Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cownose Rays

A good friend just sent an e-mail with some incredible photos. These are thousands of "Cownose" or "Golden" Rays off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. They migrate from FL to Mexico and back again every year.

Many times in the outdoors we experience natural phenomenons. Some we understand, some we don't. Last summer I was guiding some clients on a kayak circumnavigation of Masonboro Island. It was a hot and bright day. About half way through the ocean leg I thought I was becoming overwhelmed by the heat and exertion. I suddenly started seeing flashing sunspots everywhere I looked! After a few seconds I realized the sunspots were dozens of large rays flying by beneath us. They moved so fast the experience only lasted a few moments before they left us behind. It was wonderful and surreal, and definitely a highlight for my clients.

Thanks to the photos I now know what I saw. North Carolina also has Cownose Rays.
Although I had seen this species many times in the marsh I had never seen them in this context before. Just one more of those natural experiences I will never forget.

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