Monday, October 14, 2013

PEI... the creatures

This guy was vicious.

An arctic red jellyfish.  Absent the first day, a few here and there on the second and then a full bloom in evidence on the third. When I walked along the beach and got stuck at the inlet, it wasn't just the deep water and strong tidal current that stopped me crossing but also the fact that these things were at a density of at least one per square metre. They sting.
Some sort of flounder or halibut I think.

A moon snail with its huge foot
Tadhg was in his element! And from that day to this he's been saying he's a zoologist. We had not learned how to hold a crab yet (two fingers at widest part of their body) so he just went at it with no fear. He picked up many, many crabs, each one bigger than the last, then one managed to nip his finger and was thrown unceremoniously back in the water. Just a few seconds later though, he had caught his breath and carried on. A couple more nips, and a particularly nasty one that made him cry a tiny bit, he had a break for a few minutes but still went back to it, this time only catching the small ones.

At the National Park visitor centre the next day we read something about crabs and it dawned on me about holding them by the widest part- I wondered how I could have forgotten that as crabs were always around when I was a kid, until I remembered that we mostly just stabbed them with a sharp stick to watch their green and blue blood (I don't think we even ate them- how cruel is that?!) Anyway, there was no crab killing going on here, at least not on purpose. There were so many of them that a few did get stomped on and others were damaged a little by not so careful 4 year old hands (though he did try).

Brendan was all for helping spot them by torch, but less keen to pick them up. Later that week Brendan spotted a scuttling hermit crab and shouted for Tadhg.
B: "Tadhg, a hermit crab!"
T:  "Get it Brendan!"
B:  "Quick, it's getting away Tadhg!"
(Tadhg coming over)
T:  "Well pick it up!"
B:  "No, you pick it up. You're the zoologist!"

Two sea stars and a hermit crab spent the day in here. (It's not a starfish, it's a sea star!)

We saw piping plovers on our beach. A species under threat because they nest on the beach where they are disturbed by humans and their dogs and ATVs.

Brendan walking along to get a closer look at the piping plovers, which would scuttle away and then fly along the shore in unison a bit before settling back on the sand. Then you caught up and did it again. A kind of leap frog game.

This isn't very clear but this marsh on the lagoon side of the dunes was teeming with bird life. Our favourite were the great blue herons standing elegantly in the grass.

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