Walking the beach in the early morning with the tide very low, I found what I am fairly sure a long (18 inches) very streamlined Blue Heron feather on the sand. It is shaped similar to a B.H. feather; it has a bluish color within the dark colors; the edges of the feather are somewhat curled upward, like the flaps on an airplane wing. It’s in perfect condition except for salt and other debris from the water. I brought it home and washed the sand and salt off the surface so it would regain its shininess and beautiful color before painting it on paper with colored pencil.
The molting season for the crabs is over. That’s when the crabs out grow their present shell. Nature then grows a very soft shell around the entire crab so it can crawl out of the old shell and enjoy the room in its new shell. But during this soft shell period, the crab is very vulnerable to predators until the new shell hardens.
There were several dried cast off shells about 2 1/2 inches across the backs on the sandy beach the day I walked. So I picked up a male and female crab to bring home to sketch since it is difficult to do the sketching on the beach. The male crab has a more narrow abdominal flap on its abdomen compared to the female which is much wider.
While collecting crabs for food consumption, it is illegal to keep the females but males are legal for eating but need to be within legal limits of 165 mm. per Washington State R/R. They are cooked immediately after being brought back to shore in the boiling hot salty water. My husband removes the backs and cleans out all the fat and stuff around the crab before throwing them into the boiling water. When they are cooked within the boiling time limit, they are removed. Then we grab a few legs and start cracking and eating the hot crab as we sit around the fire.