Walking out on the beach this past Saturday morning seemed like any other Saturday morning. There wasn’t a smell (since the wind was coming from the east or other side of the park). At first glance the beach seemed clean but weirdly void of any people. As I got closer to the water, that’s when I saw the signs of red tide. Red tide is a naturally occurring thing that happens in the gulf when the algae blooms and releases toxins that kill the sea life. The last big red tide event happened here in 2005. It was devastating to the sea life that year. Beaches south of us in Sarasota and Fort Myers have had red tide issues since early this year. It just reached my beach in the last few weeks. I had heard mixed reviews on how bad the dead fish were at the beach so I headed out to see what was going on. The day before, the park rangers had cleaned up 6 miles of beaches full of dead fish but fish keep coming flowing back on the beach with the waves.
Here is some scientific information on red tide.
This was the first time I had seen so many different crabs on the beach along the water. These camouflage crabs will eventually make their way back into the water. The ranger told me that crabs in general are not as affected by the red tide but it was weird to see them on the beach.
Lots of different ones on the beach including this crab that had a barnacle living on it.
While our beach has had a mild case of red tide so far, many of the beaches south of us had record numbers of dead dolphins and manatees turning up this summer.
White ibis with a tiny crab.
This snowy egret showed up and was like “Hey, what are you guys eating?”
“Is that how you do it? You’ve got to put your whole beak in the water?” says the snowy egret.
Another yummy crab.
“I don’t see any crabs down there” says the snowy egret. “You can’t dig this deep.” says the ibis to the snowy egret.
More crabs for breakfast.
“That one bit me going down” says the ibis.
“Hey, you dropped it!” says the snowy egret.
We stood there watching a few white ibis eating crabs in the shallow lagoon at Fort Desoto one morning. The water was calm and the ibis were busy eating crab after crab with a few shrimp thrown in. The snowy egret kept walking around and watching the ibis but never seemed to get anything.
This is the first American robin I have seen in Florida. All of my other sightings have been in Atlanta.
Marsh wren or sedge wren? I’m going with marsh since they are more common although there have been sightings of the sedge in central Florida recently.
Yellow rumped warbler (or butter butts as some people call them)
Tricolored heron walking in the grass beds at low tide.
The eagle couple together near the nest. By now there are eggs (hopefully). I haven’t heard yet if the Honeymoon Island couple are officially on eggs yet but most others here in central Florida are. It was dark and cloudy when I first got to the park.
The sun eventually came out right before I left.
The tide was low and crabs were everywhere at the north end of the trails.
A few things I saw on my late November walk at Honeymoon Island.