Saturday, June 27, 2015
Monday, June 22, 2015
Most people know the basic life cycle of the world’s seven species of sea turtles and you may even be familiar with the biological mystery of where juvenile sea turtles went from the time they hatched to sub-adulthood known as “the lost years”. Now, thanks to research from the mid 1980’s, we know these little cuties hatch from our beaches and head out to the Sargasso Sea where they ride around on mats of sargassum algae, eating small fish and invertebrates they find within their floating microcosm. Unfortunately, these sargassum mats attract pollution in addition to young animals. Pieces of plastic and Styrofoam, monofilament fishing line, and oil can all be readily found amongst the algae.
A Terrapin Excluder Device (TED) developed by the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ. These required additions dramatically reduce the number of Diamondback Terrapins accidentally caught in crab traps. [Photo courtesy of the Wetlands Institute.]
Whether it’s Sea Turtles 50 miles offshore, Diamondback Terrapins along salt marshes, or Box Turtles in your own backyard, these long-lived and dare I say, adorable, reptiles can be observed all over the place. Our actions can have unintended consequences that ripple throughout an ecosystem. So do our shelled-friends a favor and slow down on roads, don’t release balloons, and help them out of a dangerous situation from time to time. The turtles and your fellow turtle-lovers thank you!
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
|CMBO Director, David LaPuma, showing off his biking-with-a-spotting-scope skills while biking along Gordon's Pond in Cape Henlopen State Park for the Birds and Beers on the Bay by Bike tour. [Photo by Sam Wilson.]|
Our group of fifteen consisted of a wide range of ages and experience, from skilled birders to one woman who was afraid of birds. By the end though, I think we converted most of our new friends to bird lovers! One reoccurring comment throughout the trip (other than how much they were learning) was how they never knew these beautiful wildlife places even existed. As one of our participants Greg noted, “I’ve been living around the corner from here for years and I never knew Cox Hall Creek was there!” Which got me thinking, how many people pass by these natural places everyday, complete unaware of their existence?
|Newly-converted bird enthusiast, Solomon, takes a closer look at a perched Blue Grosbeak during one of the stops along a marshy section of Cape Henlopen State Park on the Birds and Beers on the Bay by Bike tour. [Photo by Sam Wilson.]|
Thursday, June 4, 2015
|Chipping Sparrow bouncing around the yard. [Photo by Sam Galick.]|
|Eastern Kingbird slightly fluffed up in the rain. Depending on how long the rain may last, birds maybe be forced to forage and continue nesting despite the unfavorable conditions. [Photo by Jesse Amesbury.]|
All these adaptations work great for adult birds that are cold, but what about chicks who have no feathers and already have extremely high energy demands? Shivering, as minimal movement as it is, still requires energy and nestlings have to put everything they have towards growth and development. What makes this cold snap even scarier for our young chicks about the area is that it’s a very wet cold. Anyone who has been caught in a sudden rainstorm can attest to the fact that being wet and cold is much worse than just being cold. The risk of hypothermia increases dramatically when you’re wet, which is why wilderness survival 101 is to stay dry.
|Ospreys nesting in Stone Harbor. The female stays on the nest to not only incubate the eggs but help shield them from the rain and wind. [Photo by Travis Davis.]|
|Digiscoped photo of Piping Plover adult with chick hiding underneath it. Plovers are in the category of shorebirds with two brood patches, one on either side of their legs. [Photo by Lindsey Brendel.]|