The things you learn at the beach……….

skate egg case

I’ve always found those black things along the beach, and only recently learned that they are skate egg cases.  The string of yellowish things is a whelk egg case.  I often found them too and also just in the last year learned what they are. Oh the blessings of the earth include being out there at high tide to see what the sea has brought up. The things you learn at the beach!  Some people go just to eat and enjoy the water, and we do all that too; wonderful restaurants and also good things to bring home.

Like eastern shore cantaloupes, the best there are.  (I brought one and I’d show a picture, but it looks like any ordinary melon and it’s….gone!) But there’s also other things we can’t buy here, like this very special salsa. (It can be bought on line tho.)

blue crab salsa

So we eat the good stuff and enjoy all the fun things to do there, but we also all like to learn about this creatures there and how things work the way they do. So we observe, and do internet searches, and learn things.

The whelk, (egg case pictured above)  fastens the string of eggs down at the bottom of the sea.  The only ones we ever get to see are ones that are torn loose and wash up on the beach.

I often found whelk shells or parts of them, but going to Assateague this year, I saw what the whelk itself looks like.  Reading about them later, I also learned they are eaten by people in many places.  I can’t imagine, but to each their own.

Atlantic whelk

Assateague National Seashore has its own wonders.  https://www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm  Acres and acres of protected areas that are different eco-systems all in one place:   a seashore, a wet lands and a forest, with all different kinds of creatures.  Probably the most fun and the best known are the wild horses that roam the island.  People are instructed to keep away from them since they are wild: they look like a horse, yea, but they will bite and kick. And it’s their home that we’re just visiting there.

wild horses

We all like to go crabbing and the kids fish.  The crabs have to be 5″ across and all males, to protect the breeding process.  It depends on where you go and the time of day whether you catch enough good ones.  There is a small amount of meat in each one and it takes about a dozen to make a good meal.  We caught plenty of ones too small to keep, sometimes 4 in one trap!

crabbing

 

The place we stay there is right on the bay and the most interesting thing that happens in the water there is the mating of the horseshoe crabs.  There were maybe 30 of them on the edge of the water the last night we were there.  I wrote a blog about our trip last year, and it has more info about them and their mating process. https://sarasinart.net/2017/06/18/lots-of-interesting-animals-along-the-shore-of-the-bay/

horseshoe crabs

It was so hard to leave my 2nd favorite place in the world, but I hope to be back next year to see it all again, eat it all again (ha!) and learn more about the life of the things that live there, and how it all works.

2 responses to “The things you learn at the beach……….

    • I found the mermaid’s purses many years ago the first time and thought they seemed like plastic, since they are so sturdy. It’s amazing that these animals can produce such intricate egg cases.

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