time I have been anxiously awaiting, the, hatching of our first little Sea
My first turtle hatchling experience this year came from a nest #1, which
had hatched the day
before. When I checked on it the next morning I saw ants
the nest. That is not a good thing.
further examination I saw the head of one little turtle which appeared
to be dead. I dug it out and found another one beside it,
was also dead. However underneath these were three more which
were still alive. I pulled them all out as Amy, who calls
herself Pinky Beach Junki on Facebook, and a
young girl and her mom came by at just the right time, watched. I
had yelled and motioned them over when I saw them because I really love
for kids to have a good turtle experience.
who has become very interested in the Sea Turtles this summer, seldom
misses a morning out on the beach in the summer with
her chair ready
to spend the morning. She usually has checked the nests
even get there. She tells me if she has seen signs of the Fox
anything else she has noticed.
so happens it was the young ladies birthday so a great present for her
to be able to assist in heading the hatchlings to the water.
problem these little ones, including the two dead ones, was that in the
two months gestation period many roots had grown into the nest.
They had become entangled in them. The two top ones
become stuck too near the top of the nest and the days heat had
them to die. However they had in turn protected those
from getting too hot and enabled them to survive. You can see
slightly crooked shell of the one on the left caused by the roots
pressure on the semi soft shell. It should straighten out
They were ready to get wet.
A helping hand from birthday girl guides this one through a big mound of
The clouds from above reflected into the wet sand as our little ones
head out to a life in the sea.
reaching the water and the next of many goals they must reach to
survive; reach the Sargassum Sea, safely live for a year or so, then
head out again to travel the world, growing, becoming an adult, then
come back to your beginnings to either breed with a female or be the
female and begin the cycle all over again as you will spend the rest of
your life laying eggs and surviving.
Overhead a local new tourist attraction, the ultralight, gives his
view of the turtle release from above. I wonder if they know
are witnessing...the beginning of a new life in this great world of ours.
Horse Conch egg sac but different, not just a round carnation shape
but a more elongated shape. The hole in the end tells you that it has
already hatched. What I want to see is how she lays this huge
bunch of eggs.
submarine, flying an American flag heads out with some of the crew
above deck, is on the river as I head back to "the barn". I
can't imagine being enclosed in that underwater
world for an extended time.
the boardwalk to the pier are these very sweet wild flowers much like
one would receive clutched in the hand of a little boy I once remember
handing up to his mom a long, long time ago. I even did a painting
that very thing which is somewhere, maybe he has it in his home, left to him by
grandmother who kept the painting for many years. I was a young mom and
a little boy, now you are a man and I am, well, getting old.
Island's first sea turtle excavation was held just outside the park by
Len and Pat Kreger, friends and fellow turtle watch folks. No
live ones found but it gave me the opportunity to announce that we
would be having our first excavation also in a day or so.
was the first nest on the island and Fort Clinch hosted the second, and
that was to be the order of their hatching. Around 200 people attended this excavation.
calm and glassy morning to enjoy some nice cloud formations.
for a lens that would wrap it all up in one shot bit I guess that only
happens at Disney World. Beautiful
clouds piled up off on the horizon...
...with herring scales type clouds moving in overhead as I head out to
our first excavation.
Gopher Turtle is on the beach as I head back from checking out
rest of the beach front turtle nests before the excavation. I
meant to watch it to see what it was going to do.
I got too busy, especially since I had my biggest crowd ever with about
75 people, and forgot to check to see if it headed for the water
like a lot of them are doing these days. Gopher Tortoises
usually dry land, even arid semi-dessert type environment critters,
but they have discovered the nice feeling of the cool water so close
by. Probably it started when so many tourists thought they
"sea turtles" when they saw them on the beach and would put them in the
water. It could have been a life altering experience that
have passed on to their offspring. Take a swim and you will
better. Tourists almost weekly tell me of seeing them head to
water to take a dip then turn around and head back to the dunes.
If they pick them up and try to take them to the dunes before
their swim, the tortoise will just turn around and head back to the
water. I think it is a subject worthy of a scientific study
one more little one was left in the nest and he like the others was
held in place by a root that had grown into the nest and trapped it in
place. All coated in dried on sand and and a wrinkle left in
shell on the shell on its left shoulder, the effects remaining from the root that had held onto it, and
now a new
lease on life with time to grow, mature and smooth out that crease.
Now for the swim of its young life...only 45 to 60 miles to go and a
safe refuge awaits.
must be such a relief to get in the water. Sometimes you will
them take a drink. They are equipped to handle the
water of course. A couple of tries as the waves of water come
to meet his efforts and it is gone.
Lacy's girth continues to expand. I don't think she is in her
tree hole nest anymore but has moved to another place. That
be the way. Maybe that is a defense to keep moving the
first glimpse of a Giant Swallowtail was a few days before I finally
was able to get a photo. It was so fast flitting around my
tree , but I was finally able to get a somewhat decent shot.
underside of their wings is very beautiful. It was hard to
the top side but it appeared to be mostly back, but patterened. I need to do
research on this butterfly to learn about them. I know the
trees are their host so that is the reason for the flitting around one
of mine. Let's hope they are actually able to lay and grow
Would love to see the caterpillar which must get pretty large
make a butterfly like this. What kind of Chrysalis?
questions? So may answers to find.
really love when this plant first blooms because besides being pretty
it smells soooo nice. One of the many varieties of the Spider
tepee did work to keep the Fox out of this nest.
