Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Walk #2

I was excited to do the turtle walk today, because there had been a false crawl reported in this zone yesterday morning. (A false crawl is when a turtle comes on the beach, but does not lay her eggs. Usually because conditions are not favorable there or something may have scared her away. That is determined by seeing the tracks onto the beach and back into the water.) I thought maybe it would have come back last night to lay eggs.

This morning arriving at the beach before daylight; this is how it looked, pretty dark with just a little light beginning to show in the eastern sky.

After getting on the beach, I took a couple of photos. One toward the lighthouse and one toward the west. It didn't seem hot at first; I think the temperature was around 75, but quite humid.

There were two bicycles at the Buttonwood Lane Beach Access at the 1/2 mile marker, so there were people already on the beach. After walking a short distance, I saw two men fishing.

The beach in our zone looks a little like a mine field. There are holes everywhere. It sure wouldn't be wise to walk this part of the beach in the dark, because you would end up with some broken bones or a back out of place. Could that be why the turtle chose not to lay her eggs here? Last week I noticed that there were several lights left on at condos, by doors facing the beach. Maybe that was a problem for Ms Turtle??

Very soon the sky in the east began getting pink. As it began getting more light, there were a lot of people coming out to the beach. There were joggers passing by, people walking and shelling.

There were a lot of shore birds out getting breakfast.

There were also two ducks taking a bath in the edge of the water. I had never seen ducks at the beach before, but they seemed to be having a great time.

The Snowy Plover nesting areas are still marked. There are, I think, four areas marked off in the area between Buttonwood Lane and the Sanibel Inn. After walking a while, we noticed two tiny little baby snowy plovers running around on the beach. (First time I've seen a baby one!) Their mother was trying to keep them safe and as we approached, they ran to her and she put her wings out. They quickly wiggled themselves in under her wings. You couldn't even tell they were there. It was so cute. She did it twice while we watched. Even the full grown Snowy Plovers are so small that you hardly notice them on the beach, unless they happen to scurry across the sand, in front of you.

They are right at the bottom of this photo, in the center.

Go to YouTube by clicking the screen below to watch in HD. Almost as good as being there if you watch closely.

A little further on, I saw a man quite a way out in the water, almost up to his knees. He was busy using a cast net.

The sky was a brighter pink now and in just a couple minutes the sun was coming up. It was a very pretty sunrise. It was getting pretty warm by this time and there was no breeze, so I had slowed down considerably.

The water was so calm that the sunlight made a beautiful reflection.

After reaching the 1 1/2 mile marker and the Sanibel Inn, it was time to turn around and go back.

I started noticing schools of fish in the water and then saw a couple of dolphin swimming by. There were also two very large fish swimming near the shore. They were around 2 ft long.

There was also a fish on the beach. :-)

On the way back, I walked along the water looking at the shells. It was a very slow walk because the shells were all small, so I had to do the 'Sanibel Stoop' to look them over.

When we passed the place where we had seen the baby Snowy Plovers, there were two men with heavy duty :-) camera equipment. Both men were laying on their stomachs on the sand. I'm sure they were getting some great pictures. Poor little plovers, get no peace.

There were no signs of a turtle crawl, which was disappointing, but when I left the beach, I had a pocket bulging with miniature size shells, which made me happy. I'll put a photo of them on my Lazy Days Blog tomorrow.


gpc said...

That start-in-the-dark-end-after-dawn time is my favorite time for a sanibel walk. The perfect way to start a day - sigh.

Snowbird said...

How the heck do you see anything much less turtle tracks when you first hit the beach? It is so dark! I really love your posts about your walk. Makes me feel like I'm there. Wish I was!!! Here's hoping you have a couple of nests in your zone this year.

bean3 said...

Stunning photos Tootie. Just stunning.