Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Risky Plan to Save Turtles

Experts have put together a plan of action to move sea turtle eggs, from Florida's Panhandle beaches and the Alabama coast, with hope of saving as many as they can, from the oil disaster.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sanibel and Captiva Sea Turtle Nesting Stats

Number of nests is still behind previous years. But, they got a late start this year, so maybe they'll catch up.

As of June 28, 2010:

Sanibel East: 7 nests, 27 false crawls

Sanibel West: 68 nests, 160 false crawls

Captiva: 32 nests, 81 false crawls

As of June 28, 2009:

Sanibel East: 13 nests, 32 false crawls

Sanibel West: 107 nests, 128 false crawls

Captiva: 49 nests, 42 false crawls

As of June 28, 2008:

Sanibel East: 21 nests, 31 false crawls

Sanibel West: 152 nests, 148 false crawls

Captiva: 69 nests, 55 false crawls

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sea Turtles Flying High

Nine Kemp's ridley sea turtles were being treated for injuries related to fishing lines and hooks, at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. Now due to the gulf oil spill, there was need to make room to treat turtles that have been exposed to the oil.

The sea turtles and a A marine biologist, left Gulfport in style Friday, on a private jet, donated by a New Orleans law firm. Finally a little luck for sea turtles.

They arrived in fine shape in Orlando, and were taken to Sea World, where each will have a tank of their own, until they are ready to be released.

Finally, a pleasant story. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Loggerhead Was Killed

A Loggerhead sea turtle was run over by a vehicle on a Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach. For the life of me, I can't figure out why they keep letting people drive on beaches.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eighth Walk of 2010

Today we were out on the beach before sunrise. It was our 8th turtle walk of the season.

As soon as we walked out onto the beach, I could feel a strong breeze. I was thankful for that, as it kept the noseeums away and made our walk a very pleasant one.

First thing I noticed was the Snowy Plover nesting areas were enclosed and ribboned off again. I guess it's time for more nests. There were so many little Plovers running around today, the last group of hatchlings must still be here too. They kept me entertained through at least a 1/2 mile of the walk.

One little Plover standing guard, over the nesting area.

Holes, holes and more holes! This one was about 18" deep.

Every week, we have this kind of turtle activity. :)

The pastel sky, just before sunrise was very pretty today.

I know you can see the log of driftwood. Do you see the other log, the one I had to pick up?

I have a few pics for your cyber shelling pleasure, but it wasn't great this morning.

Two ladies were busy tromping through the dunes, looking for shells. I guess they haven't read beach rules. We aren't supposed to walk in the dune area. I hope there aren't any tiny plover eggs anywhere, that hadn't been found and marked, or they'll be smashed for sure. :(

If you see any special shells in these pictures, please don't tell me, because when I'm walking the the end of our zone, I don't look. Walking the return mile, I look.

If you enlarge the picture, you may spot the little baby plover that saw us coming and hid in a little cupped out place in the sand. It's parents were running all around trying to get our attention to keep us from seeing it too. It stayed right in that spot, with it's head down until we passed. At first I thought it was a dead one, because we were so close and it didn't move. But when Mommy came over it jumped up an ran off with her. I bet he was in trouble!

We weren't this close; just did a close up shot. All of it's feathers aren't even grown yet.

This was a cute mermaid when we passed, but on the way back, she didn't look so good. Someone had stomped in her face. :(

These two White Ibis, seemed to be acting a little strange. They were walking around in the sand, not appearing to be hunting for food, and not going by the water. Their appearance was also different because they both looked kind of dirty. No, it didn't look like oil on their feathers. But, I had to wonder if they could have had a little oil on their feathers, cleaned up and released. Maybe they just got dirty hanging out in a marsh. I thought they were just juvenille ones at first because their feathers are a little different color, but that wasn't it. Just another mystery. Oooh, did you know or care, that the American White Ibis was chosen as the mascot of The University of Miami because of its legendary bravery during hurricanes? :)

This lady was sitting cross legged in the sand, as I passed on my first mile. She was still in the same spot, when I passed on the way back. I think she was breathing in and out with the waves rise and fall, preparing to meditate. Or, could she be a bird whisperer?

I think this is a Grass cerith.

This is turtle #2 today.

A Drill.

There were a few chunks of Sea Pork on the beach this morning. I've been told that Sea Pork can be found in a lot of different colors. It's the first time I've seen it in a bright yellow color.

A little Scallop and a tiny Juvenille Horse Conch.

An Orange Scallop? :)

Another piece of Sea Pork. There was also a black one, which has been confused for globs of oil recently. We were told that it's easy to tell the difference. The black Sea Pork is smooth, firm and flexible like rubber. If you look closely, you can see the individual organisms make up this one piece, they're really interesting. The tar balls, that have been seen in the spill area, were black, very dense in weight, and felt sticky. So the moral to the story; if you see a black blob on the beach, don't get all excited. Look it over carefully and if you really have reason for concern, report it to local officials so they can check it out.

