Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Star"ring Role in the Theater of the Sea

Northern Sea Star
  (Asterias vulgaris)   

A familiar site for me during my forays along the shores of Cape Breton Island,the Northern Sea Star, also called the Purple Sea Star, takes center stage.  I know, it isn't purple, but usually it is!  It's color depends largely on what it has been feasting upon, and it can range in shades from pink to red to orange. 

As carnivores,  their favorite food of choice includes mussels and oysters.  The majority of sea stars have the most remarkable ability to consume prey - from outside their bodies!  They use tiny, suction-cupped tube feet to pry open clams or oysters. Their stomach then emerges from their mouth and oozes inside the shell. 
They wrap this stomach around the prey to digest it, and finally withraw the stomach back into their own body.

There are approximately 1600 different species of Sea Stars world wide.  Once called "starfish", scientists have changed the name to Sea Star because they obviously are not fish!  They are actually echinoderms and are cousins to the sand dollars and and sea urchins!  Their spiny outer layer protects them from prey, and they are famous for being able to regenerate a missing limb.  Not all Sea Stars have 5 limbs.  Some have up to 20, even 40!

Purely marine animals, they use sea water instead of blood to pump nutrients throughout their bodies. And, they don't have a brain!   Amazing that they can do all the things they do without a brain. 
Those of us with brains should take a lesson!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Through the Mist

One very early, foggy morning, this was the view that greeted me upon waking.  This little boat was anchored in the small harbor in front of my house.

I love it when the fog rolls in.  The thicker, the better.  The driveway circles around the back of my house, and I have a tiered rock garden beyond the driveway that is the same length as the house is wide.
When my yard is blanketed in fog and I can't see beyond the perimeter of the property,
 it gives me the feeling of being in the bottom of a bowl.
Somehow, it makes me feel safe.

If you'd like to see more reflections, go HERE.

Monday, January 25, 2010

MacroMonday: Meadow Spider

One beautiful day last summer, I just plopped myself down in the middle of my meadow and started looking around me.   I noticed this one grass was shaped funny, and when I turned it over, this is what I found.

I identified it, once, but it's on my home pc.
Anyone tell me what it is?

My meadow, although a hill, is 2.5 acres of wet meadow and contains some of the most interesting things.
I enjoy picking blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries.  I even have my own patch of wintergreen!

Click HERE to see other wonderful macro shots!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sky Watch Friday

Know what you want to do,
hold the thought firmly,
and do every day what should be done, 
and every sunset will see you that much nearer to your goal.  
Elbert Hubbard

Winter in the Hollow - My World

It's clearly winter down in the hollow,
along side the sea.

View of the harbor in front of the house.
But don't let that fool you!

Summer and fall are exquisite....

Spring, not so much!
It arrives late and is often cold and wet.
But, that's Cape Breton!

Now, go visit more My World Participants!