Sea turtles beach clean up on April 26
Sea turtle nesting season officially begins on May 1. In preparation of welcoming our beach guests, we are asking people to help clean the beach of litter.
On Tuesday morning, April 26, people are asked to “lend a hand in the sand.” This beach cleanup is unlike those of the past, in that it occurs at time of year when shore birds are nesting.
For some eager trash hunters, this means self restraint will be necessary. Found not in the sea oats but down in the lowliest, least dense vegetation on the shore, there is a potential for snowy plovers to be nesting.
Large debris such as crab traps will not be removed the day of the clean up as the city’s Public Works Department staff are also keenly aware of the tiny nesting birds on the islands.
Those with the most acute eyesight might say they can see a snowy plover and barge right into their nesting territory, but snowy plovers’ very survival depends upon their ability to camouflage themselves. Those with quick and keen observation skills may be able to spot a chick or adult when it gets up to run, but the eggs, nestled into a tiny scrape of sand, blend with their surroundings.
In this photo taken at a distance by expert photographer Hugh McLaughlin, you can see the chick nestled up next to its mother in thin vegetation just three inches high. But did you at first glance actually see the egg? They sit huddled together next to the smallest tuft of seashore paspalum, a grass that can extend its rhizomes much closer to the Gulf waters than the sea oats.
SCCF would appreciate your help on April 26. The Sanibel Recreation Center kids will tackle the areas closest to Blind Pass, Bowman’s and Tarpon Bay beach parks. This leaves miles of shoreline to be checked including Captiva. Take a walk with bag in hand, staying out of any vegetation, and stash the trash. Styrofoam, plastic bags, cellophane, cans, bottles and mylar balloons are some of the targets. Monofilament line is of particular danger to turtles and birds.
On April 26 between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., drop off your trash, and know you have pitched in to make way for sea turtles. Be sure and stop by SCCF’s Nature Center porch for one of its famous hot dogs. We are located at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road.
For additional information, call 472-2329.