I don't travel off the island often, but on Sunday I carried Lou Ann to Newport News, VA to catch the train to Indiana. On the way to the Hatteras ferry (and, of course, on the way back) I was reminded of the cleverness of our seagulls.
Highway 12, in places, is littered with broken shells, mostly clam shells and a few scallop shells. The sections of road most littered are close to the sound. The gulls pluck the tasty bivalves from the shallow soundside waters, carry them high above the road, and drop them. They break easily.
The gulls then fly down to the highway and enjoy their meals. Traffic is light in the winter, so this strategy works well.
Before the highway was built, the gulls dropped their clams and scallops on the hard-packed ocean beach, but they soon learned to use the road. Be wary! If you are driving NC 12 and see broken shells, avoid them if you can. Many a local tire has been cut that way.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the "Joe Bell" flower. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012112.htm.