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Archive for the ‘Sea Turtles’ Category

Sea turtle Nesting Season and How to Protect Our Beaches

Posted by Jody on May 7, 2013

Jody:

  • It is against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests.
  • If you see an injured or dead sea turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC from your cell phone.
  • Avoid going to the beach at night. If you must be on the beach at night, limit your walking and do not use flashlights or flash photography.
  • Turn off outside patio lights and shield indoor lights from shining directly onto the beach by closing the drapes at night. Lights disturb nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.
  • While enjoying the beautiful beaches during the day, avoid disturbing marked sea turtle nests, and please take your trash with when you leave the beach.
  • When crossing a dune, please use designated cross overs and walk ways. Do not climb over the dunes or disturb the dune vegetation.
  • Interested in taking a guided sea turtle hike? Here’s a list of organizations permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct public turtle watches.

The sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1-October 1.

Florida’s Space Coast is located 35 miles east of Orlando on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. With over than 72 miles of sandy beaches, the Space Coast is the “gateway to the stars, home of East Coast surfing and the world’s second busiest port.”

Originally posted on Visit Space Coast Blog:

The first of May officially marked the beginning of the sea turtle nesting season in the state of Florida.  Although we want people to come to Florida’s Space Coast to enjoy our beaches, we also want residents and visitors to be aware that they’re not the only ones out there.

Photo Credit: Sea Turtle Conservancy

Photo Credit: Sea Turtle Conservancy

To ensure the survival of sea turtles, but still enjoy yourself on our coast here’s a short list of things to remember during sea turtle season:

  • It is against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests.
  • If you see an injured or dead sea turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC from your cell phone.
  • Avoid going to the beach at night. If you must be on the beach at night, limit your walking and do not use flashlights or flash photography.
  • Turn off…

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Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sea Turtles, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

“NOAA designates additional critical habitat for leatherback sea turtles off West Coast”

Posted by Jody on January 25, 2012

Here’s some great news for leatherback sea turtles!

This month, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the designation of two distinct areas, totaling approximately 41,914 square miles, of marine habitat along the United States’ West Coast as additional critical habitat for leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea).  Taking effect on February 16, 2011, this ruling provides federal protection in crucial feeding grounds for the endangered leatherbacks in specified regions of the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California.

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Photo by Scott R. Benson, NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center)

According to NOAA’s website, “This designation will not directly affect recreational fishing, boating and other private activities in critical habitat. Critical habitat designations only affect federal projects that have the potential to adversely modify or destroy critical habitat. Critical habitat designations aid the recovery of endangered and threatened species by protecting habitat that the species rely on.”

Leatherbacks are the most migratory and wide ranging of all the sea turtles.  After swimming great distances across the Pacific Ocean, from their Indonesian nesting grounds, these well-known world travelers forage in U.S. coastal waters for their preferred delicacy, jellyfish. Yummy!

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Photo by Scott R. Benson, NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center)

These giants of the sea can grow to lengths of 6 1/2 feet and weigh up to 2,000 pounds.  “The leatherback sea turtle, the largest marine turtle in the world, has been listed as endangered since 1970. Leatherbacks have the largest range of any living reptile and occur throughout the oceans of the world. They feed primarily on jellyfish and lay their eggs on tropical and subtropical beaches. Although very little is known about their lifespan, biologists estimate leatherbacks can live for 45 years or more. (NOAA)

Are you looking for a good read to place on the bedside table? You might consider the 114 page ruling: “Endangered and Threatened Species: Final Rule to Revise the Critical Habitat Designation for the Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle.”  I was relatively impressed with its “plain English” style. No kidding!

Bon Appetit!

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can Jellyfish Mean Good News? Sea Turtle Update

Posted by Jody on November 27, 2011

Can jellyfish blooms mean good news?  Maybe not if you are a swimmer… but it you are a critically endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle, come and get it!

