My new assistant, Turtle Volunteer
Ramona Peters, is learning the ropes on the proper way to pick up a
spiny Horseshoe Crab. They will not bite you, but sometimes
pinch your fingers between the two parts of their shells when you get
your fingers in the wrong place. They move the rear part a lot
when you pick them up, getting caught is a lot about getting your
finger in a door.
certainly had our work cut out for us with more nesting continuing up
into June than we have had before. With the busy nesting
activities it meant a whole bunch of stranded Crabs to rescue.
was our daily workout program, bend. lift, hold out like lifting a
weight, walk to the water in soft sand which adds to the effort to
walk. That and walking the West end of the beach about a
to a half mile helps with the exercise program also.
when we pick up the female Horseshoe Crabs it takes two hands to hold onto them because they are so large. This
a female, you can tell by her front pinchers which are just like all
the rest, but the smallest one I had ever seen. Guess they
started earlier and earlier. Must be that fast food hormones.
Is there a MacDonalds down there somewhere?
These turtle tracks are a false crawl, which means she thought about laying really hard, but then
decided she wasn't ready after all or something just wasn't right.
pair of Least Terns was hanging out on our beach quite a bit, a lot of
mornings, but no nesting on our beach. They look like they are
getting ready to play some sort of game with the line drawn in
the sand. I happen to know that is not part of their
ritual, although they did look pretty chummy. Now if he
brings a nice shiny minnow and offers it to her, and she takes it,
then watch out, the
fireworks are about to start.
A young Merganser was back this year, actually probably a new one,
because otherwise it would be all grown up this year. Someone
last year asked me what kind of bird looks like a duck but has a bill
like a regular bird.
the middle of June, the days will once again start getting shorter so
that by the end of the summer I will once again get to catch some real
sunrises. I could go in earlier but getting up at 6 is about
best I can do with the rest of my schedule.
Fresh Sea Turtle
tracks are a beautiful sight early in the morning. Glad
that these did not turn around with a change of heart.
Our Wilson's Plovers are still actively raising their kids. Mom and Dad try to keep an eye on them.
this mountain looks familiar it is a good part of the view I grew up
with when my mom and dad was raising us kids and we were looking at it every
day from 4th grade on until I graduated. Now the neighbors, who
moved in later,
trees that pretty much block our view. Now I have to go up the
to be able to see the familiar shape of Chimney Top Mountain that once was ours to see.
A walk up the hill on the other side of mom's house gives a nice sunset happening
further up the mountain range.
was going to be a good week to get to see my brother Mike and his wife
Denise, from Washington State, but it was a hard week. With Mike
and Denise both in
medical fields it is helpful to have them evaluate the situation.
Mom and Helen are happy living alone and the way we manage to
keep it possible is with the help of the neighbors, which we
affectionately call "The Boys" although they are not boys although
young men--everyone is young to me these days.
the South you can be a boy until you are an old man. Downside
the guys next door, who really are the ones who look after them, have
sold their house. Billy the actual caretaker, will still be
by two times a day to see about them, give them their meds, and is now
is even putting something on to cook mornings so they don't just
sandwiches. When they return in the evening they make sure
eat a balanced meal. If Billy doesn't actually sit down with
and see that they eat my mom will just get up and ignore the food, as
we found out when we were up there, and
fix herself a Liver loaf sandwich. They are a Godsend as they
It is hard to picture that my mom who used to browse every
cookbook she could find for new recipes is happy to eat a bowl of
cereal and then sandwiches the rest of the day. Where I grew up
has no amenities for Seniors, no meals on wheels not senior center
where you can go to socialize.
the last leg of the trip home we were so late getting back that we
spent the night with my son, Eric. He had taken the day off, I
thought to be with us, but turns out he was expecting his cousins from
Tennessee down for a fun day at the pool. Us mom's will take whatever we can get, however it comes our way.
A quick cruise around the lake, Lake Conway, his house is on was fun to see how the
other half lives.
The oldest Granddog, Mocka looked like she might take flight.
Dogs really like the wind in their faces.
youngest, Butchie Jones (my daughter-in-law is a true Tennessee fan),
really liked it too. A long haired Dachie, he is a real
sweetie...but my sister had promised me a massage, the house guests had
arrived, and I needed
get home quickly after being gone for a whole week. Turtle Nests
popping at the beach and I could not bear to miss another minute.
A perfectly beautiful nest today was a great welcome home.
beautiful set of Loggerhead tracks in the sand. This part is
by their back flippers which covers up most of the front flipper tracks
as they move forward. She appears to be draggng some small
something in her middle track. it could be a barnacle on her
plastron or it could be a dragging Coacia but would expect it to be a
wider drag mark if that were the case.
this was an odd one and one we hated to have turn around without laying
a nest. it was a Green Turtle. Her funny track with
pecular track indicated that she had something wrong with one of her
flippers. It was such a destinctive track that they
when she laid further down the beach but outside the park. We
get one Green Turtle nest and that is exciting to at least have that.
There are 8 all total on the island, a record for the island.
