Tag Archives: conservation

#TurtleTuesday: Man O’War vs. Litter

PicMonkey Collage (1)

On the left, you will see a favorite sea turtle delicacy known as the Portuguese Man O’War.

On the right, you will see a piece of garbage I found washed up on the shore.

Look how similar these look! It is easy to see how a sea turtle might confuse this garbage as food.

Please keep the beaches clean and dispose of your trash properly! Protect the sea turtles!

Happy Mother’s Day from The Beach Review!

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the human and animal moms out there! To celebrate, I have assembled a collection of images from my last trip to Wakodahatchee Wetlands. As it is springtime, I was fortunate to capture many nests full of infant and juvenile birds, as well as a baby alligator!

Check out the gallery below, and be sure to share with your mom or your own baby bird!

I think it is incredible to witness the relationships between the mother birds and their babies. Maternal love and protection comes in many different forms!

Great Blue Heron vs. Snake

A few days ago, I took my camera to one of my favorite nature and bird hotspots in South Florida, Wakodahatchee Wetlands in West Delray Beach, Florida.

The Wakodahatchee Wetlands teemed with freshly-hatched and adult herons, egrets, common moorhens, gators, and more of the usual suspects.

It was a magical photo journey, and one of the highlights of this trip was an amazing fight between a Great Blue Heron and a snake. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

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This Great Blue Heron walks through the grass. Unbeknownst to me, it was on the hunt.
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Snipe! Quicker than a blink of an eye, this heron snagged a snake right out of the grass!
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At this point, the snake is still alive. The heron walks towards the water’s edge.
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Dunk! The heron begins dunking the snake underwater.
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The heron pulls the snake from the water. It is still alive.
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If you look closely, the snake’s mouth is wide open. It is not happy.
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The heron completely submerges the snake again.
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Is the snake still alive?
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The snake is still alive and is not going to be eaten without a fight! The snake begins to wrap itself around the heron’s beak.
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The snake is wrapped around the heron’s beak!
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The heron had to completely submerge its beak in order to get the snake to release its grip. Now, the snake is limp.
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The heron begins to gulp the snake down the hatch.
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A piece of the tale hangs from the heron’s beak.
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Almost gone!

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The snake lost its battle, and the heron was fed. This was a circle of life moment of nature unfiltered, and I was lucky to be there to capture this epic fight at Wakodahatchee Wetlands!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Earth day is a great holiday that everyone should celebrate. Whether you are inspired to pick up some trash at your favorite park or beach, or make a donation to a conservation organization, no action is too small.

We are all here together on this planet, and Earth Day helps us remember that.

Just as you should not only be nice to your mother on Mother’s Day, or only be thankful on Thanksgiving, each day we should respect our earth and strive to take care of our home planet and all of our fellow species.

Whether the citizen is a microscopic phytoplankton, a cat, a dog, a person, or a blue whale, everyone and everything deserves a safe, clean, and beautiful home!

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Images clockwise: John D. MacArthur Beach State Park  in North Palm Beach, Florida; An alligator relaxing at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach; An Ibis wading in Wakodahatchee Wetlands; An orange butterfly suckling nectar at Winding Waters Natural Area in West Palm; A crazy Heron; A mother wood stork with two baby wood storks in Wakodahatchee Wetlands; An anole photographed at Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach; and a beautiful pelican photographed on the Jupiter Inlet Pier. 

 

Highland Beach One-Hour Cleanup

Recently, I went on a beach walk and did a one-hour beach cleanup. I started at the northernmost entrance to Spanish River Park, where there is limited street parking on Spanish River Road. I walked north towards Highland Beach.

Overall, the beach was relatively clean, though there were a few concentrations of trash, and plenty of disturbing finds.

Though it was overcast, it was an eerily beautiful beach day.

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Endless.

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The gray sky bled into the gray sea, and without the help of a sailboat I wouldn’t have been able to tell where the horizon was.

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The sea was also silent, a rare sight on the east coast of Florida.

The Findings

Scary Findings (Or Reasons Why You Should Keep Your Shoes On at the Beach!)

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A piece of glass sticking straight up out of the sand. This was found in the park part of the beach, and is the reason why glass is prohibited on most beaches.
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I think this is a needle used for blood tests. It is hard to see in the picture, but if you look closely at the top of the teal plastic, you can see the needlepoint. Ouchies!
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A rusted, upturned bottle cap.

