THE STRAND LINE……..The extreme low tides over the weekend made for some interesting discoveries as is usually the case. The "early birds" were able to dig a bevy of Surf Clams, seen in this picture. Usually these large clams are subtidal, but on Friday we hunted them down with clues like squirt marks, holes, and mounds of sand. They are only a few inches down and easy to extract. We opened one to share the experience of eating their choice abductor muscles raw. This is a rare treat. Then, we watched them jump from predators, using their muscular foot. Most were thrown back to their natural habitat before the gulls could run away with them. Others were saved for chowder! Now you have to wade for these creatures - one might win you the largest clam award this week!

Our forays onto the rocks produced small lobsters and several Blood Sea Stars, the latter were the first to be found this year. These have very small spines that make the surface feel granular. They do have 2 rows of tube feet on the underside (the more common sea stars that have 4 rows), and unlike other sea stars, can absorb nutrients through their skin. They also brood their young, which is unique among Echinoderms.

We had another interesting flashlight hunt on Monday that gave us an opportunity to see again those peculiar Pipe Fish. Most exciting, however, was finding surface swimming immature, green lobsters. They can surely "shoot around, backwards and forwards, with ease".
My final note is a sad one. I was driving down West Point Road when I spotted a dead bird, presumably hit by a car. I picked it up and think it may be a Black Throated Green Warbler. What are your thoughts on the identification? Sometimes (for me) it is difficult to match all the characteristics. There are variations due to the sex of the bird, and whether it is immature or not. Some field guides are more helpful than others. Most of these warblers are quiet at this time of year. Many are raising their young. I hope this one's family is able to manage on its own.
7/27/05 Ronnie