Fiddle Dee and Fiddle Dum

getting ready to make hundreds more of them!The little fiddler crab in my hands is still a little cold stunned early in the morning. He was pretty sluggish but it didn’t take long for him to get warmed up….
and get a little feisty, too! Only the male fiddler crabs have the trademark fiddle claw and it is used more for flirting than hurting. It is not unusual to come across a colony of burrows filled with anxious male crabs waving their claws in the air hoping to claim some attention….
Here you can see a female approaching the burrow of a waiting male. Although the males can be patient and entice a female to come into their burrow they can also be a bit….grabby….if you catch my drift.
Another male marching sideways across the sand….and then down below you’ll see that they will sometimes get a bit argumentative as well. The outside male in this case marched right over to the burrow and grabbed the other crab’s claw. The second crab withdrew quickly into its burrow.
Have you ever seen these little guys? They are all over the Cape. These were photographed in Centerville and in Wellfleet this past week. Where is your favorite spot to find them?

Nauset Marsh Art and Nature Boat Trip

I did this trip through Wellfleet Audubon and several more are scheduled throughout the summer. It was the first time we combined the art with the nature part of this trip on the Queen of Orleans and everyone loved it. Of course it didn’t hurt that it was a perfect summer day.

These young people are keeping watch over the flooding marsh.We always pull up an eel pot but usually we just find lots of crabs. This time we also got a really big eel! Don’t worry, everyone was released safely and alive.This is Captain Dave Bessom of the Queen of Orleans. An old Cape Codder by birth and inclination he’ll tell you all sorts of wonderful stories. He’ll pull your leg a bit, too.These young men are busy putting finishing touches on their crab pictures.

We got out and walked on the end of Coast Guard Beach and looked for more things to draw. Everyone was asked to find something that crawls, something that flies, something that attaches, something that buries and something else of their choice.
It was an awesome day and the families all seemed to have a really great day.

Kids and Nature

Kids and nature are a natural mix and just a simple walk can be full of all sorts of wonders.

You might spy a painted turtle on a rock.
You could stop at a bird blind along the way to see what you could see.

You might see a red-winged blackbird singing and showing off his red epaulets.

You could find a caterpillar like this wooly bear crossing the path. Notice how it curls up to protect itself.
Or a box turtle. This lady was the first to be found on the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary this season. She was brought in to the center to be weighed and measured and checked to see if she was a sanctuary regular. The sanctuary has been keeping records of the box turtle population there for many years and kids love to be part of gathering the data.

Or some Fowler’s toads. These gentlemen had taken a wrong turn and were found in a damp stairwell when we went outside to play some games after lunch. Their black chins and release noise told us they were males. Toads often can’t seem to tell the difference between males and females if they are excited about mating and the males have a special noise they make to let other males know they are not females. The kids were very excited to touch and hold these little toads before we released them far from the stairwell.

What did you see today?