Found Objects

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

E.E Cummings

I found a bunch of these curious objects on the beach in Longbranch, NJ while visiting with a friend last summer. They look like seed pods but reminded me of embryo cases of skate. They also look like some kind of weapon to be hurled or something belonging in a Star Wars movie. (Maybe I'm influenced by my 12-year old playing online Xbox games).  I wondered if they were from land or sea.

Just recently I learned that they are the seeds pods of Trapa napans or Eurasian water chestnuts. These tough boggers use their spikes to hitchhike rides on geese and are also eaten by muskrats, both helpful in distributing the pods.

Trapa napans are aquatic plants and have become an invasive species, problematic in clogging estuaries, causing flooding as they alter geomorphology and cause a nuisance to fishers and beach goers. Environmentalists are devising strategies to control their aggressive propagation so some day, soon, there may be very few of them washed up to be found on beaches.

                                                                 protective egg case of skate

I have a small bone and insect collection. This squirrel skull was found in the West 148th Street garden. The bronze bird is a pendant, a present from the boys.

Another object from the beach. Looks like a seed head but not sure from what plant it came. Please tell me if you know. Thanks.

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