Thursday, July 7, 2011

Turtle Walk Thursday

It was lightly raining as we arrived at Gulfside City Park to start our turtle walk.  As I was getting out of the car, I noticed a vulture sitting on the railing next to the restrooms.  It just sat there watching as I put bug spray on and kept staring at me as I walked past.

We started a little earlier this morning, hoping to avoid a heavier rain that was on the way.

I walked straight out from the boardwalk and this was right in my path.  I'm glad it was light enough that I could see it in time.

We check all of the nests on each walk.  This morning there was a ghost crab hole dug next to this one.  You can see it in the bottom left hand corner.  We reported it to our Permittee.  But I doubt it will be a problem since it isn't near hatching time.

This hole in front of Casa Ybel Resort was really deep.

This hole was also over a foot deep.

A false crawl.  It looked like the turtle came up, just started to dig a nest, perhaps decided there were too many roots in the way or the sand was packed to hard, and then left.

The tracks going off to the right side are cooler or beach cart tracks.

Another nest with a ghost crab hole.

A second crawl!

Also a false one.

A closer look at the tracks.

This fisherman came up to us when we were looking at the tracks.  He said that he had just come out onto the beach at 6:00 and he saw the turtle come out of the water, crawl up to the dunes.  It stayed there for a few minutes and seemed to him that it was checking out the little white flowers on the nearest bush.  Then it turned and returned to the water.  The whole thing took about 20 minutes total.  He said he stayed far back, not moving, so that he wouldn't disturb it.  But, for whatever reason, it didn't make a nest.  The man was thrilled to have seen it.  He has been coming here for over 30 years and this was the first time he has seen a sea turtle.

This is an exciting sea turtle nesting season for us, this is the first year that we have found turtle activity on our watch. :)  These are the stats for Sanibel and Captiva thus far:

(Our zone is a part of the East end)
Sanibel East- 30 nests and 59 false crawls
Sanibel West- 194 nests, 287 false crawls, and 10 hatches
Captiva- 60 nests, 40 false crawls, and 8 hatches

And by the way, if you heard a rumor that there was a sea turtle traveling on the Sanibel Causeway and needed to be re-routed, it is a true story. :)  Someone driving back onto the island during the late night, was surprised to see it crossing the road and called to notify authorities.  Evidently it was a false crawl and the turtle may have lost it's sense of direction for a while.  A disaster was averted and it was quickly off on it's merry way.

By the time we reached Pointe Santo there was a rainbow.

The two little kids in the photo below were so cute.  They each had a little shell bag hanging over their shoulder and were carefully searching and putting shells in them. :)

A sea monster, of some sort, was lurking on the beach at Pointe Santo.

Two feet away from the water?

YES!!!  A turtle nesting!!!

A Yellow-crowned Night-heron, maybe looking for a ghost crab breakfast. :)

We have our Ibis in a row. :)


A new kind of bird that we haven't seen on the shore before.

Hmm, could there be a better place to spend a birthday than on Sanibel?

It had misted, sprinkled, and finally rained lightly as we did our walk.  Due to finding new turtle crawls, the excitement made it worthwhile.


Della said...

Wow! Great pics! Love the "ibis in a row" That is just awesome!

That was a close one! You could have really been hurt if you had stepped in that hole. The only time I have dug holes at the beach is from November, to April, and I always filled them back in and covered them over. I wouldn't want anyone to fall in a hole and get hurt.

oh, and that vulture watching you in the dark would have creeped me out!

Enjoy your weekend Tootie!

Dave said...

This blog was really educational Tootie, as were others you have done about the sea turtles. I didn't realise they made false tracks. Good on you for minding after their nests - Dave

NanaDiana said...

What an interesting day you had. I felt like I was traveling right along with you on your walk..and seeing your discoveries first hand. Beautiful! I liked all your "strange finds" too!;>) God bless and Happy Sunday- xo Diana