This one has an expected drag mark down the middle as Green
Turtles have a longer tail than Loggerheads, and usually will leave a
drag mark that shows a pattern similar to a dash dot, dash dot pattern
formed with the pause between her crawl pattern with each stroke of her
had a lot of unusual false crawls. This one plays ring
the roses with our sign post. She seemed to get her flipper
caught and was only able to disentangle herself by going all the way
around the pole. A further indication that reinforces the
that a turtle can't crawl backwards. They only know how to go
forward. We are fighting a battle now with people who think
OK to leave their tents, beach chairs, and toys on the beach right
where Sea Turtles are coming into lay. When a sea turtle crawls
into this kind of mess she cannot get out of it because of this inability to move in reverse.
More really pretty Loggerhead tracks perfectly excuted without any
thing visible wrong with this turtle.
at the hacienda the Black Swallowtails had found my puny Dill plant
and were happily eating away. I put them in the sunshine and
didn't really seem to like the hot sunshine. All three went
this defensive stance, trying to look bigger. They can also
these feather like appendeges out of their head area and release a
spray that has an odd smell to ward off predators. I have had
them do that to me when I needed to move them.
They have a pretty pattern and I thought this was a pretty photo of
of our Creepy crawly friends is our Banana Spiders (Golden Orb Spider)
have been plentiful after almost disappearing for a couple of years.
We are happy to have them back even though our house looks a
like we are getting ready for Halloween. They are facinating
watch and study. The female if big and beautiful with her
on her rear end which looks like the colors in an over ripe banana,
hence their name. The rich colors in their long legs is also
nice. The male is a tiny little guy who treats her gingerly,
espcially since the consequencs of not making her happy, can result in
your being eaten. The webs are quite large and tough as a
thread are the threads she uses in her construction.
these guys inside to insure their safety you can see how beautiful and
also how even though they look alike, there are slight differences that
make each a unique pattern. This is true also of Monarchs
patterns are all slightly different from each other.
interesting turtle tracks up into the dune grasses which always makes
it difficult to call...is it or isn't it a nest? You try not
mess with the tracks until you make the call. You put your
Sherlock Holmes hat on and try to follow the clues. Did she
sand onto the plants around where she would have nested, and are the
plants in the tracks still rooted in the sand or were they pulled up.
When you see a sand sugar like surface on the plants and you
pull on plants and they are dug up, then you have a nest.
had one like this which I was not sure if I read it right in the last
story, but it was a nest. I had two others which I did not
nest but so far I haven't seen any tracks on the beach which led to a
nest not marked.
it when I see the birds at the Alligator Farm in the nesting rookery
there, out in the wild up here on our own island. This
one has some
of its mating plummage still visible.
Black Swallowtails are starting the change process as the pupa stage.
Soon the chrysalis will form. These have a very
system worked out. It attaches the tail area then seems to
its head part around until it gets a string all the way around the back
side of the upper third of the body. It then is hanging by a
thread looking like it is being held by the safety harness of a lineman
at work up a pole.
great looking Sea Turtle nest. It is a long one with a body
dug before she decided on her final place. The crab hole in
middle of the screen helps us to make a more educated estimate of the
location of the nest chamber.
tracks told me a very sad story. The very romantic heart was from
someone who really didn't have one. You can see the turtle's
normal gait the you see it suddenly change as it appears some
thoughless sub-human person decides it would be fun to ride the back of
turtle. The poor turtle made her way on forward a ways before
laborously turning around with her load, and trying to head back to
her escape from such stupid harrassment.
wer so proud of their thoughtless prank that they made lines at the
bottom to form a heart. It's a good thing for them that I
catch them doing that or they might not still be walking free.
You can see the foodprints where they had to put their weight
down on one foot to keep their balance in several places and also where
they seemed to dismount, and the turtle was able to regain her natural
gait. Needless to say the turtle did not get to lay any eggs that
night. If they don't get to lay sometimes they drop their eggs into the water.
Some mornings are really nice when you catch a Monarch just coming out
of the Chrysalis like the one on the right of the photo.
is what the Black Swallowtail Chrysalis looks like. you can
the thread that suspends the middle part more clearly in this photo.
next to the last of our Plover Families, were enjoying the Northwest
breeze that was blowing and cooling off the hot summer air.
just sat for a good while as if posing facing into the wind.
door to my house there was another family situation with a pair of Red
Bellied Woodpeckers with a nest in this old dead tree trunk.
parent had just fed the youngsters. Every family seems to be really doing well this year.
an effort to try to beat off the summer doldrums and now an approaching
hurricane, it is questionable if I will be able to survive as a
business. In an effort to turn things around I wanted to get an
early start on ordering this years Save
The Turte T-Shirts. I told Bruce today that maybe they should
also be called the Save the Turtle Lady T-Shirts. I will possibly
be adding a sleeping shirt to
the mix. Once again Blowfish Artworks, a local printing company,
will be doing the shirts. They have a great video of the process
they use to make the shirt. Go watch David Brown show you his new
technology for silk screened shirts
at Blowfish Art
take a look. I do
not want to upstage the Turtle
Trot Race in anyway, but if you are not running in the race, especially
those of you not local then we would appreciate your support for our