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Tag Archives: wildlife

Our Island Ecology

By Chadd Chutsz It’s Raining, It’s Pouring No man is an island, and Marco, along with the rest of the globe, is feeling the effects of built up pressure in the Western Pacific pushing back towards the east. The result for us is a relatively warm, wet winter caused by reversed trade winds extending a Pacific Jetstream across the southern U.S.A. In December, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported the Oceanic Niño Index, which compares ocean surface temperatures in the east-central Pacific to the long-term average, to be 3.4. This breaks the record of the last strong El ... Read More »

Come Experience the Everglades

Submitted Join us for a ride in the Everglades! This year the 9th Annual Everglades Bike Ride will be held earlier, on March 13, to accommodate our winter residents. Cyclists will have an opportunity to experience the ride of their choice, at their own pace. In addition to the bicycle ride, all participants will be provided a continental breakfast beginning at 7:30 AM, free bike repairs compliments of Bikes for Tykes of Naples, SAG support for the ride, tour of the historic Smallwood Store Museum in Chokoloskee, and a seafood lunch with a special treat of homemade desserts including calamondin ... Read More »

Winter in the Big Cypress Swamp

Green heron hides among the mangroves waiting for its next meal.

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist Ah, the harsh winter climate of South Florida! So blustery, so cold that I had to wear long pants twice last January! I don’t know how people can stand it! Actually our climate provides a safe haven for many of our northern visitors to escape the cold and snow. These humans will take advantage of the excellent beach conditions, boating opportunities and great eco-attractions to keep themselves entertained over the next four months. Some will also take the short trip, less than thirty minutes, and learn about the fascinating areas just west of the Everglades. ... Read More »

Master Naturalist and Alligator Visit Rose Auditorium

Master Naturalist  Bob McConville and friend. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Submitted You see them sunning themselves along the highway or hear about them visiting a neighbor’s pool. But what do you really know about our Everglades neighbor—the Florida alligator? Master naturalist Bob McConville continues his series of wildlife lectures on January 13th in Rose History Auditorium, this time focusing on the habits and habitat of this formidable reptile. The lecture, which is sponsored by the Marco Island Historical Society, begins at 7:00 PM and is open to the public. Joining McConville will be an expert in alligator behavior, ready to explain how these reptiles function in the wild. Also making ... Read More »

Our Island Ecology

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By Chadd Chutsz New Year 2016 brings a new column to Coastal Breeze News- Our Island Ecology! Enjoy regular updates and insights on Marco Island nature and wildlife, straight from the desk of the City of Marco Island Environmental Specialist, Chadd Chutsz. Burrowing Owl Chicks Arrived! The first chicks of the season have been spotted by Owl Prowl volunteers! Three fluffy chicks along with mom and dad have made themselves at home on a sandy lot just a short fly from the beach. Writer Rosanne Pawelec is kindly donating a portion of sales proceeds from the book “Ollie Finds A ... Read More »

No Fireworks During December Holidays

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In Florida, the only legal fireworks for use by consumers, who don’t possess a special permit, are the firework types that are known as “sparklers”. “Sparklers” include Sparklers, Fountains, Snakes and Glow Worms. Illegal fireworks include Roman Candles, Bottle Rockets and any other fireworks that act as projectiles. If it explodes or is fired in the air it is illegal. Why such stringent rules? Statistics show that the illegal use of fireworks commonly causes bodily injuries and fires to structures. Environmentally, they cause brush fires and disruptions to wildlife, such as nesting birds. A local example of cause and effect ... Read More »

Big Cypress Reception and Film Screening

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Submitted Join former Artist-in-Residence Patricia Cummins, and wildlife filmmaker Richard Kern at 2 PM on Saturday, December 12 at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center, 33000 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida. The event is a reception focusing on Patricia Cummins’ recent installation of work, “Big Work at Big Cypress,” at both the Oasis Visitor Center and Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center in Big Cypress National Preserve. Patricia’s collection is an exhibit that reflects the artist’s interaction and interpretation of the landscapes of the Big Cypress. Her pastel and oil paintings aim to connect the viewer to the deeper beauty of this unique landscape. During the reception Patricia will share ... Read More »

