Monday, June 30, 2008

Sea Turtle Rescue

Island Reporter News Article
Monday, June 30, 2008 — Time: 3:37:14 PM EST

Parasail captain rescues sea turtle; Injured loggerhead rehabs at CROW

A loggerhead sea turtle, struggling to stay alive while being treated at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife (CROW), has one man to offer its thanks to.Capt. Derek Elzerd of Estero Island Parasail spotted the injured turtle about 50 yards offshore from the Pink Shell Beach Resort on Sunday.According to Elzerd, he had just pulled out from the Pink Shell in the late afternoon when he spotted the injured sea turtle and decided to take a closer look."We see turtles occasionally and I take a look at them because they’re pretty neat animals," he said. "They usually dive and swim away when they see a boat near them. He kept taking breaths so I knew he wasn’t dead, and he didn’t look like he had been hit by a boat or anything."Elzerd said he became alarmed by the behavior of the turtle and called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for help. He was eventually put in contact with Eve Haverfield of Turtle Time, Inc., the organization that monitors turtles on Fort Myers Beach."I said, ‘I’m hanging out with this turtle and you’ve got to come and get him,’" Elzerd said. "Eve said, ‘We kind of rely on volunteers like yourself and could you get him to shore?’ I said, ‘Well, I guess I could give that a shot.’"Elzerd said he tried to cover the turtle with a tarp as Haverfield had suggested and bring him to shore but the turtle didn’t like to be covered up."He didn’t really want anything to do with the tarp so I got into the water with him," he said. "I just kind of swam to shore with him."Elzerd said the turtle was too weak to dive or swim away from him."I just used the buoyancy of my life jacket to keep us both up," he said. "He tried to dive on me but he was so weak he couldn’t. An animal that large should very easily have been able to break free of me."Elzerd said he was assisted by a man on a jet ski who used a rope to help gently pull him and the injured turtle to shore."He would give me a little extra tug every now and then," he said.Eventually, Elzerd was able to bring the turtle to shore where Carol Lis, a volunteer with Turtle Time, transported the turtle to CROW on Sanibel."I was a little worried about the turtle and wasn’t sure if he was going to make it," Elzerd said.As of press time, the loggerhead turtle was resting comfortably at CROW’s clinic, Haverfield said, adding that she was gratified by Elzerd’s heroic actions."The fact is that he went above and beyond," Haverfield said. "He stayed with that turtle and made sure that it was safe all the way to the point that the turtle was transported to CROW. I’m just extremely grateful for people taking the initiative with this imperiled species. Lis, a volunteer with Turtle Time, transported the 120-pound turtle to Sanibel."We put a wet towel on her to make sure she didn’t dry out," Lis said. "They put her in a kiddie pool on a big piece of foam with some wet towels to kind of cushion her and support her. They were going to take some radio graphs or x-rays to see if there was anything internally blocking her. She appeared to be really emaciated like she hadn’t been eating."“We’re all a team out there on Fort Myers Beach,” Haverfield added. “And the people are just extending themselves to help the sea turtles."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Walk #9

Sorry to tell you that we started a little earlier today and it was just barely light enough to see; so, no pictures. Everything was still the same, no turtle tracks; the two nests in zone 1 looked fine. We did however, have so much trash that we had to leave it where we came off the beach and go back to pick it up and haul it to a dumpster. What a mess of things we found this morning. There was another pair of lost flip flops, as usual and plenty of plastic bags, a beach ball, etc also a comforter that had no doubt, come from one of the condos in the area, laying on the beach and piled full of trash. That was a major endeavor, dragging it all the way back, along with arm loads and a big bag full too. But, I guess somebody had to clean it up. There was only one other person on the beach and that was a jogger who went by just as I was dragging the comforter up to the Buttonwood access. She probably thought I had been out sleeping on the beach! Hopefully things will be better next week. There wasn't even a pretty sunrise to look at. We checked later today to make sure we would get a call after the nests in our zone hatch. We really want to be there when they do the dig to find out how many eggs hatched, if any are left, etc. We were told; yes they would call us so we can be there. Yippee!

Did you know?

A steep decline in Loggerhead nesting is evident from the nest counts at the state's index 27 beaches, which are those used for research and trend analysis by the state wildlife institute, an arm of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. And did you know, Sanibel/Captiva are Index Beaches?Last year was the lowest nesting season on record for the loggerheads -- about half of the 1998 peak -- at the beaches used by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to study long-term trends.

