Sunday, January 25, 2009

Florida Whelks and Hermit Crabs

I never get tired of going to the beach. Every season is different. We went to Fort DeSoto Park's North Beach today and found a lot of large mollusks and hermit crabs. I usually don't see these larger specimens so close to shore during warm weather months.

(Click on photos for larger images.)

Here's a large whelk out for a stroll near the shore. The water was too cold for me to want to walk in. A lady vacationing from the state of Washington waded into the water to get it.

It took the whelk a few minutes to totally retract into its shell. Cold blooded animals move slower when they're cold. We all took pictures and then put it back in the water.

We found a lot of large hermit crabs near the shore. This one has a horse conch shell for a home.

Here's one at home in a whelk shell. This is the biggest hermit crab I've ever seen. It looked like a small lobster.

We stayed to watch the sunset and then went home.

More Photos of Fort DeSoto Park in Winter

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter at Fort DeSoto Park

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The water was a beautiful clear blue-green. The winter had cleansed the ocean from the cloudiness of the fall season. The weather is changeable in winter, as if Mother Nature can't decide what shoes to wear. It can be cold and windy at the beach. We lucked out today and had calm, sunny weather. I carried my flip flops and walked in the cool water.

There are less people around in the winter and you can see more wild life. There are many different species of birds that hang around together. If you approach them slowly they'll accept your presence as that of another big goofy bird.

Here's a turnstone sandpiper. It was turning over stones and shells to find munchies.

Wade into the water for a closer look. It's much easier to get a good look at the pelicans when people aren't swimming in the water.

The sea washes up different types of creatures and seashells seasonally. We found a lot of dead sea urchins scattered around the shore. Here's a sea urchin in the water.

It was a nice day for walking on the beach.

More pictures of Fort DeSoto Park in Winter