The weather here continues mild and dry. Breezes have required a jacket along the shoreline, though I see sunbathers in protected spots. I set out again to check on the nature happenings at the campground. No more whales to report, but as I climbed around Joe's Head I made an interesting discovery. In the picture to the left, I am standing on Joe's Head looking toward Sanddune Beach (Did you know that?!) Just as I found pockets of Chokeberry growing in rocky cracks last week, this week new flowers are showing their wares. I stopped to admire some white violets growing on the edge of the rocks and low and behold, I saw Sundew growing! These are insectivorous plants that have sticky red petals that catch insects that might climb aboard. These are generally seen in wetlands, but here they were blowing in the ocean breezes!
Then I noticed something moving adjacent to these plants in a pool of water, not left by the tide but in captured rain! There were small black tadpoles swimming with their slender tails in what surely must be a vulnerable pool. We've had very little rain recently and this little pool must be decreasing in size by the minute. Plus, where did the frog come from to find this temporary pool to lay its eggs? I will have to keep watching, and may go back with a bucket to move the animals to a safer place for their leg growing and ultimate air breathing. Here is a sampling of these tadpoles that I believe to be those of a toad. How cooperative one was to swim over a white piece of crab shell to show off! In the picture above, the pool of water in which these animals were swimming is shown as dark in the lower part of the picture. The Sundews are next to that plant at the bottom.
I counted about 5 campsites in use, one with a Tennessee license plate. There were more deer tracks than foot prints in the campsites. It was very quiet, peaceful and inviting! I climbed up to the circle, and on this clear day, was able to see snow covered Mt. Washington in the distance. Back down on Head Beach I picked up a few interesting items in the flotsam and jetsam. Look and see if you can recognize these things. There is a portion of a Surf Clam at the top and a beautifully sun enhanced red crab shell. I'm sure you recognize the blue Mussel, with a handy hole for stringing, but what about that mass of eggs? These are from a Waved Whelk, a snail that may wash up vacant on our beaches. These egg masses may also wash in, and some call them "Sailor's Washballs" since they could be used when dry as a hand cleaner. But what interested me was the fact that in these capsules, you could see the eggs themselves. They weren't empty. So these snails may be copulating and laying their eggs at this time of year. Compared to the eggs of Moon Snails, these are very different in shape and form. Moon Snails, as you may know, lay their eggs in the form of sand collars that may wash in on our beaches. Waved Whelks are usually not found alive unless you are observant and lucky. They climb into lobster traps in search of the food found there, so lobstermen (and women) are not fond of these snails.
Speaking of mating and egg laying......I
was digging in my vegetable garden and rolled over a log used
to hold down film to keep the weeds from taking over. Under the
log were many worms, several of which were in the process of exchanging
genetic material, i.e. mating! Gardening often opens my eyes to
the wonders of nature.
5/30/08 Ronnie in wonderland.