Ocean Isle Beach
We arrived at Ocean Isle Beach yesterday, after a relatively smooth and uneventful drive. We even managed to get to Richmond in two hours, which on a “beach Saturday” is something to be pleased and amazed at. Because I’m no longer forcing myself to take a photo a day, I didn’t bother with any yesterday, although we did go out on the beach. It was actually nice to be able to enjoy the beach without having to worry about that.
Beach weather can be changeable and the two photos I have here illustrate that. This first one, looking east, was taken at 4:06 PM.
Storm Clouds, Ocean Isle Beach
The second photo, looking west, was taken twenty minutes later at 4:26 PM. Of course the clouds to the west were already starting to show up when I took the earlier photo but they were moving to the south at a pretty good pace. In the distance in this photo, just beyond the high rise at the end of the island, it’s already raining. As the clouds moved out and covered more of the island, most people moved back inside. Some, like me, stayed out to watch the clouds until the rain started coming down. At that point, there were lightning strikes within a mile, so it seemed like a good idea to be off the beach.
It rained very hard for a while. When it had passed, Cathy, Dorothy and I walked east to the pier and back, enjoying a quite spectacular sunset.
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
We did a few different things today. Late in the morning, Cathy, Dot, Tsai-Hong, and I took Silas and Eloise to the new playground near the island’s town center. They enjoyed climbing, sliding, and the playing in the fountain. A little later, Cathy and I went to the old ferry landing near the eastern end of the island and I photographed some wading birds. The tide was all the way in and most of them were far enough away that I wasn’t able to get many great photos, but we did see a bunch of different herons and egrets as well as a pair of wood storks. This shot of a snowy egret (Egretta thula) is really the only close-up shot I got, except one of a laughing gull on a post.
Atlantic Ghost Crab (Ocypode quadrata)
Cathy and I walked west on the beach this morning and I stopped to take a few pictures, including pictures of two different crabs. This one is an Atlantic ghost crab (Ocypode quadrata), which is generally nocturnal. They burrow down as much as four feet into the sand to stay out of the hot sun, but occasionally they come out and can be seen. The other crab we saw was some species of spider crab. I also got pictures of a jellyfish on the sand, a grackle with a piece of crab in it’s beak, and some brown pelicans flying overhead.
On thing we try to do every time we go to the beach is take a family photo. Some years there have been fewer, a few years there have been more. We’re actively missing Albert and Ralph, of course. And for years, Dorothy’s friend Karlee came with us. But we also have the three little ones and this is Eloise’s first time at the beach. After two summers without a beach trip, it was great to be able to be together this year. We’re also thankful for David driving across the country to stay here with his (and Cathy’s) mom while we were away. It didn’t end up being exactly what he had expected but he took it all in stride, as he usually does.
Starting at the back, left to right, we have Cathy, Dorothy, Tsai-Hong, Eloise, Seth, Steve, Silas, Iris, Kai, Maya, George, Dot, Danna, Carmela, and yours truely.