A Visit to the Sanctuary...YES...one for birds!

"Deer" Explorer Friends,

I've been spending so much time watching things that fly...last time it was the beautiful monarch butterflies.  Now, I am noticing the amazing flocks of birds on this "spit" of land across from Pelican Beach on Seabrook Island.   This "spit" or piece of land is called Deveaux Bank and is now designated a bird sanctuary by the Department of Natural Resources or DNR.  This is a part of our government that helps to protect our natural resources.   The sanctuary is pretty awesome.  It is a special place where the birds can go to lay their eggs and their nests are protected.  Humans are not allowed on certain parts of Deveaux Bank so the nests are not disturbed.  Would you believe that there were 3600 Brown Pelican nests on Deveaux Bank last year?  That is over 67 percent of all of the Brown Pelican nests in South Carolina.  So....Deveaux Bank is a pretty important place for these birds. 

If you remember my friend, Oscar the Osprey from my book, you know he is really smart and has helped me learn a lot about barrier island nature.  He taught me all about these birds called Brown Pelicans.  You wouldn't believe how they dive straight into the ocean...better than the best Olympic divers I would say!  They are one of only two birds that can dive into the water to catch their food.  Let me tell you how it happens...it is called a plunge dive and when their big beak hits the water it stuns the fish or makes the fish stop swimming so it can scoop the fish up.  Like we always say, every creature has its' own unique way of getting food to keep themselves nourished.  Here is one more we can add to our interesting list! 

So, next time you are visiting Seabrook, take a look across the ocean from Pelican Beach. It is so beautiful to see all of the birds, especially the Brown Pelican with all of the fancy diving! 

Until next time...

Your "Deer" Friend,

Mimi

 

 

 

 

Fall Flight...Another beautiful creature is discovered!

"Deer" Explorer Friends,

The weather has been changing and I just have to share my latest nature discovery.  I've been noticing these beautiful creatures flitting in the air all around going from flower to flower.  They are much smaller than the birds here on the island, but definitely bigger than a bumble bee, and much prettier. 

The monarch butterflies are here!  Their wings are outlined in black, but have so many shades of orange in them, and boy, do those wings flap fast!  They are migrating to Florida and Mexico for warmer weather.  Think about it, they are flying all the way to another country!  Their wings must be really strong and they must be really hungry from all of the flying.  I am so glad that they can stop for a break and enjoy the flowers here on our barrier island home of Seabrook.

Momma Doe explained to me that a butterfly is not always a butterfly.  It begins as a little egg which hatches a caterpillar.  Then, the caterpillar forms a chrysalis which is like a shell.  Finally, the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis.  Once the butterfly is "born" it starts the cycle all over again by laying more eggs. 

AMAZING...so many different creatures in our world that add to the beauty around us.  I hope you have had a chance to see a monarch butterfly outside in your yard, in the woods, or even on your playground at school.  Think of the journey they have made.  

I will continue to explore and discover...I hope you are too!

Your "Deer" Explorer Friend,

Mimi 

A Star is Discovered!

"Deer" Explorer Friends,

      Well, Momma Doe, Ray and I are back on the island spending more time by the water with the nice breeze coming off the ocean.  I wanted to "try my hooves" at wading in the waves.  I was enjoying the waves crashing over my legs when I felt something brush up against me.  I stepped back and it was this amazing little sea creature that looked like a star in the sky.  

     Momma Doe came over to see my discovery and gave me a little lesson in what most people call "starfish."  Well, the real name is a "sea star" I learned.   The sea star is actually not a fish because it does not have gills or a fin like a fish.  The sea star has tiny tube feet on the underside of its' body to move along in the ocean. 

     Believe it or not, the sea star can even grow back one of its' arms if it should be injured or eaten by another sea animal.  It takes about a year for the sea star to grow the arm back, but sure enough, it can do it.  Pretty amazing!!  That's not something that any other animal that I have met can do!!  And one more thing, the sea star has an eye on the end of each arm.  It can't see a lot of details, but it can tell the difference between light and dark. 

     So next time you see one of these amazing stars on the island, make sure you check it out!  If one arm looks shorter than another, it is probably growing the arm back from an injury.  WOW...another amazing sea creature discovered.  Until our next discovery...keep exploring!

Your "Deer Explorer Friend,

Mimi