Crested Mallard

While shopping at the local Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market, I happen upon the lake’s habitants: the white crested mallard duck.

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The tuft atop its head is stated to be from a mutant deformity. None-the-less, the crested duck is unique and beautiful.

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This one is a mainstay and protector of its friends at Carolina Beach Lake. Each trip brings my encounter of whitey and friends, often seeking a drink of fresh water from the water faucet.

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Periwinkle Gastropod.

Up an down they go, with the tides. Marsh periwinkles, or marsh snails (Littorina irrorata) are found in and around the marshes in North Carolina.

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Periwinkles play an important role in the decomposition of marsh grasses (detritus), which helps maintain a healthy salt marsh community. Science considers them an “indicator species.” If periwinkle populations are doing well, chances are the salt marsh is doing well.

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I am always mesmerized by the numbers and beauty of the ecosystem of our marsh.

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Here is a site with macro photography of these marsh snails by Jeffrey Pippen:

Magnificence of Spring and Summer

Southern Magnolia, evergreen, kingdom of Plantae and named after French botanist Pierre Magnolia. Having lived for millions of year it’s symbolic of magnificence and large, fragrant flower. Another significant fact of the Magnolia: fertilization occurs from beetles, not bees.

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The flower and buds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine, known as hou po. The leaves are often used for wrapping food and in some parts of the world as a cooking dish. In Louisiana and Mississippi, the Magnolia is the official State flower and tree.

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Living in the South, I resonate with this beautiful bloom mostly through its stardom in the movie “Steel Magnolias” and in numerous local images of the South. The sweet fragrance permeates the spring and summer air, giving confirmation of living in the South.

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Because of its beauty and fragrance, the symbolism of its roots, trunk, leaves, shade and flora combine to create magnificence of life and its journey.

Shackelford Trotters

Northeasterner’s know the area these wild horses roam as “Sea Banks,” “Outer Banks, or “Shackelford Banks.”

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The “Banker Horses” are known to wonder, or free roam, the banks at leisure feeding on the marsh grass and resting along the shores of Shackelford. Known to be domesticated descendants of Spanish Mustangs, surviving possible shipwrecks of early world travelers.

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I will never forget my first meeting with one: sitting in a beach chair, relaxing in the afternoon sun…I feel a blurb of breath on the back of my neck. I turn and right behind there she stood. She was full of gentle grace and youthful curiosity. Anyone who encountered this greeting would have been completely startled. I had the honor of meeting her face on and with absolute comfort, one with her beauty and strength…an understanding that the day was as good as it was going to get.

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Learn more about these amazing horses: