News 2 Covers Start of Dewees School Year: 8 kids on the ferry this year

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

It was a pretty festive atmosphere on the ferry this morning, as school started in Charleston County. Mayci McLeod from News 2 rode along with the ferry this morning, and got a taste of the community sense of connectedness to each other and the world around us.

Claudia gave me a lift over to the dock so I could ride along as a gorgeous crescent moon lit up the sky, along with some stars.

The news crew was waiting, and Captain Rich and Joey were ready for the first day of school. As the 6:00 ferry pulled out, the sunrise backlit the cameraman, Chris.
Dewees Island School Run 2017

He was setting up the camera to capture the sunrise on the waterway.

When we approached the dock, it was really exciting to see all the kids and families waiting there for the first boat.

The inside of the ferry was full of the excited greetings of neighbors!

There was even a veritable buffet of breakfast goodies on the boat.

For some kids, it was a day of firsts.  Ian was headed to first grade, his first school day from Dewees, and his brother Cole was off to the first day of kindergarten at Sullivan’s Island Elementary school.

school

Sam was off to Moultrie Middle.  The high schoolers on the island go to Oceanside Academy,  Wando,  the School of the Arts,  and Ashley Hall.  We are totally excited to see that many kids on the ferry~ it’s the most we’ve ever known to leave Dewees for school.  And it was really fun to have News 2 aboard.  Last fall, we published this post about staying connected, and we’ve also mentioned them in this post. 

Mayci McLeod spoke with some of the students from the bow of the Dewees Islander.

While some of the other kids relaxed and watched the dolphins from the top deck.

Once the ferry pulls in, the kids disperse different directions to bus stops or rides to school. Cole and Ian waited for the Sullivan’s Island School Bus.

All in all, it was a great first day of the school year!

 

 

mississippi kite eating a bug

Mississippi Kites putting on a show

Posted on Posted in Birds, CoastalMasterNaturalistsFeed, Dewees Island Conservancy

If you’re at the pool, big bend dock, or Old House Lane this week, be sure to look up.  There has been a group of Mississippi Kites overhead, putting on a show, pretty much on a daily basis.  This raptor soars like a falcon on the thermals, and today I saw a total of 13 of them at the same time.  At first glance, they appear to be floating gently along the thermals, almost suspended in the air.

But then one of them will take a sudden movement and whoosh in another direction. Using their square off tail to dip, twist, plummet, and lift, these incredible aerialists are catching dragonflies and cicadas in mid air with their talons, and then eating them as they fly.

mississippi kite

When you look at them with your eyes, it looks like they are just hanging out.  But zoom in with binoculars or a camera, and you can get a clear sense of them as effective predators. Yesterday, I took my camera over to big bend to lie on the dock and watch. They took my breath away with their dizzying dips and turns!

mississippi kites

They snatch cicadas and dragonflies.  The cicadas protest loudly when grabbed, and if you look closely you can see the birds eviscerating them while flying.

mississippi kite

mississippi kite eating a bug

mississippi kites

 

Mississippi Kite 5-6-17 Sewee
Mississippi Kite, photo Pam Ford

Mississippi Kites, Ictinia mississippiensis, are a species of least concern in our area.  In fact, check out this article from Living Bird Magazine about how their range is actually expanding. That said, I have never seen them here as often as I have in the last week. They may be staging for migration: In some states like Texas, they apparently gather in large groups before migrating south.  Each time I have been watching them, there have been blue jays in the trees below, making a screeching sound.  They shouldn’t really object to their presence; apparently blue jays and northern mockingbirds often nest near Mississippi kite colonies. It’s been the blue jays that had me looking up, though, so they are worth listening to.  And the cicada… when the kite first grabs the cicada, it makes a loud buzz, which was another thing that made me look up.  Usually cicada calls come from the trees rather than overhead.

cicada
It’s worth heading out with binoculars!  And while you’re looking up, keep an eye out for swallowtail kites, which feed the same way and were seen here this week last year.

Eclipse Planning Underway for Dewees

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

Fun on Dewees

On Monday, August 21st, there is a total solar eclipse across most of the country, finishing up right over our island. We are pretty excited about it, and trying to plan ahead for a bunch of things.  On the FUN front, the interns have set up a geocache course that can be done at night, beginning at the landings building.  If you didn’t do the geocache that was set up during the winter holiday, here’s your chance to get in on the fun.  At the back of the Landings building, there’s a box with the first clue.  Have fun!

Trying to get your head around the size of the solar system? Or explain it to your kids?  Lori and the interns have also set up a solar system walk that begins at the ferry dock.  Look up, and the sun is right above your head inside the ferry dock.

Walk down the dock for a scale model demonstration of all the planets. to get to the end of the solar system, you have to go a long way:

 

On Friday, August 18, there will be a presentation at happy hour with representatives from NASA and the College of Charleston.  Come find out more about eclipses.

If you haven’t gotten your eclipse glasses (and you ordered them) get them from Lori, and she ordered more; so check with her or order from amazon.

There will be kids activities the day of the eclipse on a drop-in basis at Huyler House and the pool will be open.

Alicia Reilly is planning some celebratory functions at Huyler House; email her if you want in on the action.  It will be out of the sun, with coverage of events playing on the tv.

 

Traffic Planning

The Post and Courier reports that a million visitors are expected in Charleston.  That is something to think about, because Spoleto attracts about 80,000 visitors.  SEWE is 50,000.  And the total number of people who evacuated for hurricane Matthew (with roads going in reverse directions to move more people) was about half a million.  So preparing for gridlock might be a good idea.  Seriously, we are hoping some of this traffic hype is overkill.  This article from The State describes what Columbia is expecting. My favorite part of that article is this line, “pack your patience.”

Download the SC511 app, which lets you plug into live feeds from traffic cameras across the state, and the WAZE app, which helps you get around traffic jams on smaller roads.  Come early, stay late. Carpool.

 

Parking

If you have more than one car in the parking lot, and have another place to park a car, that will allow more neighbors to be on the island.  Stay tuned for POA communications about parking.

Ferry

The POA sent out a survey to find out when you are coming to the island and when you are leaving.  This is to help understand when the ferry crush that weekend will be. You’re not required to catch the boat you say you’re taking, and this is not a reservation.  It IS a way for the POA to find out which ferries are likely to have a crush of people, as they try to make this the best weekend it can be for everybody.  And if you have day visitors, please be sure they’re on there for Monday.  Click here to complete the survey. There will be a schedule change on the day of the eclipse: there will be a 1:00/1:30 run and no 2:00/2:30 run.  Ferry service will resume at 3:00. More POA information here.

The Main Event: The Eclipse

What’s the big deal?

Here is NASA’s chart of what things will look like.  Click the link below for more NASA details and information.

What to expect, from NASA

Links to follow:

Charleston Visitors Bureau

NASA

Popular Mechanics: How to Photograph an Eclipse

4th of July Photos

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

The fourth was in full swing on Dewees, as some of our annual events were spread out.  First, the annual beach run and Jan’s brunch: This race is always a hit, and gives us a chance to earn those fabulous snacks Jan puts together. It’s usually the biggest crowd we’ll see on the beach all year.

Then the golf cart parade: What a crowd we had this year! The recent rains kept the roads from being too dusty, and this year the fire truck led us off and the smaller emergency vehicle brought up the rear. Residents, guest, renters, interns, and even dogs got in the holiday spirit with hats and bandanas.

Then, we had a flight demo from the Avian Conservation center, aka Center for Birds of Prey.  We even had a special surprise: the ability to release a bird. Two red-shouldered hawks were released into the wild after rehab.

