Monday, July 30, 2012


Can anyone identify the tracks I discovered on top of a nest last week?
Look closely!  Though tiny little critters, it looks like some of our Santa Rosa beach mice were having a party!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chasing the moon

I'm proud of my little "patrol" camera that I take out on the beach with me.  Tonight I snapped this shot as I sat at a nest on the beach.  I had no tripod, it was a bit breezy, and there was nothing to prop the camera against for stability.  Still, it did a fine job of capturing the "waxing gibbous" moon that smiled down on a little group of people across the island who love sea turtles and all the nests where tiny hatchlings were making their way to the surface.  

Life is good.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Turtle baby shower imageUPDATE!  The Sea Turtle Baby Shower scheduled for Saturday, July 28th, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. had to be postponed due to storms that rolled through our area this afternoon.  Some of our tents were tossed and crunched, unfortunately.  And later, when hoping to rig them up and try again, it appeared another storm system might be rolling through.

We had to be cautious and not risk anyone getting hurt, so the shower has been postponed to next Saturday, August 4th, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.  Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate next week. Everything happens for a reason, so we can only guess that the event is going to be even more awesome next weekend and we hope to see you there!

Thank you to everyone who still came out this afternoon.  We are especially sad for those who will not be able to attend next week, but considering the amount of people who still came by this afternoon despite the threat of the storm, we hope to realize our dream of making this an annual event!

Until next week, turtlers, "lights out!"



On Saturday, July 28, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., there will be the first ever SEA TURTLE BABY SHOWER and it will take place on the east end of the Holiday Inn Express on Ft. Pickens Road!

This will be a "green" event, of course, so we're requesting that, if possible, you take the free Trolley to stop #11.  Parking will be very limited. 

Don't bring any presents for the hatchlings, because we'll be handing out fun things for those who attend!  We'll have reusable bags, coloring books, pens, turtle-friendly light bulbs, light switch decals and more. There will be contests, activities, great photo ops, and an interactive demonstration.  We will also have an Interpretive Ranger present to answer all your questions about sea turtles and display sea turtle shells (carapace).

Want to win a beautiful sea turtle pendant? Smokey Joe, a local artist, has donated a beautiful hand-carved sea turtle pendant which has a retail value of $65. You have a chance to win it if you are the one who guesses closest to the date, time, and number of hatchlings that emerge from a nest behind the Holiday Inn Express.  The more you know about sea turtles, the better your chance of winning, but Mother Nature makes the final decision in this contest.

It's a family oriented event is to celebrate the sea turtle nests that will be hatching soon and a
perfect time to learn more about this magnificent endangered species and how our
conservation efforts make a difference! 

Feel free to wear your turtle finery, should you have some, and start thinking up baby/hatchling names.*  This is going to be a par-tay, because Boogie, Inc. will be providing the music!  If you are on Facebook, you may look up Turtle Baby Shower and confirm your attendance!

* Sea Turtle Trivia:  Some local sea turtle patrolers christen the first hatchling that emerges from each nest with a special name for a little extra luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Patrol at Santa Rosa

What a gorgeous morning for turtle patrol in the Santa Rosa area of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Getting close to eastern boundary of patrol, near Navarre Beach.
Though the color of the sky reminded me of saying:  "Red sky in morning; sailors take warning."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sand turtle

There was no turtle activity on my Sunday patrol at Ft. Pickens this week, but I did come across a very nice sand turtle near Langdon Beach!

Good job!
Unfortunately I also discovered lots of discarded trash on the beach, which I picked up on my way back to the Ranger Station.  Due to time constraints we have when searching for sea turtle nests, we don't stop to pick up all the trash we see, otherwise we'd be out there all day.

If a nest is found which needs to be relocated, there are only a few hours in which it can be safely done without damaging the eggs

I just couldn't toss poor Betty Boop in the trash with all the other nasty stuff I picked up.  Even though the cord was broken and she'd been abandoned, Betty was so darn cute that I left her outside the dumpster in case someone wanted to rescue her.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How Do You Measure Up?

With only a photo we found online, an incredible team from the Pensacola Beach Advocates managed to re-create a super display board  for our local sea turtle conservation efforts.  The Sea Turtle Board, which shows four species of sea turtles which nest in the Panhandle of Florida, will be making its debut for photo ops at the Sea Turtle Baby Shower on July 28th. 

Be sure to attend this family oriented event which will take place at the east end of the Holiday Inn Express on Ft. Pickens Road between 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. this coming Saturday and see how you measure up!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

False Crawls

As I told someone else, this morning's patrol was all work and no glory.  Ft. Pickens still has only six nests this year, but I had THREE false crawls (FCs) this morning.  After seeing these photos, you may see why she may have been too tired to try again.  Maybe tomorrow.

The photos I'm sharing with you came from FC number 3.  

She emerged from the Gulf and crawled due north...
 Climbed up a huge mound of sand...
Came down on the road side and headed east...
Crawled about 50 yards...

Which seemed to go on forever...
Finally found a spot to cross back over...
Crested the top and slid down on the Gulf side of the berm...
This final shot shows where she came out of the Gulf and way down there at my UTV was where her crawl re-entered it.


Unfortunately, on my way in this morning, I witnessed another speeder through the Park. I was going 20 mph and they passed me going around 40-45 mph. I didn't have time to get their license number. There was only a sliver of a crescent moon, so it was very dark. Now, can you imagine how hard it would have been for that person to stop if this sea turtle had been in the middle of the road? It gets so frustrating sometimes. Some people don't realize that we are trying to protect the shorebirds, chicks, and even an occasional sea turtle which ends up on the wrong path. Remind your friends to slow down and smell the sea breeze. Adding ten minutes or so to a drive through the National Seashore should be a pleasure and it could surely save some of our wildlife.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you."

~~ Frank Lloyd Wright  (1867-1959)