Sitting on the shore in Cocoa Beach Florida, my senses take in the sights and sounds of the Atlantic Coast. Today strong northeast winds cause an angry sea. Waves crash on the sandy beach drowning out the sounds of children playing on the beach. The wave outflow forms a swash of water that carries flotsam as far as it can reach up onto the beach. The swash deposits a line of debris that marks of high tide mark then it retreats back into the sea.
This line of flotsam is called a wrack line and it becomes the buffet table for shore birds that live here. Small sandpipers, called sanderlings, scour the sargassum for beach hoppers (small crustaceans), insects and other tiny marine life hidden in the algae. Ruddy turnstones flick the sea grass to find marine invertebrates, a staple of this bird’s diet. Even crows forage the wrack line for nutritious meals.
I breathe in the salty air, grab my fishing rod, wade into the ocean up to my waist and cast out into the rough surf to see what bounties I can catch. The birds make it look so easy to obtain marine cuisine. I am not so lucky. I retreat to my beach chair, glad that I don’t have to work so hard to get my food.