News from nature! Early summer is such an exciting time in the marsh. We have the arrival of migratory & transient species like sea turtles, painted buntings & red winged blackbirds. If lucky enough, you also may see the more rare roseate spoonbill. Many sea & shorebirds spent early summer nesting & disperse in late summer. We have noticed a rise in sightings of black skimmers & terns. Along with the Eastern brown pelican & American oystercatcher, we also see Wilson’s plover & willets feeding in the marshes. Since many of these bird species lay their small & camouflaged eggs right on the sand, it is important to keep dogs leashed on the beach, watch your step, stay out of dunes & respect boundaries of any marked nesting areas.
Also laying nests in the sand are sea turtles- primarily the loggerhead sea turtle. Loggerhead sea turtles weight about 300 lbs. at maturity and can live over 60 years. Females lay 3-4 clutches of eggs of beaches of the Atlantic from May through August. Clutches hold an average of 110 eggs, which incubate in about 60 days. While the exact science is unknown, researchers believe that a great deal of sea turtles travel & behavior is determined by the lunar cycle.
Summer is also the time of mating & birthing for our residential bottlenose dolphins. It is always exciting to witness dolphins interacting with each other & feeding. Summer feeding involves many different techniques such as impact feeding, bubble netting & the crowd favorite, strand feeding. It is especially important to respect dolphins space during this critical time in their lifecycle. Please always view from a distance & avoid approaching directly or cornering dolphins.