Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Turtle Walk of 2010 Nesting Season

Most of you already know this, but for those of you who don't.....

As a part of approximately 100 volunteers, we will be helping the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation)again this year, with their continuing Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring Progam. The beaches here at Sanibel and Captiva Islands are a nesting area for the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles, one of the worlds oldest creatures. Each day just before dawn, volunteers check designated zones of beach. Some areas of the beach are patrolled by beach vehicles and persons who are are a part of the research team. As volunteers, our job is to look for a turtle crawl. When a turtle comes up on the beach, it leaves tracks in the sand as it looks for a nesting spot. If the turtle does make a nest, a volunteer places a flag near it, then calls a permitee, who is authorized to go out to mark off the nest to help protect it. It is then monitored. Later in the season the hatches are recorded to add to the statewide collection of data. For more interesting information and statistics about the sea turtles, check out the link for SCCF, where more interesting information can be viewed about sea turtles.

We walk approximately a 1 mile stretch of beach, before turning to retrace our steps. We do this on Thursday morning, each week during the turtle nesting season which begins May 1 and ends by Nov l. We are to look for signs of nesting, watch for any beach furniture that may have been left out overnight (putting a sticker on it, notifying owner to remove it), also be aware if any lighting is directed toward the beach that might be confusing to the turtles. And of course, pick up any trash that might be laying on the beach. Many turtle deaths have been attributed to mistaking plastic bags and other kinds of trash for food.

The temperature was down to a pleasant 73 degrees last night, so I thought it would be a nice morning for our first walk of the season. It was beautiful out, as it always is before sunrise. But it was really muggy because of the high humidity and there was no breeze at all, not a leaf stirring.

If we stopped moving, the noseeums were a little bothersome, so that meant no stopping. That made it a little difficult trying to pick up shells on the way back. But there was a slight breeze beginning a little while before we finished.

Small shells were scattered around, almost everywhere.

I saw a bird that I hadn't noticed here before. I think it's a Black Bellied Plover.

It is Snowy Plover nesting season too.

There are already baby plovers running around. They are really hard to spot because they are the same color as the sand. There is one below, right in the center of the picture. The reason I saw them was because I heard the mother fussing at them or trying to warn us to stay away. Two babies were running (and they run fast) in one direction and this one was going in another. Momma saw us coming and didn't know which way to go. She just stopped in the middle and we moved away, so that we wouldn't bother them. They are the cutest little puff balls with long legs. :)

I enjoy looking at beach art.

Every sunrise is special and this morning it reminded me of something someone said to me. She said to let the radiance in each sunrise remind me of the radiance I saw in my daughter's face as she bravely fought breast cancer.

As we walked along, there was a pod of dolphin swimming around as they were having their breakfast. I sure can't get photos quick enough with my phone to catch a good shot of them.

Not sure what happened here. :) Must not have been a good day to be a Fighting Conch.

Below is a photo of my choice of 'Inconsiderate Person of the Day'. That would be the man you see walking with a black dog on a leash. The dog was a black Pit Bull with massive amounts of foaming slobber running out of both sides of it's mouth. Now you see the sandcastle, that most likely, children constructed? Now common sense tells me that those same children will be back to, once again, dig in the little trench to repair and continue building. Right? Well...that man stood there and let his dog pee all over it. He then continued on, to let it stop and pee on each of the next two similar sand castles. Is it just me, or is that not a nice thing to do?

Yes, the hole diggers continue. We've got to remember to bring a shovel to fill these in next time. It takes quite some time to fill them in with your feet.

Someones cast off shells by a beach access, which is at the end of our zone.

We saw a sign marking zone 2 for the first time. Our Permittee told us there were signs, but we had never noticed them before.

This information buoy marks the idle zone. I sure hope it is! :)

Somebody loves Dan, wonder if that's Lt Dan.

These flowers were folding up for the day. These are larger and a little different looking than beach morning glories. I'm pretty sure they're called 'Beach Moonflower' or 'Sea Moonflower' and they bloom at night.

An uneventful walk, except for picking up a few shells on the way back.


sue in mexico mo said...

This is a wonderful thing you do. If I lived there it is something I would like to do. Do they have a long list of people waiting to be accepted? How much training do you get?

Tink *~*~* said...

Driving back from Captiva the other night, I saw towers of those moonflowers all along Periwinkle Way. Didn't realize the vines could grow that tall! They are quite beautiful turning their pale faces to the skies at night.

Tink *~*~*

Savvy said...

As usual, reading your blog is a nice little escape. Well, aside from the story about the jerk walking his dog. :( I suppose moments like that must only inspire us to be better, hmm? Still, the pics are beautiful, especially the sunrise one and the flower. : )