Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tour de Turtles, Emerging Hatchlings - A Good Day!

Big doings at the Barrier Island Center today with the release of Belle O'Brevard, one of eight sea turtles outfitted with tracking devices and released in various locations by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation in an adventure titled Tour de Turtles. Wayne took some 164 photos, some of which will be assembled into a slide show on here, but meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy his photo of Belle as she exits the box she had been penned in since being caught last night. No, the stuff on her back is not blood - it is the expoxy used to mount the transmitter on her back. The Tour de Turtles website link above will provide tracking information on Belle, a 350 pound Loggerhead, as she goes in search of a good feeding ground. It was indeed a cool moment on a hot morning when Belle made her way into the waves - a standing ovation and big smiles on a lot of faces. (Photo by Wayne Matchett)

Some innovative children made this beautiful sand turtle while waiting for Belle's release. Notice the detail. There were even tracks (but people kept walking on them) and some sand eggs! (Photo by Marge Bell)
Friend Margie from Cocoa Beach sent some remarkable photos of a daytime emergence (for the non-turtle folks, an emergence is turtles hatching and working their way out of the sand nest, an interesting process in itself). That will be the subject of a posting this weekend.

All in all, a good day for turtles in Brevard County.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Florida Today Article

We are so delighted with the wonderful story in the Florida Today Business Section about our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast package! Many thanks to freelance writer Maria Sonnenberg for her clear, entertaining, and accurate article and to Florida Today photographer Craig Bailey for getting the perfect photo, even if it meant falling into the sand!

This photo is of our colleague, Matt MacQueen (dark pants), and Florida Today photographer Craig Bailey. (I call Matt our Renaissance Man - photography, video filming, video production, narration, DVD label and jacket design, website implementation - you name it, Matt can and will do it.) That's CCC's Leslie Sprague, director of volunteers and education at the Barrier Island Center, in the background. And when you enlarge the photo, you'll see our Florida Beach Basics package in the sand, getting ready for a glamour shot. (Photo by Marge Bell)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Good Sea Turtle Rescue Story

This monofilament story has a happier ending than the previous post involving the manta ray. Again, thanks to Ann for sharing both the story and the photos.

A surfer noticed a juvenile green sea turtle in distress and struggling in the Melbourne Beach surf in April. He placed her on his board and brought her to shore, then called the Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS). He named the turtle Barney because of all the barnacles on the turtle's shell.

There was monofilment loosely wrapped around Barney's head and right flipper. Unfortunately, the monofilament on her left front flipper was deeply imbedded.

STPS folks took Barney to the Marine Science Center (MSC) at Ponce Inlet (Volusia County), the closest sea turtle rehabilitation center to Brevard County. Michelle Bauer at the MSC hoped to save the left front flipper, but the circulation had been cut off and the monofilament had worked its way into her bone, so the flipper was amputated. Barney was in rehab for three months, and learned to swim without the flipper and to feed on her own.
Thanks to a young surfer, the STPS, and the MSC, Barnie was released at Sebastian Inlet on July 9. Job well done, folks!

Click on the photo of Barney with Michelle for a better view. The alert reader may have noticed that we referred to Barney as "she" throughout this posting. Michelle tells us that you can't tell the sex of a turtle until it reaches adult size, but the rehab people at MSC tend to call the cute turtles "her" and the fiesty, difficult ones "him" - Barney was was one of the cute ones. :)
(Photo courtesy of Ann Zscheile)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dangers of Monofilament (Corrected)

Our friend and colleague, Jim Angy, tells me that this is not a manta ray, but rather an Atlantic stingray. Manta rays are vegetarian, but the stingray will bite at baited hooks. Fishermen cut the monofilament fairly far away from the stingray to avoid getting hit with the barbed tail, hence the monofilament wrapped around this stingray. Jim theorizes that this poor fellow died because the hook he swallowed punctured something vital inside.

Clicking on the Atlantic stingray link above will take you to a page on the Mote Marine Laboratory website. Take some time and wander aound their site - lots of good stuff.

We thank Ann Zscheile for sharing her fine photos and for her on-going devotion to the ocean's inhabitants. As we noted earlier, Ann is a tireless worker for the Sea Turtle Preservation Society.

