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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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8 Responses to “One Perfect Cold, Rainy, and Windy Day at the Beach!”

  1. Ah, it’s been a LOT of years since I visited South Padre Island! Nice shots! 🙂

  2. Maggie Beck said

    What a nice photo essay! I must get there some day!

  3. beachy117 said

    Great treasure findings and wonderful pics! Too bad about the crazy weather! I hope you don’t mind if I repost this! 😉

  4. beachy117 said

    Reblogged this on Coastal Bend Life and commented:
    Great perspective from someone from beyond the Coastal Bend.

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