Interns Help Protect Sea Turtles at Rookery Bay Reserve

Norris and Windle share dormitory space and have become fast friends.

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us With 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters that protect 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has a big responsibility– and a devoted team of volunteers that work daily with staff to help achieve it. Through the Reserve’s citizen support organization, Friends of Rookery Bay, volunteers ... Read More »

Ask Me About the Birds!

A moment between a shorebird and her chick on the beach.

By Renee Wilson Florida’s white sand beaches are a playground for millions of residents and visitors each year. Beaches also serve as important habitat for shorebirds, with many species laying their eggs and raising their young right on the sand. Beaches in and around Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve historically have hosted some of the largest beach-nesting seabird colonies ... Read More »

WHO’S YOUR MAMA? Dolphin Birthing Season is Near!

In this photo taken May 24, adult female Nibbles looks
larger than usual and is a candidate to give birth this fall.

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist Giza, Nibbles, Rangle and Button. Ah, yes! These are some of my favorite girls. But wait…these are not girls’ names! They are, if we’re talking about dolphins. It’s that time of year, when the Dolphin Explorer’s survey team is noticing changes in behavior of some of the adult female bottlenose dolphins in the Marco Island ... Read More »

To Catch a Sawfish….Twice in Two Years!

The Sawfish, which had no rostrum (saw), put up a fight for nearly 2 hours.

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist It’s late winter of 2014 and Captain Ted Naftal gets a call. The voice on the line says “I want to go for something big, something that might hurt us.” Captain Ted replies “There are fish that WILL hurt you, and it’s not funny!” It’s an ongoing joke that the Captain has with regular customers, ... Read More »

Learning About Sharks in the Ten Thousand Islands

Paulette and Bruce Carabelli have been Rookery Bay volunteers since 2007.  photoS by renee wilson

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us In the 1960s, a large residential neighborhood was created northeast of Marco Island called Southern Golden Gate Estates. Although the unfinished development was later abandoned, a network of roads and miles of canals were built that significantly altered the natural flow of fresh water to the estuaries in the Ten Thousand Islands. Today, Rookery Bay National ... Read More »

An Osprey Rescue, With a Happy Ending

Obviously in distress, this young Osprey was fighting to stay above water. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist It’s Saturday, May 2nd, the Dolphin Explorer’s 9 AM trip is on the water and something special is about to take place. With 19 happy passengers on board, the tour started as usual, with several dolphin sightings of adult males and even a mom and her calf. We passed a few Osprey nests and the ... Read More »

Starting Now… The Greatest Water Migration on Earth!


By Bob McConville Master Naturalist Undoubtedly, many full time residents of Marco Island and surrounding areas are noticing some changes in the birds we see at this time of year. Spring has sprung and our winter guests have taken flight back north as warm temperatures return. In addition some feathered friends from Central and South America are just arriving as ... Read More »

Do Not Disturb Nesting Sea Turtles


Submitted Sea turtles have begun nesting attempts in the area. Good time to post a few reminders about proper sea turtle etiquette. It can be thrilling to watch a sea turtle crawl onto the beach at night and dig a large hole in the sand to lay dozens of eggs. Just remember that “Do not disturb” is the best behavior ... Read More »

Our SwampLife is Wild…

Barbara Johnson shows her appreciation for our wild life.

By Steve Gimmestad steve@coastalbreezenews.com Literally, just outside our doors is a world foreign to many; a vast wetlands we call the Everglades. Thanks to Bob McConville, this world becomes a little less unknown. Bob is a Master Naturalist and shared some insight with us on April 23rd at the Rose History Auditorium. Through pictures, stories and fun facts, Bob let ... Read More »

Share the Shore with Beach-Nesting Birds


By Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us    Southwest Florida has long been considered one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation. Beautiful weather, amazing beaches, and breathtaking wildlife attract thousands of visitors and new residents to our area each year. From April through August, three species of beach-nesting birds also visit Marco area beaches for their nesting habitat. Nesting locations include ... Read More »

