Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beach Stuff

First, an update on the nesting skimmers. Margie reports that people seem to be respecting the perimeter tape she has put up - she'd like to make their area bigger, but she has to leave room on the east side for people to pass by at high tide. I asked about raccoons predating the nest, and she said there are lots of raccoons in the area, but so far the parents have been able to protect the eggs. The first egg reaches the 21-day mark this weekend. Margie will report any events, so I'll keep you posted. In researching this, I came across an interesting story about Dow Skimmer Day. It seems that Black Skimmers have been making a now-retired limestone parking area at Dow Texas Operations Plant A their home almost every summer since 1968. Great story - be sure to follow the link below. (Skimmer photo by Jim Angy)

We've had some pretty wicked storms this past week, and lightning struck and killed a tourist on Melbourne Beach. David McRee did an excellent post about it in his Blog the Beach, and included tips on what to do/not to do in storms. I've talked about David's free e-book before, but this being beach season, let's talk about it again. This 70-page beach safety ebook is free to download from his web site (see links below). According to David, it has been downloaded by tens of thousands of people. It is also being used in a state park summer beach safety program as an educational tool.
I'm on a sea-bean listserve, and this week there was this correspondence from a gentleman in Malaysia - I was beach combing along familiar seeds …debris fronting the South China Sea on the east cost of peninsular Malaysia last weekend. Imagine the excitement when I came upon my very first encounter of Grey Nickars. Funny thing is… I have been on this stretch of beach many times previously all these years but never did come upon them. Prior to this discovery, the only cherished ones I had in my collection were sent to me many years back by the late Cathie Katz, polished and even raw ones still in pods. (Nickernut photo by Matt MacQueen)
As I tried to wrap my mind around the South China Sea and Malaysia, I thought of how much Cathie Katz would have enjoyed blogging! She died too soon in 2001, but her last book, Nature a Day at at Time, was kind of like a blog-in-a-book. Her July 11 entry is about the damselfly, kin to the dragonfly. Cathie had a thing for the dragonfly, and every year at the sea-bean symposium, a dragonfly appears at some point, buzzing around the room to be sure that all is going well. We always take note of the visitor and call it Cathie, of course.



Cactus Jack Splash said...

I am amazed at the variety of sea beans and how pretty they are.

Martha Wolfe said...

The black skimmer is my favorite local sea bird. So pleased to hear they are having success nesting......thanks for looking out for them. Would love to see a photo of the babies when they hatch!

Margie said...

As of Monday July 13, the skimmers are still sitting on their nests, with no sign of a chick. There is now a third nest and several other distinct pairs, who look like they might be considering nesting. Just amazing.