Sandy beaches and tidal mud flats line thousands of miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline. Beaches are mostly found along the lower Bay, while muddy flats are more common in the upper Bay.
Beaches are harsh environments where wildlife are subjected to wind, waves and heat. Aquatic species that wash ashore can easily dry out and die.
Beaches and tidal flats support a wide variety of plants and animals, including birds, mammals, insects and invertebrates. Sandpipers and small crabs scurry along the water's edge, while gulls and terns fly above. Underneath the sand and mud, worms, clams and crabs burrow to avoid predators. Horseshoe crabs are one of the most celebrated beach dwellers; they come ashore in late spring to lay their eggs in the sand.
Click on the images below to learn about some of the critters that live on the Chesapeake Bay's beaches and tidal flats.