The Bluffs, Bar Harbor, Maine; November 18, 2014 (Beachcombing series No.85)

photographs and text by Jennifer Steen Booher

The Bluff, Bar Harbor, Maine; November 18, 2014

Polypropylene rope, sea glass, driftwood, beach stones (basalt, granite, schist?), Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis), crab claws (prob. Cancer borealis), Periwinkle (Littorina sp.), wire, Dog Whelk (Nucella lapillus), Waved Whelk (Buccinum undatum), Green Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus drobachiensis), Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus), Rockweed (Fucus vesiculosus), pottery fragment, rusted metal with Northern Rock Barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides)

It was 36ºF when I hit the beach around 1pm. The sky was overcast but every now and then the sun would peek through the clouds. Of course, every now and then a few stray snowflakes would fall, too, as if the weather were trying for an overall balance of some kind. This is one of my favorite beaches – I almost always find some interesting stones and a few good pieces of sea glass, in addition to the usual crab shells, dog whelks, and periwinkles. I also find a lot of trash mixed into the deep piles of seaweed on the high tide line. You can kind of see those piles at the far right of the photo below – there’s a section of paler stones high up on the shore (paler because they are fully dried), and that yellowish-brown strip is an accumulation of seaweed about a foot deep.


I use a grocery bag for beachcombing; after 2 hours on the beach it was about 1/4 full of my finds. The rest is garbage:


It was a very good day for sea glass:




and buoys (eventually I’ll try to return them to their owners.)


and rocks:


I think these are Rough Periwinkle (Littorina saxatilis), but I’m still kind of unclear on how to tell L. saxatilis and L. littorea apart. Every time I think I’ve got it, I find a shell with characteristics of both.



A couple of Herring Gulls were diving for crabs just off shore. Made me glad I brought my big camera with the big lens!