 

Other Findings

Continue reading Highland Beach One-Hour Cleanup

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: A Birdwatcher’s Delight

In suburban West Delray, there is a hidden oasis that will truly delight any bird- or nature-lover. Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a tranquil, man-made wetland that has naturally become a sanctuary for over 140 species of birds, as well as a variety of amphibious and reptilian species.

The first time I arrived at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, I was awe-struck by the cacophony of bird calls, and the diversity of birds all in one location. I have never been to any other natural setting where there were so many different types of birds that I could easily observe in their natural environment. There were birds nesting, floating, and soaring in every direction! It was a cinematic moment.

Using over 50 acres of utilities land, the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Southern Regional Water Reclamation pumps nearly two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. Instead of this land just being a nasty wastewater pond, or the wastewater instead being harmfully pumped into the ocean or injected into the ground, Palm Beach County (PBC) has found a way to harmonize with the natural environment. Instead of causing greater destruction, PBC has instead enhanced the lives of many birds who have lost their homes to the suburbs and development of the area.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a great example of how modern society can coexist with the natural world, and I think it is a place that other municipalities throughout the state of Florida and the US should tour to see how this man-made ecosystem is thriving.

The Shore-t Story

Who it is good for: The whole family

Cost: Free

Time to visit: 30 minutes+

Parking: Limited spaces, free parking, guarded parking

Activities: Walking, bird-watching, nature-watching, photography

Hours: 7am-7pm

Directions: The Wakodahatchee Wetlands are located on the east side of Jog Road between Woolbright Road and Atlantic Avenue (Exit Route 95 onto Atlantic Avenue West; continue to Jog Road; turn right; park is on the right) The site is on the southeast side of Palm Beach County Water Utility Department’s Southern Region Operations Center at 13026 Jog Road, Delray Beach.

*Tip*Go early in the morning when the birds are waking up and becoming active, and before the sun gets too hot. There are covered pavilions with sitting areas along the 3/4 mile boardwalk just in case.

What to bring: Bring a hat, sunscreen if you have sensitive skin, and definitely a bottle of water in a reusable container. There are covered seating areas if you need a respite from the sun on the walk, but most of the boardwalk is exposed. There is not really a place for picnicking, and it is best to bring as little with you as possible to reduce litter in this beautiful habitat.

The Experience

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The Wakodahatchee Wetlands welcoming committee.
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Looking out at the Wakodahatchee.
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Follow a raised boardwalk for most of the journey through the wetlands.

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IMG_6407 Continue reading Wakodahatchee Wetlands: A Birdwatcher’s Delight

A Walk on the Beach in Boca

Thought I would share some wonderful images of the last beach walk I took in 2015 for all of those reminiscing about their holiday beach vacations.

I started at the South Beach Pavilion in Boca Raton, and walked north towards Red Reef Park. The beach in front of the pavilion is usually concentrated with people, and this day was no different. (This is a favorite spot for the FAU students.) Despite all of the people, I was able to capture so very relaxed gulls. I also saw man-o-war aplenty, so beware if you are swimming in the South Florida region!

I took all of these images with my phone. Enjoy!

The Beach Review’s 2016 Resolutions

Can you believe 2015 is almost over? Me either! The end of the year is a time for reflection. It is also a time to set goals for the new year.

Here are The Beach Review’s five major resolutions for 2016. Sharing resolutions and goals out loud promotes accountability.

Below are TBR’s resolutions for 2016.

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Over the next week, I will be breaking down each of these resolutions and providing examples that will help put these goals in to action!

I also hope that you might join me by adding one or two of these resolutions to your own list. If you do, let me know in the comment section!

Also let me know if you have any other great eco-friendly, travel, or environment-oriented resolutions you are putting on your own list! I would love to hear them.

 

In Memory of the 295 Florida Black Bears

Let’s have a moment of silence for the 295 bears that were killed in less than 48 hours this past weekend.

Each bear was taken by surprise, a victim in an unfair fight. We want to tell ourselves that we were relieved of these nuisance bears, that a threat to the fragile human species has been curbed for now.

But I think that we, humans, are the real threat. The answer is not bullets or arrows in the name of “conservation”, the answer is coexistence. But in true human form, the powers that be decided on what they would probably call a “quick fix” to the increased sightings of bears in neighborhoods. This bear hunt is setting an unsettling precedent that we will resort to extermination and further destruction instead of developing and building with the long term in mind for all species involved.  Continue reading In Memory of the 295 Florida Black Bears