On Saturday, November 18th, after stopping in Kennebunkport at the Rusty Fly Gallery to drop off some of my paintings we drove a short way over to Gooch's beach. On this day, it could certainly be called Pooch's beach because there were so many dogs! They were all running around and playing and I could of sworn many of them were smiling. We started our walk down at the south end where the jetty flanks the Kennebunk River and ended up at the North end on Middle beach and Oaks neck. Here we found lots of great tide pools and shells. Even though it was a cloudy day it was a pleasant walk along this pretty little beach. It was especially fun looking around the tide pools. Enjoy this short video of Gooch's beach and some of the neat seashells we found.
The next day we walked Wells Beach in between the rain drops. It was a beautiful morning enveloped in fog. Here we found a few more shells as seen below. You can see the nice striped dog whelks from Gooch's beach and a soft shell clam, some oysters, a surf clam, slipper shell, and a tortoiseshell limpet (sitting on the oyster shell)!
In early November we traveled up to Ogunquit, Wells, and Kennebunkport Maine.
We decided to walk from beautiful Laudholm Farm in Wells down to the beach and along the seashore to Drake’s Island beach. Drake’s Island is right across from Wells beach. It is a nice walk along the shore with lots of sanderlings skittering along the incoming waves looking for things to eat in the sand.
We found good specimens of horse tail kelp attached to large horse mussels and rocks, we also found Southern Kelp and Sea Colander Kelp. (At one point I call the kelp a plant but they are not plants they are marine algae.) There were tons of Surf clams and we were able to watch a sea gull flying up with a clam and then dropping it to break it open! That was a treat and I hope to catch a video of it in the future.
We also found Northern Moon Snails, Slipper shells, Periwinkles, Dog whelks (Dogwinkles), Rock Crabs, Crab claws and Lobster Claws. We found several broken Sand Dollars but none that were whole. You can see in the video there was a lobster trap also washed up on shore. It was a beautiful day and if you watch to the end of the video you will get a good view of the entire beach at Drake’s Island.
This view is actually from Wells Beach looking over to Drake's Island. You can just make out Drake's Island jetty on the right.
I also took this photo while walking through the rose hips and dunes of Wells beach.
This past week we were on our family vacation at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. Near the end of the week, my sister spotted this little piping plover. I was so thrilled - for I thought they might have flown away for the summer. I ran back to the cottage and grabbed my camera. I then found it trying to feed along the shoreline at high tide while dodging kids playing ball and numerous people walking by. So many people were totally unaware that it was there.
Most distressing was the fact that several kids chased it during the hour or so that I photographed it. I stopped one little child and then a group of kids that had nets on long poles and were trying to chase it down. When I stopped them they laughed and said they were not going to hurt it. I tried to let them know that it was trying to feed. I wish I explained the situation better for I'm not sure I got through to them. Later I found out it is a $10,000 fine for chasing them! I wish I explained fully the implication of harassing these endangered/threatened birds. I can only hope that they do not chase it again.
There are signs on the beach that warn beach goers to tread carefully but I do not think anyone reads them. I've made up a simple sign that I will post as a coloring page soon and perhaps share with New Hampshire Fish & Game if they are interested.
I took a very short video of the young plover....and many, many, photos as reference for the children's book I've written and continue to illustrate. It amazes me that these delicate little birds can navigate and survive such a busy beach!
Dodging so many feet!
After a long day of radiator hoses breaking and an overheated car we made it to Long Beach in Plymouth, Massachusetts around 5 pm. It was high tide so we weren’t able to walk too far but we did manage to find a few treasures!
Note that I misspoke and called the little New England Basket Whelks - clams - ugh - for some reason I keep tripping up on those. So just to clarify, they are snails - univalves - not clams!
We had hoped to walk much farther out on Long beach for it really is spectacular when you get past the rocks. It is also a vital area for shorebirds like Piping Plovers and Terns to nest. I had hoped to do a bit more photography but perhaps next time. At the end of the video you can see long beach, bug light, and across Plymouth bay to Duxbury.
On Monday, March 13th the weather was a little warmer...not so windy and a good day for a walk on Hampton Beach. There were tons of seashells from one end of the beach to the other. You can see from the image above, I found some nice driftwood, a huge Dog Whelk (Dogwinkle on the left), and a piece of a Ten Ridged Whelk (a rare find in center of pic), several Tortoiseshell Limpets in front center, and a New England Basket Whelk (next to the little brick piece). I took several photos of clams and other shells which I will include here. It was a great day to go beach combing as you will see! Check out my short video for more images and information. Enjoy!
Black Clam shell.
Atlantic Jackknife clam and Mussel shell.
Underside of a Sand dollar! Top side was broken when I flipped it over.
Northern Moon Snail - top part of shell.
Beautiful coloring on this Surf Clam.
The Lady of the Sea: NH Marine Memorial, by Alice E. Cosgrove [1909-1971].
It was a bitter cold, windy day on Wells beach in Maine this past Sunday, March 12th. The beach was quiet, with only a few brave souls out walking. I was glad I wore a lot of layers and a good scarf for my face. The wind was really biting. The water was rather calm except for the edges of the waves getting caught in the wind and whipped back in sprays. As always Wells beach was beautiful and made for a great walk. Besides shells, I found lots of birds to photograph, including my first ever Black Guillemot in winter plumage swimming and fishing next to Billy's Chowder House on Mile Road! (see last photo) While we were eating our lunch there earlier we watched a Loon fishing - and he/she was quite successful!
