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Archive for the ‘Beaches of North America’ Category

One Perfect Cold, Rainy, and Windy Day at the Beach!

Posted by Jody on March 29, 2014

Welcome to Padre Island National Seashore

Welcome to Padre Island National Seashore

Cold, rainy, and very windy! That’s how the day unfolded on our recent visit to Padre Island National Seashore, “the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world.” You can probably guess what we did! Our family simply layered up, snapped together our raincoats, and went on a lovely morning walk along the park’s Malaquite Beach with Ranger Lee (who, by the way, didn’t even wear a jacket). He was way tougher than we were!

Entrance to Malaquite Beach

Entrance to Malaquite Beach

One of the first things we noticed was that picnickers had left their trash behind at the picnic tables. Seriously? We had our family-requisite handy dandy extra bags in our backpacks so we pitched in and helped clean up. You’ll see one of the full bags in Ranger Lee’s hand. FYI: The Visitor Center hands out free bags so folks can pack out anything they bring into the park and/or pitch in with collecting seaborne trash.

The National Park Service explains: “Padre Island’s location in the northwest corner means that the southeasterly winds prevailing in the Gulf blow many objects, both natural and artificial, onto its shore as well as creating longshore currents which can bring much material for good or bad. Probably the most serious damage to the National Seashore’s environment is done by trash, which washes onto the beaches from offshore. The trash comes from a variety of sources including the shrimping industry, offshore natural gas platforms, and washing out of rivers and streams surrounding the Gulf. Much of the trash is either plastic or styrofoam.”

Our Morning Walk with Ranger Lee

Our Morning Walk with Ranger Lee

I was a bit concerned about getting blowing sand and salt mist on (and in) my camera, but I did try to capture some of the most interesting seashore treasures the Gulf of Mexico tosses ashore along this wild and unique 70 miles of South Texas coastline.

Here are just a few of the interesting sights and beach treasures we found:

Animal tracks ~

Dunes Covered with Tracks

Dunes Covered with Tracks

Pocket Gopher Tracks

Pocket Gopher Tracks

A rainbow colored selection of  Coquina Clam (Donax variabilis) seashells ~

Coquina Clams

Coquina Clams

Squadrons of Eastern Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentali) gliding over the surf ~

Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelicans

Black Drum (Pogonias cromis) skull bone ~

Skull of a Black Drum

Skull of a Black Drum

Ghost Crab (Ocypode quadrata) hole ~

Ghost Crab Hole

Ghost Crab Hole

This next example causes quite a stir, much debate, and even some consternation amongst the seashore’s visitors. Is it a shoelace? Is it pieces of fishing net? Some sort of rope wrapped wire?

No, no, and no. It’s Sea Whip coral!

Sea Whip Coral

Sea Whip Coral

Here are a couple of bone remnants from Hardhead catfish (Ariopsis felis) along with bits of Sea Whip coral and rope ~

Remains of Hardhead Catfish with Sea Whip Coral

Remains of Hardhead Catfish with Sea Whip Coral and Rope

The kicker: The other side of the catfish bones look like this. It’s why the Hardhead catfish is also called the Crucifix fish!

Hardhead Catfish Remains

Hardhead Catfish Remains

So many miles of beach, so little time to explore!

70 Miles of Beach at Padre Island National Seashore

70 Miles of Beach to Discover at Padre Island National Seashore

Now for a cup of hot cocoa (with five little marshmallows)! Care to join us?

~~~

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

I love a good mystery!

Posted by Jody on March 27, 2014

I just love finding pottery shards and stoneware bits on the beach! And I love a good mystery!

Put them together and we’ve got the perfect beach treasure mystery to solve:

Eva Dodsworth found this small piece of pottery on the beach 15 miles south of St. Augustine Beach, Florida, recently. She says: “I’m trying to figure out the history of it. It looks like it may be from the 1800s? I’m not too familiar with pottery patterns but my research shows that perhaps is British transferware?”

“Does anybody know? Thanks!”

A piece of pottery found a few miles south of St. Augustine during low tide at 29 42'17.59"N 81 3'29.18W. I'm thinking 1860s British Transferware?

“A piece of pottery found a few miles south of St. Augustine during low tide at 29 42’17.59″N 81 3’29.18W. I’m thinking 1860s British Transferware?”

~~~

Well, what do you think? Do you recognize this pattern? We’d love to hear from you!

~~~

Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

Posted by Jody on March 17, 2014

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

“May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”

~ Irish Blessing

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“The stunning sugar white beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore are composed of fine quartz eroded from granite in the Appalachian Mountains. The sand is carried seaward by rivers and creeks and deposited by currents along the shore.”

Source: Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida District

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

A Friendly Reminder

Posted by Jody on March 14, 2014

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

~ John Howard Payne

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge topic is “Inside.”

