Tuesday, November 5, 2013

RIP Charlie Corbeil

Charlie Corbeil died this morning.

Charlie was a retired business executive and an award-winning, talented wildlife photographer. He and his wife Charlotte traveled extensively, and his web site has his beautiful pictures from all over. But for me, Charlie was Mr. Viera Wetlands. He loved the Wetlands and was active in the development of Friends of Viera Wetlands. The sign at the entrance includes one of his photos. Charlie could be found there every morning and every evening, taking pictures and checking up on things.

Several years ago, I introduced Charlie to a friend who at the time was the editor of Viera Voice, a local monthly newspaper. Since then, every issue has had one of Charlie's photos in it. Viera Voice took it to the next level and produced a charming video featuring Charlie in the Wetlands. I was amazed at how "un-nervous" Charlie was - and his love of the area and the inhabitants came through loud and clear!

Charlie was unfailingly generous with his time and his photos. If you search for Charlie Corbeil on this blog, you'll find examples of this generosity - gorgeous shots. In my other blog, Space Coast Eco, you'll read about my "field trips" to Viera Wetlands that Charlie guided. Faithful readers will remember that my living room/dining room floor is a mural of Viera Wetlands. Charlie provided numerous photos for Frankie Rao (the mural artist) to use during the project.

I think Vince Lamb said it best in his email telling me of Charlie's death: I feel so fortunate to have known him. RIP Charlie.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Good news for sea turtles

A hopeful story in our local newspaper, Florida Today, tells us that we're on track for a record sea turtle nesting season here in Brevard County.  The story notes "By dawn Thursday, biologists had counted 235 green sea turtle nests along the 13-mile stretch of Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. That nearly doubled the previous record for the endangered species — 122 nests in 2011 — ever recorded there in one night."  Dr. Lew Ehrhardt, a marine turtle biologist and professor emeritus at University of Central Florida and longtime dean of sea turtles, said “It’s hard for me to express in words how incredible that is ” and estimates over 2,100 green sea turtle nests at the refuge this year, with plenty of time left in the season.

The above photo is one of Jim Angy's and shows a green turtle covering the eggs she has just deposited (probably about 100 eggs). 

Green turtles grow to about 4 feet long and 400 pounds.  They are vegetarians, which tints their meat green - hence the name.  In this photo, also by Jim Angy, the lady is returning to the ocean. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dr. Carr!

Tomorrow is World Sea Turtle Day, named in honor of the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr, the father of modern sea turtle biology. Locally, Titusville is throwing its third annual Titusville Sea Turtle Festival.  The Sea Turtle Conservancy is hosting events at the Barrier Island Center, and the Sea Turtle Preservation Society is holding an open house with numerous activities on tap.

This is my favorite photo of Archie Carr - he and some of his students attaching balloons to sea turtles so they could track their ocean travels (photo courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservancy). See my 2009 post about this at http://www.spacecoastbeachbuzz.com/2009/06/tracking-sea-turtles-now-and-then.html

The Sea Turtle Conservancy newsletter provided this excellent background information:

"A renowned herpetologist, naturalist and professor of zoology at the University of Florida, Dr. Carr is perhaps best known to the public as the author of eloquent books about sea turtles and the tropics. For those familiar with sea turtle research and conservation, Dr. Carr is revered for his scientific contributions and vision. He was passionate about sea turtles, and his enthusiasm was contagious. Born in 1909, Dr. Carr spent his career in the Americas where sea turtles were intensely exploited for much of the 20th Century, just as they were in other areas of the world. Dr. Carr left a remarkable legacy of science and conservation, including a program that has safeguarded an imperiled assemblage of nesting green sea turtles in Tortuguero along the wild Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Dr. Carr would be enormously pleased by the ongoing success of green turtles in Tortuguero and closer to home in Florida, where formerly depleted populations of green turtles are nesting in greater numbers each year. He would be excited too by the powerful conservation ethic for sea turtles emerging in much of the world. After decades of conservation, the remarkable resurgence of the Kemp's ridley in the Gulf of Mexico and the hawksbill in the Caribbean, two species in a perilous state at the time of his passing in 1987, are cause for celebration. As envisioned by Dr. Carr, good will and good science are the foundation for preventing the extinction of sea turtles in our modern world, but efforts must be concerted and they must be long-term."

Happy Birthday, Dr. Carr!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Happy Earth Day 2013!

Let's take good care of our critters!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Get your taxes done!

(Photo of a visiting snapping turtle by Jim Angy)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Brevard Wildlife Corridor Expedition

I've mentioned Vince Lamb in previous posts - scrub jay expert, amongst other things.  Vince is heading up a whole new project called The Brevard Wildlife Corridor Expedition - 16 days of outdoor excursions, April 6 - 21, 2013!  There's hiking, fat tire cycling, kayaking, horseback riding, standup paddling, wildlife encounters, surf fishing, pontoon boat tours, nocturnal adventures, a seafood jubillee, and social events. Whew - I'm exhausted just typing it!! You can choose your days and customize your experience.  Pre-register online at www.expeditionbrevard.com

Monday, February 11, 2013

My version of snow

My townhome is in a small development with lots of oak trees - I love the trees and the birds and squirrels that they shelter, but this year, the leaves have been particularly heavy.  Our poor yard maintenance man gets everything all cleaned up, just in time for another gust of wind and more leaves.  Today we decided it was our version of snow - just a little easier to shovel. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Strange Weather

Been way too hot for a Florida winter - wishing the best for the folks about to get blasted with Winter Storm Nemo - come to Florida if you can.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Quoth the Raven ....

Strange Super Bowl game - I thought the Dodge Ram commercial based on Paul Harvey's 1979 speech "So God Made a Farmer" was the best part of the whole thing, and by far the best commercial.  I'm reading a really good series by Kerry Greenwood - she has such command of the language.  One of the phrases uttered by her protagonist, Phyrne Fisher, fits Ray Lewis to a tee:  "self-centered as a gyroscope."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Remembering the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia Crews

I was on the e-library waiting list for Jay Barbree's "Live from Cape Canaveral; Covering the Space Race, from Sputnik to Today" (published in 2007), and it arrived Friday.  As an NBC reporter, Barbree covered every mission flown by astronauts - he lived and breathed the space world, and it shows in his book. 

My own entry into the aerospace business was in 1965, working for Chrysler on the Saturn 1B program.  Many of my co-workers had come to Florida from Hamtramck, Michigan and received a bonus "swamp pay" for working in such an uncivilized place as Florida!  Those were fun days, and Barbree captures the spirit in his book.   But the fun stopped and the spirit changed on January 27, 1967.  I was sitting with co-workers in the legendary Mousetrap, THE watering hole of the day, when we got word of  the Apollo 1 fire that occurred during a Countdown Demonstration Test (aka "plugs out" test) and the deaths of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. 

January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, and we lost seven astronauts:  Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik.

And our third sad anniversary comes February 1, when we remember Space Shuttle Columbia's disintegration during its return over Texas in 2003.  Astronauts Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Ilan Ramon, and Laurel Clark died.

So starting today, we have three sad anniversaries in six days.  These were remarkable pioneers and adventurers.  I'm glad the book arrived when it did, as it has given me a small insight into the real people in these pictures.  R.I.P.

(Photos courtesy of NASA)