Brother from another planet

Every time I go to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod, I always take the same walk through the marsh, over the boardwalk, and out to the  bay.  There are half a dozen other trails there and I’m sure they’re quite lovely.  I just always head for the bay.

It’s best at low tide, when you can walk way out on the tide flats.  But I always get stuck just past the end of the marsh, just at the beginning of the tide flats, where thousands of small holes in the sand reveal the presence of fiddler crabs.

Communing with the crabs requires some patience.  They’re quite shy, and as a result it’s possible to walk through their territory without realizing all the activity that goes on there — they’ll just stay in their holes until the threat passes.  Not only do you have to wait them out, you have to be incredibly still in the process.  They can sense the slightest movement, even if you just shift your weight a bit.  Sometimes moving only enough to focus the lens sends them scurrying for cover.

But eventually they do emerge.  If they’re excavating, they’ll bring up a tiny ball of sand in their smaller front claw (usually the left, but a few of these crabs are southpaws).  With a longer lens this year, I was able to get a more detailed picture from farther away.  I’m sure the last time I saw a creature like this it was in one of those classic 1950s sci-fi extravaganzas.

fiddler crab

Advertisements

~ by Shelly F. Cohen on 12 October 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: