20 – Adaptations

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Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. Walking is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Pelicans are in the sky and on the water searching for food – but they are oblivious to my presence. Ahead of me are sanderlings using their fast-moving feet in what appears to be a frantic search for food – but they are very aware of my presence. I can see a Great Blue Heron ahead staring across the water – and no doubt oblivious to me. At least for now, these are a few of the things happening as I walk.

Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com

Some of the pelicans fly amazingly close to the surface while others soar above, then suddenly turn their glide into a dive. I wonder about the pelican’s design. Its adaptations allow it to do so. Its adaptive features for its necessity – including diving without breaking its neck. I wonder about the success rate of their diving expeditions for food.

I have also seen pelicans using their large wings to effortlessly glide in the wind as a natural glider – moving into the wind and with the wind without flapping their wings. That is impressive – and something not all birds do.

I glance ahead to the sanderlings with their beaks in the sand and moving quickly where the water just passed. I know they are searching for food such as small crustaceans, crabs, crab eggs, aquatic insects, and worms. I wonder if they have a way of separating water, sand, and food. That I do not know, but they are like the pelican because they are adapted for what they do. The next wave comes in, but they quickly move as if saying, “You are not going to get me”, then the search for their necessity resumes as soon as the water retreats.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com

With its large wings, a Great Blue Heron flies past me. Its long neck is coiled to streamline its flight. The heron lands far ahead of me. I see the heron is patiently peering at the sea – presumably waiting for its next meal. Its beak is sharp and pointed. The neck muscles are strong and finely tuned for a quick, harpoon-like harpoon. A few minutes later, as I walk by, I notice the large wings now appear more as a cloak.

Some seagulls are flying over the water while others are lounging on the sand. Seagulls are primarily scavengers, but they can be predacious. Their peaks are designed to pry open shells, break eggs, get through exoskeletons of crabs and shrimp, and shred flesh from a dead fish carcass.

Sandpipers stroll the beach along the waterline. Their long legs put their body above the water through which they move – and feet with very little webbing. A long bill for going into the sand for small insects, worms, snails, and edible slime.

Photo by Alexsandro Rosa de Mello on Pexels.com

I do not often see living crabs wash ashore, but I did today. The crab did not seem very willing to get out of the water. They do not have a beak or bill – but they have a mouth. Those claws are for capturing and holding the prey to meet their nutritional needs – yet crabs can raise their claws to protect or alert.

Pelicans, sanderlings, Great Blue Herons, seagulls, sandpipers, and crabs in their daily routine. Each doing something that the other cannot. Each doing what they need to do, but in their way. Each searching for food – food to survive.

Each of these living things have physical and behavioral features for living in their environment. Yes – adaptations are required for survival in their field experience of life – and survival so they can reproduce to pass those successful traits on to the next generation – therefore, their tradition continues.

I think of all the shelled animals and different fish in the water that I cannot see. Each of them have adaptations specialized from their existence. The living world displays countless adaptations. Adaptations are more than Hollywood changing a book into a movie. In the living world, adaptations are natural history’s book and movie – the tale of living organisms: their structures, their behaviors, their food, their habitats, and more. Simply put, their life.

All this as I walk in nature. Organisms fitting to their environment – an evolutionary fitness designed for their unique functionality biologists call adaptations – structures and behaviors that have an upside and a downside.

