Thursday, July 22, 2010

Twelfth Turtle Walk of 2010

Today was walk number twelve for this season. We arrived at Buttonwood Lane beach access before daylight, to start our walk.

It was really nice out this morning, there was a cool wind and it wasn't too hot, actually the coolest morning we've had for a walk since the season started.

For a little way, there didn't appear to be many shells. Gradually there were more and more. Most of them looked to be Ark shells, at a glance. I didn't look in that direction much, because I was looking for turtle tracks, of course! :) But, the only thing I was seeing was trash! There were also several things left out on the beach overnight, that we had to tag, like several different beach chairs, a beach ball, a canopy frame and pile of chairs under it. After they're tagged and reported, the turtle walker the next day will report they are still there and those things are supposed to be removed. Sometimes the resort is notified, if that doesn't work, then a city employee will pick them up or the next turtle walker.

There were several big holes left too. This one was a foot deep, glad it was light enough out to see it in time.

This fella looked to be totally relaxed with a coffee mug in his hand. But, he could have expired, because I said good morning, as I walked beside his chair. He didn't even look over or say anything, just stared straight ahead. Maybe I should have gone back to take his pulse???

Hi Anne, how are you?

somewhere there's a poor baby with no pacifier. :(

A feeble attempt at making an alligator, and leaving a deep hole in the sand.

This turtle didn't leave any tracks.

In the distance you can see the canopy frame and piles of chairs we had to tag, all left right in turtle nesting area of the beach.

In our zone, the worst problem area is in front of the Sanibel Arms complexes. I don't know what is the cause; lower rent, able to rent condos by the night, it's a mystery! But it is the worst trashy area on the beach, more holes, and almost always chairs left out overnight. The only area we've had that can compare, is Lighthouse Beach and it's large amount of trash left behind there, but that is a public beach area with many more people coming and going in a days time. Doubt it would do much good, but I think it would be a step in the right direction if the Sanibel Arms would put up signs and place information in condos about the beach rules, especially those that apply during sea turtle nesting season, if they haven't already. God only knows what these kinds of people do to the condos they are staying in. Most owners of condos in other places, that I know personally, actually tell their renters about the special rules during nesting season and it seems to help. Ok I'm done now.....moving on.......

A portion of the mine field in front of Sanibel Arms West.

This hole was hollowed out way under the edge of the sand and almost 2' deep. If you stepped anywhere near it, your feet would go through.

There was so much cloud cover down low, that the sun couldn't shine through.

Today we also looked at the shore birds to see if they had bands on their legs. If we see any that do, we are supposed to report them. The purpose is to track birds that were cleaned of oil in the spill area, and then released. We saw none.

This was a whole group of sand sculptures, without leaving any holes! Yay! They were all very cute and near the front of Sanibel Inn.

A really cool alligator covered with pieces of pen shells.

A beautiful mermaid.

A sea turtle. It was neat how they used mangrove seed pods in their art.

A sea horse? :) I love this!

Finally the sun found a small hole to peek through.

The water was pretty and clear today. These two were having a good breakfast.

We have a ghost crab living in our sea turtle nest. Look at the crabby little tracks it left. :( Also a whole string of ants were going in and out.

There was no new turtle activity in our zone. It's really a no brainer to me, why we only have one nest in this zone and it's at the end, where the beach is in better shape. If I were a turtle, I wouldn't think of going onto a beach that had all those obstacles in my path. :( Pretty sad. The most concerning thought, is that one person who was not taught to care about the consequences of their actions, has now multiplied and there are at least one to three more that will not be taught, and each of those will multiply..... Can you even imagine what our world will be like when they all grow up? Where and why did it begin, and how and where do we start to change it?

It was right about here, that I broke into a cold sweat and got so weak, I could hardly stand up, let alone walk.

We were at the end of our zone, and I made my way up the Sanibel Inn path.

After throwing away the bag of trash we picked up, my partner took me to the pool area to sit down, while he made the mile walk back to get the car.

By the way, the cool tree below, is a Madagascar Screwpine. I learned my lesson on this tree a while back. :)

So......this is where I ended my walk, and this......

and this.......

was my view for a while, until I was picked up for the ride home.

No, don't know what happened. I think I may have been dehydrated. I'm bad about not drinking enough water. But, I'll do better next time! :)

2010 has been a bad year for sea turtles.

Wonder if there's something you can do to help? Order your Florida Sea Turtle decals now. :)


Sanibel & Captiva Sea Turtle Nesting Update:

As of July 19, 2010:

Sanibel East- 15 nests, 61 false crawls, 0 hatches

Sanibel West- 112 nests, 218 false crawls, 9 hatches

Captiva- 49 nests, 105 false crawls, 9 hatches

For Comparison:

As of July 19, 2009

Sanibel East- 24 nests, 55 false crawls, 0 hatches

Sanibel West- 141 nests, 164 false crawls, 32 hatches

Captiva- 74 nests, 62 false crawls, 20 hatches

As of July 19, 2008:

Sanibel East- 31 nests, 46 false crawls, 1 hatch

Sanibel West- 216 nests, 221 false crawls, 23 hatches

Captiva- 116 nests, 188 false crawls, 16 hatches

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