Vitamin blue

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I like where I live!

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In the 8 o’clock hour, this morning at the beach, I wasn’t the only one appreciating.

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Sanderlings are back in town!

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They nest in the tundra of the High Arctic and spend the rest of the year all over the place, mostly on sandy beaches, from Nova Scotia to South America. I see plenty around here in fall and winter.

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Hard-packed sand here today, good for walking and running, with lots of whole shells washed up too.

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(Taller buildings start at the border of the next county north, St. Lucie.)

Birds and fisherfolk are excited about the run of the baitfish. I confirmed at the Snook Nook bait and tackle shop yesterday that they ARE anchovies, also known around here as glass minnows.

Glass minnows and silversides are anchovies. Yes, the same anchovy that you eat on pizza or in Caesar dressing. The bay anchovy is Anchoa mitchilli for those of you that hope to catch me in my identification mistakes. They range from Maine through the Gulf of Mexico in great abundance. They are easily recognized by the fact that they are transparent with a broad silver stripe down the side and are seldom over three inches long.

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Sanderlings feeding.

According to Wikipedia (citing the Oxford English Dictionary), the name derives from Old English sand-yrðling, “sand-ploughman.”

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Pelicans passing by, with some typically awesome summer clouds.

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It is very good for you to stare out at blue ocean and sky, did you know?

The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace,” says Shuster. “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”

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Just don’t look directly at the sun. Oops.

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Birds and shells galore. And the typical beachfront condos of the Martin County part of the Treasure Coast. Our county has a building height restriction of four stories.

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Radar had a good workout.

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I call that ear position “Naughty Rabbit.”

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Just offshore, the Sunday morning tarpon seekers.

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Water temps today are 81 degrees F. The air was a couple of degrees warmer than the ocean this morning, but going up to 90 today (as usual).

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Surf-forecast.com

Stuart Public Beach sea temperatures peak in the range 29 to 30°C (84 to 86°F) on around the 10th of August and are at their lowest on about the 11th of February, in the range 21 to 24°C (70 to 75°F).

Actual sea surface water temperatures close to shore at Stuart Public Beach can vary by several degrees compared with these open water averages. This is especially true after heavy rain, close to river mouths or after long periods of strong offshore winds. Offshore winds cause colder deep water to replace surface water that has been warmed by the sun.

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Sanderlings feed by running down the beach after a receding wave to pick up stranded invertebrates or probe for prey hidden in the wet sand. Diet includes small crabs, amphipods and other small crustaceans, polychaete worms, mollusks, and horseshoe crab eggs.

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My husband said he noticed a big hatch-out of tiny, new mole crabs (aka sand crabs, sand fleas) the other day. I wonder if that food resource is one reason the Sanderlings are here now.

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In winter I don’t always see this many together. I’ll bet these Sanderlings are in the middle of a bigger trip south.

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The Sanderling is one of the world’s most widespread shorebirds. Though they nest only in the High Arctic, in fall and winter you can find them on nearly all temperate and tropical sandy beaches throughout the world. The Ruddy Turnstone and the Whimbrel are the only other shorebirds that rival its worldwide distribution.

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“You care about birds and blue horizon brain waves, but I only care about the ball. C’mon, throw it.”

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Lonely beach toy.

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A few Ruddy Turnstones with the Sanderling flock.

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The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. – Henry Beston

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