Can you spot the little Plover that thinks he's hiding right next to me. I walked on past and it continued on it's merry way.

We had two bags full of trash, but still no sea turtle, nesting activity in our zone. The beach and water is still clean and clear and I hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It Just Gets Worse

Just when you think you couldn't possibly hear anything worse, than we already have, about the oil spill; this comes to light. :( What a horrible thing!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Think You've Heard it All?

Just about the time you think you've heard it all, something like this comes along. Dumb -ss-s. :(

2 News, has the story. Click to see the video on right side of page.

Monday, June 21, 2010

SCCF 2010 Sea Turtle Nesting Stats

These are the current nesting stats as of today, and those of two previous years as comparison.

As of June 21, 2010:

Sanibel West- 57 nests, 130 false crawls

Sanibel East- 6 nests, 23 false crawls

Captiva- 25 nests, 62 false crawls

As of June 21, 2009:

Sanibel West- 92 nests, 116 false crawls

Sanibel East- 8 nests, 24 false crawls

Captiva- 41 nests, 30 false crawls

As of June 21, 2008:

Sanibel West- 121 nests, 128 false crawls

Sanibel East- 18 nests, 28 false crawls

Captiva- 56 nests, 43 false crawls

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gilda the Loggerhead

Gilda, a Loggerhead sea turtle had one flipper amputated, after she was hit by a boat propeller, nearly two years ago. She was treated at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, trained to swim both right and left without a flipper and released. You can read her story and track her travels.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Seventh Walk of 2010

Today was our 7th turtle walk of the season. As we walked out onto the sand, it wasn't the usual powder that we normally walk through for a short distance. This morning the sand was packed down from the rain storm last night and felt crunchy as we walked. The beach was pretty but it was super hot, even as we started, before the sun came up. Not a breeze was blowing on the first 2/3rds of our walk. It helped keep my mind off the heat, looking at dolphins, birds, pink clouds, the sunrise and sand art, which are always pleasant distractions.

Many small seashells were left scattered by the receding tide.

Keyhole Limpets, like the one below, are fascinating. They look like lifeless shells, but an animal lives inside. It invites a worm to live under its shell, then when a starfish comes to attack, the worm pops out and bites the starfish to scare it away. Limpets can also run away from attackers, but they can only run a few inches an hour. They make a groove in a rock to live in, only coming out at night to eat algae. They follow the trail they made while eating to get back to their rock. Limpets get hit by thousands of waves a day, but because of their dome shape, don't get rolled around like other shells. Limpets live in tidal pools and other animals can live on the spots they have cleaned. When oil is spilled along the shore, limpets die. If they aren’t there to clear the plants, other tide pool animals can’t find homes to live. Chemicals from the Keyhole Limpet are being tested in the treatment of cancer. This discovery is just one reason why tide pool animals are important and should be protected. They are just one tiny expample of sealife that is in danger now, because of the huge ongoing oil disaster. This is an empty shell, but if you happen to see a Limpet on the side of a rock, give him a break and don't try pulling him off, because that will cause him harm.

A happy fisherman.

A happy sandman?

A mermaid on her way back to sea.

A fish out of water.

Two happy shellers, digging through someone's pile of cast offs.

A new sea turtle this week, but it hadn't dug a nest.

While I'm sure these are all fun to make and enjoyable to look at, they are like a maze sea turtles have to make their way through to find a suitable place to nest. I think their lives are already difficult enough. :( Maybe a turtle would just come to shore, take a look, and go back out to sea. It's pretty sad that we don't know how to share with the wildlife. They have no choice, but to share with us.

A group of chairs that were left out all night on the beach. There are signs all over the place, telling people not to do this. There are also signs by the condo pools, also telling guests not to take chairs away from the pool area, but here they are.

Two male Boat-Tailed Grackles were making beautiful noise to the female, trying to get her to choose between them. But from what I could see, she was playing hard to get.

Their black iridescent feathers looked beautiful in the sunlight.

This pile of chairs has been laying on the beach over a week. :(

Part of a Worm Shell and a Bubble Shell.

An Apple Murex and a Scallop.

Juvenile Florida Fighting Conch.

Another sea turtle and a friend.

Sea Horse

I hate to tell you this, but I had to confiscate Mr. Sandman's Corona eye lids.

Look for the treasure below.

It's a Juvenile Horse Conch. :)

Woo~Hoo, see if you can find the next one. :)

Yes, another brighter colored one.

There's another small treasure lurking below.

A small Apple Murex.

A Button Shell and a tiny piece of coral.

A Rough Scallop and snorkle trash. :)

There was a light breeze on the way back, but still hot, and the temperature soon was 92. We still have no sea turtle nesting in our zone.