Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Backyard Visitors--and Other Things

Guess I am becoming very lazy in my old age. I have really been neglecting my blog.But I've been doing other things that I really enjoy--like genealogy. I love doing genealogy, even when it's not my own. I have been working on my neighbor's lines. It absolutely blows my mind how much genealogical material is on the internet now. I love it!!

Anyway, that's not the reason, I'm writing this post. I have been bemoaning the fact that we haven't gotten any rain on our little piece of Paradise. Everyone else seems to be getting it but not us. I see the dark skies every afternoon and I hear the thunder but do we get any of it? Noooooo. Boo hiss. Remember my beautiful creek? This is what it looked like a couple of months ago.

Well take a look at what it looks like now.
Very depressing. The other day one of the ducks tried to get through the muck and mud to get up to where I feed them. Haven't seen a duck since. Even the turtles don't come around although you can see where they plowed their way through the mud--one time.
It has been so HOT down here, I haven't really enjoyed sitting out on the deck anyway, but it does cool off some in the evening so I go out and read for awhile. The other night, the trees were alive with the sound of music. (No, not the hills, the trees!) Cardinals, Doves, Grackles and Mocking Birds. I thought I only had a pair of Cardinals but I spotted at least 5. I thought I only had Ground Doves but I spotted at least 4 Ring Necked Doves too. Now the Grackles don't exactly sing or coo. In fact they can be downright annoying but I still enjoyed watching them. I had to grab my camera and take some pictures. Here is what I got.
Then last night I looked out the front door and this is what I saw. Unfortunately the colors didn't come out too great but it was still an amazing sight.
Then this morning, I looked out the front door just as the sun was coming up and spotted this gorgeous sky.
So, the water in the creek may be gone and the ducks and turtles don't come to visit anymore, but I do still have the birds and the beautiful Sanibel sunsets and sunrises. Guess I can't complain too much. But I still would like a little rain just for the heck of it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

We Could Use Your Help

The Pepsi Refresh Project is granting money for health. My friend, Tink, has chosen the following group. Give Kids the World, to back. She would like her friends--and now mine, to vote for this worthy project.

"The story of Give Kids The World began with a child's Wish. She had leukemia and wanted to visit Orlando with her family. She died before her trip was arranged. Her unfulfilled Wish inspired the start of Give Kids The World so that all children with a life-threatening illness receive a last Wish."

We need to be in 1st or 2nd place to receive any money. Please go here, read about Give Kids the World and vote daily.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Walk on the Beach

We went for a walk on the beach this morning before it got too hot. It was still hot but enjoyable. Not too many people out and around yet. And really, it wasn't all that early either!
The Gulf is like bathwater. Wonderful to wade or swim in. And it would seem that the Pelicans feel the same way.
I enjoy seeing the birds on the beach and always manage to take a few pictures of them.

I thought these two Laughing Gulls were a hoot. They looked like bookends or twins or something.
But the cutest thing of all were the Snowy Plover chicks. Snowy Plovers are endangered and are protected on Sanibel. Whenever a nest is spotted it is roped off and watched over until the chicks hatch and are on their own. There are at least 4 such areas between the 2 and 3 mile mark on the beach. I have never seen a chick in the wild--only at CROW. Today we saw an adult running around kind of flapping it's wings and looking like it was in distress. It dawned on me that it was a mama trying to draw attention away from her chick. This is what they do. Then I saw the chick. It was about 2 inches tall. Can you find it in this picture?

Here is the same picture blown up a bit. When mama decided that we weren't really a threat to her baby, she went back to join it.
Later we saw a Mama and Papa with 3 or 4 chicks. So cute. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of them.

Nice walk on the beach even if it is a bit warm. But it was nice to get out and see oil free waters and wildlife. Let's just hope it stays that way!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Message From CROW on the Gulf Oil Spill

As most of you know, I am very involved as a volunteer with CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife). Due to the disaster in the Gulf and the horrible things that are happening to wildlife in the northern part of the Gulf, I am sometimes asked what CROW is doing or going to do if the oil should reach our beaches and what we as citizens can do to help. This week there was an excellent article in the Island Sun written by CROW's president, Susan Tucker. She explains what will happen if we are hit by this disaster and CROW's part in the clean up. I felt it was worth copying and posting here.

Island Sun Vol 17, No 49 June 11, 2010 pg 19

Message From CROW On The Gulf Oil Spill
by Susan Petersen Tucker,CROW President

When the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, little was known about the immediate effects it would have on wildlife. One week later, the first oiled bird was found off the coast of Louisiana. For the next two weeks, there was still minimal impact on the region’s wildlife. But as we are approaching mid-June, that is all changing.

Federal officials are now reporting that 604 birds have been collected, just 82 alive. They also say that 253 sea turtles have been found, with only 25 alive.So far, 29 dolphins have been found, all dead. The oil is beginning to reach the shore, the marshes, and two major pelican breeding grounds in Louisiana.Experts are now predicting that thousands to tens of thousands of our wildlife neighbors could be directly harmed by
this environmental catastrophe.

