Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oil Spill Burn Box

As those who know them might expect, Dawn and Blair Witherington have been actively involved in sea turtle rescue necessitated by the Deep Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. Working from a boat with five others, Dawn described it simply as "horrible." She's back home, but Blair is still out there. The day after Dawn returned to Brevard, a reporter from the LA Times accompanied the rescuers on the boat and filed this story. Dawn says it describes everything perfectly. The story is called Death by Fire in the Gulf and starts out with "So-called burn boxes are torching oil from the water's surface at the sacrifice of turtles, crabs, sea slugs and other sea life."

I hate the effects of this gusher on the marinelife, but even more so, I'm so sorry that folks like Blair and Dawn, whose life purpose is to preserve and protect these critters and educate others about them, are being subjected to these horrors. This is a nature lover's war, and the scars will linger a long time. But Dawn shared her perspective thusly. She says there is a term for not being able to help - "compassion fatigue." She said that she was depressed before they went out there, and that while the whole thing was disturbing, being able to save turtles helped her mood a lot.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here's looking at you, kids!

I don't think visually, so when an image lingers in my mind, it's a strong one. That's the way I felt about Charlie Corbeil's photo of these Great Horned Owl chicks. After a day of seeing them in my head, I asked Charlie for permission to share the photo and for some details.
If he is in town, Charlie is at Viera Wetlands every morning and every evening, and this was his first sighting of a Great Horned Owl there. He tells me that the soft, light feathers on their foreheads identifies them as chicks. He says they were quite large, and he figures they flew from their nest tree to this palm tree. He first saw them last weekend while he was walking the roadway early in the morning . (Click on the photo to enlarge so you can spot the third chick.) They were still in the same position, same tree that afternoon, but gone the next morning, confirming his suspicion that they fledged their nest and were trying out their wings. He didn't ever see any adult Owl supervision.
I love this photo - thanks, Charlie! (See a link to his web site in Reference Links below.)
If you have not visited Wayne's Space Coast Wildflowers blog lately, be sure to do so - he added three new posts yesterday about beach wildflowers. Somehow, many of us think of the beach as a stretch of bare sand, but it's ever so much more.

Reference Links:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Your Face in Space

Cactus Jack and Caroline, this is for you!

NASA is encouraging people to send electronic images of their faces to fly into orbit aboard one of the two final remaining space shuttle missions.

To put your face in space, follow these directions:

1. Go to
2. Upload your image or type in your name to be flown aboard a space shuttle.
3. Print and save the confirmation page.
4. After the mission, return to the website and print your "flight certificate."

You can read the whole story as it appeared in our local Florida Today newspaper here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

If you love wildflowers ...

I'm delighted to announce a new blog that features the wildflowers of Brevard County, Florida. Long-time friend Wayne Matchett has gathered his hundreds of wildflower photos into one location - the result is Space Coast Wildflowers, and it's a dandy reference. Wayne has gone to considerable effort to provide locations, closeup and context photos, common and scientific names, reference material, and labels. (As you wildflower aficianados know, a closeup photo of a wildflower can make a tiny flower look really big, so having the context photos really gives you a sense of scale.) As the site's title notes, this is a growing collection. As I write this, Wayne and his wife are braving the heat and humidity to hunt for wildflowers in St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park.

My Eco blog has "field trip reports" on some of the locations Wayne has identified in his posts, but not all - he really gets around! At some point, we plan to collaborate on a four-fold reference brochure.

Wayne's contact information is on his site - if you have questions, corrections, or comments, he'll be pleased to hear from you.

On a separate note, today is the 66th anniversary of D-Day and the invasion that turned the tide of World War II. When I bought my Buddy Poppy for Memorial Day and thanked the elderly Veteran for his service, he said "Oh, that was a long time ago." I suspect he was a Korean War Vet. It's hard to believe the WW II vets are in their late 80s and 90s now. The Orlando Sentinel carried this story about the invasion and its terrible toll on the troops. As always, our thanks for Warfighters past and present.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A little cutie

As best I can tell, critters understand that photographer friend Jim Angy means them no harm, so they just kind of go about their business while he happily snaps away. He dropped off a CD with some 179 images of this Sandhill Crane family, and I quickly grabbed some that made me smile. This particular baby is a natural-born model. (All photos by Jim Angy)

Mom - is that my brother in there?

Whoa - it's a big world out there!

Oh boy - what did I do wrong this time?

I don't think I like this bath stuff!

Now this is what I call a really nice featherbed!

Good night, Mom