Friends of Rookery Bay Executive Director Athan Barkoukis will be the Celebrity Beertender from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at Momentum Brewhouse, 9786 Bonita Beach Rd SE #1 in Bonita Springs. Barkoukis will be pouring Momentum beers and sharing amusing environmental facts and jokes to earn tips for the non-profit organization. Friends of Rookery Bay members will receive a special gift from a table set up from 5 to 9 p.m. Maria's El Local Taco Truck will be in the parking lot for guests to purchase authentic street tacos. Guests may also bring their own food or order delivery to the brewhouse. Friends of Rookery Bay supports the Rookery Bay Research Reserve, which encompasses 40 percent of Collier County’s coastline and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. For more information, call Friends of Rookery Bay at 239-530-5971
Segments of documentary film to be previewed at National Estuaries Day event
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the production of a full-length documentary film. Clips from the film, which is slated to air on PBS stations across the state on Earth Day 2019 (April 22, 2019), will be previewed at the reserve’s National Estuaries Day celebration on Sept. 29.
September 1, 2018
Working at Rookery Bay Research Reserve has been quite an experience! In addition to the everyday adventures of turtle patrol, I've been able to join in other types of field research and activities recently...
One of the programs I was able to assist with was the reserve's ongoing fisheries monitoring project. Reserve biologist Pat O'Donnell oversees the fisheries study that involves shark research and I was able to assist him on a couple trips. The study targets three bays: Pumpkin, Fakahatchee & Faka Union, and we used a gill net and longlines to bring live sharks on board for tagging and data collection. As you would imagine, this can be delicate work both for the safety of the volunteers and for the sharks themselves, but under Pat's guidance, everyone works together well and it was a fantastic experience. Learn more about this important research.
Staff with Rookery Bay Research Reserve assisted in the release of five sea turtles rehabilitated at the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel. So far in August, a female loggerhead was released on August 13, two Kemp's ridley sea turtles were released on August 16 and two more Kemp's ridleys on Tuesday, August 21. We reached out to CROW for details on these patients, and here is what they told us:
August 6, 2018
As summer marches on, the nesting season is slowly winding down. But, as you may already know, that means it is hatching season! The next generation of baby loggerheads has begun to arrive!! July 4th was the first nest to hatch out at the Cape Romano beaches, and they've only been increasing since then.
Once we locate a nest that has hatched out, we will wait three days to allow for as many of these little buggers to make their way out as nature intended. Then it's time to take down the cage and unearth whats left to collect data. Click here to read intern Anthony in-depth explanation about this process last month. A "good" nest will have between 80 and 120 eggs in it, and a good hatching event will have a minimal number of unhatched eggs upon excavation. There are a number of reasons why some eggs might not hatch, but typically there is a small percentage of the eggs that are simply unfertilized.
Monday, August 13, 2018
Today, a loggerhead sea turtle was released into Gullivan Bay within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. It was rescued in July from the waters near Sanibel Island and taken to CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) to be treated for illness related to red tide. Once it was well enough, it was decided by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and CROW staff to release the turtle into the Ten Thousand Islands, away from the worst of the red tide conditions. The Rookery Bay sea turtle team was happy to help. In this video you can see the turtle swimming away to its new life.
July 27, 2018
Several weeks ago, I accepted an invitation from Anne Mauro, our avian ecologist, to assist her team with counting birds and bringing back the signs from the Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area, which is a special tiny island in Rookery Bay Research Reserve.
Col, an intern that works with us and Florida Audubon, picked me up at about 7 am and drove me to the Ten Thousand Islands Field Station near Goodland. There we met Megan, a biologist working for FWC, who joined us for this early morning trip.
The past month has been very busy for the turtle boys. First things first--we excavated our first nest on July 4th! This was very exciting, and it shows that all the work we've done to protect the nests from the beginning pays off.
After we observe a hatchling emergence, we wait three days to excavate the nest. After we dig up the nest, we record the results by counting the number of empty egg shells and number eggs that didn't hatch. For the eggs that didn't hatch, we open them up to determine how far along in the development process before they were interrupted. With the nesting season at its peak, we all look forward to the coming months of hatchling tracks all over our beaches.