This blog is dedicated to the environmental well-being of our Florida coastal habitat.

This blog is
dedicated to the environmental well-being of coastal habitat.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kayak Schedule: January 2011

Leisurely paddling and observation at a variety of sites difficult to visit by any other means. Kayak, paddle, life vest, etc supplied. If you haven’t used a kayak before, a short training session before the trip will get you going. Call John at (941)966-7308 for reservations. Members who own a kayak and life vests are welcome to go on trips marked with an asterisk(*) for a $5 donation to ALS. Cost is $20 members, $25 non-members unless otherwise noted. Trips into State parks require an additional entrance fee.

* Jan 5 Caspersen Beach Park/Lemon Bay 11am - 2pm
Jan 8 Myakka State Park 9am - 12 noon
* Jan 11 Curry Creek / North Jetties Park 10am - 2pm $25 mem-30nonmem
* Jan 14 Sister Keys / Longboat Key 11 am - 2 pm
* Jan 20 Bird Key/South LIdo Park 1pm-4pm
* Jan 22 Little Sarasota Bay/Palmer Pt. Park 10am-1pm
**Jan 23 MYAKKA DAZE - all day trip down the Myakka River $50 or $35 with own boat.
Call John for more info.
*Jan 27 Apollo Beach/Kitchen Preserve 10am-2pm $30mem-$35non mem + $5 PRIVATE
BOAT LAUNCH per boat

South Lido Beach Construction

Half of the parking lot near the rest rooms is fenced off. Underground pipes may being laid. There was a line of flags though the woods and along the beach.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

ೋ ❤❤❤~~Merry Christmas~~❤❤❤ ೋ
★ 。* 。 And A Happy New Year ! ★ 。* 。
South Lido Dune Flowers and Sea Oats

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sea Grape Infestation

Interesting bumps on the sea grape leaves. .. We'll have to watch and see what hatches.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Short Spined Urchin

Sea Urchins, like sea stars, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers are in the Echinoderm class. Sea Urchins graze in sea grass beds. They are not dangerous to humans.

On the under side, beak-like teeth are visible.
Sea Urchin "Test"


Note: Interesting to watch. Try this at your own risk. We have not tried it.

Ellgrass: a boon to the ecology
- Bradenton Herald

Monday, December 20, 2010

White Pelicans Winter at Cortez, FL

White pelicans visit a sandbar near the Cortez fish houses every winter. They are seen elsewhere in Sarasota Bay, but one can almost always find them in Cortez. It may have something to do with an easy meal.
Magnificent bird . . . much larger than the brown pelican.

Boaters and beaches key to Longboat Pass plan
- Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bird Bath

Piping plovers

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bud Doyle - Nokomis guide shares enthusiasm for nature

This story appeared on

by Voice Moderator - 21 Nov 2010 - 10:36pm

By Thomas Becknel

Published: Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
When Bud Doyle leads beach tours, he goes easy on Latin names and technical terms.
He sounds like a regular guy from the Jersey shore. He acts like a seventh-grade teacher who still has a passion for his subject.
"Now that's a treat," Doyle said, shouting above the surf on a recent walk down Caspersen Beach. "What magnificent birds, magnificent frigate birds. You know it's windy when they get blown this far north."
Doyle, an ageless 67, volunteers to lead nature walks for the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department. He draws dozens of locals and tourists to his free Tuesday and Thursday morning beach tours.
Loretta Johnson, a snowbird from Minnesota, enjoys walking the beach with Doyle each winter.
"Oh, he's a character," she says. "He's knowledgeable and he's interesting."
Johnson says she can tell he used to be a teacher.
"Junior high, I think," she says, laughing. .......READ MORE AT:

The Sand Man
- Longboat Key Observer

Vultures cleaning beach at Big Pass


Friday, December 17, 2010

ON THE WATER: The World's Fishingest Bridge
- Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Mole Crab

The Mole Crab or Sand Flea, on the beach at Big Pass, was a little over 1 inch long. It can swim-dig backwards through flooded sands but is helpless if placed above the receding swash. The creature feeds on detritus and plankton.
A much smaller specimen can be found in an article below.

Black-hooded Parakeets

These parakeets were seen in a fruiting tree at the edge of the parking lot at South Lido Beach. They were over a foot long.
Bright reds, blues, greens, blacks, whites...all on one tails and red thighs!
Also called "nanday parakeet", the birds originated in South America. They feed on seeds
fruit, palm nuts, flowers, berries and buds.
There were at least 50 in this flock, but were camouflaged unless you looked closely.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holes in a Shell

Scattered perforations in a shell are likely made by boring sponges. These sponges partially acid-digest living and dead shells and invade them as a living space.

Many mollusks prey on other species of shells by means of drilling. This means that they use specialized mouth parts and enzymes to excavate a circular hole through the shell and then insert their proboscis to eat the soft body parts of the clam or other shell.

Sometimes octopi also drill holes in shells to get to the tasty animal inside. This may not be the case here. The shell was only about one and a half wide.

