Saturday, July 25, 2009

Walking Back To Land

The tide was ebbing, but still up pretty good after our Bear swimming excursion last week. We could have loaded ourselves into the canoe and paddled back to shore, but it was so nice out there we chose to walk.

We did load Mr. Bear up since for him it would have been a swim back, not a walk back, and that puppy was one pooped pooch.

Along the way, we saw some more critters ...

See it?
If you don't, you better remember to shuffle your feet, ala the stingray shuffle, when you walk the shallows of the Gulf of Florida.

Here's a close-up view of a southern stingray cruising by me as I walked back to land. We had not seen any rays the whole time we were playing with Bear, but as the tide began to move out and WE calmed down from splashy Bear fun to quiet walking, they came zooming by us.
Southern stingrays are bottom feeders who slurp up inverts from the mud and crush them with some pretty neat plates in their gullet. They are not aggressive although they are essentially flat sharks, but then, most sharks are'nt aggressive either.
If you stood still, they would cruise pretty close until suddenly realizing that those skinny legs were not part of the normal scenery, then swiftly, gracefully, they were gone.

The horseshoe crabs crossed our path from time to time as we waded back. In the picture below a smaller male is clasping a female. They are not mating. He is hanging around so that when she does decide to lay those eggs, he will be there for the action.
She will lay those eggs pretty high up on the shore, probably on a spring tide. When she does, he's hoping to be the one to fertilize the eggs, which will hatch about a month later on another spring tide.
... if the shore birds don't get them first.


orangeblossomtrails said...

Yeah, I do the stingray shuffle all the time when I'm wading in the waters around Pine Island fishing for mullet. Man, some of the indents made in the sand make me shutter.

BTW--Where are you at? Sherred Island?

Miz S said...

Did you know that barbecued stingray is commonly served in Indonesia and Malaysia? I learned that on the internet, and the internet never lies.

Pablo said...

How far was the walk back?

Deb said...

Your aquatic wildlife there never ceases to amaze me. Good post.

Caroline said...

On a trip to Sea World, probably 25 years ago, you could feed the rays (I am not sure of variety) with the keepers at certain times of the day. The kids still remember the sensation of the rays gliding over their hands and vacuuming the food gently from between their fingers. They would have stayed there all day, except there were manatees to see in the rescue and rehab facility.

Floridacracker said...

We are at Hagen's Cove in Taylor county. That shuffle works wonders.

Miz S,
Neither do I.
Except in the line above.
Stingray is not bad, but then they are shark cousins and shark is very good.

We were about a half mile from the little boat slip at Hagens Cove.

It's constantly amazing to me and supposedly I am "used" to it!

That kind of close encounter does tend to stick with you.
I was stung by a stingray once and it certainly stuck with me.

edifice rex said...

Did Bear like riding in the canoe or did he not care for that? I would think the motion of it might upset him?