Tag Archives: pacific mole crab

What to do at the beach in the fog

When the “valley” gets hot, the “hot” go to the beach!  It’s cooler on the Oregon coast beaches but sometimes fog comes with it.

Foggy Tillicum Beach
Foggy Tillicum Beach

So, what’s there to see in the fog?

Pacific Mole Crab
Pacific Mole Crab

Well, there’s still the little sand critters to play with.  If you see the mole crab tracks or their holes, dig a few inches down to find them.  No, they’re not good to eat!  Just fun to catch.  The legs tickle your fingers as they wiggle like crazy to get away.  See if you can figure out which end is their head. 🙂

Castles Yachats Beach
Castles from Yachats Beach

Building sand castles isn’t just for kids!

Salal Berries
Salal Berries

Graze on the Salal berries.  They start from a pink flower, turn into a pink berry and ripen to dark blue.  In Tillicum Campground, the berries collect a fine layer of salt from the salty air.  The berries taste like blueberries.  Sweet and salty  –  YUM!

Huckleberries
Huckleberries

The huckleberries and blackberries are just starting to ripen in the campground.  The blackest ones are the sweetest.

Pacific Mole Crab Season

No, they’re not edible…by humans anyway.

I haven’t seen a lot of the Pacific Mole Crabs this year until this week.  Maybe I haven’t been looking?  Regardless, there were lots of parts washed up on the beach the last couple days.

Mole Crab Parts
Mole Crab Parts

At minus tide, this morning, I saw lots of mole crab tracks and the holes where they burrow in.

Mole Crab Holes
Mole Crab Holes

The crows dig up the female mole crabs, eat the eggs and leave them for dead.  The crab has a body part that they use to dig with.

Mole Crab Burrowing
Mole Crab Burrowing

It covers the eggs too.  See what’s left of the yellow/orange eggs below.  When the crows eat the protein-rich eggs, they damage that part so that they can’t dig.

Crows eat the eggs
Crows eat the eggs

The only dead mole crabs I saw on the beach were females.  I wonder if the crows can tell the males from the females before they dig them out?

He looks injured when he walks
He looks injured when he walks

I didn’t pick this one up to see if it was male or female.  I was just interested in seeing him walk (almost upright).  I thought they did more of a crawl.

Sand Fleas Eating Mole Crab
Sand Fleas Eating Mole Crab

The crows actually let the crabs bake for a few hours before they, with their friends, come back to eat more of them.  Then the sand fleas finish them off.