Southwest Florida Nature Festival

Birding for Beginners  field trip at Sand Dollar Island. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us Leaves rustling on a light breeze in harmony with twittering songbirds. A mullet splashing out of a brackish bay. Slivers of sunlight dappling the leafy ground. There are many sights and sounds to enjoy in Southwest Florida. Throughout the seasons residents and visitors can enjoy nature hikes, paddling, birding and photography on hundreds of thousands of acres that are protected as conservation lands. As temperatures drop, the environment welcomes new arrivals from the north, many of which have flown here on their own two wings. Now in its 12th year, the Southwest Florida Nature Festival at ... Read More »

New CWA Protects Nesting Birds

A Wilson Plover nesting out on the Sand Dollar spit, Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area

Submitted A Collier County sandbar known as “Second Chance” was designated a Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The island, part of a larger shoal complex, is an important nesting site for Wilson’s plovers and state-listed least terns and black skimmers. From March 1 through August 31 the sandbar will be closed to public access; the least tern, Wilson’s plover and black skimmer nesting season. Second Chance hosted the largest least tern ground colony in the region for four of the last five years. It is also an important site for Wilson’s plovers and ... Read More »

Sea Turtle Research in the Ten Thousand Islands

Greg Curry, left, and 
Dr. Jeff Schmid release a loggerhead sea turtle from their capture net. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us Most Marco residents know that Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters on Southwest Florida’s coast, but few are aware that this outdoor classroom and living laboratory hosts hundreds of research projects undertaken by DEP staff, graduate research fellows, and visiting scientists from around the world to answer scientific questions about the wildlife, plants and habitats. The results of these projects contribute to the reserve’s overall understanding of local trends and often help guide future management and restoration efforts. One local scientist studying in the reserve is Dr. Jeff ... Read More »

Sea Turtle Research in the Ten Thousand Islands

Greg Curry, left, and 
Dr. Jeff Schmid release a loggerhead sea turtle from their capture net. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us Most Marco residents know that Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters on Southwest Florida’s coast, but few are aware that this outdoor classroom and living laboratory hosts hundreds of research projects undertaken by DEP staff, graduate research fellows, and visiting scientists from around the world to answer scientific questions about the wildlife, plants and habitats. The results of these projects contribute to the reserve’s overall understanding of local trends and often help guide future management and restoration efforts. One local scientist studying in the reserve is Dr. Jeff ... Read More »

Marco Island Center For The Arts Hosts Photography Exhibit

Jennifer Semro

Submitted The Marco Island Center for the Arts has announced its October exhibit in the main gallery will be a photography art show with the Digital Photography Club of Naples. For the second year, photographers will display their beautiful images at the Center for the Arts. “These photographs are truly breathtaking,” said Hyla Crane, the Center for the Art’s executive director. It includes subjects as diverse as wildlife, street corners and landscape. “One can almost get lost in each picture,” concluded Crane. The photography exhibit will be on display beginning October 5 and closing October 28, 2015. As with all ... Read More »

Mud Lake Fire Documentary

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Submitted Big Cypress National Preserve and the Southeast Region of the National Park Service are pleased to announce the release of the new short film, “Mud Lake Mosaic.” The documentary covers the management of the Mud Lake Complex, a series of wildfires caused by lightning strikes at Big Cypress in late spring 2015. The Mud Lake Complex wildfires burned over 35,000 acres of Big Cypress National Preserve. Although naturally-ignited wildfires have helped shape the fire-adapted and fire-dependent Big Cypress landscape for thousands of years, fire managers cannot allow fires to freely roam the preserve without some degree of management. In the ... Read More »

Fakahatchee Swamp Walks Get wet? You bet!