Leatherback Turtle by Haeckel (PD-US / Wikimedia Commons)

The Orlando Sentinal reports: Jellyfish may be helping leatherback sea turtles make a comeback, “It’s the annual bane of beachgoers: massive “blooms” of jellyfish. This past summer, when the blooms hit Volusia and Brevard counties, thousands of ocean swimmers felt their sting.

“But researchers say the very creatures that are such a nuisance to people could be fueling the comeback of one of Florida’s endangered species: the leatherback sea turtle.” Read more in the Orlando Sentinal article.

For more information on the Leatherback Sea Turtle, the Earth’s largest living sea turtle: Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles Feasting in British Waters

And for more on jellyfish: What Exactly is a Jellyfish Anyway?

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beachcombing & Sea Turtles at Hale’iwa Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii

Posted by Jody on October 20, 2011

Hale’iwa Beachcombing, Oahu, Hawaii (©Jody Diehl)

Hale’iwa, about a one hour drive from Honolulu, is the biggest little town on the North Shore of Oahu.  The minute you drive into Hale’iwa, you know you’ve entered serious surfing territory.  Everything, from mail boxes to address signs, is themed with brightly colored surf boards.

The community of Hale’iwa is known as the “Gateway to the North Shore.” After traveling through this artsy, laid-back surf town you’ll cross over the Rainbow Bridge, which spans the Anahulu River.  The Anahulu River has beach parks on both sides of its banks. Hale’iwa Beach Park, located just over the bridge, has a very large grassy area on the shore side of Kamehameha Highway.  The North Shore views from this beach are picture perfect.

Hale’iwa Beach Treasures (©Jody Diehl)

We’ve never seen anyone swimming here, though it isn’t against the rules. The water can be a bit cloudy, and the ocean bottom is quite rocky, and (especially in winter) the surf can be treacherous.  Hale’iwa Beach Park does have a narrow strip of golden sand, and with shore shoes on, it’s an excellent beach for beachcombing.  Here you might find snakehead cowry snail seashells (the most common cowry snail of the Hawaiian Islands), cone snail seashells, pieces of coral, assorted surf-tumbled shell bits and multicolored sea glass jewels. Beachcombing at Hale’iwa Beach Parkwill reward you with a striking combination of colorful beach treasures!

View from Hale’iwa Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii (©Jody Diehl)

Hale’iwa Beach Park is also a very good place for green sea turtle spotting. You may want to bring along your binoculars to get a better view of the honu, as they are known in Hawaii. We’ve sighted sea turtles swimming near the shore every time we’ve visited this area of Oahu’s North Shore. It’s been quite exciting each time!

Sea Turtle, Hale’iwa, Oahu, Hawaii (©Jody Diehl)

Please keep in mind that, in Hawaii, the green sea turtle is listed as a threatened species under federal and Hawaii state law. Remember to always observe sea turtles from a distance and never attempt to touch, ride, or feed sea turtles.

Just a note:  You will definitely want to treat yourself  to a world-famous Hawaiian Shave Ice while you’re in Hale’iwa!

EGD’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (©Jody Diehl)

Have a great day at the beach! Aloha!

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Sea Turtles, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Update

Posted by Jody on September 21, 2011

Since 1978, the loggerhead sea turtle has been listed as threatened throughout its range under the Endangered Species Act. Under this act, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) share jurisdiction for the loggerhead sea turtle.

According to NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources “Loggerheads are circumglobal, occurring throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Loggerheads are the most abundant species of sea turtle found in U.S. coastal waters.”

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Photo by Strobilomyces/Wikimedia Commons)

“In the Atlantic, the loggerhead turtle’s range extends from Newfoundland to as far south as Argentina. During the summer, nesting occurs primarily in the subtropics. Although the major nesting concentrations in the U.S. are found from North Carolina through southwest Florida, minimal nesting occurs outside of this range westward to Texas and northward to southern Virginia. Adult loggerheads are known to make extensive migrations between foraging areas and nesting beaches. During non-nesting years, adult females from U.S. beaches are distributed in waters off the eastern U.S. and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and Yucatán.”