These are just more reasons why I like walking on the beach. Plus, it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have posted about adaptations

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81 thoughts on “20 – Adaptations”

  1. This was a wonderful beach walk for me to read. Much of the creatures by the sea and their living came alive to me along with their habits and habitats, learned some things new. It is amazing that you have observed so many details and shared with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PD,
      Glad you enjoyed this walk. The topic is different from the others, but the living world that we see is very much part of it. It was the diving pelicans that sparked this walk. Nature simply offers so much to see and ponder for those who take the time to look and wonder. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I so enjoyed this Frank. I can relate to your beautiful images. It’s quite cold here isn’t it? Last year we barely had a Winter. Thank you for sharing the beauty and relaxing sounds of the ocean. Such a true joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an enjoyable walk today, Frank, particularly your observation of various sea birds. Isn’t Mother Nature incredibly clever in adapting all creatures to a physical configuration which primarily leads to the survival of ther species? And oh how wonderful it would be to soar across the ocean, effortlessly, on a current of wind as we see some birds doing.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on adaptations. It’s one of my favourite posts, although I believe I’ve said that before after reading your thoughts on other topics. So many varied and wonderful seaside observations you are making! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne,
      No matter where we stand, the environment has much to offer to those who take the time to look and wonder. It’s more than fascinating! All living things must grow to survive to reproduce so their species can continue – and adaptations have a major role in this. In terms of topics, I’m more than half-way through the topics that are more beach related – but then on to wide-ranging topics as art, senses, colors, music, and many more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I knew you would have a continuation of topics in mind after your beach walks draw to an end. I’m sure when you can travel south to the beach again – and it will happen – you will find plenty more topics to write about, even after you think you have exhausted the conversation. Like you said, you need to take the time to look and wonder, which is what you are doing, and inviting us along on your journey.
        P.S. You will enjoy Kathy’s latest post. She talks about the miracles surrounding us. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A nice “walk” this morning……I have always been fascinated by pelicans – those “stretchy shopping bags” they have on their elongated beaks for catching fish in particular! Mesmerizing to watch a bunch of pelicans by a fishing boat waiting for a snack. It’s not just fishermen who need the bounty of the sea – the creatures who live in and around the ocean depend on it as well…………great post!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Cheers to your joy for watching the pelicans. I chuckle at the thought of how they’ve adapted to co-exist with human fishermen. No matter where we are in the world, the living things of that area have numerous adaptations for that area that allows them to be successful. Glad you enjoyed this walk.


    1. Dan,
      Birds are interesting anyone. Beach birds with different beaks and different feet – yep – all about adaptations. The most common crabs I see are some ghost crabs to live on the beach. Little guys that seem to walk sideways. But every once in a while I see a larger (more traditional) crab along the waterline.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We don’t have pelicans up this way so I enjoyed learning something about them — thank you. Once I watched a gull pull a crab out of the water and break it open on a rock. He used his bill to stab it until he got to the crab meat. I was mesmerised. I’m sure that crab had done its own share of hunting and eating. It’s amazing to think of the transformations each species has made to adapt to its unique environment…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I needed this walk today – thank you so much. You made me so nostalgic for my daily walks along the SF Bay when we lived there. I’d walk as the sun rose on a beautiful path that ringed the Bay and watch the pelicans swoop over head. Yes, I do think they were quite aware of my presence. Then suddenly DOWN they’d race into the cold waters and out with a fish. Majestic birds, while the grey herons just stood silently by, on the rocks, seemingly napping while others sighed over their beauty. We humans tend to disregard the sea birds/creatures, and yet, I believe there are way more of them than us, and their world is fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Glad this post was able to help with the demands of life. Interesting that the words here transported you to a walk around SF Bay. (Such a beautiful place!) … and thanks for sharing. Interestingly, I see many more varieties of birds around my home in Cincinnati than on the beach. But, the beach birds offer a wide variety of adaptations.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A flock of pelicans gliding close to the water is a sight to see. Hardly a wing beat keeps the going on the prevailing winds. Overhead they take up the “V” formation to conserve energy. One day I counted 50. Unlike geese, they do not make a sound. A nice walk today, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Damn good essay on a topic that concerns us all, Frank.

