he word “estero” means estuary in Spanish; an estuary is a tidal inlet of the sea. Depending on the time of day and the tide, different creatures are active. On one visit to the estero, I watched a group of little egrets feeding on small fish. Two long-billed curlews accompanied them. Many shorebirds depend on mangrove estuaries not only to provide food, but as a safe place to nest and raise their young. So much bounty in this coastal nursery!
During my visit to San Carlos, I was lucky enough to be guided by Dr. Rick Brusca, marine biologist and conservation ecologist extraordinaire. When we ventured into the mangroves, I was amazed at the incredible diversity of invertebrates everywhere. In this painting, I highlight one very beautiful crustacean, the blue crab. Its scientific name, Callinectes sapidus, means “beautiful savory swimmer”. Blue crabs connected to mangroves, mangroves connected to estuaries; all beautifully in balance.
Among its many gifts, the estuary’s shallow water is a safe haven for fish to lay their eggs; where fingerlings can hatch and grow. I saw small schools of fish everywhere, especially during low tide. No wonder this was such a magnet for bird life! The mangroves themselves were quite amazing, too. In this painting I highlight the red mangrove, and the sweet mangrove which exists nowhere else but the Gulf of California. As Dr. Brusca and I tromped around in the mud and thick mangrove stands, I learned about the specific role these plants have as filters of salt water, assimilating and dissolving nutrients. Mangroves benefit the environment by actually improving water quality. How awesome!
For more information or for prints, please visit studiodune.com.