Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shells on the Pavement

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.


  1. Anonymous8:45 AM

    A public service announcement!

    You anticipated my question.

    Thanks, Philip.

  2. Anonymous11:10 AM

    I wish I could send my neighbor with his leaf blower your way to clear the hiway. It's a never ending task you say -- Good! it will keep him busy.

  3. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Philip--Thought you might like to know--no matter how you try to go to Tuesday's post you will get Monday's. You then have to push-go to page 1 - at the top of Shadows on the Beach in order to read today's post.

  4. Anon 11:38 -- Thanks for the info...but I do not have that problem. I have even logged out...then logged back on. Everything works fine on my computer. Maybe one of our readers knows what's going on.

  5. Looks like a beautiful day on OI. Perfect for a walk on the beach.

  6. Debbie Leonard7:45 AM

    I didn't have a problem with it (getting the correct post) either.

  7. Anonymous8:01 AM

    Nor I.

  8. I recall that on one of the roads on the Outer Banks (maybe near the Bonner Bridge) they would paint the silhouette of gulls onto to road to dissuade the gulls from dropping the shells onto the roadway. This was years ago.

  9. Alas, painting silhouettes of gulls on the road never worked. The birds were too smart to fall for that ruse!

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