Be sure to click on the photos to get the enlarged images.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Roseate Spoonbills

If you've watched our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast, you learned about the joys of birdwatching at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Our friend Wayne took this beautiful photo of some roseate spoonbills during a trip to the refuge last week. As always, be sure to click on the photo to enlarge it.
Pink being pink, the roseate spoonbill is sometimes mistaken for a flamingo. Like the flamingo, the roseate spoonbill gets much of its pink color from its diet. According to the St. Louis Zoo, "The crustaceans that it eats feed on algae which contain pigments that impart a pink/red color." Whatever causes it, this pink and blue combination makes for a fine photograph! (Photo by Wayne Matchett)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sea Turtle Hatchlings

We're getting reports of sea turtle hatchling sightings. This little guy is a green sea turtle hatchling. Our friend and colleague Jim Angy took this photo. Jim has been photo-documenting sea turtles (and the rest of the beach critter inhabitants) for years. You'll see lots of his photos in our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast DVD and the accompanying reference cards.

If you happen upon anything turtle-related, please feel free to leave us a comment to a post.

The Sea Turtle Lighting extravaganza in Cocoa Beach last Saturday was very educational, and a good chance to catch up with like-minded sea turtle lovers. If you need more information about the proper lighting for sea turtle protection, leave a comment and we'll send you resource names and links.

The passing of Hurricane Bertha gifted local surfers with some good waves, and they were out in force Saturday. Matt and I stopped at a Patrick Air Force Base on the way home to see if the many-ribbed hydromedusas had made it that far south, but there were none to be found, although Margie tells us that they were still invading Cocoa Beach. Great waves at Patrick, although rip current warnings were also being issued for the County. Check out the Reference Section of our website for more information on rip currents. I'll post pix when Matt gets them to me.

The local newspaper reports that the Tour de Turtles sea turtle naming contest is down to three choices after several hundred entries. Options are Amelia Seahart, Belle o' Brevard or Shellsea. I think the best name I heard was Paddlin' Madelaine, but that did not make the list.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sandhill Crane Chick and Wm Wordsworth

Charlie Corbeil provided the perfect end to a hectic Friday with his stunning photo of a sandhill crane chick, nestled in its mother's wing. The poem he inscribed is perfectly suited. What a moving, powerful picture!

Be sure to click on the picture to enlarge it.

Many-ribbed Hydromedusa Update

Margie tells us the influx of many-ribbed hydromedusas continues - on her beach walk this evening, they were everywhere. She was kind enough to take this photo today - be sure to click on this image to get the enlarged view. It would certainly be easy enough to step on, so it's good that it's harmless.

Size-wise, Margie says they average about 4" across - smaller than the description provided in the link above.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Many-ribbed Hydromedusas

So how often are you able to use the term many-ribbed hydromedusas in casual conversation! Margie from Cocoa Beach writes that these small, clear, thick jelly disks washing up on shore by the hundreds today are harmless. We'll be up that direction Saturday for the Sea Turtle Lighting Extravaganza, so perhaps we'll find some and get pictures.

Margie also tells us that they've had some upwellings in Cocoa Beach. "Recently, the water temp at North Lori Wilson dipped to 74 degrees, from mid-80s the week before. It happens in isolated spots, no telling where on any given day." According to Wikipedia, an upwelling is an oceanographic phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tour de Turtles

The Caribbean Conservation Corporation (the CCC) is launching yet another fun event - the Tour de Turtles. On July 31, CCC will release eight turtles outfitted with telemetry devices from a variety of Atlantic Ocean locations, and you'll be able to track the turtles' travels on the Tour de Turtle website

This reminded me that CCC had a cool website "back in the day" before websites were part of our everyday life. Before Flash, CCC had little turtles running around their website (and they still do). They truly live up to their tag line - Saving Sea Turtles - It's a Marathon, not a Sprint!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Black-necked Stilt - An Awww Photo!

Charlie Corbeil sent this enchanting photo of a black-necked stilt with chick. I know it's not beach-related, but it is too beautiful not to share. Be sure to click on the picture to enlarge it. It's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!
You can see some of Charlie's other photos at

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Drifting Seed Newsletter

Received the current issue of The Drifting Seed, the sea-bean newsletter published by Mr. Sea-Bean, Ed Perry, packed with interesting articles. You can read it on-line at We're only three and a half months away from the 13th annual Sea-Bean Symposium, so start making your plans. If you're coming from out of town, best make your room reservations early, as there is an Elvis festival in Cocoa Beach that same weekend. (Ed provided this picture of some Drifting Seed newsletters, with one of Curtis Ebbesmeyer's Beachcombers' Alert newsletters in the background.)

Ed is a Parks Services Specialist at the McLarty Treasure Museum, part of Sebastian Inlet State Park. Sebastian Inlet State Park is on both sides of the border of two counties - Brevard and Indian River. Brevard is known as the Space Coast. If you go to the McLarty Treasure Museum, you'll find out why Indian River County is known as the Treasure Coast. If you love history and gold coins and salvage, this is the place for you. Read about Ed's first 1715 Fleet Treasure Coin at - great story.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008