Thursday, June 17, 2010

Turtle Walk Thursday

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.


sue in mexico mo said...

All those chairs, sand art and trash make me so mad! I enjoy the art, but know it is wrong to leave it after dark. (My niece has a photo of me telling a little boy how nice his sand art is but that he must remove it before dark.) The poor child looks doubtful that the mean old woman knows what she is talking about. Which condo complex are they in front of? Is there a phone number to report them?

busybee2 said...

Tootie you can give me lessons in spotting out the good shells. My, but your eyes are eagle sharp!

Tink *~*~* said...

Thank you for taking everyone shelling with you. Mac and cheese, woo hoo! I hope you have a crawl or two before the turtle season is over.


Little Black Scrap Cat said...

Love the sand art, but wish they'd flatten the stuff when they leave. As for the chairs, I'm with "Sue in Mexico" - can you call the condo management and report it? It just kills me that people take the time and expense to visit such a beautiful beach and then disrespect it like that. I wish, I wish, I wish I was there!!!

ღ Alice ღ ™ said...

Im so jealous ;p wish I could just jump in my car and head down there. You found so many great little shells, thank you again for posting this :):) Checking out your blog is the next best thing to being there :)

Tootie said...

Yes, we do report everything to SCCF. They do contact some of the places, where there is an office and someone to talk to. Every condo that I have personally been in, does have cards to explain what shouldn't be done and usually the rental companys put that information in a renters packet when they pick up their keys. Some properties have maintenance people on duty each day, and they usually pick up chairs that have been taken from their pool area. But, I think people take them out late, after the workers have gone and then leave them on the beach. We probably pass there in the mornings before workers have arrived. The other chairs, like the ones in the pile, have no doubt, come from a condo and a renter is too lazy to take them back. Also if they have broken one, they don't want to take it back. If they are close enough to a walkway from the beach, we usually carry them there and leave them, so that they will be returned or taken away by maintenance people. At times, things are not directly in front of a certain property and it's hard to tell where things have come from. If we are close to an area where there is a dumpster, I throw the broken chairs away. Sometimes there are just too many. In our zone, I've noticed that the Sanibel Inn has a collection of beach toys sitting out by the walkway to the beach. So whatever sand toys I find in the mile we walk, I go leave them there, thinking someone will play with them. If something left is a big problem, I think SCCF calls the city and they send someone out to haul things away. Everyone tries to do what they can, but now and then it gets a little overwhelming and VERY annoying. And we are not 'Beach Police', so we really have no right to tell anyone what they should or should not do on the beach, even if we would like to.