Before we go to that other, shellier beach that I hinted at yesterday, let me share this.
While I was photographing the terns in yesterday's post, a woman came walking down the beach and stopped at a respectful distance. I could see her on the periphery as I shot the terns and I thought she was just bird watching.
She waited around until I finished my tern photos. As I walked near her on the way back to the JEEP, she spoke,
"There's a ghost crab right over there and he's standing his ground. You can probably get a good shot."
I thanked her. She smiled and walked on.
I turned to the crab, already knowing what was about to happen.
Ghost crabs are THE fastest crab on the beach. They usually only pause for a moment and then scoot off, fairly flying over the sand.
Then, they disappear down their burrows up past the high tide line.
This is standard procedure.
Which means, I have very few, and very poor quality ghost crab pics in my collection.
So I fully expected this ghost crab to take off like the Roadrunner on my big brother's favorite cartoon.
When I got this close, I was totally stoked and thought this was as good as it was going to get.
As is my way, I inched closer and closer, not really believing my good fortune, since this crab was not running away.
This crab really WAS standing it's ground, alternately taking a few steps and then stopping and raising it's claws in a defensive posture.
That behavior is totally unlike any ghost crab I have ever encountered.
I got down on my knees, switched the camera to macro, and literally got in the ghost crab's face.
I had my camera just about 6 inches in front of her perky face ...
... and then it hit me.
(not the crab ... understanding)
He was a she and SHE was really, really pregnant. I think she was feeling the biological imperative to get to the water and spawn.
That is what was keeping her from dashing off as usual.
I shot one bazillion and one closeups and then, sympathetic to her condition, I backed off and let her continue on her way.
Once upon a time, in my National Park Service turtle Ranger days, I viewed these crabs as the enemy.
The sea turtle hatchery I operated was completely fenced to keep these rascals from moving in and chowing down on my seaturtle eggs. A single ghost crab could cause big trouble deep in a seaturtle nest, and you would not know it until that nest failed to launch.
This little girl, with her precious cargo, softens my view.
She's just a little crabby.