Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kemp's Ridley Turtles Released

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others, participated today, in the release of 42 endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.  The rescued, rehabbed turtles were returned to the Gulf today, in Collier County, FL.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seventeenth Turtle Walk

This was the day for our usual turtle walk, but since the season is over now except for those nests that still have not hatched. We just went over to our zone before sunrise, parked near the area of our nest, which is by the Sanibel Inn on East Gulf Drive.

As we walked around the Sanibel Inn pool area, their flag was flying in a strong, cool breeze. It was a perfect morning for a beach walk.

There had been a very high tide, so between that and all the recent rain, their regular access path to the beach was standing full of water. We found another small path that ran through the dune area.

The warm light of the approaching sun, is the best start to any day!

Now I have my own suspicions as to how this visor made an appearance on the beach.

Since I know that the Sanibel Thriller passes by here each afternoon, and I also know from personal experience that someone always looses a cap or visor on nearly every trip, I'm guessing this flew right off some lady's head and was washed in to the shore. Mystery solved! By the way, if you haven't been on this cruise, be sure to go. It is awesome! I think it's, by far the best dolphin cruise I've ever been on and also an interesting narration by a really cool lady that is a personal friend. If you go, say Hi to Leena for me. :)

Just after we started walking, I saw a helicopter coming toward us.

It flew very low, right over our heads.

I watched the helicopter go up to the end of the island and then turn to come back again. This time I could see spray coming out. They were spraying for mosquitoes. You think this could mean I'm well protected now? Hmmmm? They made several passes before disappearing.

We see this nice lady on each of our turtle walks. You'll notice she carries a bag and picks up trash as she goes along. This morning she was on her way back with a full bag.

I only picked up one shell to carry home today, and you'll find it below.

There was quite a bit of Manatee grass left on a high tide line, in several places.

Manatee grass is one of seven different sea grasses that grow in our Gulf waters, providing a habitat and food for marine animals. In the winter, much of the grass dies and floats to the surface, and Manatee grass breaks off easily in storms. It is very buoyant and floats to the surface, drifts around, gets bleached by the sun, and, eventually, washes up on beaches. It sometimes leaves a bad smell on the beach, as it decomposes.

Our turtle nest has been washed over once before by a high tide, last night the high tide got up as far as the first stake. We're still hoping it will hatch.

As we walked back from the beach, I noticed how green and fresh all the vegetation is. I suppose from the recent rain and perhaps the high tides.

There were a lot of bikes at the Sanibel Inn, just waiting for someone to take them for a ride.

Here's my treasure, from a perfect morning on the beach.

These are the shells I carried home last evening.

Just before sunset we drove out to a Sanibel Causeway island to watch the sunset. There were lots of thunderstorm clouds around and I thought that would make the sunset spectacular. But, no such luck. There was just too much cloud clover, so we didn't even get a peak at the sun. Since you know how I love clouds, you know I wasn't disappointed. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

No Lights on the Beach!

Hundreds of freshly hatched loggerheads marched toward the wrong light and perished needlessly on Bonita Beach in recent weeks. I was reading an article today that was about more turtles following the wrong light, with most of them getting killed or dying. It is so important to not shine light toward or on the beach during sea turtle nesting season.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sixteenth Turtle Walk of 2010 Nesting Season

This morning was our 16th turtle walk of the 2010 nesting season. We did our duty and walked our 2 miles, picking up trash and checking on the one nest in our zone. Our nest has been washed over by a high tide, so it is doubtful that it will hatch. There have been no new nests reported for quite a while now, which means that nesting time has probably ended. A number of nests were washed out and some washed over, but they will be monitored until after the due date. Next week, we will just be going over to check on our nest. The nesting numbers so far, don't look all that good. We had more false crawls than last year and a few less nests. Things have certainly not been favorable for the poor sea turtles this year.

I was surprised to see a lot of Moonflowers blooming again.

I will miss this sight on Thursday mornings. I think I may have to get up early, once in a while, to get my sunrise fix. :)

Walked past a deep hole, just after leaving the boardwalk.

A hat, shoes and water bottle. No one in sight. ??? I guess they made it back alright, because it was all gone when we came back.

The birds were patiently waiting for the sunrise.

There were lots of scattered shells this morning.

Super Pail??? A food storage bucket???

If our nest does hatch, this is just what the baby turtles will have to get through. A maize of trenches etc. all the way across, between them and the water. Ugh!

We hurried on the way back, trying to beat the heat. But I did notice this Button shell and a small Lace murex, and a few other tiny shells. There were plenty to pick through, if you took the time.

Early this evening we made a run off-island to McDonalds. On the way over the Sanibel Causeway, we noticed how calm the water was. I saw a Pelican gliding within a few inches of the water and you could see the air current was making the water spray, as it went. You don't see that when there are waves. I think I see something new every time, it's amazing.

The sky was very dark in the direction of Ft Myers Beach and appeared to be nearing the island. But, we got no rain.

The grounded sailboat was still on the sandbar. I tried to get a closeup photo, but that didn't work too well as we were driving.

On the way back, the clouds were awesome.

Notice how calm the water was.

Just before sunset, on our back deck, it was just another 'Rainbow Day'.

Then our day ended with more of this. :)I'm sure someone was watching a beautiful sunset.

The sea turtle activity report for Sanibel and Captiva, with two previous years for comparison, as of August 16, by Amanda Bryant, Biologist, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

As of Aug. 16, 2010:

Sanibel East- 20 nests, 64 false crawls, 5 hatches

Sanibel West- 136 nests, 243 false crawls, 51 hatches

Captiva- 64 nests, 117 false crawls, 28 hatches

As of Aug. 16, 2009:

Sanibel East- 27 nests, 57 false crawls, 9 hatches

Sanibel West- 155 nests, 177 false crawls, 81 hatches

Captiva- 80 nests, 67 false crawls, 41 hatches

As of Aug. 16, 2008:

Sanibel East- 34 nests, 50 false crawls, 8 hatches

Sanibel West- 245 nests, 243 false crawls, 102 hatches

Captiva- 137 nests, 103 false crawls, 65 hatches