The fox got into it twice eating around 25 each time.
remaining eggs should be fine but it was also washed over
water and in addition has a Ghost Crab in it inflicting further
damage. Lets hope the next new moon does not inundated it once again as it will be nearing a more critical time.
last two of the Plover Chicks for the year it seems. The last
nest's eggs were lost probably to Mr. Fox. These two would
survive to almost fledging size but one would disappear around fledging
time. Leaving the mom with only one of her three offspring.
yard snake surprised me one morning by almost running underneath my
feet on the pathway next to the house. I was able to grab a
camera and get a photo of it. Looks like from the bulges on
side that it has been doing a good job with eating the local vermin.
don't think eggs would made that large a bulge.
of my other creepy crawly little ones, which looks pretty vicious but
the caterpillar of the Gulf Fritillarys. I had just brought this fellow
outside to my Passion Flower plant. I have been raising the
tiny cats I find on
the neighbor's Passion Flower inside my house until they get large
enough to survive the wasps outside and then they are taken out to
finish their development. I cut a vine off the plant and put
water and support it over a stained glass art piece in my kitchen window
which substitutes for a trellis.
They will not leave the plant as long as there is something
eat on it.
#2 was visited by the fox before it was due to hatch. It had
eaten 14 of the hatchling filled eggs, scattering them all around the
nest, exposing the remaining eggs in the nest. As I worked to
clean up the mess, dispose of the bloody egg shells, and refill the
to protect the now exposed eggs I found two eggs underneath the pile of
sand Mr. Fox had thrown out of the nest. One was a partially
out of he egg hatchling. Another was a whole egg but with
in the surface of the egg with some egg white leaking out. I
not want them back in the nest as they might contaminate the other eggs
which were not quite due to hatch. I put them both in a
tub with some soft fabric and watched them, checking in periodically
all day. The one partially torn out of the egg did not live,
later in the day, when I checked in on the egg, here is what I found.
A very lively little one with its egg stuck out of the shell
saying "don't count me out yet"
was able to fine clearer tracks of the Fox in the bottom of one of the
tidal pools at low tide a few days later. Mr. Fox had been in there digging up
Ghost Crab holes.
If you notice you will see that the front paw print is
slightly larger than the rear.
this shot of the tracks along with my wedding ring which I put down for
size comparison you will see that the tracks are fairly small, ruling
out the other possibility of Coyote.
little ones as my fishing buddy Fran called me with a "fran-tic" call to
come to the rescue. Like the Ghost Buster's van I pulled into
drive way to rescue Caterpillars which I had already determined were
Black Swallowtail Caterpillars from her description. She had
found them eating the Parsley in a garden where she was house sitting.
She knew they must be butterfly caterpillars but also knew
were eating her friends garden. I only had one Fennel plant
Ms. Wabbit had eaten all my parsley. For the time being I put
them on my one and only remaining Fennel plant. They are very
beautiful Caterpillars with
yellow polka dots all around their white and black and green stripes.
little hatchlings was also doing well as I closely watched for the egg
yolk sac to be ready to drop off. Once that happens I wanted
get it into the water as quickly as possible. When hatched
have this yellow/orange egg yolk ball attached to their belly button.
The yolk was absorbed by the next afternoon but the sac still
attached. It had to be dry enough to drop off before release
as it was
not something it needed to hinder its swimming abilities. In
nature this would already be off when they emerge, losing it in the
climb upward through the sand.
day came when it was time. I had told several people that we
would release our little one that evening in the park near the nest site.
Problem is that the sun was setting.
a turtle which is drawn by the light, the little guy would go no way except
toward the West and the setting sun. His directional
were already compromised by being kept in an abnormal environment, a
Pyrex bowl, had not helped I'm sure. After several attempts
release which included trying to shield him from the sun's light I
finally gave up.
you can see in this photo the water (East) is not in front of our
little guy who is facing due West. Instead he was still heading back toward the
I made the call to wait until the next morning and do the
release then with the sun in front for our little turtle fellow.
Next morning I
let him walk a bit and then placed him where he could feel
the current of a tidal runoff channel. I wanted to feel he
doing on his own not because I tossed him into the water. He
needed to to regain that instinct that is usually so strong in a new
hatchlings. That instinct to swim toward the Sargassum Sea
it can safely live for a while until the next instinct kicks in to tell
it to move out and follow the currents in the Gulf Stream and on to the
Azores and beyond.
number 2 nest had hatched during the evening and some ladies came
rushing up carrying a hatchling from that nest. They had been
trying to get it to swim but it kept coming back to shore. I don't
think it was a family trait, but that the turtle had a small injury to
the back of the head/neck area which you
can see in the photo, and the eye on the right side seemed to be injured
We do not take young ones this soon out of the nest, to be
so my only choice was to try to get it to head out to the sea.
left the siblings to think about it a while in the tidal runoff area.
Our guy finally begam tp get the hang of it.
had sat for a while looking around just figuring out what he was to do,
then he was ready. He swam in the channel the tidal runoff had
created on his way to the Sargassum Sea. The other one with a
little assistance was
able to swim away on its own.
It is so much better for
them to go through the whole process on their own in a normal way,
hatching, absorbing their egg yolk, digging up on their own and then
emerging from the nest with their instincts in full swing directing
them to the sea, and telling them to swim until they reached a safe portal in the
sea. So many little lives to guide as best we can to becoming
adult . Their specie's survival depends on it.
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