Sunday, October 25, 2009
When I returned to the workforce in July (I'm a technical writer and spend most of my days hunched over a computer), I knew it would interfere with my blogging. I've tried various approaches - getting up at 5:00 in the morning to write (aargh), writing three or four posts on Sunday and then publishing them during the week. But the fact remains that something from which I have derived so much pleasure in the past now feels like just more work.
So I'm taking a blogging sabbatical, so to speak - a break until that day when I think - Wow! I can't wait to write about that!
Friday, October 23, 2009
I hope you will remember all this the next time you find yourself staring into an alligator's eyes!
A kind neighbor made sure my little Italian Greyhound princess did not go without food while I was spending long days at the sea-bean symposium, and I gave her Blair and Dawn's book, Florida's Living Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber, as a thank-you. She is totally captivated and has started a list of people she plans to buy copies for.
As always, our thanks to Blair for sharing his expertise and his photos.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
another day beginning
and the game is on
Monday, October 12, 2009
Once there, Wilbur was greeted by Tammy, a sea turtle rehab specialist and one of our conservation heroes. Her exam showed that Wilbur was exhausted and dehydrated, but otherwise in good condition. Wilbur then:
got weighed (Wilbur weighed 24 grams, or .87 oz),
got measured (Wilbur was 5.6 centimeters, a little over 2 inches) ,got fluids (ouch),
and joined his friends for lettuce and a little "rest and relaxation" so he can build his strength back up. Then he'll be ferried back out to the Sargasso and released, hopefully to lead a long and peaceful life.
A lot of people made a difference in the life of one little turtle - our thanks to them and to animal rescuers everywhere. Special thanks to Ann for sharing her story and photos.
And here's Wilbur, washed ashore during a storm. Ann describes his state of mind thusly: Everything happened so fast, Wilbur is dazed. Where is he? What happened to the ocean? Then Wilbur begins to recognize where he is. He is back on the beach amongst the seaweed. Without water, the seaweed traps Wilbur even more. He is exhausted, hungry and dehydrated. He no longer has the energy to crawl back to the ocean, much less to swim 20 miles back to his safe haven in the sargassum. The birds are searching the seaweed for food. The sun is beating down on him.
Wilbur is one of the lucky washbacks - a STERP volunteer will find him, put him in a bucket with a nice damp towel, and transport him to the Marine Resource Center in Ponce Inlet. What happens there will be the topic of tomorrow's post.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The late Cathie Katz was friend, mentor, and muse who wrote wonderful books (including The Nature of Florida's Beaches), started an international organization of sea-bean lovers called The Drifters who hold the annual Sea-Bean Symposium, and inspired all who knew her.
Cathie lost her battle with cancer in 2001, but she left a legacy of books, friends, and traditions. Shortly after her death, Ed Perry led the effort to have a sea-bean named in her honor, and the common name for the Canavalia nitida shown here is now Cathie's Bean. (Photos by Jim Angy)
Cathie and Jim Angy were close friends, and Jim provided the photographs for some of Cathie's book covers. For her memorial service, he wrote a poem titled The Nature of my Questions that began with these words:
"Considering how vast the shoreline truly is …
What wind, what current, what tide
Allowed us to end up on this same beach?
In a sea of strangers, how did we become such close friends?"
Our 14th Annual Sea-Bean Symposium will kick off Friday, October 16. We'll see close friends, many of whom have attended every symposium, either as a visitor or a speaker/exhibitor, and we'll make new friends who will be amazed at just how warm and friendly this event is. And we'll take time to think of Cathie. She loved the beach and everything on it, and credited her first sighting of a sea turtle laying eggs with changing her life's direction. Knowing her changed ours.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Meanwhile, it was a beautiful weekend. Cocoa Beach had its first airshow, and it was apparently a huge success, with some 30,000 folks crowding onto the beach each day to watch such events as the Golden Knights skydivers, an F-22 Raptor, a water rescue demonstration by the 920th Rescue Wing from Patrick Air Force Base, and a variety of other airplane related performances. Margie sent these pix, with this note: Perfect day to watch loud airplanes over the water. :)
Friday, I attended a meeting at the Brevard Zoo and snapped a few photos of little kids having a simply wonderful time in the Paws On exhibit. I hope this picture gives you an idea of just how carefree an environment this is. We'll talk more about the Zoo later, probably in our Space Coast Eco blog, but it was such a lovely day in such a delightful place that I wanted to share the feeling.
I hope your weekend was similarly mellow, wherever you are. Blog the Beach friends David and Sue spent their weekend getting married, so best wishes to them!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Margie found this beautiful little gopher tortoise on the beach early yesterday morning. What, you may well ask, is a gopher tortoise doing on the beach? Blair and Dawn Witherington's book, Florida's Living Beaches, tells us that gopher tortoises dig burrows in sandy scrub habitat, including coastal dunes, and that they may wander onto beaches, but rarely feed there.
Margie adds: There are some living in the dunes here and there. I've seen them wandering on the beach before. The unfortunate ones are misidentified by beach-goers as sea turtles and "helped" into the ocean. This little guy today was pretty far from the dune line when I saw him. He was down in last week's dried wrack, right next to a big ghost crab hole. At first I thought maybe the crab had dragged him there and he was injured, so I picked him up to see. He was ok and tried to run away, so I could see all his legs were working fine. At that point I figured I might as well "help" him get home, so I took him up to the dune line and put him down near a bay bean plant (sometimes called a beach pea), which is when I took the photos. When last seen, he was motoring west into the thick dune, using his sturdy little legs. (Be sure to click on the photo to enlarge it - baby gopher turtles are such pretty little creatures.)
As luck would have it, Jim has this photo of a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling, posing near a railroad vine. Good looking flippers, handy to have when swimming. (Click on photo so you can see the fancy white trim on his little flippers.)
The moral of this story is, if it has flippers, it's a sea turtle. If it has legs, it's not, and don't put it in the water!