Gopher Tortoise Day!

April 10th has been officially recognized as Gopher Tortoise Day

The goal of Gopher Tortoise Day is to increase awareness and appreciation for these long lived, gentle reptiles.

Gopher tortoises are considered a “keystone species” because they dig burrows that provide shelter for 360 other species of wildlife, called “commensals.”  These commensal species include the gopher frog, Florida mouse, eastern indigo snake, and hundreds of invertebrates like beetles and crickets.  » Read more

Look Closely!

Another cool photo from Andy. Look closely! Can you see it?

It’s an Anhinga seen at The Dunes nestling in the sheltered water habitat they prefer.

You can often spot an anhinga perched on a branch with wings outstretched, drying its feathers. The fact that their feathers are less water resistant than other birds helps them to swim underwater.

Although not particularly fast swimmers,  » Read more

Poetry Inspiring

 
The beautiful gardenia plant at the entry to our office at Ocean’s Reach
just might be the “most commented on” feature of our property this time of year. 
We love how it offers a wonderfully fragrant welcome to our guests!

 
It dissipates through the air
Gently teasing your nose
A fragrance so lovely
Grabbing as it goes
Its beauty so dazzling
That you can’t even see
But a mural so enormous
Is what it brings to me
The scent of a Gardenia
Filled with memories
Applied very lightly
To one’s porcelain skin
Ambience of invisible beauty
A love trail begins
The scent of Gardenia
Filled with memories
An aroma so blinding
That of romantic power
Only but a shrub
Not even a flower  » Read more

 

Coral Health and Restoration

Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world and worth more than $6 billion to the state of Florida alone. Corals, however, are dying at an unprecedented rate because of global and local threats such as climate change, ocean acidification, and disease outbreaks.

Mote Marine Laboratory scientist Dr. Erinn M. Muller
aims to understand how these threats are impacting reefs around the world and identify corals that are resilient to the stressors.  » Read more

From Andy’s Camera …

Grabbing a few shots from Andy’s camera to share with you today!

He was all excited after his latest visit to The Dunes, where he saw hundreds of Lesser Scaups, a rare sight indeed. From everyone he talked to, the consensus was that it might have been the first time that species had ever been seen there.

Fun fact from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

The Lesser Scaup spend the winter farther south than any other diving duck in their genus (Aythya) —  » Read more

Through a Photographer’s Eye

On Thursday, April 5, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) will host a free “Meet the Artist” reception for bird photographer David Jeffrey.

Jeffrey, a talented amateur photographer who winters on Captiva Island, became seriously interested in bird photography in 2010, after retiring from a career in finance. The self-taught photographer took inspiration from Arthur Morris, author of The Art of Bird Photography.  » Read more

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