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Author Archive

Jekyll Island’s Gems

Posted by Jody on October 15, 2017

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Knobbed Whelks

Just a couple of weeks ago, soon after Tropical Storm Irma’s 6-foot storm surge wreaked havoc on Jekyll Island, I visited this “Golden Isle” for a much anticipated girl trip. A dear life-long friend and I met in the Jacksonville (JAX) airport, rented a car, and drove the easy-peasy route north to Georgia’s little island paradise. The storm had done quite a bit of damage to many of the beach crossovers and it had devastated the protective dunes, but the state owned barrier island was in the process of returning to normal and was once again open for business.

Jekyll Island after Tropical Storm Irma ©Jody Diehl

Jekyll Island after Tropical Storm Irma

Over the long weekend, when the tide was low enough to barefoot it on the sandy seashore, we spent a great deal of time walking and catching up on the spectacular beaches of Jekyll Island (Mary’s Fitbit kept track and recorded our steps at 30+ miles!). Sand dollars were easily spotted dotting the shoreline but the grand prize of beachcombing on this fabulous weekend was hands down the Knobbed Whelk, Georgia’s Official State Seashell.  They had been flung up into the rip-rap in abundance by Irma.

Beach treasures found on Jekyll Island after Tropical Storm Irma ©Jody Diehl

Beach Treasures found on Jekyll Island after Tropical Storm Irma

Our first sighting of these Jekyll Island gems happened when we spotted a family -looking very pleased indeed – coming towards us with armloads of something we couldn’t quite figure out. We just knew we had to ask! They were finding perfect Knobbed Whelk specimens hand over fist in the boulders piled along the dunes. They even happily shared some of their bounty with us! Afterwards, being on high alert to spot some of our own one-of-a-kind beach treasures, we began to see Knobbed Whelks partially buried in the sand just at the rolling surf line.

Knobbed Whelk ©Jody Diehl

Knobbed Whelk found on Jekyll Island, Georgia

The Knobbed Whelk, as Jekyll Island’s “Your Official Guide” (Fall/Winter 2017) states, “… is the state shell of both Georgia and New Jersey. These big snails are a fairly common animal found along the intertidal beaches and marshes of Jekyll Island.” It goes on to say, “Feel free to take these shells as a souvenir, but only if they’re uninhabited.” The largest one we snagged was over 5 1/2 inches in length but they can grow up to 9 inches long. Also known to more scientific minds as “Busycon Carica,” they range from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Our finds were everywhere on the color scale from light grey-brown (some being streaked with darker browns) to a very dark grey. The low knobs on the shells’ shoulders are a bit of a giveaway but an important fact in identifying a Knobbed Whelk is that the opening of the Knobbed Whelk’s shell is on the right. The Lightning Whelk, on the other hand, is a south paw!

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Any ideas on where we should go for our next girls only weekend?

                                 We’d love to hear from you!                       

If you’d like to learn more about the Knobbed Whelk, I suggest this helpful site: Chesapeake Bay Program.

 

 

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Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Posted by Jody on October 8, 2017

Just a couple days ago, we were sitting out on Beach Boulevard watching lovingly  restored Bel Airs, GTOs, and Deuce Coupes cruise by with Mississippi’s beguiling beachfront as their backdrop. Today, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is cruising the coast in clean-up mode.

Let me explain: In the olden days (We’re talking pre-Katrina here.), we understand the folks ’round here used to host hurricane parties. These days, we all hunker down and try to prepare as much as possible when the h-word is mentioned. So, although Crusin’ the Coast – billed as “America’s Largest Block Party” – took place this past week, vacationers packed up and left a bit early due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Nate. The party was over!

This year’s event featured over 8,000 registered classic cars and other vehicles. Next year’s party (September 30 – October 7th, 2018) promises to be even bigger!

Thankfully, our beautiful beaches remain intact this morning. Here, mid-coast, we only suffered minor tree damage and overblown dunes.

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So long, Nate!

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

Independence Day the Gulf Coast Way!

Posted by Jody on July 4, 2017

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You have to love a nation that celebrates its Independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”
~Erma Bombeck

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

We’re going to need a bigger shovel!

Posted by Jody on June 22, 2017

 

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Tropical Storm Cindy sure left a mess behind on our coastal beaches! Today, in South Mississippi, we still have lines of thunderstorms passing through, flash flood warnings posted, and a tornado watch in effect. Parts of the beachside highway are blocked due to sand coverage and many parking areas along the seawall fenced off by the county. Luckily, we were able to find a place to pull over and hop out for a quick look at one of the beaches in Biloxi this afternoon.

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The aftermath of Tropical Storm Cindy on the beach in Biloxi, Mississippi..

 

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Row of rental chairs buried in the sand.

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I’m guessing we can negotiate a discount on these!

 

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We’re going to need a bigger shovel!

