Monday, June 30, 2008

Sea Turtle Hatchling Sighting

Margie from Cocoa Beach sends word of the first report this year of a sea turtle hatchling sighting. In Margie's words, "Turtle nest survey guy told me a jogger in south CB told him he/she'd seen one at first light near the Officer's Club, heading for the water. " This loggerhead hatchling photo is courtesy of Jim Angy. Jim and Matt MacQueen are wildlife photographers extraorindaire responsible for the photos in our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast DVD and reference cards. And if you love Jim's sea turtle photos, check out http://www.stillnature.com/, where you'll find our wildlife digital photo albums that display on PCs.

The Third Annual Sea Turtle Friendly Lighting Extravaganza will be held at the Cocoa Beach Holiday Inn on Saturday, July 12, from 9:00 until noon. Lighting experts will present an educational workshop on turtle friendly lighting. There will be short presentations on Brevard County’s sea turtle lighting and homeowner giveaway programs and the NESTS (Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtles Survival) Program. Code Enforcement Officers will be present to answer residents lighting questions. A vendor area will be accessible throughout the event and will have something for everyone. Turtle friendly lighting vendors will display and sell fixtures, shields, and window tinting. Matt, Jim, and I will be there with our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast - hope to see you there, especially if you are a beachside resident or business.

Nice story in the Orlando Sentinel about the "return of 140 juvenile loggerheads to the Atlantic Ocean this morning after two years in captivity and two weeks of scientific testing to make the seas safer for the rest of the turtle species. The turtles were part of a two-week study conducted annually to evaluate the effectiveness of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in shrimp trawls." Read the rest of the story and watch a very interesting video of the event at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-bk-loggerhead-sea-turtles-063008,0,1763935.story

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beach Plants Stabilize the Dunes

Our friend Wayne has been at it again with his new camera. His most recent trip was to Ft. Pierce Inlet, and that is where he captured this lovely photo of a baybean plant, Canavalia rosea. In our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast DVD, we talk about the importance of beach plants in stabilizing the dunes. The baybean is one such stabilizer. It is also known as the beach bean or the beach pea, and it can be found on sandy beaches, dunes, and coastal scrub. (Be sure to click on the picture to enlarge it - this is a little plant you might easily overlook, but its beauty comes out in the closeup view, even if something has taken a bite out of one of the petals!) (Photo courtesy of Wayne Matchett)

The baybean plant produces this sea-bean described in the DVD. We suggest that you leave baybean seeds on the beach so that they can grow into plants and help hold the dunes together.
(Photo by Matt MacQueen)


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Send Your Name to the Moon!

An interesting story in today's online Florida Today newspaper tells us that you can sign up at NASA’s “Send Your Name to the Moon” website by June 27 and your name will be stamped on a microchip installed on a lunar spacecraft that will explore the moon. The site has logged more than 830,000 names so far. NASA’s goal is 1 million. http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/ After you register your name, you can print out a nifty certificate. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is the first mission in NASA's Vision for Space Exploration, a plan to return to the moon and then to travel to Mars and beyond. LRO will launch no earlier than November 24, 2008.

I know this is not strictly "beachy" news, but we are the Space Coast, and this is pretty neat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sea-beans

One of the segments on our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast DVD is about sea-beans, and the reference card illustrates the twelve sea-beans most likely to found on Brevard County beaches. But there is soooo much more to learn, so be sure to check out the definitive sea-bean website http://www.seabean.com/ . And mark your calendars right now for the 13th annual Sea Bean Symposium to be held at the Cocoa Beach Library, October 17 and 18, 2008. Just like the sea-bean, the Symposium has its own kind of magic.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Space Shuttle Lands Safely

Here on the Space Coast, we're always thrilled and grateful to hear the twin sonic booms announcing the shuttle landing approach. Space Shuttle Discovery landed at 11:15 a.m. today, after a mission in which Discovery's crew installed the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's large Kibo laboratory. As always, job well done!
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Black-necked Stilt

Charlie Corbeil was gracious enough to share this delightful picture of a black-necked stilt Mom and chick. Charlie got a little too close to the baby for the Mom's liking, so she lowered herself over the chick and tucked that baby under her wing. When she stood up, you can see the results (be sure to click on the picture to see it full size). Jim Angy tells us that sandhill cranes will do this sometimes also. Aren't Mom's great?

Charlie travels extensively and takes absolutely gorgeous photos - see them at www.pbase.com/charlie_corbeil

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More Barrier Island Center News

Friend Wayne got a new camera and has been having lots of fun with it! He and Julie visited the Barrier Island Center the other day, and he shares these new pix with us. This first one shows the beautiful sweep of the exhibits. This perspective is from the back looking towards the entrance.

(Photos courtesy of Wayne Matchett)

This is a great view of the scale and turtle exhibits. One or more folks can stand on the scale and see their combined weight in comparison to that of a sea creature. (This is probably less intimidating to children than it is to those of us that still have ten pounds to drop before we're the perfect weight.)



Dawn Witherington's detailed artwork never ceases to amaze me.







Leslie (Barrier Island Center Education and Volunteers Manager) says the camp is full, but there are still some turtle watch openings for the last part of July. Call the Center for reservations - 321-723-3556.