seemed to expect his readers to be as interested in the photographers as in the birds. He talked about the photographers and camera equipment, in fact, significantly more than he talked about the birds. This makes journalistic sense, in that the article was published in the Marco Eagle, Marco’s local newspaper.
This brings me, in a roundabout way, to my point. It seems to me that most beach-goers who are not bird photographers or birdwatchers are unlikely to go to the beach to seek out interesting avian life. We flock to boat tours for whale watching, or dolphin spotting. We squeal like children when we spot a sea turtle. We go snorkeling or scuba diving to see interesting fish. We brave the natural smelliness of seals to see them basking in the sun. Is it just me, or do we spend most of our wildlife energy on the beaches in looking down?
I’m a sheller. I’ll admit, I’m guilty as charged!
Why don’t we, for the sake of shaking up our usual beach routines, spend a little time enjoying the wildlife that occasionally goes up? For those of you who are interested, here is a series of fun links concerning beach bird watching all over the U.S. :
Birding the Great Lakes Beaches (Tundra Swans, Bald Eagles and many more!):
Birding the East Coast:
Birding Assateague Island National Seashore(Funny thing, I’ve actually been to this area, and I don’t remember a single bird. Not because the birds weren’t there, but because I wasn’t looking!)
Birding the West Coast:
The Bird Guide (there are some good links on this site for the Pacific Northwest coast)
Birding Hawaii’s Shores:
Gulf Of Mexico Beach Birding:
Cool, huh? I’ve been looking up things to look up at all morning, and actually, most of them seem to spend quite a lot of their time wading. Still, aren’t they fun? Enjoy! -E.G.D.
~~~ Originally published Jul 27, 2011 ~~~
Please feel free to share your coastal bird watching experiences and/or your favorite beach birding site!
Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Beaches of North America, Inland Shores | Tagged: Atlantic Coast Bird Watching, Beach Bird Photography, Beach Bird Watching, Bird Watching beaches, Bird Watching Great Lakes Beaches, Bird Watching Marco Island, Pacific Coast Bird Watching, US Birding Beaches | 8 Comments »
Posted by E.G.D. on July 3, 2013
Today’s featured guest post writer is Ruth Richards from The Holiday Place.
For those traveling with family, a beach resort can make the ideal holiday destination. Kicking back with a good book or getting down to work with a bucket and spade is the best way to get away from the stresses of work and spend quality time with your loved ones, and thankfully, there are endless options across the world.
Let’s take a look at five of what I consider to be the best family-friendly beach resorts. My workplace and I have picked these five based on our own personal experiences, our future travel plans, and recommendations from high quality sources in the travel field.
Long Beach, Mauritius
Mauritius holidays are synonymous with relaxing beaches and taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Long Beach may be a relatively new resort, but it is advanced in its offerings. You’ll find sunshine, amazing architecture, and maybe even an insight into tropical sea life. Take lots of sun cream, as the temperatures really soar during peak season. While I’ve never visited this one, it’s been on my family’s to-do list for quite some time, and we can’t wait for the opportunity to see it up-close and personal.
Coral Bay, Cyprus
Coral Bay is known for its long, sandy beaches, and the shallow and calm waters make it the perfect choice for those traveling with little ones. Paphos, the historical centre of the area, is just a short bus journey away, meaning that you can easily combine culture with relaxation. It’s no wonder that Teletext Holidays include Coral Bay in their top ten destinations. I’ve personally visited this beach, and I’ll definitely be returning in the near future!
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Massachusetts is a state of the east coast of the United States, full of pleasant beaches. One of my personal favourites is the beach at Martha’s Vineyard. Quite literally an old vineyard on the beach that has been updated with modern facilities, this location is a truly unique corner of the globe that offers a holiday like no other. As well as blue seas, there are plenty of activities to keep children occupied. It’s also a favourite of Forbes, so you can be sure that it comes recommended from those in the know.
Cala Capra, Sardinia
Cala Capra is situated on the east coast of Sardinia, and benefits from two calm bays and stunning views across the waters. Situated on a tiny peninsula, it’s like a little piece of heaven away from the busier resorts. There are many trees for offering shade from the midday heat, and there’s an excellent selection of restaurants, cafes, and watersports. Make sure that you sample the local cuisine, which is one of the reasons why many people return year after year. The beach of Le Saline is just 200m away, and is also worth a visit when you’re in the area.
Siesta Key, Florida
Siesta Key is widely regarded as one of the best beaches in the whole of the USA. There are lifeguards present throughout the year, and lots in the way of activities and family friendly eateries and picnicking areas. As you’d imagine from Florida, the shops are pretty good too. Take your plastic and treat yourself a little! I’ve visited this beach several times, and can vouch for the fun atmosphere that you’ll always find here.
Will you be taking a beach holiday this year? Which of these destinations will you be considering?
About the Author: This article was brought to you by Ruth Richards on behalf of The Holiday Place. Ruth is seasoned copywriter and blogger. She currently resides in Durham, UK. You can add her in Google+ -.
What a great way to head into the long holiday weekend: with family-friendly fun at the beach! Thank you so much, Ruth!
Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Featured Guest Writer | Tagged: beach, best family beaches, Cala Capra Sardinia, Coral Bay Cyprus, Long Beach Mauritius, Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts, Siesta Key Florida | 6 Comments »