TRACKING FOR DEER & SANDDOLLARS!
These afternoons, the sun sends a reflected glow on to the trails. I was picking my way among deer tracks, enjoying the serene scene you see here. Each picnic table is served up with ridges of snow. Tracks lead to evergreen trees where morsels of needles can be devoured. There are more deer tracks than those of people. I didn't see a live deer, but did find where one had rested leaving an oval patch of melted snow. Even this resting place picked up the sun's glow.

We are benefiting from extremely low tides thanks to the full moon. Yesterday I decided to take advantage of the greater tidal exposure over at Totman Cove. It was very cold, in fact every time I took off my gloves to handle some stranded creature, my hands nearly froze. Why don't they freeze? Actually, I was looking for some animals to draw since I am trying to put together a booklet on sea life for the town of Phippsburg. January is not the ideal month for exploring along the coast, but it is interesting to see what you can find as the animals (and I) deal with the cold.

On this outing, I found no Hermit Crabs. They must have walked out into deeper waters where they are protected. I did find one Green Crab that had dug a hole in the sand, and several live Sanddollars left exposed to the cold air. I also found two large Moon Snails left on flattened Eel Grass patches. They appeared quite stressed - remember the air is far colder than the salt water. Usually I can find quite of few of these snails, but most have moved into deeper water. Two small Sea Stars were discovered in their usual hiding places under rocks.

The picture to the left shows the live Sanddollar partially hidden where it has dug under sand. These live animals have short spines that enable them to move and submerge themselves. You will notice strands of Eel Grass nearby. The picture to the right shows the contrast of these animals, alive and dead as shown on a rock. Who would have thought you could go hunting for these animals in January.....and expect to find them? They were the stars (!) of this afternoon show!
1/21/08 On the trails and beaches with Ronnie.