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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Not a good day to be a fish (or a jellyfish)

Last night brought high winds and waves to Indialantic, where we are spending a few days visiting relatives. This gorgeous morning

found quite a few black vultures circling the beach, which was littered with dead fish. A lot of dead fish.

It came as no surprise that a beach full of dead fish attracted a beach full of birds--gulls, terns, and various skittering avians. (Of course, my bird books were all in Ohio.)

I particularly liked this handsome fellow,

although the gulls, as usual, provided much of the amusement. With perhaps thousands of dead fish available for breakfast, several birds of course all wanted the same one. Then this one, perhaps confused by the buffet, had difficulty reaching a decision.

That looks like a good dead fish. 

 I'll try it.  

Wait! That one looks better.

Well, maybe not.

What none of the birds were sampling was the Portuguese man-o-war that had washed up on the beach. This gorgeously-colored jellyfish (okay, it's not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, a combination of four "things" that function as a single animal, but we called them jellyfish back in the day) is extremely venomous.

This particular invertebrate was still alive when discovered, but yours truly was not brave enough to try to get it back into the water. A few moments later, it (they?) rolled over, gave a few feeble tentacle waves, and (most likely) died.

The beach is a rough ecosystem.

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