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Found 1 result

  1. What a trip! I finally had the opportunity to visit the renowned Westmoreland State Park in Montross, VA. I had heard mixed feelings about the site online, with some claiming it was far too over-picked and others dubbing it reliable and productive. I decided the best way to find out the truth was to go there myself! My dad and I hit the road early to get there before sunrise. It was about a 2 hour drive. We arrived and expected to have to pay a fee to get in, but it appeared that no one was being charged. I guess there is only a fee during the summer months. We hiked down the steep trail to Fossil Beach to discover that a few had beaten us to the first spot. They, however, had only come for a short visit and were heading out just as we arrived. It was low tide, but the water was still high up the beach. My dad and I spent the first hour or so walking along the river in the water, which I typically don't do. But I was finding some great teeth! The water was relatively calm and very clear so I could see everything in the sand with ease. My dad went further down the beach while I kept a steady pace and picked up anything I could spot. After about half an hour spent in the water, I looked down a little deeper and saw a large tooth sitting on top of the sand, facing towards me. My heart skipped a beat and my first thought was "Megalodon", but once I picked it up I realized it couldn't be so. It was a very large Mako, rather. It's about 2 inches in slant height, and in great condition. Undoubtedly the largest tooth I've found in my fossil hunting career. After finding something so incredible, it seemed that the rest of the day was underwhelming in comparison. But I did manage some other nice finds. More people showed up at the beach as the sun rose and the air began to warm up. When someone came to me and asked if I was having any luck, I was more than happy to show them the huge tooth I had found. Many thought it was amazing. I also had the opportunity to explain the world of fossil hunting to an elderly couple who showed up and had no idea what everyone was looking for. I had a nice conversation with them and answered their many questions, then gave them a few teeth and got back to work. This is not the first time someone has come to me asking what exactly I'm doing pacing up and down the beach. I absolutely love to inform them when they ask. I eventually made it all the way to the border of the beach where the cliffs pick back up, where I picked up a cliff fall and carried it to a safe distance from the cliffs. I used my rock hammer to pick away slowly at the fall, but came away with nothing. The tide was getting really high and the beach began to disappear. I had to cross the stream that separates the beaches before it got too high, otherwise I would have been stranded. My dad and I decided it would be best to call it a day at Westmoreland and go grab some lunch nearby, but we weren't done hunting yet. Right down the road from Westmoreland State Park is Stratford Hall Plantation, the birthplace and childhood home of General Robert E. Lee. I have been to this site before actually, for one of my first fossil hunting trips ever. I convinced my dad that it would be worth it to go give Stratford a shot once we finished our lunches. We made the short drive and paid the entry fee then drove down to the beach for a few last hours of hunting. We were finding teeth in larger quantities than at Westmoreland, but nothing too large. It is interesting to see the varying frequencies of finds between the two sites. For example, at Westmoreland I only found two ray plates, while at Stratford I found nearly 30 of them, some large, and in less time spent hunting. Instead of beach combing like we did at Westmoreland, we sifted at Stratford for the majority of the time. We wrapped up the trip with one last walk up and down the small beach, then waved goodbye to the Potomac. The grand total of shark teeth found between me and my dad was 167. The finds are not as abundant here as some other local sites like Brownie's or Purse, but in terms of quality it is high end. We found some decent sized hastalis and Makos, and a lot of the usual Tigers, Hemis, Lemons, and Requiems. I found one tooth that I believe is the crown of an Odontocete but I could also see how it could be a small crocodile tooth because of its visible vertical ridges and the fact that it is hollow. I will be posting identification topics on that tooth and many others from this trip, because we definitely found a few strange things. Overall, a great day on the Potomac, and my first time hitting two sites in one day. I walked away with my biggest tooth and handful of other great finds. Thanks for taking the time to read my report. Hoppe hunting!
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