Thursday, June 06, 2013

Santa Rosa Patrol

This morning was the first time I have had an opportunity to patrol the Santa Rosa area  Gulf Islands National Seashore.  It turned out to be quite a day due to the "side effects" of  Tropical Storm Andrea.  Although it was breezy, wind speed didn't come close to what I experienced the first week of May, but the surf was high and this morning's patrol coincided with a rising tide.

It's discouraging to face these type of conditions so early in the season, causing a lot of destruction to our nesting bird colonies:  Black Skimmers (Watch List status - Yellow), Least Terns (Endangered) and Snowy Plovers (Threatened).  This morning I discovered that the waves were running high ashore into many of the bird enclosures (nesting areas which have been roped off to the public due to nesting birds).  You can see how far the water has washed past the posts in the photo below.

As I neared Park East, the waves were also washing close to the dunes and sand fencing.

We may still have rough conditions tomorrow, but hopefully the Gulf will calm soon and we won't lose many of the newly-hatched chicks or nests. 

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