The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group, a place where everyone is welcome to note the observations you have made of the natural world around you. Fledglings, insects, blossoms, fish, climate, reptiles and/or amphibians: all are worthy additions to the bucket. Ask questions if you have them and someone here may well have an answer. All we ask is that you let us know where you're located, as close as you're comfortable revealing.
This is a continuation of sorts of my Dawn Chorus diary from yesterday. It is a bucket of two week old events - hopefully that's OK.
Two weeks ago today my wife and I were on Cumberland Island, a barrier island in Georgia and a National Seashore. The area had experienced heavy rain and storms for several days previously. The weather had pounded the sand down hard and had washed a fair amount of debris up onto the beach. One of the best things about walking on the beach is seeing what the ocean gives up and allows us land creatures to see.
Based on what I saw - I have three general observations to make.
1) Not surprisingly the species found on a coastal Georgia beach, bordering the open Atlantic where somewhat different than those on the northern Gulf Coast beaches I usually frequent. Some common items were familiar such as the remains of Horseshoe Crabs (Limulus), Penshells (Atrina), and the ubiquitous cockles (family Cardiidae). Olive shells (family Olividae) were also common, something I have only seen a couple of times on Panhandle beaches. Also knobbed Whelks (Busycon carica) which do not occur in the Gulf.
Hard to know how much of the difference is do to geography and how is due to chance, which I will discuss a bit more in the next section.
One of the most striking things on the beach were these rather dubious looking tubes.
Occurring in smaller numbers were these Sea Cucumbers, probably Sclerodactyla briareus. I wasn't sure what they were at first because my primary experience with sea cucumbers are ones that are much firmer - more the consistency of a sea star.
Finally this was a one of a kind beach find for me. A cow nose ray, a close relative of the eagle rays.
3) My third observation may be related to my second. Here is a scene on the beach.
The effect of minute variation on water movement can be seen in the formation of drainage systems, like miniature watersheds, in the debris itself.