~~~

Related Link: Hermit Crab: A Different Kind of Beachcomber

Posted in Southern California Beaches, Tide Pools, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Tiny San Diego Beach Treasures: It Pays to Look Closely!

Posted by Jody on March 7, 2014

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Robyn W.

Tiny San Diego Beach Treasures: It Pays to Look Closely!

Some special little shells have washed up around the county in the past few weeks. I’ve been lucky to be able to sneak off to the beach here and there in the midst of a busy schedule, and was thrilled to find my first­-ever tusk shell in January on the sand at False Point, on the northern end of the Tourmaline Surfing Park. It is a Six­-sided Tusk shell, and there was only one. After looking for tusk shells on and off for the past 37 years in San Diego, this seemed pretty special.

Dentalium neohexagonum from La Jolla, California

Dentalium neohexagonum from La Jolla, California

Dentalium neohexagonum, the Six­sided Tusk shell. It is a little under an inch long. (January 2014)

Then, last week, I took a walk south from the southern end of Imperial Beach, and found a LOT of tusk shells in the drift debris at low tide. These were almost all the Indian Money Tusk, the shell that was prized as currency by the native peoples of the west coast in the past. Two little Six­-sided Tusks were found that day also.

Antalis pretiosum, the Indian Money Tusk

Antalis pretiosum, the Indian Money Tusk

Antalis pretiosum, the Indian Money Tusk. The largest is a little over an inch long. (February 2014)

Back at False Point in January, there were tiny Tinted Wentletraps washed up here and there on the sand. The largest in the photo is about ¼ inch long.

Epitonium tinctum, the Tinted Wentletrap

Epitonium tinctum, the Tinted Wentletrap

Epitonium tinctum, the Tinted Wentletrap. (January 2014)

One more San Diego beach treasure…but from a while ago, are these trivias found in the shelly debris at low tide way back around the year 2000. They were found at Torrey Pines State Beach, and I have never seen them since. They are about ¼ inch long.

Trivia californiana from Torrey Pines, Califoenia

Trivia californiana from Torrey Pines, California

Trivia californiana, the “Coffee Bean”.

Keep an eye out for San Diego’s tiny beach treasures ­ you’ll find them where you least expect them!

~~~

Robyn, what fun! You have quite an eye. These tiny beach treasures are absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your beachy times and your amazing treasure trove with us! I feel as if I’ve just had a great day at the beach too! ~Jody

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Friday Finds, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

The Royalty of San Diego’s South Bay: Imperial Beach

Posted by Jody on February 19, 2014

Imperial Beach, California – Heading for the pier.

When I think of Imperial Beach, California, I think of everything surfing: from genuine Southern California surfers riding the waves to the community’s public art, the outdoor “Surfboard Museum” and even the surfboard shaped bus stop benches!  This town always brings to mind classic Beach Boys surfin’ tunes.

Imperial Beach, California

Imperial Beach has so much more to offer than surfing, though.  Here you’ll find 3 ½ miles of clean, white, sandy beach stretching southward to the US-Mexico border. With splendid views of San Diego and Coronado to the north, somehow Imperial Beach never seems crowded. It’s less than 13 miles from Downtown San Diego, so Greg and I are always happy to either make the drive or hop on the bus and head on down to this lovely stretch of beach. If we had to choose, we’d likely tell you that this is our favorite strand of San Diego’s “South Bay.”

According to the their official website, the City of Imperial Beach is “the most southwesterly city in the continental United States.  Flanked by the Pacific Ocean and South San Diego Bay, our town is nestled between miles of uncrowded beaches, big surf and unparalleled open space and wetlands teeming with wildlife. Because this town is one of the last untouched beach towns in Southern California, we are known as Classic Southern California®.”

Imperial Beach, California

Beachcombing is lots of fun here. We always find something interesting on the sands of Imperial Beach.  Once Greg and I came home with a lovely collection of multicolored Donax clam shells, very typical of Southern California beaches. The last time we visited, we found large, heavy clam shells, sand dollars and California mussels.

From what I have been able to search out, these sturdy clams are Common Washington Clams (Saxidomus nuttalli), also known as Butter Clams. Our largest Washington Clam find on Imperial Beach measures 4 ¾” wide,  but we have found these particular seashells up to 5 ¼” wide on other South Bay beaches. Their range is from Humbolt Bay, California to northern Baja California.

Imperial Beach Treasures (California)

This area is well-known for year round coastal birdwatching (a printable map of birdwatching areas is available online).  For the botanist,  there is an interesting variety of coastal vegetation, too. Of course, swimming and sunbathing are also very popular pastimes!  With all that Imperial Beach has to offer, I’d say it’s “One Shell of a Find!”

“Spirit of Imperial Beach” by James A. Wasil, 2008

If you’d like to learn about the interesting history of surfing at Imperial Beach and the big wave break “Tijuana Sloughs” that made this area famous in the surfing world, you’ll want to check out “Riders of The Tijuana Sloughs,” at LegendarySurfers.com.

Bus Stop Bench in Imperial Beach, California

Surfin’ USA

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U. S. A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like Californi-a
You’d see ‘em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ U. S. A.

~Brian Wilson/Chuck Berry

We’d love to hear about your favorite Southern California beach!

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells, Southern California Beaches, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 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 »

Hermosa Beach Rocks!

Posted by Jody on February 2, 2014

Here’s an interesting beach treasure found by Karen Williams on a recent visit to Hermosa Beach, California:

“Walking on the beach in Hermosa on Monday…”

Beach Treasure! (Photo by Karen Williams)

Beach Treasure! (Photo by Karen Williams)

“Found an interesting rock that appears to be 2 different kinds of rock fused together!”

Hermosa Beach, Southern California (Photo by Karen Williams )

Hermosa Beach, Southern California (Photo by Karen Williams )

“Beautiful weather in the 70′s and no one around!”

We asked our two very favorite geologists for their opinions on Karen’s beach treasure. This is what they told us:

“I think the rock’s finder is correct. This is two rocks fused together. It almost appears to be a quartzite (gray and white) fused together with a volcanic rock, perhaps a rhyolite, or andesite. One thing I can clearly make out is that the crystal sizes are much larger in the gray portion and much finer in the black portion.  I think for this fusion to happen, the volcanic rock or ‘melt rock’ had to have ripped a piece of the ‘wall rock’ off without fully melting it. This means that the temperature of the melt rock was not high enough to fully melt the quartz-rich gray portion and instead incorporated it into its structure as an ‘inclusion’.”

Here is a reference in case you need something: http://www.minsocam.org/msa/collectors_corner/arc/tempmagmas.htm

~Ryan McLin (Geologist, Owner McLin Petrographics)

AND ~ Kristie McLin, Ph.D. says: “It looks like a metamorphosed bedding plane to me. Fine grained shaley rock (black) in contact with sand then becomes metamorphosed, changing to schist and quartzite.

We should say either could be the case, and it is hard to tell from a picture what it really is.”