What happens to Florida loggerheads is critical because the state hosts 90 percent of the nation's loggerhead-turtle nests.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Nests

There are three new nests this week:

Sunday – Zone#6 – Nest #19 -- 111 feet west of the Building “C” entrance at the vege line.

Wednesday – Zone #6 -- Nest #20 at Pointe Santo – 47 feet east of the east corner of the east most building at the vege line

Saturday – Zone # 5 -- Nest #21 – 120 feet east of the eastern-most walkway at Algiers Park

This year's nesting stats as of June 23

Sanibel East End, 29 Nests, 29 False Crawls

Sanibel West End, 129 Nests, 133 False Crawls

Captiva, 59 Nests, 49 False Crawls

Total , 207 Nests, 211 False Crawls

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walk #8

It was Sunday morning again and time for another 'Turtle Walk'. Left the house at 5:30; it was still dark. We stopped for coffee and there was a pickup with a boat hooked behind it, in the 7/11 parking lot. The men were getting prepared for a fishing trip. That is the first time I’ve seen anyone else there that early and there were actually a couple of cars coming onto Periwinkle from the causeway this morning.

Warning: If you are tired of seeing the sunrises on Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach, run away now!

Walking on the boardwalk to the beach just before sunrise, you could see a beautiful pink glow, behind the palm trees. I can honestly tell you that is a sight I will never get tired of.

The sunrise this morning was something that an artist could make a fabulous painting of. The gradient colors went from a very dark blue down to a very light blue, then from lavender to shades of pink. There was a bright streak going straight up from the center of the horizon, as if a spot light was shining upward. I tried to capture it in a photo, but it didn’t show up very well.

After we were out on the beach for a few minutes, that one streak turned into several. Just when you think it’s the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen; it gets better! I think that’s what made me think of the ‘Life Is Good’ motto this morning and smile to myself. It doesn’t get better than this! Each time I see an especially beautiful sunrise, I think that I will never see a prettier one or forget this one.

It was hard to look away, but I began to notice that we certainly weren’t the first people on the beach this morning because there were quite a lot of footprints along the water’s edge. There was a man standing on a boardwalk setting up a tripod to take pictures of the sunrise. He was certainly in for a treat today.

Then right in front of me, lying crippled on the beach, was a broken boat ladder. Now you have to get a mental picture of me dragging a boat ladder and Gary carrying a big trash bag, to fully appreciate the humor when we spied a beach ball rolling back and forth in the surf. We looked at each other like, who’s going after that? At about the same time, he saw more trash to pick up, so I dropped the ladder, retrieved the ball, dropped it in the trash bag, and we were on our way again. I can tell you that by the time we got to the parking lot area, where a dumpster was, dragging that ladder was getting pretty annoying.

Back out on the beach again, we saw a whole row of birds standing in the water, watching for little tiny fish. One of them held a fish in its beak while it flipped back and forth.
At the end of the group of birds, were three men and a lady fishing. They were all dressed in serious fishing regalia. None of them smiled or spoke as we passed. No doubt they were on a serious mission. Seems to me that a person goes fishing for the pleasure of the catch, but they certainly didn’t appear to be enjoying it. Yes, that peaked my curiosity. But then I wondered if they were watching while I was dragging that ladder and perhaps a little curious as to why we were designated trash collectors for this particular morning. By the time we passed them, we already had a growing assortment of sand pail handles, sand toys, paper and plastic bags, bottle caps, straws, water bottles, and cans.

It was getting much lighter out and it was clear enough that you could see pretty far; Ft Myers Beach, and quite a bit further south to maybe, Bonita Beach.

As we made the little detour through the path at the end of the island, I noticed how nice the trees and flowers looked. All the rain we’ve had lately has certainly enlivened them.

We followed the path back to the beach, and just after that, noticed something bright pink under the bushes next to the road that goes to the light house. So of course we checked it out. It was a sleeping bag, soaking wet and beside it laid one men’s shoe. That’s right, more trash!

Once again, the Ospreys started making noise and got my attention. Today there were two of them on the nest. Earlier we had seen one flying, carrying a fish nearly as long as it was. The poor fish was flying along head first with its tail going back and forth. It wasn’t a good day to be a fish!

A black-crowned night heron was walking along the shoreline looking for breakfast. I was thinking it must be about time for him to call it a night.