And finally, the sandcastle contest:

Here are the photos as thumbnails, in case you’re getting a little dizzy with all those slideshows:

 

photography workshop Dewees

National Geographic Photographer to lead Photo Workshop on Dewees Island

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

We are totally excited to announce that National Geographic Photographer Peter Essick will be leading a photography workshop on Dewees Island October 12-15, brought to you by SxSE magazine.  Photography workshops fill fast, so if this is on your bucket list, be sure to click the links below to register.

Recently named one of the 40 most influential nature photographers in the world by Outdoor Photography Magazine,  Peter Essick has traveled extensively over the last two decades making photographs that move beyond mere documentation to reveal in careful compositions the human impact of development as well as the enduring power of the land. Essick has photographed stories on many environmental issues including climate change, high-tech trash, nuclear waste and freshwater.
Essick has been a frequent contributor to National Geographic Magazine for 25 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri. Essick has won many journalistic awards and his photographs have been exhibited in the United States and in Europe. He lives in Stone Mountain, GA with his wife, Jackie and his son, Jalen.
He will be assisted by Jessica Hines: Artist and storyteller Jessica Hines uses the camera’s inherent quality as a recording device to explore illusion and to suggest truths that underlie the visible world. At the core of Hines’ work lies an inquisitive nature inspired by personal memory, experience and the unconscious mind. Hines began to cultivate her creative disposition early in life and her love of the arts led her to attend Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Continuing to pursue her interests, she studied photography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received a Master of Fine Arts degree. Hines most recently won 1st Place in the Kuala Lumpur International PhotoAwards, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1st Place in NEXT: New Photographic Visions, Castell Photography Gallery, curated by Elizabeth Avedon, Asheville, North Carolina, Humanitarian Documentary Grant in the WPGA Annual, Pollux Awards, juried by Philip Brookman, Chief Curator and Head of Research at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC.  Hines lives near a swamp she photographs regularly in Southeast Georgia.
Schedule:
Thursday
 Welcome Lunch at the Clubhouse on Dewees
Shooting in the afternoon with Peter and Jessica
Cocktail hour presentation by Jessica
Dinner at the Clubhouse
After-dinner presentation by Peter
Friday 
 Sunrise Boat Ride
Lunch at the clubhouse
Afternoon shooting and projections/critiques
Late afternoon ferry to Isle of Palms
Saturday
Sunrise Shoot on Dewees
followed by brunch on Isle of Palms
afternoon on Dewees shooting and projections/critiques
Dinner at the Clubhouse
Sunday 
Brunch and last-minute Q&A
What’s not included:
Travel expense from your home to the Dewees Ferry at Isle of Palms dock
Friday breakfast
Friday dinner
Saturday breakfast
Total $950 per person
Spouses and partners are invited to join us for meals and boat rides for a companion rate of $300
Click Here for Photographer only rate of $950
Click Here for Companion only rate of $300
Click Here for Photographer + Companion rate of $1250
SxSE is a bi-monthly, online publication that features fine art, documentary, and illustrative photography of the American Southeast.

Dewees Nature Investigation

Summer Nature Programs: Reserve your Spot

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

All summer long, we have some great summer nature programs for families lined up.  We are trying something a little different this year, and we are hoping people will sign up for programs in advance, so the staff knows how many to plan for.  This means we’ll have enough nets, or paint for t-shirts, or squid or owl pellets to dissect, etc. Each week we’ll have a different theme. In addition, regular seining programs are offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They are always different, because you never know what you’re going to get!  And on Mondays at 9:30 there’s a crabbing program at the crabbing dock. Here’s the full line-up:

Monday, June 5: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Wednesday June 7: Seining Capers Point

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, June 12: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

June 13: Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe Crabs are found on the front beach as well as the back creeks on the island.  They gather to spawn in the full moon and are a valuable source of food for migrating shorebirds.  During the program we will treasure hunt for molts and other clues to these interesting animals during a beach exploration and then head inside for a Horseshoe Crab craft.  Meet @ Huyler House Beach Walk.  Sign up Here


Sign Up Now!

