This week was highlighted by some extremely low tides that made for some good opportunities to see sea life up close and personal. Animals normally safely hidden under tidal waters are often exposed and vulnerable to predators as we experience a full or new moon. WE do not prey upon them, but enjoy finding unusual animals.

Highlights had to be finding live Sanddollars in Totman Cove. Some of these short spined animals were found under a disk of sand. Others were exposed or showed pathways of movement. The shallow waters of this cove make a perfect habitat for Sanddollars. Moonsnails are also found in large numbers in Totman Cove. If left high and dry by the tide, they dig into the sand but their round shells may give clues of their presence. We found several that had Periwinkles secured in their wide, mucous foot in the process of drilling holes for dining on the snail "meat". Live Razor Clams were also extracted from the sand.....they require quite a tug!

Our Head Beach outing had us finding more Surf Clams than ever…..of all sizes. We watched them jump from Sea Stars, and then let them show us how they use their foot to dig into wet sand. In the picture to the right, the clams are placed in the moist sand with their foot down and siphone up. Gradually, they dug deeper and withdrew from view. These clams are quite mobile and amazing creatures to observe, ….and eat, if the Red Tide isn't advising otherwise. Sea life can be most entertaining!

Mostly, I love all animals I find, but recently I've been waging a battle with these caterpillars that have been stripping the leaves from my tomato plants and even chewing into the tomatoes themselves! These are Tomato Hornworms, so called because of that horn on their hind end. They are quite beautiful and blend in with the green of the foliage. I have found them hard to tolerate if I want to have tomatoes. How do you handle such invaders? Can I teach them to eat other plants? These animals are testing my patience and not among my most popular caterpillars. Oh dear, woe is me. 8/17/10 Ronnie, a bit stymied.