    You’re right about adaptation is our historical record, a constantly evolving one. There is no us, there is no them, there is no any of this without adaptation. And in that, I find great comfort. Because there is a design to it all, inner workings that spell something beyond our grasp on earth, but there. Definitely there.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry many creatures in and the sea. I think so many people don’t even notice them. I don’t know much about pelicans, so it was interesting. I just looked it up, and it seems they and other Florida birds sometimes head our way in the summer. Pelicans make me think of a toy that my husband’s grandfather made for our older daughter when she was toddler.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Why is it that I’ve never considered what these sea creatures have to do to find food, Frank? Thank you for opening my eyes and mind to a topic full of interesting possibilities! And thanks for letting me join in your walk along the beach — won’t be long before it turns cold here, so I need to soak up as much sunshine before then as I can!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie,
      Thanks for the kind words. Besides being relaxing, I always hope to stimulate thought in others. So, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Here’s something to ponder. Pick any living, then consider this question: How do they get food? For any animal, microbe, plant, or fungus – that question is very valid.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Just the rhythmic sound of the waves was soothing to my soul, Frank. Ahhhhhh, thank you. And the subject of adaptation amongst upheaval and insanity and violence all around in a world turned inside out, is a good one to contemplate. For now I avoid as best I can the tumultuous energy “out there” by staying at home. Yes it is difficult at times so I make sure I take myself off to the parks for a long walk, to breathe oxygen rich air, a gift from the trees. The peace and quiet another gift I receive as I feel the anxiety and tension leaving my every muscle. My legs feel so strong, my feet so sure, as my mind drifts off to other realms. Adaptation in a time of complete chaos … choose well to keep sanity intact. Thank you so much for this post!! Took me a while to get here, but I made it. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful post, Frank. Observing wildlife behaviors is never boring (as long as you can watch something else when one subject is stock still😄). I don’t know too much about pelican’s but it can take years for a bald eagle to learn to catch a fish. I watched one particularly unskilled male eagle miss time and again. His mate nabbed one every time she dove in the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene,
      Great point – we can learn a lot by simply observing. If you didn’t take the time to watch the eagles, who wouldn’t
      know what you do today. As you know, not many eagles in my area – but I have seen a bald eagle who was passing through. Thanks for sharing your observation.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I felt myself relax just reading this post, Frank. I find walking on the beach while watching shore birds and any visible sea creatures one of my highest pleasures. I have appreciated the grace and beauty, but not given much thought to how they’ve adapted to their surrounding, and I think I will now. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      I know how much you enjoy nature. Here’s a corresponding thought. Think about all the birds that visit your garden and the adaptations they share and differ. Now to the same for all the plants who have. … and let us not forget your buddy Darwin. 🙂


    1. Rupali,
      Glad to see that you have been to San Diego. What a beautiful city – and maybe the best climate in the US. I’ll guess that pelicans are found along most of the US coast. However, I don’t think they are found in the New England area. They must like warmer temperatures. Thanks for walking along with me on this walk. FYI … I have a wonderful photo collaboration this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sweet post, dear Frank!
    How are you adapting to life during the time of Covid?
    I try not to mention “The Virus” when enjoying blogging, but you brought it up.
    Well, not specifically, but adapting to it, to anything.
    Well, I’ve adapted quite nicely to your new blog, even though I adored your old blog.
    I know! I tease! I just thought of a topic. If it’s not on your list, I’ll send it in. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      All considering, I’ve adapted well to Covid-19 times because we humans have the most sophisticated brain in the living world as we know it … and it’s our brain that allows us to adapt to so many situations that other living things cannot do.

      Many thanks for the kind words about this blog and the old one ,,,, and I greatly appreciate that you followed me over here! I received you topic thought, and I’ve added it to the list. Off the top of my head, it’s a good idea. Plus, thanks for using the submission page!


  15. My kid studied adaptations last year and got into all the information. It was good to see her learn about all this … crabby crabs as she calls them were most interesting. You did however mention seagulls and dude they are total scavengers. Everything needs to be left in a cooler. Closed. Don’t leave any bags out or everything inside it will be gone. Good bye chips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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