Monday, July 30, 2012

Cape San Blas {Nature Post}

We spent the last week at the beach on the Forgotten Coast.  Cape San Blas is where our home away from home was located.  It's a peninsula located about an hour south of Panama City Beach.  I grew up going to this beach every summer with my family and loved it.  In some of the taller houses you can literally look and see the ocean and then turn around and see the bay.  In past years you had the opportunity to see all kinds of wild life both on the beach and in the bay where we would snorkel for hours.  This year we were disappointed in not finding as much wild life as in previous years.  We talked about all the reasons this is happening.  Is it because of the oil spill a couple of years ago, is it because of the dredging they did to build up the beaches, the number of people building new homes and the animals losing their homes to it, or was it just a bad year?  We really don't know.  There is a wonderful state park at the end of the peninsula that should help to keep the wildlife there even if it is just in that small area.  But despite the lessening of wildlife the kids were extremely happy with all that they did find in their exploring.

The sea oats on the dunes are always beautiful to watch as they sway in the wind.  We would sit on the deck in the mornings and then again in the evenings and watch the sea oats sway in the wind and the waves breaking against the shoreline.  It was so peaceful to listen and watch.  And it was made more idyllic as the peace would be broken by laughter from the kids.  
I love watching the sea birds.

Turtles come to the beach every year to lay their eggs.  A group who are friends to the turtles are out every night so that they can help protect the eggs from predators and humans alike.  They would mark the nest and then when it was time for the turtles to hatch, they would remove the wire and watch as the babies moved to the ocean.   I have never been able to see them hatch but would love to one day.  

Karoline found some type of clam in the bay.
Kaleb found a Conch.  
Masaki found a really big Starfish.  He was so proud.
Up close...Masaki's Starfish.
Karoline found a baby Starfish.
Gabe found a Sand Dollar.

And so did Abby,

Elizabeth showing off a starfish that Abby found.

Disclaimer:  We returned all the animals back to their watery home in the bay.  
Sea birds waiting for someone to feed them some fish at the boat dock in the State Park.  

I'm not really sure what this is but I called it a rat.  The girls said that rats in Florida are really cute.

We saw several snakes in the park.  This one was in the neighborhood where we were staying, near a look out station.  We saw a rattle snake come onto the beach from the water of the bay, as well as a baby rattler on the road.  

Aunt Kim and the kids feeding fish scraps to the sea gulls.  

Pelican going after some fish scraps that the kids threw over to him.  

Aunt Kim took the girls over to the bay where she was able to put in her kayak.  The girls found many interesting treasures.  
Hermit Crabs and lots of them.  

Baby crab.
Baby Starfish in a Scallop shell.  

Crane in the grass.
There was a whole lot of fishing going on as well.  Everyone caught at least something.  

Matt caught several of these.  He started calling it a Copperhead fish since he couldn't find it in any of the fish books we had.  He now thinks it might be a lizard fish.

Googie with a Salt water Catfish.
Me fishing with a casting net.  I actually got pretty good with it.  On this particular occasion I was able to catch a total of 13 fish.  Below is an up close of the fish I caught.  We think they might be called Shard.

Puffer fish

Matt's Flounder surrounded by Perch

Uncle Dave with a Spanish Mackerel.

This is a Sea Robin that Kaleb caught.

Matt caught this one.

Beautiful Sunset

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