Thursday June 15: Seining Huyler House Beach

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, June 19: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday June 20: Spineless Animals


Jellyfish, hermit crabs, and squid, Oh MY!  Learn about marine invertebrates and how they fit into the food chain. During habitat exploration with hand nets learn to id common marine invertebrates and then dissect a squid to understand how it works. Meet at the ferry Dock.

Sign Up Now!

Wednesday June 21: Seining Capers Point

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, June 26: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday, June 27: Birds of Prey

Raptors are a common sight on Dewees Island throughout the year.  Learn to ID common Birds of Prey and how they fit into the food chain through an owl pellet dissection and go on a scavenger to discover how many different types of raptors live on Dewees Island.  Meet @ the Huyler House Picnic Tables . Sign up HereSign Up Now!

Thursday June 29: Seining Huyler House Beach

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, July 3: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Wednesday July 5: Seining Huyler House Beach

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, July 10: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday, July 11: Things with Fins

Learn about fish, sharks and other animals with fins that are found in the waters around Dewees Island. We will search for shark’s teeth, figure out the difference between a fish and a shark and then make a fish print (bring a white t-shirt). Meet @ Huyler House Beach Walk.

Sign Up Now!

Thursday July 13: Seining Capers Point

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, July 17: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday July 18:Amazing Animals

Dewees Island is home to many different mammals and reptiles.  We will learn about common animals found on Dewees Island though live animals, skulls, skins & tracks, make frog slime and a craft to take home.Meet at the Huyler House Picnic Tables
Sign Up Now!

Wednesday July 19: Seining Capers Point

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, July 24: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday July 25: Spineless Animals

Jellyfish, hermit crabs, and squid, Oh MY!  Learn about marine invertebrates and how they fit into the food chain. During habitat exploration with hand nets, learn to identify common marine invertebrates and then dissect a squid to understand how it works. Sign up Here.  Meet @ the front Dock.

Sign Up Now!

Wednesday July 27: Seining Huyler House Beach

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, July 31: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday August 1: Birds of Prey

Raptors are a common sight on Dewees Island throughout the year.  Learn to ID common Birds of Prey and how they fit into the food chain through an owl pellet dissection and go on a scavenger to discover how many different types of raptors live on Dewees Island.  Meet @ the Huyler House Picnic Tables . 

Sign Up Now!

Wednesday August 2: Seining Capers Point

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, August 7: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday August 8: Things with Fins

Learn about fish, sharks and other animals with fins that are found in the waters around Dewees Island. We will search for shark’s teeth, figure out the difference between a fish and a shark and then make a fish print (bring a white t-shirt). Meet @ Huyler House Beach Walk.
Sign Up Now!

Thursday August 10: Seining Huyler House Beach

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

Monday, August 14: Crabbing

Learn about safely catching crabs on Dewees Island during this catch and release program.  Meet at the crab dock.

Sign Up Now!

Tuesday, August 15: Amazing Animals

Dewees Island is home to many different mammals and reptiles. We will learn about common animals found on Dewees Island though skulls, skins & tracks, make frog slime and a craft to take home.
Sign Up Now!

Wednesday August 16th: Seining Capers Point

Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Dewees Island. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet & muddy. Please wear sandals with a back strap, water shoes or tennis shoes – no flip flops. Bring hats, water, sunscreen.
Sign Up Now!

To sign up for turtle team training on Wednesdays, you’ll go to the regular turtle team sign up and look for the extra slots on Wednesdays.

 Sign Up Now!

aerial of Lake Timicau Project 2017

Lake Timicau Restoration Project Begins

Posted on Posted in Dewees Island Conservancy, Real Estate

It was exciting to see a large earth mover at 6 pipes last week; even more exciting when we heard Pete Y describe it coming out of the water at 6 pipes. The Lake Timicau Restoration Project has begun!

