Snails, Seeds, and Surprises

We first explored the salt marshes nearly a month ago. Since then it has become a favourite place to revisit, especially to share the great skill of lifting a large piece of skin from the surface of the mud with friends. Mr 8 was delighted to show the space to friends Miss nearly 8 and Miss 6.

Today our walk was timed just before high tide, and while dry DSC01271enough to walk on the surface, the saltmarsh was looking quite dark, I was much more cautious about walking that way even to document the finds.
As with every revisit the focus shifted. It was much harder to lDSC01267 (2)ift the tile than expected, Mr 8 had to try several times. By the time he succeeded, the girls were distracted by discoveries that lay underneath that top layer of mud. Snails! Lots of tiny little snails! So small and minute some of them. There were more clustered under rocks. Mr 2 commented on the glistening salt on the surface of the tile. DSC01273 (2)And Mr 8 took his prize to someone who appreciated it. Together they discovered not just the still snails but a live creature! It had been huddled beside a snail shell then started crawling towards Mr 8. “Something small that squirmed, brownish with a segmented body and little stub shaped legs. Each segment had little crystal like pinkish purple dots.” Mr 8 also tells me “There were tiny antennae DSC01270like things maybe twice the size of its legs but still so tiny so that I almost couldn’t see them.”

Moving onwards, Mr 8 shared his pebble music, only one spider overhead. Miss nearly 8 discovered how hard it is to hold a small camera still when using lots of zoom.IMG_6802 She enjoyed photographing the spiders that weren’t so far away later. At the lookout, we waited and waited but didn’t find any signs of crabs. “The water is too high.” IMG_6799Miss 6 noticed the log was a crocodile, snapping at bubbles, and accidently creating more.  For a few moments all children became involved in comparing and naming the bubble shapes … a butterfly, a seahorse, a bubbly crocodile, a dragon and so many more.

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A mangrove seed broken into segments. “You can see the shoot the mangrove will grow from it.”

Around a corner or two and Mr 2 showed his friends the eggs! He’s conceded they are mangrove seeds, but I’m sure that’s more because of the power relationship (adult-child) than because he believes it.
Miss nearly 8 was also keen to share her knowledge of these seeds. The outside can be peeled off, if you carefully scrape, there’s a white layer before you uncover the green. The green is segmented. You can break these apart. Sometimes you can find a shoot inside… sometimes it’s really sticky – a grub!! IMG_6808They’re the same green as the bigger ones nestled in the sea grass and mud. When the seeds are thrown into the water, they float.

Mangrove seeds were deserted when a kookaburra began to laugh, we followed the sound eagerly hoping to catch a glimpse of this bird in the canopy.

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“I can start a fire!”

Walking through the drier trees, bumps were noticed on leaves. We wondered about what could cause these marks, and compared them to other similar leaves. When we finally caught up with Mr 6, we found him trying to start a fire using a stick. He got distracted by the rain of bark pieces that resulted.

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