Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Steamy Sanibel Tuesday Turtle Walk

Today is another very warm one, with almost no air moving. There was only a very slight breeze on the beach, early this morning and it was very humid as the temperature was climbing.

It was already light out as we walked out onto the beach. I could see a lot of people already out, in both directions.

There was some Manatee Grass at a high tide line, but you can easily avoid it. Where it was in a deeper pile, it did have a little odor, but not enough to be a bother. The noseeums were, "The Bother", today. I had bug spay on and still had to keep moving or they would find me. Grrrr! How can such a tiny little black speck cause so much misery?

The water was very calm today and clear. There were small shells that were scattered on the beach, near the water's edge and you could see some shells through the water.

We hurried on down the beach, to see the new nest that was found in our zone a few days ago. The tracks left as it made it's trip from and back to the water were still plain to see. :-) The nest is toward the back side of a Snowy Plover nesting area.

Best viewed in HD on YouTube by clicking the screen below.

The low tide had left some nice long tidal pools.

The sunrise was making the sky beautiful with bright shades of blues and pinks.

There were a lot of holes on the beach this morning, from 1 to 2 feet deep.

There was something on the beach that I hadn't seen before. Shelling and pulling a cart along, with a plastic box on it. I suppose that would be handy if you found lots of shells. You could then pull it back to your abode and simply spray the shells with water to get the sand off, without needing to take them out. Then you could dump them into a bucket for soaking or just let them dry. There would have to be LOTS of shells to make it worthwhile for me to drag it around. No more than I pick up, these days I can simply stick them in my pocket.

There was a fishing boat floating, just off shore. A man waded out and climbed onboard, while his wife waved goodbye from the beach and wished him good luck.

Sanibel Stoopers were out in force.

The photo below was taken between jumps being made by Mullet. I tried several times, as there were 2 or 3 out of water at the same time, but just couldn't catch them at the right time. We had been seeing schools of them and I watched as they kept jumping a couple of feet high out of the water. It looked as though they were traveling in a straight line, parallel to the shore. I love watching and always wonder why they jump. I have seen dolphin chase them before, making them jump, but that isn't always the case.

Mullet live in the shallow Gulf waters, bays and creeks. I've heard stories of mullet leaping back and forth over fishing lines and even into boats. They eat plants, near the bottom in shallow water and they could be jumping to clear mud from their gills. They don't eat other fish, but larger fish try to eat them. So, they may be jumping to escape predators. Sometimes it just looks like they are having fun.

A local fisherman told me that there are two mullet species in Florida and both will hit flies. Adults grow form 1-2 feet long and can weight up to about 10 pounds. The black kind is a little larger than the silver Mullet. The blacks are for eating and the silvers are bait. Although most anglers don't bother with them, both are a real hoot and a challenge to catch on flies.

We saw the Plover family with the 3 chicks. Mom and Dad were still keeping a very watchful eye on them. The other Plover family that had the 2 chicks seemed to have lost both of them.

The temperature today has reached 91, but as of 3:00 this afternoon, it has dropped a couple of degrees. Hopefully the evening will be much more pleasant.


Little Black Scrap Cat said...

So now you have two turtle nest to keep track of? Pretty cool!

Brandy and Andy said...

We would like to take a charter and go fishing one day while we are in town. Do you know anyone or any company that you would recommend?

Melli said...

I've never heard of fishing mullet before! I bet fly fisherman would have a good time with them!

I was just wondering... is there a REASON that they leave the turtle tracks there on the beach when they find them? I would think that if once the nest was documented, if they raked the beach then the egg poachers (no pun intended) wouldn't be able to find the nests so easily... might help a little bit.

Tootie said...

Brandy, I sent an email with info for you.

Melli, they actually put stakes and yellow tape with a sign on it, numbering the nest for research that is being done. So, raking the tracks away, wouldn't help.