Sunday, August 31, 2008
Mark your calendars now for the big Florida Coastal Cleanup scheduled for September 20, 8 a.m. to noon. Keep Brevard Beautiful notes that this cleanup differs from the smaller ones conducted throughout the year, in that all the trash collected is cataloged to help determine where it came from. Nice story in Florida Today newspaper at http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080830/NEWS01/808300316/-1/SEVENDAYS. Contact Jim Kriewaldt, Spoil Island and Invasive Plant Program Manager
(321) 631-0501 x 206 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Be advised that while there are some that find them a tasty treat, per state regulations, removal of the crabs is limited to an open season from November 1 of each year through June 30 of the following year. No crabs can be removed during the closed season beginning on July 1 and continuing through October 31 of each year. By law, the land crabs can only be caught by hand or with the use of a landing or dip net. (I'm going to assume that removal means catching and eating, not relocating them out of your swimming pool.)
Good news for Brevard County beaches. Following Tropical Storm Fay, there was the usual concern about post-storm ocean water quality. Per Florida Today, "Routine weekly bacteriological testing conducted Monday confirms that the water quality in the area is good at monitored coastal beaches.These monitored beaches are all on the Atlantic Coast and do not represent the Indian River Lagoon.Bacteriological survey results are posted on our internet website at www.Floridashealth.com/beachwater. "
An editorial comment - Florida Today did a fine job of keeping us all informed during Tropical Storm Fay. Keeping in mind that the newspaper's employees are folks with homes and families also, both the print and on-line versions of the newspaper were informative, up-to-date, and somehow comforting. Not only that, in spite of rain and flooded roads, the print versions showed up on every doorstep the delivery people could get to. Job well done!
(Photo by Jim Angy - click to enlarge)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
"Brevard Co has approximately 40% of loggerhead nesting for the
whole state and accounts for a large number of strandings for the
state. It would seem that this area would be a logical place to
have a sea turtle triage/emergency room/rescue center. Transporting turtles is costly and is not always in the best interest of the turtles whose needs may be urgent."
Thursday, August 21, 2008
After an event like this, the little hatchlings are just too exhausted to swim, so it serves no purpose to just immediately return them to the ocean. The rescued hatchlings are being kept in plastic wading pools until volunteers can get them to the Marine Science Center (MSC) in Ponce Inlet (Fay has moved up the coast, so the Volusia County MSC is getting hit today). After a few days at the rehab center, the hatchlings will be taken by boat about 40 miles out in the ocean, to the Sargasso weed line, which is where they will live and grow for several years.
When I spoke with Ann this morning, there were approximately 400 hatchlings skittering around in the plastic pools, making considerable racket! With this bad weather showing no signs of leaving, I'm sure the number will increase. Nearly all of the rescued hatchlings were loggerheads, but the photo below is of a green turtle hatchling. (You can see the difference between the green and loggerhead hatchlings in the second photo.)
The STPS recently initiated a Sea Turtle Emergency Response Program to increase the number of young turtles rescued, rehabilitated, and released. Ann reports that the new volunteers were not involved in this event, as the STPS has not received the official letters of authorization from the State that will allow the volunteers to search for and rescue post-hatchling sea turtles. The rescue efforts in Cape Canaveral were mostly done by coordinating efforts through Adrienne Kessler, an STPS volunteer named on the stranding permit. (You last saw Adrienne in an earlier post, standing in a hole.)
By the way - the good folks at STPS could use old towels. If you have any, drop them off at the STPS office (call 676-1701 for hours and directions).
(Photos by Shannon Angy - be sure to click on the pix to enlarge.)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Meanwhile, taking time off from building his ark, our friend Ed Perry sent us these photos of a walking catfish visiting his neighborhood. Here is Ed's description of the event:
This is a walking catfish; exotic in Florida (not supposed to be here). They have been walking/swimming up and down my street the last two days. I am flooded-in today; was expected to go to work, but cannot get through the roads, had to turn around and come back home--couldn't even go a mile and now that is even under water.
Walking catfish move around from pond to pond, ditch to ditch when it is wet and rainy. They can live out of the water quite a while and use this advantage to expand their population areas.
