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Archive for the ‘Sand and Shoreline’ Category

The Ghosts of Jekyll Island

Posted by Jody on October 28, 2017

As soon as Mary and I entered the clearing at the end of the access path to Driftwood Beach, we had an overwhelming feeling of otherworldliness. It was an eerie sensation -which took a little while to shake off- as we gazed on the haunting skeletons and sun-bleached bones and of oak and pine trees past. We had entered a forest graveyard.

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Driftwood Beach

Life (and more recently hurricanes) had gotten in the way of our usual pre-trip homework. We had expected actual driftwood -bits and pieces of wood that had washed ashore- scattered about a stretch of shoreline named Driftwood Beach, but that is certainly not what we found!

As Anthony (Tony) J. Martin, author of Life Traces of the Georgia Coast (Indiana University Press), succinctly explains in his blog post Doing Field Work on a Developed Barrier Island:

“At the north end of Jekyll, shoreline erosion has caused the beach and maritime forest to meet, and the forest is losing to the beach. This has caused the forest to become what is often nicknamed a “tree boneyard,” in which trees die and either stay upright or fall in the same spot where they once practiced their photosynthetic ways.”

 

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This scenic “cemetery” is a must-see any day of the year!  Climbing seems to be the favorite pass-time for kids, while adults sling hammocks on the gnarled branches. Stargazing is the ultimate choice for a romantic evening beneath the heavens. Driftwood Beach is likely the most explored and photographed stretch of beach on the Jekyll Island.

Off the beach, human ghost stories abound on this Golden Isle. Sightings are apparently common enough in the historic district, including the Jekyll Island Club Resort, which boasts a rich history of supernatural appearances – from a uniformed bellman performing his duties to a long gone railroad magnate who still evidently cannot begin his day without a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper. In the evening, after you’ve enjoyed a day of  beach explorations, you can join the “world famous” Jekyll Island Trolley Ghost Tour for legends and tales from beyond the grave. If you do, let us know how it goes!

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Jekyll Island Club Resort

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Anthony Martin: Life Traces of the Georgia Coast

Related Halloween Links:

A Halloween Tale: Beware the Excirolana kincaidi!

The Graveyard of the Pacific: The Bones of the Peter Iredale

 

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Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Holiday, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Fall colors at their finest!

Posted by Jody on October 20, 2017

Our white sand beaches and coastal areas are teeming with beautiful Gulf fritillary butterflies these days! ~ Just in time for their brilliant autumn-like colors to mix and match with other seasonal Southern favorites like maxed out Halloween decorations, pumpkin patches, and sweet potato pies! 

According to the University of Florida Entomology & Nematology Department:

“The Gulf fritillary occurs throughout the southern United States southward through Mexico, Central America and the West Indies to South America. In Florida, it can be found in all 67 counties. The butterfly undergoes distinct seasonal movements each year. Adults move northward in spring and form temporarily breeding colonies throughout the southeast. Individual vagrants may occasionally reach into the central U.S., but rarely into the Midwest. Starting in late summer and continuing through fall, huge numbers of adults migrate southward into peninsular Florida. Adults overwinter in frost-free portions of their range.”

Fall colors at their finest!

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Have a great day, hopefully at the beach!

 

Butterflies and Moths of North America

Butterfly Plants and Mississippi Butterflies

Butterflies at Home

 

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

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 »

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 »

Drum Roll, Please!

Posted by Jody on May 24, 2016

Casperson Beach, Venice, Florida

Caspersen Beach, Venice, Florida. Yes, collecting shark teeth is allowed.

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The best of our finds (so far)!

Have a great day at the beach!

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We’re off to Sanibel Island!

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Sharks, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

How-tos.

Posted by Jody on May 23, 2016

There is a camaraderie among beach treasure hunters in Venice, Florida, that charms folks into returning over and over again.  Locals and repeat visitors are quick to lend a hand along with plenty of advice. Perfect strangers will plop a load or two of scooped up seashells onto the sand in front of you to get you started. I’ve seen more than one longtime treasure hunter simply pick up a shark tooth on the sand and gift it to someone they’ve never met before. Everyone has a system of finding the treasured shark teeth on the shores of Venice. Some of us have a whole beach bag full of how-tos.

