Thursday, July 01, 2004

Stalking Ghosts

Sometimes you just feel like you are being watched. But on a secluded stretch of Ocracoke's beach? With no one within sight in either direction, in the middle of the afternoon?

Sure enough, those eyes were following our every movement. Dark, little beady eyes on stalks that bent and pivoted. First she'd venture two legs and a claw out of the sand hole, stop and look around, then warily move a few inches from home. After deciding that we were no great threat, the critter shuffled sideways to a clump of seaweed that had washed up at high tide.

Having arrived at her destination, the ghost crab picked up strands of grass and began stuffing it into her mouth. Nibbling and watching all at the same time, she ate at a leisurely pace. She wasn't even disturbed when we sat up to watch.

Eventually she had her fill, returned to her hole and scurried down, out of sight. At night she'll be joined by hundreds of her kin, stalking the nighttime beach.

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