Marine Life on Orchard Beach, NYC

A dear old friend of mine drove me to Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park (which is in the Bronx, on Long Island Sound) yesterday afternoon for two or three hours. I spent most of the time on the beach itself, looking for marine life. I did pretty well considering. I found two seaweeds that were new to me, at least new since I have been on iNat, although I had actually seen them before in my life before I signed up with iNat.

I would like to visit this beach again after a storm that blows in from the east, when I imagine a lot more good stuff would be thrown up. I would also like to investigate further the salt marsh areas beyond the extreme north end of the beach -- there are rocks there too, and even a few small tide pools. It would also be great to walk the foot paths of Twin Islands and Hunters Island.

The beach dates from the 1930s, and it was a Robert Moses project. Millions of cubic yards of sand from Sandy Hook and the Rockaways were brought in to create it. It is an impressively huge curving beach, and the views across the Sound are lovely.

People call Orchard Beach the "Bronx Riviera", and I can certainly see why.

Here is what I found.

Chelicerates:

Atlantic Horseshoe crab

Crustaceans:

Asian Shore Crab
Northern Acorn Barnacle

Polychaete worms:

Trumpet worms, the funnel-shaped sand casings
And the "chimneys" and egg masses of a large burrowing species

Bryozoa:

Kelp Lace Bryozoan

Mollusks:

Bivalves

Atlantic Ribbed Mussel
Blue Mussel
Common Jingle
Eastern Oyster
Chestnut Astarte
Atlantic Surfclam
Atlantic Jacknife Clam
Baltic Macoma
Northern Dwarf-Tellin
Softshell Clam

Gastropods

Flat Periwinkle
Convex Slippersnail
Common Atlantic Slippersnail
Shark Eye
Spotted Moonsnail -- new to iNat
Northern Moon Snail
Atlantic Oyster Drill
Knobbed Whelk
Eastern Mudsnail
Three-lined mudsnail

Seaweeds

Brown Algae:

Rockweed
Bladder Wrack
Knotted Wrack -- new to me on iNat

Red Algae:

Red puff balls
Several other species

Green Algae:

Dead men's fingers (Codium) -- new to me on iNat
Gutweed
Broadleaf Sea Lettuce
And others, including a possible Ulvaria obscura?

I photographed a dead fish which is an Atlantic Menhaden. I also photographed Ringed-bill Gulls -- no surprise there.

My best terrestrial finds were a nice big Bess Beetle (a Horned Passalus Beetle), and a plant of Black Swallow-Wort. Both were new to me.

Posted on October 16, 2020 01:19 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Chestnut Clam (Isocrassina castanea)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:23 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:23 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Atlantic Slippersnail (Crepidula fornicata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:24 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Gutweed (Ulva intestinalis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:24 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Sea Lettuces and Allies (Order Ulvales)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:26 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:29 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Moonsnail (Euspira heros)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:38 PM EDT

Description

Th open umbilicus is characteristic of this species.

Photos / Sounds

What

Knotted Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:38 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Rockweed (Fucus distichus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:43 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Soft-shelled Clam (Mya arenaria)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:47 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Polychaete Worms (Class Polychaeta)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:53 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Lugworms (Family Arenicolidae)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:58 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:59 PM EDT

Description

???

Photos / Sounds

What

Red Algae (Phylum Rhodophyta)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:01 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Polychaete Worms (Class Polychaeta)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:02 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Oyster Drill (Urosalpinx cinerea)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:03 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Threeline Mudsnail (Ilyanassa trivittata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:04 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Macoma (Macoma petalum)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:06 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Trumpet Worms (Family Pectinariidae)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:06 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Mudsnail (Ilyanassa obsoleta)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:06 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Jingle (Anomia simplex)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:08 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Dwarf-Tellin (Ameritella agilis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:09 PM EDT

Description

A very small and very pretty species. The shell is less fragile than it looks.

Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Jackknife (Ensis leei)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:10 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:11 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Asian Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:12 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Red Puff Ball (Spermothamnion repens)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:13 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Dwarf-Tellin (Ameritella agilis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:13 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Macoma (Macoma petalum)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:13 PM EDT

Description

The shells of this species are usually white or off-white, but this is the pink color variety, which is quite common in some parts of the world, but seems to be rare in NYC.

Photos / Sounds

What

Chestnut Clam (Isocrassina castanea)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:15 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Asian Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:16 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Knotted Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:17 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Convex Slippersnail (Crepidula convexa)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:22 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:23 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:24 PM EDT

Description

Some of these have no purple inside.

Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Ribbed Mussel (Geukensia demissa)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:27 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Acorn Barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:29 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Mudsnail (Ilyanassa obsoleta)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:30 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Atlantic Slippersnail (Crepidula fornicata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:31 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 03:31 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Spotted Moonsnail (Euspira triseriata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:04 PM EDT

Description

Found in the sand fairly high up on the beach.

Photos / Sounds

What

Threeline Mudsnail (Ilyanassa trivittata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:04 PM EDT

Description

Found high up on the beach

Photos / Sounds

What

Chestnut Clam (Isocrassina castanea)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

October 15, 2020 02:04 PM EDT

Description

Found fairly high-up on the beach.

When the shell is wet it shows its features better.

When these are fresh dead, they have an extremely dark periostracum which is very adherent, and does not easily wear off at all, so these "bald" ones have probably been knocking around on the beach for a long, long time.

Comments

Nice finds!!!

Posted by ken-potter over 3 years ago

Thanks Ken. I did enjoy the visit. Have you ever been here?

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

@oceanicadventures -- you might enjoy this post.

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

No I have never been there. I've hardy been anywhere unless I was at a coin convention. :( The only time I've ever been to the ocean was in Florida three or four times and I loved it :)

Posted by ken-potter over 3 years ago

Well, Florida really can be fabulous, New York State beaches are not as superb, but still interesting!

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

Yes I bet they are neat in NY. Maybe someday I'll see it :) I noticed you found some Black Swallow-Wort. We've got the European here in a few places. I found a Large Milkweed bug on one once. It musta thought it was milkweed. :)

Posted by ken-potter over 3 years ago

Thanks Susan, it’s a good list of species to get familiar with. It’s really strange how there’s barely any information specifically about the northeastern US mollusk fauna.

Posted by oceanicadventures over 3 years ago

There is not a lot. Not many people associate the northeast with shell collecting.

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

@oceanicadventures -- There is Percy Morris's Peterson Field Guide "A field guide to shell of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies" which was later updated by R. Tucker Abbott. But it is a bit too all-inclusive for what you want.

And a friend of mine suggested these:

Abbott's "Seashells of the Northern Hemisphere".

Abbott's Golden Nature Guide "Seashells of North America" (softcover, with illustrations by Sandberg.) That's still a great book, but as with all the ones I list here, the names of the taxa have changed a lot since the books were published.

Bousfield "Canadian Atlantic Sea Shells".

Emerson and Jacobson "Shells from Cape Cod to Cape May" (same comment as with Abbott -- names changed over the years) And this book also includes land and freshwater taxa.

Oh and also Emerson's American Museum of Natural History Guide to Shells.

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

Ok, thanks! I really do appreciate the help. I’ll definitely look into those

Posted by oceanicadventures over 3 years ago

I am very fond of the Golden Guide by Abbott, even though it has in it shells from all the coasts of mainland US.

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

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