And no time like the present: six pipes has seen some “adjustment” since hurricane Matthew, and the erosion has been compounded by high tides.

This photo was taken in January 2016:

And this in June of 2016:

By this month, a good bit of the road has eroded around the pipes:

So it was great to see this big piece of equipment come ashore at six pipes this week. For a day or two it was visible at six pipes, and then it moved along Lake Timicau towards the end along Lake Timicau Lane.

Apparently it’s amphibious: Pete reports it coming right out of the water (and the tracks prove that.)

Part of the Lake Timicau Restoration Project is a canal that links the areas that get good water flow at one pipe and six pipes with the far end of the wetland behind lots 65 and 80.  It’s pretty amazing how natural this machine can make the canal look.  This video shows the canal starting at one pipe:

Watch videos in HD for better results.

This is the outside of One Pipe:

This shows the track from one pipe toward the other end of Lake Timicau:

And at the other end, from the intersection of Pelican Flight and Lake Timicau, it looks like this:

Meanwhile, back at six pipes, not much has happened.  These photos show what it looks like right now:

And this video explores further.  Exciting things are coming: you can see a large piece of equipment on the beach toward Capers Inlet.

 

 
The Lake Timicau Restoration Project represents years of work and partnership with The Dewees Island Conservancy, the Wetlands Committee of the POA, USFW, The North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grant Program, and Ducks Unlimited. Donations are still welcome: click here to donate.

7 Reasons to Walk with the Turtle Team

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

This week kicked off our turtle team activities and began nesting season with our first nest. We rely on volunteer walkers to patrol the beaches and look for tracks above the high tide mark. If you can convince yourself to be a morning person, it’s a great activity, even if you don’t find a nest. Here are seven reasons to join the team.

1. Sunrises

Yes, sunrises.  They are different every day, and almost always spectacular.  Even the overcast ones can send rays of light in an incredible display of beams on the water.  Here are a few we’ve caught while walking with the team.

2. Solitude

You can go with a friend, but the incredible luxury of being alone on a four mile stretch of the beach is not to be underestimated.  Take it in, be lulled by the rhythm of the waves, breathe the salt air and contemplate the reflections on the water, the gentle dance of the sea oats, the endless circles of life and death visible on the beach.

3. Exercise

You can get your steps out of the way first thing, and turtle team walking in sand is great exercise.  I will occasionally ride my bike to and from the beach, and it’s even possible to do your turtle patrol from a bike, so long as you keep an eye at the edge of the most recent tide line. Think of it as spin class!

4. Citizen Science

By walking our beaches and looking for tracks (and other unusual circumstances, like stranded or dead wildlife) you’re on the front lines of a large scale citizen science effort that monitors sea turtle populations worldwide.  Our nest monitoring has given us really interesting data about turtle nesting habits, sources of ocean pollution, migratory bird mortality, etc.  Your part of data collection helps flesh out the picture of biodiversity on the planet.

5. Naming Rights

When you are the scheduled walker and you discover tracks in the sand, you get the right to name the turtle whatever you want.  This can be your own name, or that of someone you want to honor, or even something silly: last year, we had a nest named MarkyMark and the Funky Bunch.  Then, when the DNA project registers that nest, you’ll be able to see where that turtle nested that summer and other summers.

 

6. Shells

If you collect shells, there’s real value to being first on the beach after a high tide.  It’s even better if there was a storm the night before. Sand dollars, horse conchs, sea urchin tests, giant tun shells: being the first one on the beach often yields some great finds.  On Dewees, we expect all people (not just turtle team members) to limit their treasure collecting to three treasures: it leaves more for others, replenishes beach sand, and provides habitat for other creatures.

7. Nature

I saved this one for last because it’s the best.  There is an incredibly active world out there that is much more visible in those early hours.  Whether it’s a shark fishing the shallows, a shorebird hustling tiny chicks along the shoreline, a nighthawk booming in the predawn light, there is always something interesting to see and hear.

