30 June 2008

Lotuses in the Rain

It's been a rainy weekend for me with severe thunderstorms and current tornado warnings. The sky is growling constantly with a thundering bass.

so I'm sticking close to home and playing with the rain drops on the lotus leaves...

If anyone has any photography pointers, I'm all ears. I'm really disappointed in the photo editing software I've been using. I think I'll try that included with the Canon 40D to see if it retains more of the vibrant coloring that the camera delivers.

I found a 17 to 85 IS lens I need to buy soon.

It's frustrating to run up against technical limits, but I'm happy to be learning so much so fast!

I'm also realizing that correcting photos is actually making them worse... The color quality from this camera is much better than that on Photoshop. How strange is that?

Photoshop makes the images look rather flat, when they really pop on my camera... Odd. Maybe it's time to upgrade software too.

Flowers Blooming Everywhere!

I don't usually post on non-work days, but I need to play with my new camera til I'm a little better with it.

The flowers in the yard are really enjoying all this rain!

The lotus flowers today were gorgeous.

The tiger lilies also light up the back yard.

There's an absolute riot of spider lilies in the front yard.

I still don't have a really good picture of them, but I'm working on it!

I think I need a 78-135mm IS lens next. It will really help my photography skills develop a little more.

It always amazes me to watch the lotus flowers open up over the course of a few short hours...

Aren't they stunning?

I think I need some macro rings too. I think I'm starting my Christmas list :)

28 June 2008

Turtle Rescue

It takes a village to save a turtle, like this little loggerhead (Caretta caretta). First, Liza called to report this little guy rolling in the surf. Then Rhonda called, and stayed with the turtle until Mark, his family, and I arrived. Then Pensacola Beach lifeguard Dave helped me get him to my government truck for the long ride to Destin.

Now, he's safe and sound at the Gulfarium, waiting to regain a little strength and be set free again. His tag indicates his name is YYN 568. Marcie at the Gulfarium thinks he should be called "Loco" instead. The name just might stick!

Thanks, everyone, for helping us get this turtle the assistance it needs to continue to grow strong!

25 and counting...

VIP Nicole was surprised to find this lovely crawl at the end of her turtle run this morning.

By the time she reached the last mile or so of beach, she just assumed there would be no turtle...

It's never good to assume!

There were only 46 eggs, about 18 feet from the rolling morning tide.

Though it is a small clutch, it's still precious.

Michelle, Nicole and I moved it to the dunes north of the original nest.

Safe and snug about 20 inches deep in the sand, the eggs will develop for the next 50 or 60 days.

Can't wait to see hatchlings! While we're waiting, there are still snowy plover chicks just emerging from their shells...

27 June 2008

Sea Oats and Six-Egg Plover Nests

As usual, the day started before the sun, on a darkened beach, searching for turtle crawls.

Sunrise was hidden by clouds, but the sun light soon broke through, illuminating the first 'elephant' cloud of the day, trunk raised to the sky -- I saw a couple. They reminded me of Dumbo, my pink-and-white security elephant. Yes, I do still have it :)

After moving the sea turtle nest on Perdido Key, I had to check on the six egg snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) nest.

I still can't believe she has six eggs!

She's doing a great job protecting them,

pretending she has a broken wing,

and hovering over them to shade from the sun.

I couldn't spend all day on one nest though.

A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) stalked the north shore.

A common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) sedately sat on the asphalted sand dunes.

We even helped rescue a Northern Gannett (Morus bassanus) that was tangled in fishing gear. Thanks Leslie!

And sea oats (Uniola paniculata) danced in the wind.

Even with the clouds, it was a postcard perfect day...

on the sea

and in the sand...

and even in the distant rainy sky. What a beautiful place to 'work'.,,

Nest Number 24

Perdido Key in the morning...

We've officially doubled last years nest total. With only 12 nests, 2007 was the worst year ever for sea turtles at Gulf Islands National Seashore. This year had to be better.

Today's crawl was rather hard to read because of rain and ghost crabs, but with a width of 39 inches, it's either a huge loggerhead, or a green (but only if the trampled crawl was opposite instead of alternate).

Check out those eggs! One of them had funny little knobs on the edge:

Nest PK6271 was a little close to the sea. The turtle even dug one body pit at the edge of the surf! The bottom of her nest was wet, so it had to be moved or we'd lose the entire clutch.

The nest is now safely nestled about 100 feet north, at the foot of the dunes in a post-Ivan dune restoration area, just east of the park's entrance.

International Coastal Clean-Up!

The 2008 Coastal Clean-Up on Santa Rosa Island was a great success, but we can work together to make everyday a Coastal Clean-up Day... Help us keep our beaches beautiful!

For details on the 2009 coastal clean-up efforts in Pensacola or in your area, or other ways you can help, click here.

Hello World!

Hello World!
Which way to the sea?