Sea turtle nesting

May 31, 2009 by Janine |
Last night we went to the beach in hopes of witnessing a sea turtle nesting. We have been a couple of times in the past few weeks, with no success. Last night we got lucky and sat for a couple of hours watching an enormous female Loggerhead turtle excavate her nest, lay eggs, and return to the sea. It was an amazing experience!

We were walking along the beach when we spotted the tell-tale tracks leading from the water up the beach. The tracks of a sea turtle resemble that of a bulldozer- like a huge tread mark. We carefully made our way up toward the dune and spotted the turtle digging her nest. We sat very still and kept a respectable distance away. Rich's video camera has a large zoom lens and IR so we were able to see her clearly although we were 15' to 20' feet away. I have posted a few video clips and stills below.

Excavating the nest

She continued digging for about twenty minutes and then began to lay eggs.

Eggs being deposited into the nest.

After she had finished laying eggs, she began to fill in the nest chamber and cover the eggs with sand.

Finally, satisfied that the eggs were well covered, she heads back to the sea.

She quickly disappeared below the waves.

It was such a privilege to watch her nest. We are thrilled with the experience and glad that I can share the video clips with you.

Random Stuff

May 25, 2009 by Janine |
The rain continued through the weekend, with brief interludes of sunshine in between. Hopefully we will get into the normal summer pattern soon, with the thunderstorms rolling through every afternoon, but clear the rest of the time.

Last weekend we journeyed down to Homestead for the annual Redlands Orchid show. I set myself a budget and vowed to only buy one specimen. Four orchids later all of my money was spent so it was time to go. We decided to swing by Everglades National Park since we were in the neighborhood. We are now over a hundred miles from the park, so we don't often get to visit.

Lots of gator activity

Water levels were abysmally low (this was before the rain started last week) and the gators were crowded into smaller pools of murky water. Some territorial scuffles ensued.

Once the sun had set, we searched for owls and snakes. We spotted one barn owl and this cottonmouth.

Here are some of my orchids:

Fragrant Vanda, "Mimi Palmer" hybrid

Phalaenopsis that Rich bought me for Valentine's day- has been constantly in flower since!

Orchid show purchase, another fragrant variety that smells like coconut. The tag broke when I repotted it but I think its an Encyclia

Tadpole watched me photograph the orchids with disdain.

When I tried to pick her up and take her inside:

New England Trip, Continued

May 22, 2009 by Janine |
Spent a few days last week working in New Hampshire. Its a really laid back place with friendly people and great food, very enjoyable.

Hampton Beach

On our way to dinner one night we drove through a picturesque little town- took these shots from a moving car.

Sunset after dinner

Sunset over Hampton Harbor

In other news, here in Florida it has rained all day, every day, since Tuesday. Which is a good thing, because we had been in a pretty bad drought. However, in a week or so the mosquitoes will be terrible! As I type this I can hear the treefrogs starting to tune up on our porch. The first rain of summer always produces the most dramatic frog orchestras at night.


May 18, 2009 by Janine |
Did a quick bit of sightseeing in Boston before heading up to New Hampshire for work stuff.

We did part of the "Freedom Trail" which highlights many important historic locations in the city.

Historic North End

The Old North Church is the location from which the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" lantern signal is said to have been sent. One lantern lit in the steeple was to notify Charlestown that the British Army would march over Boston Neck and the Great Bridge, and two were to notify them that the troops were taking boats across the Charles. Paul Revere's midnight ride, of April 18, 1775, alerted the Colonists to the approach of the British forces, and was followed by the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.

Paul Revere commemorative statue outside the Old North Church.

Old North Church steeple

Plaque inside the church

Inside the church

Copps Hill Burying Ground was founded by the town of Boston in 1659 and is the second oldest burying ground in the city.

Crossing the bridge

View of Bunker Hill Monument in the distance

Near USS Constitution, which was unfortunately closed for repairs

The best part of the day was the fish and chips for lunch at Quincy Market. Yum! Not easy to get fresh cod in South Florida so it was a nice treat. It was a bit chilly out for me (50's, no laughing!) but bright and sunny and had a great time.

Reptile House

May 09, 2009 by Janine |
The last installment of the Miami zoo pics. The Amazon exhibit features several new reptile and amphibian displays, most of which are indoor reptile houses. The outdoor tanks are very difficult to see into and photograph because of reflected sunlight, so I was only able to get pics of the indoor ones. It was a shame because if they had installed some shade cloth drapes or something beside the tanks it would reduce the glare.

Tree Frogs

The deadly Fer de Lance

Various Lizards

I was captivated by these Alligator Lizards. The colors and texture of their scales was

amazing. I spend the most time watching them and taking tons of pictures.

That's it for the zoo, finally.
Next week I am traveling to New Hampshire for work so will try and get some photos to share.
It will be my first time visiting New England, so I am excited!
Back soon.

Scrubland Walk

May 03, 2009 by Janine |
This evening we took a stroll through the Juno Dunes natural area. I had heard that there were resident Scrub Jays in the area and wanted to check it out. No sooner had we pulled into the parking lot when I saw a familiar silhouette.
The scrub jay observed our arrival with disdain.

The other keystone species of the scrubland is the gopher tortoise. Like the scrub jay, they have become rare due to habitat loss. They are a vital part of the ecosystem because of the elaborate burrows they dig, which provide homes to a wide array of wildlife, from the gopher mouse, to rattlesnakes. We saw several footprints of gopher tortoises both large and small. Finally, we came upon this individual.

It was a treat to see such a large tortoise. We watched it amble along the trail, most likely heading back to its burrow for the evening.

This black racer peered at us from the side of the trail.

As the sun went down the cottontails came out for a last forage before nightfall.

A nice walk and a great way to end the weekend.