Protect and Preserve

Talking Turkey

Turkeys by type population and range map. Courtesy of National Turkey Federation

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie The day after the third Thursday of November every year, many of us who celebrate Thanksgiving look forward to eating leftovers that include tasty turkey sandwiches. Many find this the best part of the holiday! Unless an avid sportsman is in your family, the turkey that filled your home with the heartwarming aroma while roasting ... Read More »

‘Tis the Season…For Stone Claws

Many live stone crabs have been spotted
spending time at Tigertail Lagoon.

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Check the calendar! You might have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or “season” marked. In our house, the calendar marks October 15 through May 15 every year. This means it’s time to crack some claws and enjoy a tasty meal of the South Florida delicacy – the stone crab. This season got off to a rocky (or ... Read More »

Burrowing Owls and Brown-Eyed Owls


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Phew! It rains and rains and that grass grows and grows! Have you noticed that this past summer? Ever since the 2013 Burrowing Owl nesting season ended in late June with the chicks fledged (can fly and survive on their own), a handful of volunteers have been managing and maintaining the 117 Burrowing Owl burrow ... Read More »

Alligators all Around Us

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie “Only gators get out of the swamp alive! Chomp Chomp!” Anyone who is a University of Florida alumni or fan knows this chant to be true. You’ll hear it at a UF Gator football team in the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium a.k.a. “The Swamp!” But in the natural world, this is true too. Alligators live ... Read More »

Our Canals Need Care & Conservation

A web of animals and plants live together in harmony in our canals, as long as we keep them clean. SUBMITTED PHOTO

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Marco Island has 100 miles of man-made canals. Historically, it was an approximate 6,000 acre mangrove island until the Deltona Corporation dredged it and filled it, using vertical, cement paneled seawalls to contain and stabilize the fill. Thus, creating the labyrinth of 100 miles of waterway canals in an approximately four square mile area. This ... Read More »

The Myth of the “Black Panther”


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Over the years, there have been reports from hotel concierges, tourists and even some “old timers” of first-person accounts of “black panthers” lurking around the Marco Island beach dunes during the day. One tourist wrote a two-page letter in outrage that there was a “black panther” just a few feet away from children playing in ... Read More »

Birds of Paradise


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Skimming along our beaches and resting in our rivers, bays and canals, these birds are a common sight on Marco Island. Their presence is especially breathtaking in the early mornings and as the sun sets over the island. Black Skimmers slice our mirrored waters, cutting the surface like silk. With their bright orange-red beaks and ... Read More »

The Tipping Point: Time to Pay Attention


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Marco Island. Paradise. It’s a destination for many, a seasonal home for thousands and a year-round community and permanent home for many more – both humans and wildlife.   Separated from mainland peninsular Florida by the Marco River with the Rookery Bay estuary and the 10,000 Islands ecosystem complex cradling it on the edge of ... Read More »

Chasin’ Tail Florida-Style


PROTECTING &PRESERVING Nancy Richie In my household, sometimes I wonder if the refrigerator calendar of the Julian twelve months is really necessary as we mark our year by seasons – not fall, winter, spring and summer – but by stone crab, sailfish, mahi, grouper, scallops and lobster seasons. That’s just the oceanic seasons for my daughters and me; my ... Read More »

Whale Tales (Tails?)


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie   “It is not down on any map; true places never are.” – Herman Melville, Moby- The unexpected experiences are always the most memorable and perhaps the most real. While fishing offshore Miami a few weekends ago nothing much was happening; no fish were biting, no birds were flying. It was hard to complain about ... Read More »

The Reddish (or is it Whitish) Egret?


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie One of the most entertaining and beautiful wading birds to watch along the Marco Island beach, especially in the Tigertail Lagoon area, is the medium sized egret named appropriately the Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens). Once, nearly completely annihilated from the state of Florida, the Federal 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed, protecting the ... Read More »

Knock, Knock! Who’s There? It’s the Pileated Woodpecker!


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie The magnificent Pileated Woodpecker…Can anyone say Woody Woodpecker? Okay, the Pileated Woodpecker (Dyrocopus pileatus) does not wear a cute blue suit like Woody Woodpecker (Animated cartoon character), but they do share that snazzy red mohawk atop their heads and a big, noisy personality! Pileated Woodpeckers are the third largest woodpecker species in North America ... Read More »

Storm Season and Trees


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie As of June 1st, hurricane season officially began and by midweek, the first named storm, Tropical Storm Andrea, was blowing by our island. Luckily, Marco Island just received lots of rain but not much wind from Andrea. As the season progresses, it’s important to know ahead of time what to do when a storm ... Read More »

Dolphins: Wild and Free

PHOTO BY Kirk Gardner

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie With smile-like expressions on their faces, serious agility that translates to playfulness to human observers and a curiosity that may equal ours, dolphins are WILD animals – marine mammals that need to be treated as such to keep them that way. “Flipper” is the iconic dolphin whose story created the myth that a wild ... Read More »

“SEASON” is Just Starting for Some


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Snowbird Season – or as locals simply call it – “season,” is over. Or at least it has definitely slowed down. Our roads are quieter; that’s good. Restaurants are easier to get in; that’s good for locals (but not so good for owners). Publix aisles are navigable; that’s great! The beach has fewer people ... Read More »

Updates on Island Mammal Life


Nancy Richie The following are brief updates, “animal bites,” on the unique mammal populations that are monitored in and around Marco Island. All are locally, state and even federally protected. Please enjoy the wildlife life, but do not intrude in their space, feed, water, or harass them in any way – this is against the law. If wildlife acts ... Read More »

Updates on Island Bird Life


By Nancy Richie – Photos by Jean Hall The following are brief updates, “animal bites,” on the unique bird life populations that are monitored in and around Marco Island. All are locally, state and even federally protected. Please enjoy the wildlife life, but do not intrude in their space, feed, water, or harass them in any way – this is ... Read More »

The Tiger In The Sky


By Nancy Richie – Photos by Jan Bergantz The Marco Island Burrowing Owl population is very popular this season. So popular, in fact, that many burrow sites on the main thorough fares are being invaded by visitors for drive-by photos and amateur tours. Some sites have people approaching all day long by car, bike, foot – even crawling under the ... Read More »

La Florida


By Nancy Richie – Florida, originally called “La Florida” or “flowery land” by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, is home to an amazing and impressive array of wildflowers and butterflies. Florida is known for many unique characteristics such as having the longest contiguous coastline in the lower 50 states (1,197 miles), the only State to have ... Read More »

Marco Island Christmas Bird Count


By Nancy Richie The 113th Audubon Christmas Bird Count was held nationwide between December 14th, 2012 and January 5th, 2013. For over one hundred years, citizen scientists gear up with binoculars, a favorite bird guide and checklists, and brave the elements to count birds in their backyards and neighborhoods. Generations of families have participated; from avid birders to students to ... Read More »