From the time the oil spill began, all wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts have been coordinated through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. At CROW, as a member of the local joint response team, we have volunteered our services and our facilities to them as part of that coordinated effort and we are on alert to assist as needed.

At CROW, we have also been heartened and overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have called to volunteer their services to help with the rescue and rehabilitation of oiled wildlife. The USFWS and Tri-State are compiling lists of potential paraprofessional responders in our area in the event local efforts are needed.

In order to be considered to participate in these efforts, individuals must possess (or work directly under someone possessing) an active permit, license or authorization related to the migratory bird, sea turtle or other species being handled. You must also possess a working knowledge and have at least three months experience with the protocol,
procedures and hazards associated with the species. Preference will then be given
to those with hazardous materials training, OSHA training, rabies shots and extensive rescue experience. In Southwest Florida, there are over 80 federal, state and local agencies and organizations with qualified responders on their staff. It is up to USFWS and Tri-State to assess and deploy the human resources if local rescue, rehabilitation or cleanup efforts are needed.

In other words, it is highly unlikely that any “volunteers” will be called upon to directly participate in local efforts. It is an inherently dangerous activity, the oil
is considered to be a highly toxic material and for your own safety (and for the safety of our wildlife) you should avoid going to any oil-affected areas and handling wildlife in distress.

But there is a lot you can do to help. The state of Florida has created its own program for volunteers (www.volunteerflorida. org) to fill a variety of needs (you must be at least 18 to register). Governor Crist has also activated a tollfree hotline (1-888-337-3569) to answer questions about volunteer opportunities and the state’s response activities.

Over the past weeks, so many caring and compassionate people have also come to CROW to help us. Our potential call to duty to help oiled wildlife significantly threatens our existing daily operations and having these new volunteers to help us with basic patient
care, food preparation, feedings, tortoise grazing, cage cleaning, laundry and even
helping to answer our telephone hotline has made a tremendous difference for CROW. We are open seven days a week, 365 days a year, treat over 200 species and nearly 4,500 patients a year and are always close to full capacity. We are still looking for additional volunteers who are seeking a memorable and meaningful experience.

You can also help us by becoming a member of CROW or by making a donation that will help us continue to save wildlife through compassion, care and education. If you would like to become a CROW volunteer, a member or make a donation, please call CROW at 472-3644 ext. 6 or go to our Web site

For over 40 years, thanks to people like you, CROW has worked tirelessly to give wildlife a voice and to give people hope for their future. Together, let’s hope and pray for the future of those who are now seeing their world through oil-soaked eyes and let’s give them a voice in the midst of this tragedy. Thank you for your continued support.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

An Evening at the Beach

I felt I had better get to the beach today. Who knows how many more days we will have to walk our beautiful beaches. I rarely check the high and low tides so was very pleasantly surprised when I found that it was reeeaaaalllyyy low tide! I looked up and down the beach to see which way to go. I usually like to go where it is less crowded.I decided to go East or toward the lighthouse. Less people that way. Who knows, probably less shells too. Oh well.

This gal was digging for something. I don't know what but I hope she found what she was looking for.
These gals had the right idea. They dragged their chairs out on the sandbar. I was hoping I could grab a picture without them knowing but it looks like the caught me.
Ok, so everyone who lives on Sanibel or visits here should know that there is a leash law! Believe it or not, this dog was on a leash. He just didn't have a human attached to the other end.
His owner thought it was really cute to throw shells and the dog would chase after them. He thought it was even funnier to toss those shells near people so the dog would run towards those people. One guy finally screamed at him and told him to get the dog on a leash or he was going to call the cops. So the guy complied.He complied until he got down the beach a ways then let go of it again and started the whole thing all over again. Jerk!!!

The water was so calm and clear that I was able to take some great pictures of shells. Most of what I found though was live. Live Whelks, live Tulips, live Murexes, live huge Giant Cockles, live Clams, live Juvenile Fighting Conchs. It was pretty amazing. I overheard a guy say that when he walked beyond the sandbar, he couldn't take a step without stepping on Sand Dollars. One thing that made me crazy was a teenager who decided to take a live cockle and break it open to see what was inside! Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures of the live ones.

Believe it or not I even found a live Wentletrap!! And yes, I put it back.

My friend says that if you are supposed to find a shell, you will. I had to put back all of those live shells but look what I found without critters inside!
Oh, and Tink, look what else I found. Operculum. Two of them. I put the Wentletrap in there to show the size. In case you don't know what an operculum is, it is the trapdoor of a live shell such as a Horse Conch.

Anyway, it was a wonderful couple of hours on the beach. The water was like bathwater and clear as a bell. I just hope and pray that our beaches stay as beautiful as they were tonight!