Just after passing the fishing pier there was another surprise waiting; a bright umbrella weaving back and forth with the waves. It was broken, so I folded it up and carried it back to the trash barrel at the pier.

As I started back up the bay side beach, I could see Gary bent over picking up something. It was some sort of fishing net that had washed up on shore and it was tangled in and around the plants covering maybe 25 or 30 square yards. He was able to pick up one small pile, but the rest of it was like fishing line. That was a time consuming venture!

There were pretty morning glories blooming. I had been looking at them for a couple Sunday mornings before this, and had been waiting for more blooms. So, today was the day!

I saw only one star fish this morning and it reminded me of a poem I read a few days ago.

A little boy walked carefully along a crowded beach,
Where starfish by the hundreds lay there within his reach.
They washed up with each wave, far as the eye could see,
And each would surely die if they were not set free.
So one by one he rescued them, then heard a stranger call,
"It won't make a difference ... you cannot save them all."
But as he tossed another back toward the ocean's setting sun,
He said with deep compassion,
"I made a difference…. to that one!"

Sometimes it seems like one or two people don’t make much of a difference in the whole scheme of things, but if each of us does just a little, it will.

As we walked off the beach and across the island on Buttonwood Lane, I took a picture of this mailbox for someone who will love it.

After we left and were driving, we had to stop to let this guy make his way across the street. Don’t you think that was kind of ironic? Who would have guessed we had to look in the street to find a turtle?

Did you know?
Loggerhead females return to lay their eggs on or near the same beach where they hatched. Unlike other sea turtles, courtship and mating usually do not take place near the nesting beach, but rather along the migration routes between feeding and breeding grounds.

Nesting Statistics as of June 21, 2008

We had 8 new nests this week... by Zone and the numbers of the new ones:

Zone #1 - Nests #3 and 5

Zone #2 - a new nest at Tiqua Cay - #12

Zone #3 - Nests #4 and 8

Zone #4 - no nests

Zone #5 - Nests #1, 6, 7 and 9 - new nests #17 at Sand Dollar and #18 at Gulfside Place

Zone #6 - Nests #2, 10, and 11 - new nests #13 at Villa Sanibel, #14 at Casa Ybel, #15 at Casa Ybel and #16 at Casa Ybel

That's 18 nests!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

*.............NBC2 NEWS Article.............*

Monday, June 16, 2008

Menacing Lizards

This is a little off the 'Turtle Track', but I think it's interesting all the same. It also has to do with protecting the wild life on Sanibel Island. There was a carcass of a Nile Monitor Lizard found here in a small lake. This article tells all about it, along with some facts about Nile Monitor Lizards and the Green Iguanas that are living here, even though this is not where they belong.

Did You Know?
In Central America, where iguana meat is frequently consumed, iguanas are referred to as "bamboo chicken" or "chicken of the trees."
(Yes, I thought that was worthy of my Blog. :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Walk #7

(You have my apologies for the poor quality photos. I used a camera this morning that I’m not used to, planning to get better pictures, and the result was not good!)

Left the house a little earlier this morning; went past the Seven Eleven to get coffee and a doughnut. On the way out, the clerk told us to have a nice morning. As we went through the door, Gary started laughing and said, “When have you heard that lately?” Those of you who know us will see the humor in that!

As we drove up the dark street, we talked about how funny it would be to stop by our friend, Sanibel Bonnie’s, waking her with an invitation to go on the ‘Turtle Walk’ with us. After thinking that over, we decided it might only be funny to us, so we went on.

When we reached the beach access, it was still dark. We ate our doughnut and drank coffee for a few minutes, then headed out to the beach. It was just barely light enough to see where we were going. I noticed a sign, just across the boardwalk, that I hadn’t seen previously. It was a ½ mile marker, which is the distance from there to the lighthouse. As we walked out onto the sand, you could hear and feel it crunch under your feet. I think that was because of the hard rain we had yesterday evening. The water was really calm and a nice, cool breeze was blowing.

Just after starting out, we nearly walked into a huge hole with two more holes inside of it. The whole thing combined was at least 3’ deep. I guess nobody told those people that you’re supposed to fill those things back in before you leave the beach. There were 4 or 5 more holes along the way, before we got to the lighthouse.

There were a lot of birds out this morning. I suppose they were looking for breakfast. I saw, 'I LOVE DADDY' written with big letters in the sand; a surprise for Father's Day, no doubt. We only saw one couple walking on the beach, looking for shells, but there was only a smattering of small ones.

