Sam’s Field Notes

  • Sam’s Field Notes: Sea Star

    Many stuffy marine biologists would scoff at the term “starfish” because these animals aren’t fish. But, by any name, they are awesomely cool.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: Kingfisher

    As the setting sun lowered a crimson veil over the horizon, I took a late afternoon stroll down to a favorite marsh overlook and was greeted by a loud, clear rattling call that sliced through the calmness of the approaching evening. A disturbed Kingfisher stared at me with obvious irritation, its magnificent crest feathers stood erect, resembling a Mohawk hair style spiked up with gel.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: Sea Hare

    Everybody probably remembers the fable by Aesop about the tortoise and the hare. Well, what about the sea turtle and the hare! Just kidding, but we do have a type of hare that lives in our coastal waters, just not the kind of four legged hare that you are probably thinking of.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: Bottlenose Dolphin

    During my life living and working along the coast and spending time on the water I have learned that no species of animal brings more joy, reverence and awe than the magical bottlenose dolphin. They command your full attention and seem to make time fly and stand still at the same time.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: Diamondback Terrapin

    As a kid growing up in coastal North Carolina I spent many a hot summers’ day out on the barrier islands hiking through the sandy dunes, body surfing the ocean waves and walking the moonlit beach looking for ghost crabs.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: Fox Squirrel

    During my career as a park ranger with North Carolina state parks I often received crazy reports of unusual and exotic animals in or near the park. There have been accounts of mountain lions, wolves and even a kangaroo prowling around.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: The Black Skimmer

    Gliding gracefully above the water searching for a meal, the black skimmer may be one of the most recognizable coastal birds in flight. With a strange oversized beak, stubby red legs and bulky body, the black skimmer appears out of balance and clumsy on land. In the air, however, the skimmer with long delicate pointed wings is elegance aloft as it skims just above the glassy waters of a tidal pool.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: The Shark Eye

    Beachcombers intently surveying a cluster of oceanic gifts that marks the reach of the last high tide sometimes find an eye staring back at them. This “eye” is the dark spot at the center of a shark eye sea shell.

  • Sam’s Field Notes: The Common Buckeye

    Autumn cool fronts have erased the hazy, sticky humidity that clouds the air, leaving the sky as blue as the eye of a northern gannet. This nip in the air signals the common buckeye butterfly to begin its southern migration along the East Coast. These buckeyes are the latest broods of those that had migrated north for the summer.