Loggerhead Hatchling (NPS Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

“The majority of loggerhead nesting occurs in the western rims of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The loggerhead nesting aggregations in Oman, the U.S., and Australia account for about 88% of nesting worldwide. In the southeastern U.S., about 80% of loggerhead nesting occurs in six Florida counties (Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties). In Brevard and Indian River Counties, a 20 mile (32.2 km) section of coastline from Melbourne Beach to Wabasso Beach comprises the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (ACNWR). ACNWR is the most important nesting area for loggerhead turtles in the western hemisphere. Twenty-five percent of all loggerhead nesting in the U.S. occurs in the Refuge. Researchers have recorded nesting densities of 1,000 nests per mile (625 nests per km) within the ACNWR.”

“In the eastern Pacific, loggerheads have been reported as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Chile. In the U.S., occasional sightings are reported from the coasts of Washington and Oregon, but most records are of juveniles off the coast of California. The west coast of Mexico, including the Baja Peninsula, provides critically important developmental habitats for juvenile loggerheads. The only known nesting areas for loggerheads in the North Pacific are found in southern Japan.”

With such a wide ranging population, it’s no wonder that federal agencies have recently ruled it necessary to change the designation of loggerhead sea turtles from one threatened species to nine “distinct population segments.”  Worldwide, four distinct population segments remain listed as “threatened” and five segments are now classified as “endangered.” By all accounts, this new division should help to better assess threats, monitor loggerhead sea turtle populations and focus conservation efforts on the basis of need and region.

Lots of up-to-date information is available on NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Loggerhead Turtle web page. Don’t forget to check out the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge along Florida’s East Coast.

Have a great day at the beach!

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles Feasting in British Waters

Posted by Jody on August 29, 2011

Critically endangered leatherback sea turtles are heading north for dinner!  These massive creatures, the largest of the living sea turtles, don’t mind traveling great distances in the open ocean to feast on the increasing number of jellyfish in the waters of the United Kingdom. Jellyfish are the main staple of the leatherback sea turtle diet.  The record number of jellyfish in the seas surrounding the British Isles has led to a record number of leatherback sea turtle sightings this year.  The non-stinging barrel jellyfish, commonly found in British waters, can grow to over three feet across and weigh up to 88 pounds! (1 meter across & 40 kilos) I wonder if that’s just a little mid-morning snack for a male leatherback sea turtle, who can grow to over 8 feet in length and weigh nearly one ton.

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Photo: NOAA, from Wikimedia Commons)

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Photo: NOAA, from Wikimedia Commons)

There is a wonderful news story on these endangered leatherback sea turtles (and prey) at channel4.com.  It comes complete with a really interesting video from London’s Independent  Channel 4 News Science Correspondent Tom Clare. You’ll definitely want to check it out!

For more information, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has an educational  leatherback sea turtle fact sheet.  The fact sheet includes the description, range, and habitat of the leatherback sea turtle, along with other interesting information, including the following section on their current status: “Reasons For Current Status: The crash of the Pacific leatherback population, once the world’s largest population, is believed primarily to be the result of exploitation by humans for the eggs and meat, as well as incidental take in numerous commercial fisheries of the Pacific. Other factors threatening leatherbacks globally include loss or degradation of nesting habitat from coastal development; disorientation of hatchlings by beachfront lighting; excessive nest predation by native and non-native predators; degradation of foraging habitat; marine pollution and debris; and watercraft strikes.”

We’d love to hear from you!  Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion. Don’t forget to share us on Facebook.  Thank you!

Posted in Beaches of Great Britain and Ireland, Monday Miscellaneous, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sanibel Island (Florida) Free Guided Beach Walks

Posted by Jody on August 24, 2011

Visiting Sanibel Island, Florida?  Beachcombers and coastal wildlife lovers alike will enjoy the free monthly program being hosted by the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and J N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  Once a month (on the last Tuesday) at 9:00 AM, Refuge Ranger Becky Wolff and shell expert Dotty DeVasure will team up to help children and adults learn about, appreciate and enjoy the marine life and seashells of extraordinary Sanibel Island.  This family friendly program will begin Tuesday, August 30th. For details and contact information check out islandsunnews.com.

