May 15, 2015

July in May

The weather has been humid and a little hot, more like June or July than May, here in NE Florida…I've taken to getting up before 6 a.m. to get to the beach just before sunrise, to beat the heat…and the other shell seekers. I've also spent three hours on the beach the past couple visits…amazing how time flies when you're having fun…

…You can see the humid haze in the sunrise yesterday… (and a lone ruddy turnstone…)

…the white baby's ears are fairly common at "my" beach; I always find a few...

…I also find a few scallops and several slippersnails…

…But this was the first lightning whelk egg casing I've come across so far…there are actually tiny lightning whelks inside! 

…Speaking of whelks, I found this slightly roughed up, but whole knobbed whelk last week...

…This tiny striped porcelain crab was perched on a large horseshoe crab carcus recently...

…This is the horseshoe crab, with the water bottle for size reference…the crabs reach up to 24" and I'd say this one was almost that, from the tip of its tail to the top...quite large...

…Another scallop…most scallops I find on "my" beach are black, which means they were buried for a long time in sediment…lately I've been finding white ones...

…The lettered olive shells are fairly common too…I usually find 1-3 of them.

The beaches of St. John and Flagler Co. are known for their coquina limestone sand and coquina clam shells, but I normally see single shell halves…I recently came across a large pile of live coquinas that had washed ashore, included the pretty striped ones, which usually are pretty scarce to me.

… ? ? ?  It appears that a shorebird…seagull…? Landed here, contemplated the little shell wrack, then flew off again…I found this pair of lone footprints in the sand, no other prints around them.

…I'm enjoying seeing the Wilson's plovers; don't know how I missed them the past 3 years…they summer here in NE Florida, but are found year-round in S. Florida.

…Also, on closer inspection of grainy photos, I realized these were not the commonly seen sanderlings (which have dark legs) I thought they were…they're least sandpipers, which have yellowish legs. They should be heading on north soon...

Imagine my surprise and delight at finding another lovely royal starfish, posing beautifully on top of a pile of shell hash….hmm did I even share my first time finding one of these? Doesn't look like it…oops! Quite the stunning surprise, needless to say!

Twice I've seen this Nanday (or black-faced) parakeet duo perched on a wire along Hwy. A1A by a line of beach homes….the parakeets are native to S. America and, like the monk parakeets seen in S. Florida, are escaped exotic pets. These are the first exotic escapees I've seen here.


  1. The royal starfish is so beautiful! It'so been a long time since we visited Florida, so I an enjoying seeing all the colorful seashells.

    1. I've been seeing the royal starfish since my first sighting a few weeks ago, always a pretty surprise! After 3 ½ years, I still am a bit stunned I'm living in Florida!

  2. What beautiful photographs! I love the shot with all the shells! I would love to see a Wilson's Plover, a species I have never seen!

    1. Thank you, Kathie! I've really been enjoying seeing the WIlson's plovers, and the least sandpipers! Esp. since the willets, ruddy turnstones, and sanderlings are so common.