Once again we walked back and forth, picking up trash. (I chuckled to myself, thinking that we probably looked just like those sandpipers that run back and forth at the water’s edge. Well, maybe sandpipers in slow motion.) Except for the little plastic shovel, kid’s t shirt and pamper; it was pretty obvious from the assortment we picked up, that there had to be a few parties on the beach last night.

Looking toward the lighthouse, it still looked pretty dark. But, by the time we got to the tip of the island, it was beginning to get lighter out.

It was necessary to go around by the path again. While walking through there, I heard the cries of an osprey. I looked up and there it sat, on a dead tree. There are quite a few dead trees in this area; probably remnants of Hurricane Charley. The ospreys sure seem to love them. I heard more osprey screams; louder than before. I looked toward the sounds, to see an osprey nest high on a pole with several birds sitting on it, impatiently waiting for breakfast in (bed) nest. I got a picture just as, what I thought to be a parent, landed on the nest with their food.

As I walked past the two plaques and was taking a picture, I smelled a jasmine that was in bloom. That sweet smell certainly gets your attention and draws you closer.

Back on the beach again, it was hard to walk for all the tree roots etc. that are partially buried in the sand.

I heard more osprey sounds, looked up to see another nest near the fishing pier.

When I looked back, I noticed a heron on the other side of the walkway. Then I heard something at the pier; as I looked around, a man’s pole was bent over and he was pulling a pretty large fish in. I just wasn't fast enough with the camera to get a picture before the fish was flopping on the pier. There were several people fishing there this morning.

An ibis and a heron walked back and forth searching for food, while three pelicans dove for theirs. I love watching the pelicans splash as they hit the water. As awkward as they appear, I don’t know how they catch any fish.

Walking on, I noticed a shell I liked and bent over to pick it up. Can you guess which one it was? My friends will know!

Now, below you will see a rare find! The highly sought after pineapple rind, has many uses, (Pineapple juice can be taken as a diuretic and to expedite labor, also as a gargle in cases of sore throat, and as an antidote for seasickness. The crushed rind is applied on fractures and the rind decoction with rosemary is applied on hemorrhoids. It also has moisturizing and anti-ageing action, and has an antifungal and purifying effect on the skin.) But I’m not sure what this one’s purpose was, or how it found its way here. Leave it to us to find this instead of turtle tracks.

I zigzagged around some bushes and then took a look back to see how high the sun was.

As I turned around and looked down, I saw this five forked spear, around 7” wide, which looked like it had been buried at sea for years! Do you suppose a fisherman simply dropped it overboard, or could it have belonged to some mythical character?

We began noticing schools of tiny fish just a couple of feet out from the water’s edge. Out a little further you could see more of them making little splashes on the surface. It was surprising that those birds weren’t heading this way. If you look at the picture closely, you can see the fish.

Last week I mentioned the rocks that were piled on the beach in front of a bayside home, and was wondering if they were allowed to block the public beach area. So, it was rather strange when I saw an article about it in the paper yesterday. It seems that you aren’t. But after one of the bad storms, ten or twelve feet of that owner’s property was washed away. So, in order to stop any further erosion, they had rip rap brought in and temporarily piled there until they could get a permit to make some sort of a permanent barrier. I believe they are now going to remove what is there and put something else a little further back on their property, leaving more room for people to pass, on the beach

Just a little more walking, a quick look back at the sun, and it was time to turn onto Buttonwood Lane.

I can’t help but wonder how many years it took to grow the beautiful, tall hedges. Some of the properties have sculpted openings through it for their driveways.

Here’s a cute mailbox with a painting of a ‘Sandman’ that caught my eye. This island has the most wonderful assortment of unique mailboxes!

Flowers and trees are blooming everywhere!

Just before reaching the end of our walk, we spotted another osprey nest.

We didn’t find any new turtle tracks today, but the two nests that are in our zone looked fine. And, we can tell you that the bird population seems to be thriving.

A little 'Turtle Trivia' below......

Did you know?
Caretta caretta is commonly called the "loggerhead" sea turtle due to their overly large heads which is comprised of a horny beak which is significantly thicker than in other sea turtles. A loggerhead sea turtle reportedly grows up to 800 lbs (364 kg) and 3.5 feet long. Their shell is heart shaped, color is a reddish brown color, and the color of their skin is brown yellow.