~~~

Either way, it’s one great find!

Many, many thanks to Karen, Ryan, and Kristie. We just love to share!

What’s in your beach bag?

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Southern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Places to Go,”Sea”, and Do around North Padre Island: Bob Hall Pier at Padre Balli Park

Posted by Jody on February 2, 2014

Jody:

I know we’re looking forward to our upcoming visit to the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast. Here’s a wonderful little preview!

Originally posted on Coastal Bend Life:

This will be part of a series of places to Go, “Sea”, and Do around the Coastal Bend. I will add posts to this series each week. The first main part of the series will be about North Padre Island. My state of Texas is growing.  I am continually meeting new people in various places who are new to here or visiting here. I often run into people who have questions about where to go when visiting Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend. I am originally from Houston, but have lived South Texas since 1991.I have lived here as a resident but have been here as a tourist before I moved here.  This series will highlight a few of my favorite places in and around our little bend in the coast.

**********

Sunrise on the Gulf of Mexico Photo courtesy of Extremecoast.com

Sunrise on the Gulf of Mexico
Photo courtesy of Extremecoast.com

North Padre Island Here is another one of my favorite places on my ongoing list about North…

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Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A GHOST CRAB’S DAY AT THE SEASIDE AT DELPHI, ABACO

Posted by Jody on February 1, 2014

Jody:

It’s just another gorgeous day at the beach for this little critter!

Originally posted on ROLLING HARBOUR ABACO:

Crab, Delphi Club Beach, Abaco

A GHOST CRAB’S DAY AT THE SEASIDE AT DELPHI, ABACO

Crabby the Crab lived amongst the greenery at the very back of the Delphi Club BeachGhost Crab Delphi Beach 1

It was a very beautiful beach indeed. Lucky Crabby!Delphi Beach + Shell

One day Crabby decided to go down to the sea for a swimGhost Crab Delphi Beach 2

He scuttled across the sand towards the sound of the wavesGhost Crab Delphi Beach 3

He passed the burrow of his friend Sandy. Sandy was very busy tidying his house.Ghost Crab Delphi Beach 4

“Would you like to come for a paddle?” asked Crabby. “No thanks”, said Sandy, “I’m busy today”Ghost Crab Delphi Beach 5

So Crabby carried on towards the water’s edge. He got closer, to where the sand was wet…Ghost Crab Delphi Beach 6

…and closer, to where the water tickled his toes…Ghost Crab Delphi Beach 7

…and closer, to where the tide ripples reached.  Crabby waved his claws with excitementGhost Crab Delphi Beach 8

Finally, he was paddling in the warm water. It was just perfect. Whoops! Don’t fall in, Crabby!Ghost Crab Delphi Beach 9

Very soon…

View original 60 more words

Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach and Coastal Wildlife | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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