Sunset on Sanibel Island, Florida (©Jody Diehl)

What a wonderful opportunity for all beach lovers!

UPDATE 9/28/2011: Article from CaptivaSanibel.com - “Senior enjoys sharing shelling knowledge

*Sanibel Island is located in the Gulf Of Mexico, just off the coast of southwest Florida, west of Fort Meyers.*

We’d love to hear about your Sanibel Island/Captiva beach treasures and experiences!  Please feel free to leave us a comment! Thanks! -J-

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sea Turtles, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Green Sea Turtles: North Shore of Oahu & Hatchlings Head to Sea, Bahamas

Posted by Jody on August 16, 2011

Three Places to Spot Green Sea Turtles on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

It’s really exciting to spot a green sea turtle!  I’ve been to Hawaii many times and each time it’s been an absolute pleasure to see these  beautiful, playful creatures.  It’s not always easy to get a good photo of a swimming “honu” but the memories will remain forever!

Green Sea Turtles, The Big Island, Hawaii (Photo by Jody Diehl)

Green Sea Turtles, The Big Island, Hawaii (Photo by Jody Diehl)

We’ve never set out to find green sea turtles.  If you’re lucky, it just happens.   So, if you are out on the beach and people are gathered around, looking out to sea and pointing, just join in and ask! It’s a rather good bet that someone caught sight of a green sea turtle or other marine critter! The folks at AlohaUpdate.com have given us three good, rather easy-to-find places for spotting  honu on the North Shore of Oahu.

The green sea turtle is a federally protected threatened species.  Remember to always keep your distance and never try to feed them or touch them.

Green Sea Turtles Hatch on Paradise Island, Bahamas

They had a little help from Atlantis’ Marine Aquarium Operations. Here’s the story of green sea turtle hatchlings on Paradise Beach, Paradise Island, Bahamas from TheBahamasWeekly.com.  You’ll see some wonderful photos of the little ones heading for the sea, too!

Enjoy! -J-

Posted in Beaches of the Caribbean, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Endangered Butterfly, 24/7 Turtle Cam & A Rare Whale Birth

Posted by Jody on August 10, 2011

The Florida Keys: Battle to save the Miami blue butterfly.

The Florida Keys, Satellite View (NASA image from Wikimedia Commons)

Coffs Coast, Australia:  First known birth of an endangered southern right whale in 13 years, New South Wales.

Southern Right Whale (Photo by Michael Catanzariti, from Wikimedia Commons)

Watch sea turtles hatch courtesy of the Henderson Beach Inn, Destin, Florida, with 24/7 turtle cam!
Mark your calendar for August 14th. This should be good!

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Photo by Brian Gratwicke, from Wickimedia Commons)

Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beaches of Australia and New Zealand, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Sea Turtles, Whales and Dolphins | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nesting season off to a good start for sea turtles on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Posted by Jody on July 20, 2011

This is great news!

Kate Spinner of the Herald-Tribune has written a very informative article on the wonderful start of this year’s sea turtle nesting seasonfrom Venice to Anna Maria Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle from Wikipedia Commons

According to the Herald-Tribune article: “A little more than halfway through the typical nesting season, totals so far this year are roughly 160 nests shy of the total for all of last year. Turtles continue to nest through the early fall with the last hatchlings expected to emerge about the end of October.”

“Adult females return every two to three years to lay eggs, often on or very close to the same beach where they were born. They nest several times in a single season and not always on the same beach. Nests have been documented up to 62 miles apart, Rutger said. Last week a tagged sea turtle that nested on Manasota Key on June 28 was spotted nesting on a beach in Clearwater.

The article, Sea turtle nesting season off to good start“, is quite informative. I appreciate the article’s attention to detail.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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