Wednesday , July 23 2014
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Keeping a Clean Beach


By Coastal Breeze News Staff The City of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee sponsored two beach clean ups this August: Sunday, August 11th and Sunday, August 18th. Thanks to the support of Marco Island’s Publix, the Marco Island Civic Association, the City of Marco Island, the Beach Advisory Committee, CJ’s on the Bay and Rick’s Island Salon, along with various citizen volunteers, the beach has been looking pristine in the midst of sea turtle and shorebird nesting season. Those working hard to keep our beaches clean would like to pass on some words of wisdom to beach goers. After all, ... 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 the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the approximately four by four square mile island is one-of-a-kind. Once 6,000 acres of mangroves, it is now over one hundred miles of manmade canals with that gorgeous 7-mile crescent beach, both recreational for tourists ... Read More »

Shorebirds & Birds of Prey


By Steve Mutart Marco Island Historical Museum features a presentation on Florida’s Shorebirds The Marco Island Historical Museum is delighted to host Shorebirds & Birds of Prey, a PowerPoint presentation by Steve Mutart on August 22, at 2 pm. Join us amid the beautiful Florida Shorebirds & Birds of Prey photographic exhibition by Marie Adams, which is currently on display in the museum until September 26, 2013. Artist Marie Adams will be present and seating is limited. Mutart, a retired real estate lawyer from the Philadelphia area, has garnered a life-long passion for birds and volunteers with the Conservancy 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 husband adds in the hunting seasons as well for his year! It is definitely unanimous that we all love Lobster Season when late July and August roll around. Most Floridians know (and plan for) the “mini season” – two days ... Read More »

Jellyfish 101


By Natalie Strom In the last few months, a new and unpleasant trend has developed along Marco beaches. Innocent vacationers and locals slip into the warm, bath-like water of the Gulf and suddenly it hits them. A sharp, stinging sensation arises and it’s clear; they’ve been stung by a jellyfish. The question that begs to be asked is why does it seem like so many more stings are being reported? A quick sit down with Marco Island’s Environmental Specialist, Nancy Richie, provided Coastal Breeze News with answers to this and other burning questions.   CBN: Why so many jellies ... 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 not catching anything, though. The day was beautiful on the Atlantic Ocean about 6 miles offshore Biscayne Bay. The water was clear deep blue, the seas were calm and air warm. Watching the occasional man-of-war jellyfish float by with its ... 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 Reddish Egret and all other herons and egrets from plume hunters. Today, there is a population estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 in the United States – mostly found along the Texas coast, a few in Louisiana and southern Florida. We ... 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 – only smaller than the extinct Imperial and Ivory Billed woodpecker species. So, okay, they are the largest living woodpecker in the woods of North America today! They are startling to see clinging to the side of a tree due ... 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 strikes to protect trees to prevent or minimize financial and aesthetic losses. In the past couple of years, most of the trees on the island have been impacted by spiraling white fly and the ones which have had treatment are ... 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 dolphin is naturally friendly and never a menace. In fact, “Flipper” was a trained, captive dolphin (actually several dolphins) who did tricks on command for food, happily accepting the food and did not bite the hand that fed him. In ... Read More »

Python Found at Mainsail


By Coastal Breeze News Staff At around the same time as an endangered leatherback sea turtle was being rescued, a heavily invasive species – the Burmese python – was just being discovered under a valve cover box on Mainsail Drive. Lawn care workers opened the valve cover to find a large, shiny snake coiled up at the bottom of the box. Mike Gee, an employee at the Marco Shores Wastewater Treatment Plant quickly identified it as a Burmese python. According to the city, Gee is a collector of snakes and well-versed in species of reptiles and exotic pets who identified ... Read More »

Rare Turtle Rescue


By Coastal Breeze News Staff On May 9th, a surprise visitor to our waters was thankfully rescued by Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve staff and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). A boater approximately three miles west of Caxambas Pass on Marco Island called the FWC to report that a turtle was apparently entangled in a crab trap. RBNERR staff member Greg Curry was contacted and set out to find the turtle. To the surprise of many, it was actually a leatherback turtle, one not commonly found along the Gulf shore. As seen in the photos, Curry was ... Read More »



By Nancy Richie Dozens of donated plants were replanted in the City of Marco Island’s Calusa Park Butterfly Garden by the city’s Beautification Advisory Committee members: Susan LaGrotta, Linda Colombo and Bob Kennedy. Joining them in their labor of love were Alex Dubicki, Paul Crain, and, loyal supporter and favorite dog, Barron. The Waterway Cove complex in “Old Marco” is currently giving its landscape a facelift. Via homeowner association president, Marianne Maniace, lirope and bromeliads were donated to the City’s promising Butterfly Garden. A generous gesture that was very appropriate for Earth Day. Tom Trombly of EarthCare removed the plants ... 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 on it; nice. But now it is a different kind of “season.” It is one for Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) and nesting shorebirds, such as Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger), Least Terns (Sternula antillarum), and Wilson Plovers (Charadrius wilsonia). This ... Read More »

Earth Day Photo Contest Winners!


By Nancy Richie To celebrate the 43rd Earth Day (April 22, 2013) and the unique and beautiful flora and fauna of our home, the City of Marco Island and Coastal Breeze News held the 6th Annual City of Marco Island Amateur Native Wildlife Photo Contest. Residents sent their photos in and choosing the winners was no easy task, but the winners have been chosen. Coastal Breeze is proud to announce the winners. Participants had the choice to enter photos in four categories; color, black and white, enhanced and tree species. The photo subjects were to be of native Southwest Florida ... 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 startled, agitated, or leaves the site as you approach, it is considered harassment. Move away slowly and enjoy the animal and its natural behavior. Gopher Tortoises It is estimated that the Florida Gopher Tortoise population has decreased overall by 30% ... Read More »

Friends Clean Up Tigertail


By Linda Colombo Mother Nature cooperated for the beach clean-up sponsored by the Friends of Tigertail Beach on Saturday, April 13th. Over 40 people turned out to assist in picking up trash. Volunteers arrived at 8 AM to receive their trash bags, gloves and assignments. The areas to be picked up were: the parking lot, butterfly garden, the boardwalk areas, the playground and the beach along the lagoon in both directions. Sand Dollar Island was also scoured for trash. Sand Dollar is not county property or City of Marco Island property. It is owned and controlled by the State of ... 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 against the law. If wildlife acts startled, agitated, or leaves the site as you approach, it is considered harassment. Move away slowly and enjoy the animal and its natural behavior. Burrowing Owls The popularity of the Marco Island Burrowing Owl ... 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 flagging tape with cameras – time will tell if this owl population will tolerate and sustain this impact. Just a friendly reminder – please approach all wildlife sites quietly, if in a group, stay together, don’t surround the posted area ... 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 two oceanic borders (Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean) and, of course, the famous Everglades. But it is the vast and diverse number of native plant and butterfly species that really are the most spectacular characteristics for year- round residents ... Read More »