The plant was attached to the shell when found. Plants can sink their roots into shells and create holes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's COLD outside

... and how can I tell?
Many of the shore birds have moved to inland lakes.
I have never seen a wood stork sitting down. This one must be trying to keep warm.

Gulf shore to Lagoon Nature Walk off Lemon Bay

Free nature walk from the Gulf shore to a lagoon off Lemon Bay led by ecologist Bruce Dayton at Blind Pass Beach. We discuss how water, wind, sand and living things interact to create our beautiful barrier islands (keys as we call them). The biological emphasis will be on habitats. Included are beach, dune, coastal hammock and mangrove. It is a fairly easy two hour stroll on beach, boardwalk, and a short trail. We will meet at 9am by the Blind Pass sign across from the parking area. Approximate time is two hours. Walk is given under the auspices of Sarasota Parks and Recreation. Registration is required and is limited to 15 participants. Call 941-493 5087 to register.

Mon., Jan.17, Feb.21

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brown Pelicans

It must be winter.
The back of the pelican's neck turns chestnut brown during summer breeding. One of Florida's largest birds, pelicans have a wingspan of up to 7 feet.

The photo above was taken on a Carefree Learner boat cruise in Sarasota Bay. Pelicans and other sea birds congregate on several small, protected islands especially during winter, (The islands are labeled as "Bird Islands" on the map below.)

Have a hands on learning experience about the critters of the Bay and views of nesting bird life on board the Carefree Learner leave from Bayfront Park . The Carefree Learner is docked next to Le Barge, near the Ringling circle.

All trips are on Tuesdays, from 1 to 3 pm.
Members $12, non-members $18

Make reservations early. For reservations on charters from Jan.25 to Mar.1, call Joan at (941) 378-4670. For charters from Mar.15 to May 3, call Bobby at (941) 927-3409.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mole crab

This creature was so small (less than one inch long) that it was difficult to photograph or identify.
It was crawling along on a piece of turtle grass on S. Lido Beach. The mole crab lives on plankton and detritus in the sand usually along the surfline. Surf fishermen use them for bait.
We'll be on the lookout for a better photo.

Thursday, December 9, 2010



Monday December 13 from 8:30 am - noon

Site: North Jetty Park, Nokomis FL
Directions: Go to Nokomis Beach Park and follow Casey Key Road south to NJ Park. You can reach Casey Key Road by going south on Tamiami Trail to Albee Road west, then west to Casey Key Road. Meet at entrance.
Gear: Wear hard shoes, work gloves, and bring a shovel if you have it
To sign up: call John at (941) 966-7308.

Plan progresses to manage Longboat Pass
- Anna Maria Islander

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Surf Catch - Catfish

The hardhead catfish is unscaled and colored dirty gray with a white underside. Four barbels are found under the chin and two more at the corners of the mouth. This one foot long surf fish was caught on South Lido Key beach.

Scientists say coral reefs offer hope for cancer cure
- Florida Keys News

VIDEO: Cold days best for manatee viewing
- Naples News

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Monday December 13 from 8:30 am - noon

Site: North Jetty Park, Nokomis FL
Directions: Go to Nokomis Beach Park and follow Casey Key Road south to NJ Park. You can reach Casey Key Road by going south on Tamiami Trail to Albee Road west, then west to Casey Key Road. Meet at entrance.
Gear: Wear hard shoes, work gloves, and bring a shovel if you have it
To sign up: call John at (941) 966-7308.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Florida Speckled Crab

Living specimens of the speckled crab are usually found almost totally buried in the sand or in shallow water. The black/grey and white pattern serves as excellent camouflage. They are swimming crabs w/ flattened bodies and the 5th and last pair of legs flattened and oar-like. The eggs of females look like attached sponges.

A very good crab article, "The Blue Crab in Florida" is here:

Friday, December 3, 2010

No-drill announcement welcomed
- Florida Keys Online News

Bird Key Park Progress

New shelter, kayak racks, and tree are up on the west half of Bird Key Park.
There is a drive and turn-around circle for cars but no new parking.
This park is mostly for walkers and joggers. Parking is scarce.
Align Center
This is a place to wash your feet and give your dog a drink. ??

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A cold, rough day at Big Pass

A cold day at Big Pass, South Lido Beach, brings up all kinds of strange things.
We'll have to do some work to identify the creatures below.
They all may be tunicates of one type or another.

Above may be the honeycombed tube worm creation.
However, the whole mass looked organic.

In Venice, erosion is working faster
- Sarasota Herald Tribune

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Tulip Mystery Solved

When I found these in my yard, I thought I knew exactly what they were. Terrestrial snail egg cases!
They looked much like the tulip snail egg cases below which I had found earlier along the shoreline.
However, upon further investigation, I found that the photos at the top of this article are of birds nest fungus (Cyathus stercoreus). Birds nest fungi have their spores in little packets called peridioles.. The soft flexible "bodies" extending from the peridioles are an attachment to the side of the cup that deteriorates as the fungus develops.