When the only church on the island has fallen into disuse, shrubs reach across the path with their thorny arms to draw blood, and unseen creatures wail from beyond the bushes, it is best you visit the island by day. I'm glad we did. Two ferries away from Boston, Peddocks Island has only recently been opened to the public.
On our way over, we spotted a flock of terns hovering over open ocean. Prof. Berman told us that striped bass had pushed up bait fish and the terns were attacking from above. I also saw a cormorant stationed on one of the buoys, and a number of seagulls and Canada geese on the island.
We crawled the beaches looking for life and its remains. The beach started off with pebbles, graduated to cobbles, and returned to pebbles again.
|Beach on Peddocks Island|
|Blue mussel shells|
|Soft-shelled clams (left) and hard-shelled clams (right)|
|Slipper shells (left) and razor clams (right)|
|Probably the deep-sea red crab|
|Atlantic Horseshoe Crab|
|Front and back of skate|
|At least three different kinds here|
|Black and white amphopods|
While rock weed remained an easy ID, the other plant life was more difficult to identify.
|Rock weed, blown in from off-shore|
|Reddish algae which looks a little like the broken tentacles of lion's mane jellyfish|
|Sour weed or tangle weed?|
|Fossilization in action|
|Two kinds of sea glass and stoneware, all found on the beach|
My favorite rock from the beach:
|Multi-colored beach rock|
|Baby crab (image blown up several times) in mud flat|
|Crab in mud flat|
|Plant life in the mud flat. May be dead, who knows?|
Our final assignment was to find and pick up a live Asian shore crab and a periwinkle, both invasive species. The periwinkle has especially changed New England beaches by leaching the sand attached to the algae on the rocks, changing the beaches from sandy to rocky.
|Back of Asian shore crab -- it's a girl!|
|Asian shore crabs hidden among the cobbles|