Being a member of the turtle team gets you outside right when the good stuff happens.  I have seen a bat drop her baby and return for a pick-up, a fawn take its first trembly steps, a squid scoot around in a tide pool, and hundreds of horseshoe crabs spawning.


Dewees Island turtle team walkers have seen bobcats, foxes, coyotes, dolphins and hatching turtles. Some of our favorite nature moments:

If you want to join the turtle team, there’s a training video and sign up instructions here.

Easter Sunrise at the Beach

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

Every Easter, members of the community gather to watch the sun rise over the ocean and celebrate with the break of day. The simple service is led by a community volunteer, and if we’re lucky, accompanied by music. This morning’s beautiful service was led by the Mosers, with Ginny preparing the bulletin and leading the service, and Artus accompanying on the banjo. Old friends and new gathered to greet the dawn.

 

Octopus at the Dock

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

One of the best things about being on Dewees is that you never really know what nature surprises are in store for you on any given day. This week, Larry W and his friend. caught an octopus on a hook and line while fishing at the ferry dock.  He reeled in this beauty, who had emerged from a “den” in an old coffee mug, grabbed the bait, and jumped back into the coffee cup for shelter.  The bait, the line, the cup, and the octopus all ended up on the dock.


The octopus was at first an angry red, and the group on the dock put the poor cephalopod in a bucket, with his coffee cup and called Lori, the environmentalist. (Coffee cup at bottom of photo)

She found an aerator and gave him a bit of quiet.

This video has clips from the process:

And this close up shows just how sensitive to light they are: you can see the color changes flash across the octopus as the sunlight in the room changes and he moves in relation to the carpet.

Lori took it to the aquarium to hang out with our former (think 12 years back) Shannon Teders Howard, a senior biologist on the staff at the South Carolina Aquarium, greeted them and helped the Octopus get settled in his (or her) new home. When I checked with Shannon yesterday (and asked for more info about the species), she said,

Dewees AKA Joe is doing fabulous and is keeping his/her coffee cup close.

Their lifespan can range from 15-24 months. Females lay eggs at the end of their lifespan and are good mothers, keeping their eggs clean and protected. After a month or more, the eggs hatch and the mother will pass away naturally. They are very intelligent and are great hunters. Blue crabs and other crustaceans are their favorite food source. Based on his/her size I believe Dewees is about 4-5 months old.

Shannon also sent these photos of him over at the Aquarium in his tank, still in his mug.

I also looked in some of my favorite field guides and found out a little bit more about these cool creatures.

In Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: the Oceans’ Oddest creatures and Why They Matter, Ellen Prager explains that cephalopod Must be wary of predators: unlike other maritime creatures they don’t have protective shell. Almost all marine carnivores will eat them, so they’ve developed an array of defenses.  They have the biggest brains of any invertebrates. Adept at camouflage, they can change both the color and texture of their skin. They can even make their underside lighter and the topside darker so that they are harder to see from below or above. Prager also delves into their reproductive habits: If you want to know more about the romance of Octopuses and their personal lives, you can read the book. (link below)

I think our species was a common octopus, Octopus vulgaris. The skin is normally a reddish brown but can change easily.

They tend to be solitary and keep a sort of den.  In Life Along the Inner Coast, Robert and Alice Jane Lippson describe their hiding places, and the shells and debris that can accumulate outside them as they consume their prey in the den.  They also provide the interesting commercial fact that over 100,000 tons are harvested annually.  For people to eat.

Like other molluscs(moon snails, etc.) they have a sharp tongue called a radula that bores into their prey and can inject a toxin which relaxes the muscles of a clam or other bivalve: the octopus can then pry it open. Or it can use the parrot-like beak to overcome prey like crabs or lobster.

Click here for a great National Geographic Video about these incredible creatures.