Here’s one!

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MDOT Sand Clean-up Crew

We didn’t expect to see this little guy:

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Is anyone missing their pet turtle?

Cindy had a peculiar sense of humor.

She left this behind:

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Seriously?? “The CYCLONE!”

It’s with a great big sigh of relief that we say, “So long, TS Cindy!”

 

 

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

Celebrating Father’s Day

Posted by Jody on June 18, 2017

“Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!”

~Albert Einstein

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

Honoring Flag Day USA

Posted by Jody on June 14, 2017

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The flag of the United States has not been created by rhetorical sentences in declarations of independence and in bills of rights. It has been created by the experience of a great people, and nothing is written upon it that has not been written by their life. It is the embodiment, not of a sentiment, but of a history.” 

~Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States

Posted in Beaches of North America, Holiday, Pacific Coast Beaches, Southern California Beaches, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all!

Posted by Jody on May 14, 2017

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I’ve never considered myself a “birder” before. Don’t get me wrong – I certainly know a Road Runner from a Robin. And I can identify a male Cardinal by it’s brilliant red color and conspicuous crest. In the past, I’ve been known to enjoy watching the Harris’s Hawks nesting in our front yard tree in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and get downright excited spying an Osprey triumphantly returning to it’s nest with a freshly caught dinner in Nokomis, Florida. But, how many eggs were likely to be found in the Harris’s Hawks’ nest, and how long did the Ospreys’ eggs take to hatch?  I hadn’t a clue.

The thing is, since moving to our little beach house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I’m starting to understand a little more about how someone gets hooked on bird watching. I’m not talking just a little hooked – I’m talking really hooked!

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Not too long ago, on a morning walk along our beach, we ran across a few scattered orange marker flags indicating nests of what we assumed were Least Terns. The little coastal critters are pretty well known in these parts. We’ve spotted the permanently marked nesting areas on the beach near Biloxi, and we have noticed the sign on Highway 90 designating a section of the roadway “Judith Toups Least Tern Highway.” In fact, we encountered a very active Least Tern nesting colony complete with helpful Audubon Society volunteers in Sarasota County (FL) last summer. So it was pretty clear what was happening on our beach! We had an actual Least Tern nesting colony forming right there, not more than a couple blocks from our beachy hideaway.

To date this particular colony has had its ups and downs. According to the American Bird Conservancy website: “The Least Tern has two big problems. It prefers sandy beaches for nesting—the same kinds of places that people love to visit. And, because it nests on the ground, it’s vulnerable to attacks by cats, dogs, and other predators, which can destroy a significant portion of a colony’s eggs and chicks.” We have had a couple big rain storms resulting in nests being covered by windswept sand. Yet we remain hopeful that the little colony on our beach survives and flourishes in the weeks and months to come.

The area is now roped off and signage has been placed. Hubby and I are planning on joining the Audubon Mississippi Coastal Bird Stewardship effort by becoming active volunteers.  I may be a real live birder when next we meet. I’ll keep you posted!

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Please Tern Around

In the meantime, you can learn more about the Least Terns on the Mississippi Gulf Coast here.

 

 

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Pismo Beach Prize

Posted by Jody on January 30, 2017

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Jacqueline Downs.

On a recent trip to Pismo Beach with my 7 year old granddaughter, I found a large shark tooth on the shore while shell seeking. I have being a shell seeker for many, many years up and down the California coast and have never found a shark tooth. Actually I have never really searched for shark teeth. I was extremely excited to find it while searching for sand dollars.

Photo by Jacqueline Downs

Shark Tooth from Pismo Beach, California

I found the shark tooth on the beach close one of the beach stairways north of the pier.  I thought it was a nice rock, but behold it was a great surprise. The tooth is a little larger than a quarter.

Photo by Jacqueline Downs

Pismo Beach Prize

I’m thinking that maybe the tooth came out of the sea wall cliffs at the beach. California has had the a lot rain lately and maybe some erosion.
Shark Tooth found on Pismo Beach, CA

“Looks kind of old. Kind of like me” ~ We doubt that, Jacqueline ! 🙂

 

~Many thanks to Jaqueline for sharing her beach treasure with us! We are so happy that she sent along such fabulous photos of her very special find. Any day at the beach with a granddaughter is wonderful. Finding such a spectacular prize together makes it all the better!

Related Links: Pismo Beach, California (Official Site)

Pick Your Own Prehistoric Shark Teeth (Venice, Florida)

Please join us! Submission Guidelines for Guest Writers 

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Seaside Style

Posted by Jody on December 1, 2016

Show us your seaside style!

Happy Holidays from the Mississippi Gulf Coast!

Posted in Beachy Keen Art, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Holiday, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Weekend Wisdom

Posted by Jody on July 24, 2016

Rockport, Texas

Rockport, Texas

“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.”  

~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860

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

 
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