Category Archives: Not Birds

Zee

While Arthur’s parents visited us earlier this year, Arthur went to one of his regular volunteer days at the Marine Science Center (MSC) in Ponce Inlet. All four of us drove to the sea and while Arthur did turtle work, I went to Lighthouse Point Park with my in-laws. It was May 1st.

We had lunch and then we walked out on the jetty and had a look around. Here’s a look back at the beach patrol tower from the jetty.

Lighthouse Point Park
Lighthouse Point Park, photo by Ineke de Wolf

About 40 minutes later, we were walking back and I saw a large mass on the beach, about halfway between the tower and the waterline in the above photo. I started running, because I thought it might be a sea turtle. It was a beached Loggerhead. It had beached during the short time we were on the jetty.

Zee
Beached Loggerhead šŸ™

I immediately called the Marine Science Center to let them know there was a turtle that needed to be rescued. Meanwhile, a beach patrol officer pulled up on a buggy and carried the turtle out of the waterline so it would not be washed back to sea. A beached turtle is always in trouble and should not be put back to sea without being examined first. We waited for turtle experts from MSC to arrive.

Zee
Beach Patrol carries the sea turtle to safe location, photo by Ineke de Wolf

Zee

Zee
My father-in-law, Ben, waits for MSC staff to arrive

When MSC staff arrived, they evaluated the turtle. They realized they needed a larger vehicle to transport the turtle, which weighed in at over 100 pounds. We waited some more. A small crowd gathered.

Zee

Zee
My mother-in-law, Ineke, speaking with MSC staff

Zee

With the right vehicle, the turtle was carried off and brought to MSC for examination and rehabilitation.

Zee

The Loggerhead was examined and given care. It was underweight and weak but had no major injuries. The cause of its beaching and ill health was unknown. The size of the turtle made sexing difficult, though I will now refer to it as she. She was given the name Zee, the Dutch word for sea and a shortened form of Zeeschildpad, the Dutch word for sea turtle, in honor of Arthur’s Dutch family.

Zee
Info sign about Zee for MSC guests, photo by Arthur de Wolf

Rehabilitating turtles at MSC are kept in large saltwater tanks like the ones pictured below. These were taken earlier and do not show Zee.

MSC
Rehab tanks at MSC (prior to Zee’s arrival)

MSC
Arthur volunteering at MSC sea turtle rehab (prior to Zee’s arrival)

Arthur took photos of Zee during her rehab. She was cleaned up and given care and nutritious food. She ate like a champ from the beginning, which was a very good sign.

Zee
Zee on May 11th, photo by Arthur de Wolf

Zee
Zee on May 29th, photo by Arthur de Wolf

We last saw her on July 10th. Arthur volunteered that day and I came along to visit the Marine Science Center.

Zee
Zee on July 10th


Zee on July 10th

After some months in rehab, Zee was determined healthy enough for release. She gained 18 pounds and was ready to go, along with two other smaller Loggerheads. MSC announced the August 6 release to the public. And the public showed up!

Sea Turtle Release crowd

Sea Turtle Release crowd

Sea Turtle Release

Just after 1PM, the guests of honor arrived in two vehicles. Seymour and Parker, 55 pounds and 85 pounds, respectively, came together. Big Zee got her own ride.

Sea Turtle Release

The releases were awesome. It was so great to hear the crowd cheer when the turtles came out and made their way back to the ocean. People were especially impressed with Zee, as she was so much larger than the others. I have a few photos and a video to share, but I was mostly watching, so I don’t have great footage of everything. At the end of this post I will share some links to media sites with their coverage of the event.

Seymour was up first; you’ll see him in the video at the end of this post. Seymour was found by Beach Patrol, so he was carried out by four Beach Patrol volunteers.

Next came Parker, who was carried out by MSC volunteers. Like Seymour, Parker was carried out in a sling. He was set down close to the waterline and the sling was removed.

Parker

Parker

Finally, it was Zee’s turn. Staff and volunteers, including Arthur, carried her to sea.

Zee

Zee

Zee

After she entered the water, the crowd began to disperse. Those who kept watching were treated to several great looks at Zee surfacing for a breath.

Zee
Good luck, beautiful Zee!

Here is a video compilation of the releases.

Here is a video of Zee’s release posted to YouTube by spectator “OsloShag”:


“Zee” Loggerhead Sea Turtle Release 08-06-13 copyright YouTube user OsloShag

It was awesome to be able to see Zee return to where she belongs. She is a sub-adult, meaning she is not yet sexually mature. When she is ready, she will come back to the ocean close to where she was hatched and find a mate. Good luck, Zee, Parker, and Seymour!

Links to coverage of the release:
Ormond Beach Observer (pre-release)
Daytona Beach News-Journal (pre-)
NSB Observer (pre-)
WNDB (pre-)
WESH (post-release)
Daytona Beach News-Journal (post-)
Florida Family Nature [blog] (post-)
MSC Facebook album (post-)
Ocean Advocate [blog] (post-)
Marine Science Center press release with photos
Sea Turtle Release Facebook album
Video segment on Volusia Magazine TV show

If I find more coverage I will add links here.

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Posted in Florida, Not Birds | 2 Comments

Do squirrels eat oranges?

It would appear that yes, squirrels enjoy a bit of citrus in their diet from time to time. At least the Eastern Gray Squirrels here in Volusia County, Florida, seem to enjoy them. šŸ˜‰

Last year our orange trees didn’t produce any fruit, so this is the first time I’ve seen any squirrel-on-orange action in the yard.

Do squirrels eat oranges?

I’ve seen them peeling fallen fruit, but I’ve also seen them go after fruit on the tree.

Do squirrels eat oranges?

I’ve seen squirrels carrying oranges around the yard in their mouths, which is pretty freaking adorable.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers also eat from the oranges, but I am not 100% sure if they are eating the fruit or the ants and other insects attracted to the sweetness. Yellow-rumped Warblers also visit the oranges, and I’m pretty sure they are after the ants.

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Ecdysis & Exuvia

I am not holding a crab in this photo. I am holding an exuvia.

exuvia

I found this exoskeleton at Canaveral National Seashore. I was looking at a huge horseshoe crab shell when I almost stepped on this neat little thing. Ecdysis is the process of molting the exoskeleton in invertebrate species. I wish I knew what kind of crab this specimen came from.

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Posted in Florida, Not Birds, Offbeat | Leave a comment