|Laughing Gull Winter Plumage|
Several Great Blue Herons waded in the clear shallow water below the Ft. Walton Pier. One caught several fish, but moved too quickly for me to catch at it with the camera. Raptors have 14 neck bones, and I wondered how many neck vertebra herons have to stretch and coil their necks. Hidden by skin and neck feathers, the extra bones double back on themselves, giving the resting neck its characteristic “S” shape. They are also the force behind the lethal bill. As expected, the neck bones begin at the back of the great blue’s skull. A short way down the neck, a remarkable thing happens. The neck vertebrae switch places with the trachea and esophagus. The neck bones are now in the front and the vulnerable food and wind pipes are behind them. As the neck gets closer to the body, its internal arrangement returns to a normal configuration with the bones in the back. Couldn't find anything confirming how many bones they have though.
For $2.00 you can walk out on the pier. Only the Yankees, I told Dick, would sit in swim suits on a windy chilly day such as this morning. The local fisher people on the pier were dressed in warm jackets and hats. The local birds know to hang around and someone will throw a fish on the deck eventually. Of course, the pigeons don't care much for fish.
From the pier we saw shapes in the water, and tried to determine what they were. Fish? Jelly fish? Trash? One round dark spot appeared to be swimming, and eventually stuck its head into the air - a turtle! Several other long dark spots swimming along surfaced and we got our first view of dolphins, without paying someone to go out in a boat to look for them!
|Pyramid of Giza on the beach|
I'm sure some wave theory in physics explains the water wave and the waves in the sand as well. A website from Scientific American says, "The most accepted explanation is that the flow of the overlying fluid (water or air) interacts with the moving sediment grains in a manner that results in a stable shape, or bedform. The specific shape therefore depends on the density and viscosity of the fluid, its speed above the sand and the nature of the sediment (that is, its characteristic size, shape and density)." I'm just as happy to appreciate them without having to explain how they are formed. Of course, they didn't mention footprints of people walking back to the boardwalk.!