Our Yard is a Wildlife Habitat


By Joan and Carl Kelly We have always loved plants and gardening. Never thought highly of grass, though. So, gradually, as we worked our yard, adding flowering and fruit bearing plants, our grass yard got smaller and the favored plants took over. With that change in vegetation also came a change in animal residents. We know of two black racers ... Read More »

A Sanctuary For Wildlife In The ‘Glades’


By Bob McConville Master Naturalist Okay, we all know that alligators, panthers and bears can be found in their natural habitats of the Big Cypress Swamp and Everglades National Park, just 30 minutes from Marco Island. Some of us are aware that crocodiles, river otters and several other unique species can also be found there. But, wait! Did I just ... Read More »

Bird Rookery Swamp


By Vickie Kelber In my quest to explore the wonders that are, as I like to call it, “in our own back yard”, a friend and I set off early one morning for the Bird Rookery Swamp Trail off Immokalee Road. Many of you know of, if not visited Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The Bird Rookery is located adjacent and to ... Read More »

Growing Angraecums: Exotic orchids that thrive in SW Florida


Submitted It’s surprising that most orchid hobbyists in Southwest Florida know very little about Angraecums, especially when the orchids thrive in South Florida’s sub-tropics. The Gulf Coast Orchid Alliance invites you to a presentation by Tom Kuligowski at its “Third Thursday” Member Event on April 16, 2015 at the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church at 1225 Piper Blvd., Naples, FL 34110 from ... Read More »

A Tribute to My Ultimate Dolphin Lover


STEPPING STONES… Bob McConville This is the primary title of the column I write. Typically, a stepping stone is something to help you get from one place to another or from one phase in life to another as well. We have all utilized them. Sometimes they are very obvious to us; very evident. Other times we just happen to stumble ... Read More »

Join the “Team”


Coastal Connections Renee Wilson Southwest Florida is a great place to live and play because of the beautiful weather, amazing beaches, and great fishing. Forty percent of Collier County’s coastline is protected within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, with hundreds of boaters visiting on a daily basis. The “Team OCEAN” program at Rookery Bay has a mission to ... Read More »

Manatees Are Back!

A foursome of the endangered mammals 
make their way to warmer waters just under the surface.

By Bob McConville Master Naturalist During the week of March 4th thru the 11th I was fortunate to be on the water every day. In addition to surveying our area dolphins, some other marine and bird life was very noticeable. A few Kemp-Ridley turtles popped their heads up and some of the osprey hatchlings are now several weeks old and ... Read More »

Local Raptor or Migrant?…The Osprey

One of the first Osprey hatchlings made its debut in mid February, 2015.

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist Join Bob On March 9th At The Rose History Auditorium As He Presents “Rock My World: How The Earth’s Movements Effect Migration”. The Program Begins At 7 Pm And Is Open To The Public. Call 389-6447 For Seating Information.   Their distinctive call is unlike any other bird in our area. With a pitch that ... Read More »

“Discover Tigertail” – Delightful and Educational FOT Event

Dan Orfan - Egg Casings

Submitted Susan Kubat and Fran Huxley, co-chairs of “Discover Tigertail”, organized and executed a delightful and successful Friends of Tigertail Beach event on Saturday, February 21, 2015. “Discovery Tigertail” is a free family program that addresses the marine life and other wildlife that inhabit the Tigertail Beach lagoon. Specialists were from Rookery Bay, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the ... Read More »

From Marco To Alaska, Local Female Captain Is Always Busy

A day of plenty. SUBMITTED  PHOTOS

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist I hear a very pleasant “Good morning, Bob” as someone passes by. “Good morning, Captain Jesse.” I reply as she ushers guests to a catamaran for a sailing tour of Marco Island. Yes, I did say “she”. One of the few female captains in the area, Captain Jesse Baughman leads a very active life. From ... Read More »