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July 2009

Jo O'Keefe Copyright 2009. Photos may be used for educational purposes only. Contact me with inquiries.

Members of the Lloyd and Loftis Families of Lexington and Columbia, SC, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/26/09
   
American Oystercatchers, adult left, fledgling right, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/20/09
Mud Flats along the Causeway, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/20/09
   
Evening Primrose, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/20/09
Amaranthus pumilus Rafinesque
Seabeach amaranth, Amaranthus pumilus Rafinesque, a threateened species, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/15/09
   
Arenaeus cribrarius
Arenaeus cribrarius
Speckled Crab, Arenaeus cribrarius, coming out of the sand and after I removed it from the sand, very much alive, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/15/09
   
Robinsons and Deringers
Uniola paniculata
Members of the Robinson and Deringer families with an impressive sea turtle sculpture that they made on the final day at Sunset Beach. They have been coming to Sunset Beach for 10 years. 07/10/09
Sea Oats, Uniola paniculata, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/10/09
 
Mesochaetopterus worm tubes
Mesochaetopterus worm tubes

These piles of Mesochaetopterus worm tubes are treasure troves for hunters of marine specimens. Both seaweed and sea drift like that shown in the above two photos are full of minute mollusks, sand dollar "doves," small crab shells, barnacles and other gems. The photo on the right shows the worm tubes as they have washed up at the far eastern ocean end of Sunset Beach, NC, 07/05/09.

   
Cakile harperi
Cakile harperi
Southeastern Sea Rocket, Cakile harperi, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/05/09
   
Lysmata wurdimani
Lysmata wurdimani
Peppermint Shrimp, Lysmata wurdimani, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/03/09
   
Gymnura micrura

Smooth Butterfly Ray, Gymnura micrura, Sunset Beach, NC, 07/03/09

I heard about this "stingray" an hour and a half before I saw it. Later, after seeing several families looking at something in a tide pool, I walked over to ask what it was. They reported seeing the same stingray. We then searched for it for more than a half hour before deciding to quit.

Later, because I am recovering from surgery, I could not stand back up after photographing the Peppermint Shrimp mentioned in an earlier post. I called some parents over for help and told them that I had live animals for their children to see. They were excited to hear about the stingray because their youngest son loves them.

About 20 minutes later one of their children came running to me far down the beach saying, "We found the stingray." Of course we walked back to the tide pool. This sweetheart was worth the wait. The father filled one of my buckets with water and scooped up the ray. While their family and I photographed the ray, one person poured buckets of water on it. Next they carried it in the bucket with water far into the ocean. The ray was free at last!

This ray was nine or 10 inches wide. It is a Smooth Butterfly Ray, Gymnura micrura. Recently Butterfly Rays were classified apart from stingrays.