Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pic of the Day

 Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres runs along the beach swash zone
Fort DeSoto State Park; Saint Petersburg, Florida
     While I was photographing the American Oystercatcher in the previous post, Ruddy Turnstones flew onto the beach and began probing the sand along the Swash Beach Zone.   Within seconds the turnstones were pulling Sand Crabs, Emerita (genus) from the sand.  Sand Crabs, also known as mole crabs, or sand fleas have barrel-shaped bodies with tough exoskeletons and short appendages that are held close to the body that allows it roll in tidal currents and waves.

     While the Willets and Black-bellied Plovers were swallowing the Sand Crabs whole, the Ruddy Turnstones pulled the sand crabs from the sand and pecked into them from their softer underside to get to the fleshy internal parts.  
     The following sequence shows a bit of the turnstones feeding process.  The sequence shows two different birds

 Ruddy Turnstone pulls a Sand Crab from the swash zone.

Ruddy Turnstone devouring Sand Crab

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