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Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
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Travel and Beaches

Some tips for enjoying the water's edge

One of the features of the new "Field Guide to the Water's Edge" is a series of notes labeled "Look for, Listen for," "Safety Tips" and "Did You Know?" Here are a few examples: Did you know American crocodiles are much less aggressive than their deservedly feared distant cousins in Africa and Australia? They are reclusive and are rarely seen except by scientists studying them. Safety tip: Be aware that a water moccasin can bite under water, contrary to legend. This enables it to paralyze and capture fish and other prey. Look for bats zipping back and forth, up and down just above a lake, pond or streams. They hunt insects just before and after sunrise and sunset.
Did you know when a predator threatens the nest of a killdeer or willet, the bird pretends to have a broken wing and lures the predator away before flying off to safety? Did you know belted kingfisher parents dig a 6-foot-long, 6-inch-diameter tunnel into a steep riverbank or sand bank to make a nest? The hole tilts upward to allow water to drain away. Did you know an osprey's eyes are adapted to seeing fish under the water from as high as 130 feet in the air? It then plunges talons-first into the water to grab the fish and lift it into the air. Listen for tiny tree frogs producing loud mating calls. These are produced by sound sacs on the neck, which can expand to three times the size of the head. Did you know fiddler crabs shed their shells as they grow? A new leg claw will replace a lost one when they molt. If a male loses his large fiddle claw, he will grow one on the opposite side after his next molt. Source: "Field Guide to the Water's Edge" by Stephen Leatherman and Jack Williams
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