Here are a few tips, tricks, and how-tos we’ve learned along the way. They’re all tried and true!

1.The Dig and Sift

The Dig and Sift is accomplished by simply reaching into the water to get the biggest portion of settled shells possible, then sifting through the seashells and fragments in hopes of spotting the perfect shark tooth specimen. You can buy a fancy pants scooper (sold at the local Walmarts for just under $18.00) which is simply a little wire basket on a pole. Folks ’round here have been known to attach a kitchen sieve to a $1.00 thrift store golf club to achieve the same results. Clever! Right? The cheapest bet: scoop with your own two hands, although you should plan on chipping the polish off of any prettily manicured nails. (Come to think of it, this may indeed be the most expensive option of the three!)

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The Dig and Sift

2. The Sweep and Trap

The Sweep and Trap system doesn’t require braving the surf. You just need to find a section of the beach where the surf is washing over a patch of smallish seashell fragments. Crouch on the sand and start to run your hand back and forth across the small bits and pieces while the surf comes and goes. Now, with this system, you’ll likely see a treasure or two get away before you can actually grab what really did look like a shark tooth. Hence the “trap” part. Quick reflexes are necessary to trap any dark, suspicious form before the waves wash your suspected precious beach treasure back into the sea.

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The Sweep and Trap

3. The Scoop and Toss

Can’t find a place where the waves are washing across a section of seashell fragments? Have a friend simply scoop a colander, bucket, or basket of seashells and sand from the water and plop the load along the surf line for you. Follow the “trap” part of technique #2 from here.

4. The Dig Like Heck at the Shell Banks Left Behind After High Tide

🙂 Self explanatory:

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The Dig Like Heck at the Shell Banks Left Behind After High Tide

5. The Walk and Scan

Enjoy a lovely walk on the beach and just look down. I can’t tell you how successful this system has been for many a beach treasure hunter on the beautiful beaches of Venice. Yes, this how-to is too obvious, but we just had to mention it!

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The Walk and Scan

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The Ultimate Venice Beach Treasure!

Good luck & have a wonderful day at the beach!!

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Seashells, Sharks, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Morning at Caspersen Beach

Posted by Jody on May 22, 2016

Here’s a look at our awesome Saturday morning on Caspersen Beach in Venice, Florida. What a fabulous day it was for beach treasure hunting!

Hunting for shark teeth is a lot like “Where’s Waldo?” Scroll through the photos and see if you can find a shark tooth or two with us. >>>

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Everyone is out to find those treasured shark teeth on Caspersen Beach

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Dressed for success!

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Anything in there?

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Caspersen Beach, Florida

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Wonderful shelling too!

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We were told by a local fisherman that this character is a Yellow-Footed Bait Stealer.

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Wooohooo! My Beach Treasures!

It’s great to have a waterproof camera. Isn’t it? We have a couple of Fuji FinePix XP70 neon colored wonders just for these occasions!

Have a wonderful day at the beach!

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Sand and Shoreline, Seashells, Sharks | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Sea Glass Special! Wellington, New Zealand

Posted by Jody on November 21, 2015

It was a dark and stormy day… another absolutely perfect day at the beach for Greg and me! Oriental Bay Beach is Wellington, New Zealand’s most popular beach. And we had it all to ourselves! I’m guessing that was because of the weather (which pretty much only matters to us if there are lightning bolts involved).

Here’s a peek at what ended up to be a wonderful afternoon of sea glass hunting on Wellington’s beautiful inner harbor strand:

 

When I am asked, I often tell people that we have found the best sea glass beaches close to the older, often rowdy-ish, local bar scene districts. I wonder what the story of Oriental Bay is to have so much sea glass deposited on this stretch of beach. This sandy shoreline is probably one of the top three sea glass beaches we have ever come across!

It certainly was a perfect day at the beach for these two Beach Treasure Hunters!

Do you have an amazing beach for sea glass hunting? We’d sure love to hear about it!

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of Australia and New Zealand, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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