Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turtle Walk Tuesday

Before going into today's turtle walk, I want to share information I found in a news article today, concerning the Leatherback hatchlings. A few leatherback hatchlings from the east coast were released on Sanibel in the '70s as part of an experiment. They now think that it's possible one of those may have come back to nest here. That certainly helps give my curiosity a rest. :-)

I found another very nice blog called 'Two Turtle Trackers', that offers information and photos of the Leatherback hatchling release. I'm so happy I ran across it! Now I will also know what a morning turtle walk is like on their section of Bonita Beach in Florida. This is their fourth year of searching for new sea turtle nests on Bonita Beach as volunteers for Turtle Time.

Today was our 14th turtle walk of the season. The beach was quite busy you could see shellers, walkers and the people out just to watch the sunrise. It wasn't too hot this morning and on the beach, there was enough breeze to keep the noseeums away. Thank goodness!

Was this an alien visitor?

This tidal pool is still a stinky one.

We didn't have any new turtle activity today, but one of our nests that is due to hatch has been invaded by ghost crabs. We know they got into the egg chamber because there was a broken egg shell on top of the nest.

This varmint is a ghost crab. You hardly notice them on the beach, unless they scamper across the beach in front of you.

We called our Permittee and he came over to check the nest. He was going to call to give SCCF a report on it. They would then decide what to do about it, if anything. The usual procedure is to let nature take it's course. You know.....that whole 'Circle of Life' thing. It was sure tough walking away, knowing that baby turtles were probably getting their tiny eyeballs ripped out. I really don't like this part of the volunteer job. Needless to say, the rest of the day didn't look to bright to me, even though there were beautiful rays coming up from the sun.

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

Maybe a tug boat?

Very simple, but everyone knows what it means. :-)

I don't know if this board came in with a Pirate on it, or if it washed up all be itself and the Pirate was lost at sea.


More ????? It appeared to be a big guy with long hair, beard, and swimming thong. This is what the BIG shovel built last week, that I had a photo of.

Looks to me like they put his legs on backwards.

In the video, you could see a young father holding a baby as he watched the sunrise. On our way back, we found this tiny little sandal. I know it belonged to that baby, since it was the only one on the beach during the time it took us to walk back. They were no where in sight, so I picked it up and placed it further from the water where I thought it would be found when they returned to the beach.

Just before the Buttonwood Lane beach access, I noticed this healthy looking bunch of sea oats.

Being raised on a farm, I always knew this was oats, but until several years ago, I didn't realize just how important sea oats is to coastal dune areas. It is considered so important that wild sea oats is a protected species. Picking or disturbing sea oats is against the law. Violating the law carries a hefty fine, even for harvesting the seeds. (Sea oats is grown and sold in nurseries that have permits to propagate protected plant species.)

Sea oats not only beautify beaches, but most importantly it preserves the beach from erosion by stabilizing the sand dunes with a deep root system. Sea oats is highly drought, salt and heat tolerant, so it thrives in coastal areas.

You can see in this photo how it is trapping more sand, making the dunes grow. The more the dunes grow, the larger the plants will grow; and so the cycle will continue year after year, if it is not disturbed.

Due to hurricane damage on Sanibel, there has been a large amount of sea oats seedlings planted in the dunes. There was a huge amount of them planted at Bowman's Beach and other places. Next time you visit the beach, take a little extra care, not to trample on what might appear to be just a useless sprig of grass. It just may have a very important purpose in life. :-)

To read more about sea oats......


{Katie Lane} said...

This is so weird, I was just there :)

Gayle said...

(I think I closed the window before my comment was left...I said...) You have an amazing amount of knowledge of the beach you live on. The rest of us should learn as much about our area of the world.

Tootie said...

Thanks Gayle, but I don't know much at all. I'm just learning a little more each day.