My gosh, we are two weeks into August and I haven't written a thing! Too busy I guess, but here goes. Looking back, we've had beauteous weather and a lot of happy campers. There have been a few sprinkles, but nothing to write home about. If anything, you'd be writing about the high temperatures! I'll start with an outing at Sailboat Beach. There, helped by snorkelers, we found a large assortment of Hermit Crabs, some in tiny snail shells while others were filling abandoned Moon Snails like this one. These animals have a crusty front end and a soft abdomen that they tuck inside snail shells. When you pick one up they may come out and show their claws and stalked eyes, then pop back inside. In water, they amble about and are quite at home crawling on ledges. None in our collection came out of its shell, though some had picked poor houses with cracked exteriors!

Here is part of the gang, who found these animals, plus sea stars, crabs and urchins. Some of these campers were more interested in the animals they were holding then smiling for the photographer!

There is one part of this outing I will never forget. I was snorkeling out along the ledges that border the cove at Sailboat Beach. I swam out quite far, finding several live Sanddollars, when I rounded the point and looked into a deep crevice. I gulped as there taking a mean look at me was the biggest lobster I had ever seen I held my position, but when it waved its claws maliciously at me, I backed away. I have never been frightened by any animal, but here in the lobster's element, it was scary. I wished I had had a camera, and am tempted to go back. That lobster was so big it could not have fit into any trap.......and so close to shore! I was amazed and will not forget that encounter.

On a calmer note, I picked up a dead Cedar Waxwing while driving home this week. I didn't know what kind of bird it was until I picked it up and saw its distinct markings. These birds do have red wax tips on their wing feathers that are rarely seen unless you have one in your hand. There are other interesting features, including the yellow barred tail and yellow underside, plus the black mask and peaked head feathers. These birds are often seen in flocks, feasting on berries or other fruit. My fondest memory of this bird was out on Seguin Island in late spring. The Apple trees out there were in bloom, and Cedar Waxwings were eating the petals of their flowers! I couldn't believe my eyes, but with binoculars I discovered it to be true. In the picture, you can see the red wax tips on its feathers.

8/16/09 Ronnie with Hermits and Waxwings......