False Angel Wing (broken)
Knotted wrack in a pool with stones.
Herring Gull searching for food.
The bridge on Mile Rd. next to Billy's Chowder House.
A Black Guillemot in winter plumage.
Back in January, on a warmish day, we went to Sandwich to enjoy a scone at The Dunbar House and have a nice walk on the nearby beach. As always, lunch at the Dunbar was wonderful. I just love it there; it is such a treat! Then we made our way over to Boardwalk beach and enjoyed an excellent beach combing afternoon.
We walked both Footbridge beach (Boardwalk beach) and the adjoining Town Beach. As you can see in the image above we found lots of great treasures! An old fishing lure, False Angel Wings, Blood Arks, an Oyster Drill, Jingle shells, Scallop shells, a small Surf Clam, a Gould's Pandora, a Northern Moon Snail Operculum, Fish bones, a Mermaid's purse (egg casing for a skate), a piece of Sea Scallop, a piece of coral, Slipper shells, driftwood, stones, and a piece of jaw bone from what - I do not know.
There were also tons of large Northern Moon Snails, Blue and Horse Mussels, and various Crab carapaces and claws. We shot a short video of some of the shells and a nice pan of the beach. Not long after we shot this video, winter storms tore this fence out and eroded the dunes. Here is the video:
And below is a photo of a Lady Crab, which has such an interesting carapace (shell). I just love that leopard like pattern.
On our way back from Provincetown (back in Dec.) we stopped at the Head of the Meadow bike trail and beach in Truro, Ma. https://www.nps.gov The bike trail was pleasant but perhaps a little long for walking....the round trip : ) Probably much easier on a bike! After we enjoyed the bike trail we made our way over the parking lot to the beach. This beach is one of the Cape's most spectacular beaches. It was a windy, cold, day so we did not venture too far but found some nice treasures and some not so nice trash. The reason I include this balloon in the photo is because they are a real blight on our beaches and many people do not know how far they can blow, where they can end up, and what harm they can cause to wildlife. So Please hold on to those balloons - do not let them go!
For more information check out: https://balloonsblow.org
We did find some nice bay scallops, jingle shells, little surf clams, seagull feathers, acorns, beautiful stones and a good segment of fish vertebra! We also saw more seals swimming right off shore. Hopefully the fishing was good! The scenery certainly was.
Only steps from the Provincetown Inn is this sweet little beach on Provincetown Harbor. It may have been small but it was full of lots of interesting treasures! As you can see from my photo above we found feathers (Eider duck's perhaps?), Bay scallops, Oysters, Blue Mussels, Slipper shells, Jingles shells, Quahogs, Crab claws, driftwood, Fish bone vertebra, Blood Ark shell, small Surf Clam and a seed pod. But one of the best finds was a string of egg casings from a Channeled Whelk! Here is a photo of me holding it in my hands.
It can be hard to tell the difference between the Channeled Egg Casings and the Knobbed Whelk egg casings so this time I took a section home to get a closer look. Inside I found the tiny Channeled Whelk babies...I put them in the Blood Ark so you can see them in the photo below. Here is a link that helps explain the differences: matthewwills.com/2011/05/17/whelk-egg-cases/
Here is a photo of a Channeled Whelk (left) and a Knobbed Whelk that I found when I was a kid on the Rhode Island coast at Sand hill Cove. That Channeled Whelk is one of my greatest treasures! I have not found one that size since!
Back in early December of 2016 we hiked the Provincetown breakwater out to Long Point. The breakwater/dike is over a mile long with wonderful views of Provincetown, the harbor, Wood End lighthouse and Long Point lighthouse. We also saw a raft of Eider ducks on the bay and seagulls on the rocks. Several of the rocks were covered with broken shells, so I imagine that the gulls drop the clams on the rocks and feast on them there. Most of the shells were quahog shells, but there were also soft shell clams, blue mussels, and oyster shells. In the photo below you can see some of those shells littered around my feet.
On our way out on the breakwater we saw this male Eider by itself. It may be injured; I could see a feather sticking out a bit at the back. I do hope it is okay.
Near the end of the breakwater as we reached the dunes of Long Point I saw these tiny sparrow like birds. I did not know what they were....but with the help of Joppa Flats Audubon in Newburyport - now I know! They are Snow Buntings!
When we finally reached the beach over the dunes, we saw Harbor seals swimming right off shore. My husband took a short video of them. If you watch for a few seconds then he zooms in so you can see them better. They were so cool to watch!
We explored the beach a bit but did not stay too long because we needed to get back over the breakwater before the tide was too high. Several sections of the breakwater are covered at high tide. So if you do go - note the high tide time.
I did end up picking up a few shells as you can see in the photo below. These are bits of bay scallops, a shark's eye moon snail, oysters, a ribbed mussel, and a blue mussel. I also picked up a piece of a quahog (the blue/purple piece) from the breakwater itself.
Finally, I leave you with a few shots of the lighthouses and salt marsh.
It's a remarkable place and worth the long hike over the breakwater.
Joanne is a New England based watercolor artist, writer, and the author/illustrator of children's books. She adores the seashore and loves to share that love by filming her beach combing adventures.