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November 2009 through January 2010

Jo O'Keefe Copyright 2010. Photos may be used for educational purposes only. Contact me with inquiries.

My Photo Journal shows that my trips to the beach have decreased dramatically. During winter many low tides are in the dark, preventing me from walking before them to find animals deposited by the outgoing tide. Personally, getting on and off of the beach even at the access without stairs has become nearly impossible. Despite that, during these months Mother Nature has richly blessed those of us walking to the east end of Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Two storms and one day of strong wind blowing in from the ocean brought many treasures. Folks left with armloads of finds such as large barnacles, huge Atlantic Giant Cockle shells, whelks and sea stars. I found live animals to preserve for research facilities and brought home sea drift to dry and inspect. I will add a few microscope photos to demonstrate my finds. Thousands of items in Petri dishes in my kitchen await photo ops. All are less than 1/4 inch wide. The barnacles are probably 1/16 inch wide.
This photo shows the large number of birds following the fishing boat Ms. Carol Ann, legaling trawling offshore at Sunset Beach. The nets are underwater. The birds must wait until the captain and crew pull up the nets, empty them and discard by-products. Those will be the fish that the birds need to survive. Off Sunset Beach, January 31, 2010
   
I save scores of minute crab claws that I find in sea drift. I photogrpahed this one to show both the cilia and "teeth." This part of the end portion of the claw, pincer or cheliped are called the fingers. The top part, called the dactyl, moves. From Sunset Beach, NC, 01/31/10
   
A clam digs in the dirt, sticks in his foot, and then blows up the end of it to serve as an anchor. He then can pull the rest of his body down. After that, he extends his siphons to get water with both oxygen and food.
 

Atlantic Giant Cockle, Dinocardium Robustum. Foot is at left. Siphons are to its right. The incurrent siphon is closest to the foot. The excurrent siphon is further right. Filter feeders, cockles siphon in water with plankton that passes through the gills. Food is sent to the stomach. After oxygen has been extracted, the water is pushed out through the excurrent siphon. Home Aquarium, Carolina Shores, NC, 01/29/10

Atlantic Giant Cockle, Dinocardium robustum, Sunset Beach, NC, 01/26/10
This is the far east end of Sunset Beach, NC, where I find the many species of microshells and most other invertebrate animals such as sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea whips and barnacles. The first and second portions of the water are small "inlets" of ocean jutting onto the sand. The third one, a thin line in the background, is Tubbs Inlet, now significantly narrowed and closed to boat traffic. The buildings and water tower are on Ocean Isle Beach. Sunset Beach, NC, 01/26/10.
Lettered Olive, Oliva sayana, crawling both in sand and up bucket wall. In the last photo the two antennae and the proboscis are shown. The shell appears distorted because of the angle of the photo. Sunset Beach, NC, 01/19/10
Banded Porcelain Crab, Petrolisthes galathinus, Sunset Beach, NC, 01/19/10 Many pieces of this species washed up following strong wind coming from the ocean two days earlier. I found two intact ones. The bottom is particularly lovely.
Grey or Striped Sea Star, Luidia Clathrata, Sunset Beach, NC, 01/19/10
Beaded or Marginated Sea Star, Astropecten Articulatus, Sunset Beach, NC, 01/19/10
Sawtooth Penshell, Atrina Serrata, Sunset Beach, NC, 12/21/09
First Photo with new Kodak Z980 camera, Sunset Beach, NC, 01/06/10
Barnacle photographed through microscope, 01/05/10
A barnacle extending a collection of feather-like appendages called cirri, which stroke through the water to collect plankton and other food particles, 01/05/10
Sea Urchin Spine, 01/08/10
Conrad's Turbonille, Turbonilla (Pyrgiscus) viridaria, 01/08/10
Megabalanus sp., Sunset Beach, NC, 12/21/09
   
Astropecten sp, Sunset Beach, NC, 12/03/09
A strong storm lasted nearly 24 hours on Wednesday, December 2, 2009. On the following three days I found many items on Sunset Beach, NC. They included live and dead Channeled and Knobbed Whelks, large mauve barnacles -- some Megabalanus coccopoma -- and sea stars.
   
Fishing on Cherry Grove Beach, SC, 11/06/09
Black Skimmers, Cherry Grove Beach, SC, 11/06/09