05 July 2008

Sea Turtle on Ariola Street

Mark called before I even got to work this morning. Since I'm always half an hour early, that's quite unusual. Copies of these rare daylight photos are available...

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Kenny, a Marine on Pensacola Beach, had called to report this wayward loggerhead (Caretta caretta) trying to cross Ariola Street. Isn't she beautiful? Her tag reads "XXM 547" but I think she needs a better name, like Wandering Wendy...

He kept her from crossing the street and sat with her until I arrived. Then, he and I dragged her to within about fifty feet of the Gulf of Mexico on an old blue tarp. We didn't want her wandering around in the dunes during the heat of the day!

Just look at the crawl...

She even meandered over her own crawl several times -- this isn't two turtles! These are only pieces of it. I GPS'd the whole thing for disorientation documentation. I'll photo the bad lights tomorrow. To learn more about sea turtle friendly lighting, call us at Gulf Islands National Seashore or click here.

There were bad street lights (you can see the pole shadow here), porch lights left burning and a fire on the beach, all of which may have increased her confusion. Turtles look for the lightest horizon, which is usually the water as moon and star light bounce off of it. Poor thing couldn't even see the Gulf from behind the dunes!

Michelle and I both took advantage of the daylight turtle and posed for photos.

She still needs to learn my camera -- I was talking when she took my pic. One day, there may be a good photo of me here.

I love the elegance of her flipper moving here, though she must have been exhausted from her ordeal.

That's one happy loggerhead. Thanks, Kenny, for your help! This turtle may not have survived without you! Semper Fi.

For more wandering turtles, meet my hawksill (Eretmochelys imbricata) friend Wrong Way Peach Fuzz.

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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.

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