Saturday, May 30, 2009


OK boys and girls here is a new term you may not yet be familiar with. The operculum (little lid)is the covering over the shell of certain marine snails. When the snail dies and decomposes, the operculum remains and is washed up on the beach.

I found my first one can see it below amid the beans. These were all found on the pedestrian beach right in front of the visitor center.

You will also note a black bone fragment on the right side of the picture.

I haven't identified this one yet but it has some uniusual striations that should make it recognizable to someone familiar with such things.

This is the drawer display at the Matagorda Bay Nature center. The beans are mounted on strings and can be slid along th show how they drift from where they originate to our beach.

I'm continuing to work as a volunteer at the center to help visitors learn about sea beans.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Anniversary Beans

Today was the day of celebration and we spent some time on the west jetty fishing among the rocks. I took a short walk down the beach to get the GPS coordinate of a sea turtle shell found on an earlier trip and picked up a few more beans.

The weather has been beautiful this week as you can see from this picture of the wild beach.

Two hearts, a burger, and a prickly palm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More First Finds

Once again the day yielded some new beans - some identified and some not.

Here is some beach art we found on display as we searched just past the 3-mile cut.

This starnut palm had a beetle inside it. The egg gets deposited and the larva develops inside the nut. He had a perfect circle trap door and was a tight fit for the mature palm weevil.

Not a bad bunch of beans.

This is my first manchinel or beach apple.

Dense thickets of manchineel trees, growing along the coasts of tropical islands in the Caribbean Sea and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Central America and northern South America, produce crabapplelike fruits that drift to our shores. The outer skin erodes quickly in the ocean to expose a corky fruit layer. When the corky layer erodes or is removed, a sculptured seed pod, highly prized by collectors, is exposed. All parts of the machineel tree are extremely poisonous, with the poison concentrated in a milky juice. Contact with the juice will blister the skin, but fortunately none remains in the fruit by the time it makes its journey to Texas.

This is another unknown bean and a first find. It most resembles an ivory nut palm but isn't exactly like the one I found before.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mermaid Purses & Beans

We found some real treasures today including these two skate egg cases aka Mermaid Purses.

I have yet to identify this new bean. That's part of the fun!

These sea coconuts are still in the husk - another rare find. One day I hope to find three together in an intact husk.

Here is the day's collection - lots of nice sea hearts, hamburgers, and purses.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wild Beach Beans

We've been eager to search the beach across the mouth of the river and found this nice assortment of beans to add to the collection.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jamaica man

We didn't spend too much time searching today but did manage to find a few.

I'm becoming a fan of the Jamaican or Tropical walnut, Also shown is a small sea coconut, one brown hamburger and a sea heart.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We were blessed to spend several days in Matagorda celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and took advantage of the time to do some beach beaning.

These are starnut palms found in the upper wrack line.

I found this Mary's bean on the surf side of the dunes.

These gray nickarnuts will polish up nicely.

This is my first calatola - a nut that comes from a tree in Costa Rica.

Here is the stash for today including some sundials and petrified bones.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


You almost can't predict what will wash up with the beans. I'm sure this shoe has a story.

Here is another Mary's Bean.

This is the coolest sea purse found so far. Tracy let me take a picture but it is on her desk instead of in the bowl with all the "ugly beans".

Tracy also found this crabwood - a first find for us on the Texas coast.

Here are the keepers - Three sea coconuts four palms, two hamburgers, and a seaheart.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beans, Beans, & More Beans

"Honey - we may need to get a bigger trailer."

The drift seeds are coming in fast and furious and we are finding new specimens almost every time we go out.

This is an ivory nut palm. The inside is a white material used for a substitute for elephant ivory. Items like dice, dominoes, cue balls, buttons, and cane handles are made from this seed.

This is a Jamaican walnut aka Tropical walnut.

This little guy is a bay bean.

We made quite a haul:15 sea hearts, 31 sea coconuts (many left behind) 25 brown and 10 red hamburgers, 5 sea purses, 8 starnut palms, 2 laurelwood, one tropical walnut, one ivory nut palm, 3 gray and one brown nickarnut, 7 prickly palm and 3 little vine seeds.