Today Reserve staff hosted NBC-2 News staff Bryan Anderson, reporter, and camerman, Rob, at the least tern nest site on Second Chance, the emergent sandbar on Cape Romano Shoals. Hundreds of least tern adults were seen on their scrape nests and a few chicks were spotted, as well as two Wilson's plover nests. Learn more about the nest site.
There was a lot of activity today at the sandbar referred to as Second Chance. Since Reserve staff and volunteers began monitoring beach-nesting bird activity last month the numbers have soared to 600 adults, 406 nests, and four chicks! Courtship activity is still underway as seen in today's photo. The colony took flight a few times when ospreys soared overhead and upon the arrival of a few dozen black skimmers checking out their prospective nest site. Two Wilson's plover pairs have also set up nests here so far.
ROOKERY BAY RESERVE TO HOST STUDENT FILM PREMIERE
NAPLES – In cooperation with Lely High School and Discovery Education, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting a student film premiere on Friday, May 24. Over the past school year, budding filmmakers and marine students have been mentored by Discovery Channel producers and educators and will share a thirty-minute collection of short videos they've produced about locally-relevant science topics ranging from manatee research to saltwater intrusion at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. A "red-carpet" event was also held in the students' honor. In addition to student presentations on Friday visitors can enjoy naturalist-led programs about local fish and birds as well as a Clyde Butcher photography exhibition, observation bridge, and two-story exhibit hall.
Rookery Bay Reserve staff and volunteers, recently located and caged three sea turtle nests on local beaches. Two nests were found on Cape Romano and the other was found on Kice Island. These nests were located less than two weeks into sea turtle nesting season! When coming ashore to lay their eggs, sea turtles often make a print on the ground that look similar to tire tracks, as seen in the photo. How can you help? Read More
As with every year "Canoe race" weekend was a busy time for Team Ocean staff and volunteers. The event itself provided an opportunity for education and outreach in Naples Bay. Working with the City of Naples, who provided dockage for the Team Ocean vessel at the Naples City Dock, the Team was able to educate people on ways to help keep the bay clean. For example, they discouraged attendees from using water balloons, which have traditionally served as ammunition to bombard racers. Once busted and in bay waters these bits of plastic get washed out to sea and are often consumed by sea turtles and other wildlife that mistake them for food. The Team also educated spectators around the race course about "Leave no Trace" guidelines as well as safe boating practices. Our partners at FWC were very visible in the area and did a good job dealing with the influx of boat traffic insuring a safe and fun time for all. After the race was over the Team headed down to Keewaydin Island, did some more outreach with boaters in the main waterway and then completed a count of the number of boats present at that time on the south end of the island. Our total came to 330 boats with approximately 2,500 people. We observed one boat that was 21 feet in length with 23 people aboard!
Sunday started the big cleanup effort. The Team returned to collect 40 bags of trash, four damaged tents and seven beach chairs. As usual, with this very organic unorganized event, the beach was left a disaster and covered in trash; however with help from the Marine Industries Association of Collier County and some local volunteers and good Samaritans the job was done in five hours. On Monday staff and volunteers again cleaned up after the Sunday night campers and collected 20 more bags of trash and three more beach chairs. The Team also repaired the string and flagging that mark the shorebird nesting closure in eight sections, and observed that two concreted crossover posts were dug out likely made into firewood. These posts mark safe passage through the vegetation from one side of the island to the other.
Overall 60 bags of trash as well as many other miscellaneous large items were removed from this piece of paradise. Thank You to Team OCEAN staff and volunteers, MIACC, and other community members who helped. It is hoped that next year many more visitors to this beautiful island paradise will, during their revelry and fun, significantly reduce their disregard for this natural wonder and replace it with the honor and respect that it deserves. After all, Keewaydin Island is collectively owned by all of us and should be treasured and taken care of by all of us as well.