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Archive for the ‘Gulf of Mexico Beaches’ Category

Orange Beach is Golden!

Posted by alainaflute on August 5, 2014

Flip Flop Parking Lot

Flip Flop Parking Lot

After last year’s National Flute Association convention in New Orleans, Mom (Jody) and I traveled east along the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana through three more states: Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. On our coastal driveabout, we saw beautiful white sand beaches, tumbled shells, great blue herons, and surfers. I expressed shock and glee simultaneously at my first jellyfish sighting (my mom was less than impressed).

We made Orange Beach, Alabama our home base. Our hotel was right on the beach, and we took in the refreshing sea breezes from our balcony. We ate breakfast on the sun deck and kicked off our sandals at the flip flop “parking lot.” The beach was as long as any I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I had no idea how wonderful those gulf beaches could be! The sugar-white sand squeaks under foot and goes on for miles and miles (really, we just set a time limit for our turn-around because the beach just kept on keeping on).

Here’s a look at our golden day on the white sands of Orange Beach:

Click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through.

~~~

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

On a Summer’s Day

Posted by Jody on July 13, 2014

 

Rest is Not Idleness

Rest is Not Idleness

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day,

listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time”

~Sir John Lubbock, The Use of Life

~~~

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

It’s National Clean Beaches Week!

Posted by Jody on July 5, 2014

Feeling the Love on Harrison County Sand Beach, Mississippi

Feeling the Love on Harrison County Sand Beach, Mississippi

Celebrated annually (July 1-7) as the “Earth Day” for beaches, National Clean Beaches Week is a friendly reminder that the planet’s shorelines deserve a little tender loving care. The Clean Beaches Coalition leads the way with a “network of coastal organizations and individuals committed to promoting clean, healthy and well managed beaches around the world.” Who doesn’t think that’s a great idea!?

Here’s our very own up close and personal look at why our beaches need to feel the love too:

Yep!

Yep!

Not really feeling the love!
Not feeling the love!
Still not feeling the love...
Still not feeling the love…

 ~~~

OK, so now I'm feeling the love!
OK, so now I’m feeling the love!

~~~

The Clean Beaches Coalition (CBC) certifies deserving beaches as “Blue Wave.” Blue Wave Beaches are accredited according to their active participation in embracing and promoting the “7 Blue Wave Ethics.”

They are:
1. Leave no trace
2. Move your body
3. Don’t tread the dunes
4. Know your limits
5. You are what you eat
6. Feed your mind
7. Respect the ocean

Is your favorite beach a Blue Wave Beach? Or perhaps it has a different certification? We’d love to hear about it!

Rockport's Blue Wave Beach (Texas)

Rockport’s Blue Wave Beach (Texas)

~~~

Helpful links:

Blue Wave Beach Certification

Harrison County Sand Beach, Mississippi (Photo #1)

Rockport, Texas  ~Texas’ First Certified Blue Wave Beach~ (Photo #6)

 

 

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, 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 »

Happy Father’s Day!

Posted by Jody on June 15, 2014

Rockport, Texas

Rockport, Texas

Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.

Mike Myers
~~~

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Posted by Jody on June 10, 2014

Calico Scallops

Calico Scallops

It’s easy to see why these beautiful bivalves are the seashell collector’s dream. Each and every Calico Scallop (Argopecten gibbus) is a colorful, unique, and fun-filled piece of eye candy! They can be found in variations of pink, white, orange, brown, purple. Keeping only one is virtually impossible for even the most tried and true beachcomber! Commonly found on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, they range from Delaware Bay to Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico, and south to much of the Caribbean Sea.

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

These variegated seashells are especially plentiful and very easy to find undamaged on Florida’s sandy Gulf Coast beaches. The color-splashed Calico Scallops in this collection all hail from the world-renowned shelling beaches of Sanibel Island, Florida.

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Growing up to 2 1/2 inches across, Calico Scallops are almost circular in shape and very easy to identify. These seashells have about 20 strong, well defined, smooth (non-scaly) ribs. Look for each shell’s “ears” to be about equal in size.

Seriously, who wouldn’t be tickled pink to have a basket full of these picture perfect beach treasures in their collection?

Happy Beachcombing!

~~~

Related links:

Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcomber’s Bonanza

The Sanibel Shell Guide

Beachcombing Regulations Abound. Know Before You Go!

Christmas with Sanibel Style

~~~

 

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

Angel Wings: A Heavenly Find

Posted by Jody on May 28, 2014

“Angel wing” is the perfect name for this beachcombing favorite! Easy to identify, these beautiful seashells are well-known collector’s items.

Angel wings (Cyrtopleura costata) are very fragile seashells. Somehow, quite a few of them seem to make it to the beach unchipped and in one piece, but it can be a bit of a challenge to get one of these brittle beach treasures all the way home intact!

Angel Wings, Bryan Beach, Texas (Brazoria County)

Angel wings can be found along the Atlantic Coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the northern West Indies. Their range includes the Gulf of Mexico and reaches as far south as Brazil. Our family found many of these wing-shaped beauties on Brazoria County’s Gulf Coast (Texas).

These delicate, snowy white bivalves are members of the burrowing Piddock family.  Angel wings bore deep into the soft sandy mud (up to 3 feet below the surface). Filter feeders, they feast on the microalgae and tiny zooplankton in their mucky home, where they can grow up to 8 inches in length.

Angel Wings

Angel Wings

“The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.”  – George Eliot, English novelist

Have a heavenly day at the beach!

~~~

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

In Honor of Memorial Day

Posted by Jody on May 25, 2014

USS Lexington, Corpus Christi Beach, Texas

USS Lexington, Corpus Christi Beach, Texas

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs.

Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

~~~

USS Lexington: The USS LEXINGTON, CV-16, is a World War II-vintage Essex Class aircraft carrier.

KA 3B Sky Warrior Aboard the  USS Lexington

KA 3B Sky Warrior Aboard the USS Lexington

U.S. Memorial Day.org

~~~

Rainy Day on Corpus Christi Beach

Rainy Day on Corpus Christi Beach

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

♫ Good Day Sunshine ♫

Posted by Jody on May 21, 2014

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

♫ Good day sunshine,
Good day sunshine,
Good day sunshine.
I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about,
I feel good, in a special way.
I’m in love and it’s a sunny day. ♫

~Lyrics by John Lennon, Paul McCartney

~~~

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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?

~~~

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

 
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