Why the beach is an excellent place for animal lovers
- Jun 1, 2016
The beach is generally reserved for fun in the sun, but for outdoor enthusiasts there is plenty to see and do along the water's edge to get closer to nature. Whether you head out for an afternoon trip to a popular strip of sand or are planning a longer beach camping trip, there is a wide array of animals to check out if you know where to look.
By using your ProTrek PRW3500Y-4 watch, you can keep a close eye on the tides and know when your favorite animals may make an appearance.
There are many feathered creatures that either make a living hunting along the sand, or otherwise stop off at the shore during larger migrations. Regardless, the Audubon Society reported that there is an impressive number of birds that can be found at beaches, estuaries and other coastal environments.
Skimmers, terns and sandpipers are all mainstays at the water's edge, and feast on the many fish, crustaceans and other creatures that can be found in the shallows. Often these birds nest in the grasses or vegetation close to shore, and for that reason, many popular beaches have areas blocked off to keep human visitors from disturbing any chicks.
Other species such as pelicans, sea eagles or herons are larger predators that are fascinating to observe. These impressive birds are adept at snatching prey right out of the water in one mighty strike or swoop.
As the ocean recedes and low tide sets in, the water that is left behind often collects in pockets that line the shore, trapping a dizzying array of creatures. As National Geographic pointed out, there are thousands of curious little plants and animals that can be found in tidal pools during your trip to the beach.
Fish may school in the dozens depending on the amount of water left behind, while other animals such as sea stars, urchins and crabs will find shelter beneath rocks. Anemones, polyps and other animals may also find a home in tidal pools.
Next time you head to the beach, bring along a net and bucket. By being methodical, it is possible to scoop up a few creatures to get a better look without disturbing or harming any wildlife. It pays to do a little research beforehand, however, as some areas may be home to venomous or dangerous creatures that may not take too kindly to prodding hands.
The open water
Many areas around the country have excellent areas for snorkeling and boating, giving visitors an opportunity to see animals up close. In places like Florida, there may be magnificent coral reefs to explore, while the kelp forests of the Pacific or coastal waters of New England are teeming with all sorts of creatures.
While sharks and other animals may feel like a risky proposition, the most pertinent hazards are actually rip tides and other natural conditions. Be sure to check with a lifeguard before heading out.