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Submitted The Friends of Fakahatchee have announced their fall 2015 schedule of swamp walks in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. In addition to its 5-hour naturalist-led Swamp Walk, the group is again offering the 3½-hour Tram Tour and Swamp Walk. Both adventures take visitors into the heart of the Fakahatchee Strand, home to more orchid species than any other place on the North American continent. The preserve is also a haven for diverse wildlife and migratory birds. For many visitors, a Friends of Fakahatchee Swamp Walk is the highlight of their Florida visit. Led by experienced guides, participants wade through ... Read More »

Pure Florida offers marine science field trips for students, organizations

Pure Florida now offers marine science cruises for school groups and other organizations to provide students with hands-on learning aboard the Naples-based M/V Double Sunshine and the Fort Myers-based M/V Explorer. The cruises offer activities that encourage teamwork and critical thinking as students experience and learn about marine biology, environmental science, local history and the importance of preserving Southwest Florida’s waterways. The 1.5 hour marine science cruises navigate local waterways and the Gulf of Mexico, showcasing the Southwest Florida ecosystem and native wildlife. Aboard the narrated cruises, children explore the Southwest Florida environment and participate in STEM-based science experiments including ... Read More »

Fire… a Necessary Function of Nature

Mobile wildlife such as deer, bear and bobcat can flee a wildfire quickly. Nesting birds such as eagles, herons, egrets and storks could be more at risk. PHOTO BY BOB MCCONVILLE

As I watch the evening news, I see that another wildfire is burning out of control somewhere across the United States. Reports proclaim that it is 40% contained, and then 60% under control. Attention is drawn to the number of structures that are at risk, then saved, because of the quick action taken by mankind’s actions. It’s good that homes are spared Mother Nature’s wrath, but is this stoppage of a natural event what was intended overall? Here in South Florida, throughout the past few weeks, I’ve left my home in the morning and I can smell smoke in the ... Read More »

Briggs Boardwalk

Roughly midway on the trail, Briggs Boardwalk visitors  stop to look for water birds in the brackish marsh. PHOTOS BY JOAN AND CARL KELLY

By JOAN AND CARL KELLY Briggs Boardwalk, founded in 1960, is one of oldest trails in Collier County. It is located on Shell Island Road off Route 951, south of US 41, on the west side of the road. This walk is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. It is a short, well defined, self-guiding trail with a diverse landscape. Starting off, you will walk through oak scrub, then pine flatwoods, a hammock and some fringe marsh. In the marsh look for the mosquito fish. About mid-way on the walk there is a roofed birding station overlooking a brackish ... Read More »

Move to Marco Didn’t Mean Leaving Winter Fun Behind for Skip Merriam

Even the spirits behind the counter can’t warm the bar made of ice. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Don Manley Skip Merriam left winter behind when he and his wife moved to Marco Island from New England. But the upstate New York native’s love of wintertime outdoor activities was too firmly ingrained to be discarded like a no longer needed goose down coat. That is why Merriam has travelled to the frozen North each year for the last 15 years, for group snowmobile trips lasting several days and covering hundreds of miles. His most recent trip, from February 5 through February 11, was to the wilds of northern Quebec, where he and nine other men rode the ... 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 us know quite a bit about the wildlife around us. The breadth of his knowledge is vast and there is so much to impart about his talk. We have limited space here so let’s explore just a few of these ... Read More »

Macro Photography Workshop

Mike Matthews. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Submitted Marco Island Center for the Arts announced today its first special event with DPI-SIG. This special event will be a 3-hour macro presentation and workshop by Mike Matthews from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. on May 16, 2015. The full program includes a 90 minute lecture, reception and a 90 minute hands-on macro workshop, photographing a variety of items for only $35. Lecture program alone includes a 90 minute lecture and reception followed by the opportunity to observe (not photograph) the macro workshop for $25. As an added bonus, door prizes from Hunt’s Photo and Video will be awarded. ... Read More »