Archive for ‘Observations’

Shark Eye

The Shark Eye Moon Snail (Neverita duplicata) is a predatory mollusk found along the Gulf Coast. The empty shells are highly coveted by Hermit Crabs. This one was still alive so I carefully tucked it back into the small hollow in the shallows.

Fiddler Crab Lives Here

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Denizens of saltmarsh edges, Mudflat Fiddler Crabs (Uca rapax) are excavators extraordinaire. Much of their lifestory is evident in the landscaping outside their burrows. Scritches in the sandy mud form when they claw up and ingest the soil. After siphoning out any organic matter, they roll up the leftover sediment and spit it out in little balls. The larger balls in the photo are the byproduct of burrow expansion.

Sadly, I didn’t see the crab so I couldn’t tell you the sex of the burrow owner (while female claws are both the same size, males have one enlarged claw called a chela). A male attracts a mate by waving his big appendage around. No correlation to the human male. Nope, none at all.

Shucked Shells

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Oysters are one of the seafood crops harvested in the nearby bays. In efforts to protect the long-term health of the oyster fishery, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has closed six of the minor bays along the coast and is actively rebuilding oyster reefs. That time-consuming and expensive process will get a boost from the recently enacted law that requires seafood distributors to either return oyster shells equal to 30% of the amount purchased or pay $1.36 per sack (a sack can weigh no more than 110 pounds). So far, many of the distributors are opting to pay the fee, since oyster shells command a good price for use in the vitamin supplement market.

Just Beachy!

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A lonely palapa at Rockport Beach this morning. Two blocks from my cottage, the park is slowly rebuilding infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Harvey in late 2017. The birds didn’t seem to mind. Next time I’ll take my big camera. Without a lot of effort I spotted these cool species today: Black Skimmer, American and Brown Pelicans, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Great Blue Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Long-billed Curlew, Black Vulture, and even a few Bottlenose Dolphins. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!