Tag Archive | Cocoa Beach

How Sheepshead Got Its Name

How Sheepshead Got Its Name

When I grew up on New York’s Long Island, I knew of a town called Sheepshead Bay. I incorrectly thought it was because the community raised sheep in colonial times, but the town was named for the abundance of an edible fish in the bay there called Sheepshead. The fish got its name because of […]

Snowy Egret Goes Surf Fishing

I have observed egrets for decades. I have seen them hunting in saltwater marshes, freshwater wetlands as well as in the shallows of ponds and streams. To my surprise I saw a snowy egret wading in the ocean waves lapping the shore where it ate small fish caught in the surf at Cocoa Beach in […]

Boat-tailed Grackles Evoke Nostalgia

One of my fondest memories is being greeted by the calls of boat-tailed grackles at the Florida welcome center after driving nearly a thousand miles from New York. The calls along with the warm Florida sunshine signified an escape from the cold wintry weather of the north and the start of our family vacation. Boat-tailed […]

Curly Tailed Lizards Invade Cocoa Beach, Florida

Walking along a wooden walkway that leads to an Atlantic Ocean beach, 8-inch stocky lizards scurry and dart through the slats of the wooden railing. I stop and look over the railing to get a better view of the lizard. This creature was standing with its feet in the sand under a grove of sea […]

The Grapes of Cocoa Beach

During a recent trip to Cocoa Beach, Anne and I walked from our small suite to the Atlantic Ocean beach front. Our short hike took us through a dune community dominated by a dense growth of sea grapes, a tree flattened by sea breezes and thriving in the dry sandy soils. Large rounded green leaves, […]

The Flower That Lights up the Beach

Salty air, dry sandy soil, and full sunshine are the ideal conditions for the beach sunflower to flourish. It is a common wildflower of Florida’s Atlantic beach environments where it grows on the coastal dunes.  This plant survives the droughty soil by storing water in its tap-root. Lateral roots help to hold it in place […]

The Skimming Black Skimmer

Black skimmers are  common on many Florida beaches. When this bird forages, it flies near the ocean’s surface with its longer knife-like lower mandible slicing the water to snatch small fish to eat. When its lower bill comes into contact with a fish, the upper bill snaps down seizing it. Sounds like a good science […]