Fiddler Crabs

Wednesday, November 17, 2021,

These are a pair of photos of some Fiddler Crabs I encountered while walking through Lido Beach Passive Nature Area in late September. I had turned a corner and there they were, just a few feet from the path. They all scurried away at my sudden appearance, but I’ve had some experience with Fiddler Crabs before and I was fairly certain they’d reappear and continue with business as usual if I just hung back and waited them out. So, I dropped back a few feet – this is where a long lens comes in handy – and stood still for a few minutes. After a while, the crabs began reemerging from their holes and the nearby deeper water and returned to the mud flats where I had first seen them. Now, while that may seem like a plan that came together, there is always a great deal of luck when dealing with Mother Nature. She is a capricious and uncanny Lady, who makes her own rules, and then, disregards them at will. So, trust me when I tell you that I was lucky to get these pics. JK.


Some Meals Just Stick To You

Wednesday, August 26, 2020,

Sometimes I take a photo that just begs for a caption. And sometimes those photos offer a multitude of choices. This, I think, is one of those pics. Please feel free to offer up your own caption in the comment section below.

I’d like to thank my friend Mike Farina for identifying the tenacious hitchhiker as a male Blue Claw Crab. Mike is the Conservation Biologist at the Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside. He’s the newest member of the unpaid but highly appreciated support staff at Joe Kayaker. It helps to know people who know things. Folks like Mike make it possible for me to sound knowledgeable and informed. Trust me, this is not an easy task.  JK.




Atlantic Mud Fiddler Crab

Wednesday, August 7, 2019,

About a month ago, I posted a pair of photos of a female Sand Fiddler Crab. I see them quite often at certain shorelines. The crab pictured here is new to me. Its coloration is completely different than the Fiddler Crabs I usually see. This is a male Atlantic Mud Fiddler Crab of the species Uca pugnax. When I first took these pics, I was unsure of what I had so I did some online research. That led me to believe that this was a Mud Fiddler. Then, I emailed my friend Patricia, who used to be an educator at the Long Island Aquarium, and she confirmed my guess. It’s good to have informed friends. Patricia has a photo blog of her own, which is downright stunning. You should check it out.  JK


Female Sand Fiddler Crab

Tuesday, July 9, 2019,

This is a female Fiddler Crab of the species Uca pugilator, otherwise known as the Sand Fiddler Crab. These little critters can be seen by the hundreds, even the thousands, in salt water marshes or tidal flats. Whole swarms of these guys will make their way across the mud as they move to and fro. I’ve seen so many on occasion that the very ground seems to be moving.

This little lady was traveling alone. I had been waiting for birds to visit the artesian well at West Meadow Beach when I spied her crawling near where I was seated. As you can see, she does not sport the extra large claw that her male counterparts carry. She does, however, have the same pretty coloration that males wear.

After allowing me to get these photos, she made her way into a grassy area and disappeared. She may have been seeking shade or maybe even some relief from the paparazzi. Hey, I’m a guy with a camera. If I see a pretty lady, I’m gonna take her picture. JK

Loony Day

Saturday, February 24, 2018,

So. I had hiked along the upper fields of Avalon one morning and I saw a bird. As in singular. As in one. It was small and dark and deep in the brush. It may have been a Junco. A lonely Junco at that.

Needing something to calm myself from all that excitement, I drove to Stony Brook Harbor where I saw gulls and more gulls. And then, even more gulls. There were more gulls than you could shake a stick at, even a really big one. So I sat and I waited. I read my Kindle. I played solitaire. I glanced up from time to time and, yep, the gulls were still there.

Another half an hour goes by and still more gulls. I was feeling quite gullible when I noticed a change. A giddy change, a downright loony change. There was a Loon. (Cue Katherine Hepburn: “The Loons, the Loons!”). There was Loon. I know I already said that but after all those gulls, there was a Loon. A Loon! I took some pics as it slowly drifted off.  Then it was just me and the gulls again.

Eventually, another Loon appeared. Maybe it was the same one, I don’t know. I started up with the picture taking again. This time, I noticed a bunch more. Most of them were near where West Meadow Creek empties into the harbor. There were at least 14 of them. There may have been more but they were fairly spread out and with one or another diving and bobbing back up, it’s hard to be certain.

Most of them were too far off for me to get any good pics, but I did get lucky with a few. It seems that crabs were the lunch special for the day and, to my surprise, I think they were swallowed whole. The Loon would come back to the surface, shake the crab free of any sand and grit and then, gulp, it was gone. The crab, not the Loon.

As I headed back to my truck I checked, and yes, the gulls were still there. JK