Here's a link to a video that Ed took of this critter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crw-1rO-rhQ
(Photo courtesy of Ed Perry - knowing Ed, he was holding the camera with one hand and the catfish with the other.)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
On a recent early morning beach walk, Jim captured some terrific photos of hatchling tracks that show how confusing life is to these little critters when artificial lighting interferes with their trip to the ocean. In this first photo, apparently there was visible artificial lighting nearby. You can just imagine the hatchlings emerging from their nest at night and trying to figure out how to get to the ocean based on a light source. Is it this way? No, it's this way. No, let's go this way! Poor babies!
In this photo, the last guy out of the nest had an easier time of it - it was early morning, daylight, and Jim says the hatchling headed for the ocean as fast as his little flippers would carry him.
If you have windows overlooking the beach, please be sure to pull your drapes at night. And of course, use the proper shielded fixtures for any exterior lights around your home or business. If you have any questions about the correct lighting, call Paula Berntson at the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Office, 321-633-2016, ext 52431 or email her at Paula.Berntson@brevardcounty.us
(Photos by Jim Angy)
This story just in on Yahoo! about hatchlings wandering into an Italian restaurant! http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080818/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_italy_turtles
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Margie describes it thusly: "A daylight emergence in South Cocoa Beach. Fascinating to watch them erupt from the nest and run for the ocean. The birds grabbed a couple, but it was interesting to see that most of them freed themselves from ghost crabs that caught them. One even got away after being dragged down into a ghost crab burrow and crawled back out."
(Photos courtesy of Margie Mitchell)
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Thanks to our friend and photographer Wayne Matchett, we have a slideshow of the July 31 release. The slideshow is in the righthand side of this blog, and is appropriately titled Tour de Turtles. Just click on it, then select View Album, then Slideshow from the menu bar. As always, we thank Wayne for 1) his photos and 2) showing me how to upload slideshows!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
"I am sending you a picture of my fellow surveyor, Adrienne, in a huge hole we found on Cocoa Beach. It is not the first or the largest of holes that we have found on summer surveys. After we took this picture, we filled in the hole ( with the help of a friendly beach walker) enough so that no turtles would get trapped in it.
The next day, again on a survey, we found a hole in another area of the beach - it was approximately 2 feet deep. There were three hatchlings in there from a nest that hatched that night farther up the beach. Two of the hatchlings were still alive, but one was dead. We released the live hatchlings on the beach, and they quickly completed their journey to the ocean." (Photos courtesy of Ann Zscheile - click to enlarge)
Ann gives us these pointers for digging holes in the beach:
1. Always fill in your holes before you leave the beach.
2. Don't dig holes in the beach above the tide line (during sea turtle nesting season) - you never know if you might accidently dig into a nest and destroy 100+ eggs.
3. Use only beach tools for digging on the beach and building sand castles - garden type shovels are meant for gardens and not for the beach.
4. Deep holes in the beach are dangerous for both humans and turtles.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
We were invited to apply for the grant because of the high regard Friends of the Scrub members have for our colleague/photographer, Jim Angy. Jim has been a long-time supporter of all things environmental in Brevard County and is well-known in the county as an award winning photographer, naturalist, and public speaker. Jim's photos were the basis for our Still Nature series of digital photo album CDs, and figure prominently in our Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast package.
Margaret Broussard wrote some lovely words in the grant letter and has given me permission to share them: "By showing children (and adults) the beauty of nature here, you will surely pique their interest in the survival of our native species in the face of the dangers they face from human activities. From such interest may blossom concern, and from concern, efforts to help save their lives and future generations."
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
The Ocean Conservancy folks were in town the other day to tag some turtles, and reported a very satisfactory trip. Wander around their website if you have a chance - lots going on, lots of information. Our ocean critters are lucky to have folks like this looking out after them.
Brevard's beaches got some good news this week - the annual Natural Resources Defense Council reported that our surf tested clean more than 1,600 times in the last 18 months, and no beaches were closed because of health fears. Again - good stuff on their website, so follow the link if you have a moment.
Working on the Belle o' Brevard release slide show, Margie Mitchell's daytime hatchling emergence, and Ann's video of a turtle returning to the ocean.