page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140
page 141
page 142
page 143
page 144
page 145
page 146
page 147
page 148
page 149
page 150
page 151
page 152
page 153
page 154
page 155
page 156
page 157

Again, don't throw them back in the water but walk them out beyond the breaking waves. A live sea star will be moving its many tube feet and its arms will bend slowly. Sea stars can regenerate arms that have been damaged and brittle stars can regenerate an entire animal from just an arm and part of their central disk! Birds, nests, eggs and youngMarco's Sand Dollar spit and Tigertail Beach lagoon are important habitats for shorebirds. In spring and summer the beach is a critical nesting and resting area for three of Florida's listed species: the least tern, black skimmer and piping plover. Many terns and other shorebirds lay their eggs in the sand. The eggs are hard to see and must be constantly guarded or a hungry predator will eat them. The eggs must also be shaded by an adult or the sun may overheat them. Do not enter any taped off areas and don't approach birds too closely. If birds appear to be dive-bombing you then it is likely you are close to their nest or a young bird. If you see baby shore-birds on the beach that seem to be abandoned, do not approach them. They are probably not abandoned at all, but your presence may be preventing the parent birds from returning with food.Flocks of birds on the beach are taking a well-earned rest and are conserving energy for the next leg of their global journey. Don't chase or disturb them, just to get a photo or to surprise them. In fact, if agitated by an unwanted intruder, the least tern reportedly has a nasty habit of hovering over the offender and defecating - so be warned! Sea turtle nests and hatchlingsUnfortunately, you are very unlikely to see Loggerhead sea turtles on the beach since they arrive under the cover of darkness and invariably their eggs hatch at night. However, it is possible that hatchlings can become disorientated and head towards lights from a condo rather than the Gulf and may be found wandering aim-lessly the next morning. About seven years ago, early one morn-ing, I came across 5 hatchlings at the pool of the Radisson Hotel (now Crystal Shores). They were secured until they could be released that evening. If you do come across hatchlings call Mary, the turtle lady, on 239.289.9736. She is on Marco's beaches early every day throughout turtle nesting season, and is responsible (with volunteers) for taping off the sea turtle's nests so that beachgoers don't accidentally inter-fere with them. See our article on sea turtles on page 108.Is that a breast implant I see before me?The Gulf waters are home to a number of jellyfish and their relatives. You will see them washed up on the beach espe-cially after storms and most of them have a sting which can vary from a detectable mild sting to severe blistering depend-ing on the extent of touch and the person's reaction. It is best not to touch any beached jellyfish since they can sting even when out of water.continued on page 92 91

The Stingray ShuffleGetting stung by a stingray is a painful experience and although it's not foolproof, while shelling in the shallow water always do the "stingray shuffle". Shuffle your feet slowly through the sand once you have entered the water. You will then be sending out a series of vibrations that warn a stingray of your presence and provide it the opportunity to move out of your way. If you do get stung by a stingray wash the wound with cold saltwater and then soak the wound in near scalding water, since this breaks down the venom and should alleviate the pain significantly. Medical attention is advisable since the wound should be cleaned to prevent infection and to remove the barb which generally breaks off at im-pact. Apply an antiseptic like Neosporin.Fishing but no chummingFishing is allowed all along Marco's beaches, but for a number of rea-sons it is best to concentrate on areas not popular with swimmers, such as the rocks at south beach, Tigertail lagoon or Sand Dollar spit. Hooks and bathers don't mix well and hooked fish may attract other preda-tors that may also not play well with bathers. Collier County doesn't allow chumming off of its beaches. Local fish are quite accommodat-ing.... if you move down the beach away from swimmers, the fish will move with you!Fill in that hole and leave nothing on the beach except footprints!Believe it or not, Nancy Richie tells us that there seems to be a weird trend toward beachgoers digging large holes in the sand and leaving them when they depart. No studies have yet been commissioned to determine why this trend is occurring. Some scientists believe it could be a result of moats around sandcastles, others believe it could be from archeological digs for Calusa remains and yet others are convinced they result from burying a partner alive who was strong enough to escape! Whatever the true reason, the remaining holes are great hazards to beach walkers and emergency, vendor and sea turtle monitoring vehicles but, more importantly, they can also trap wildlife such as sea turtle hatchlings and shorebird chicks. If you dig a hole during your day at the beach, fill it in when you leave. Also, take all litter home with you and the best advice we can give is to leave just your footprints in the sand. Beach volunteers - here to helpAs you wander along the beach you may encounter one of the many volunteers who act in different capacities to keep our beaches pristine or to educate beachgoers about the wildlife they may encounter. The Friends of Tigertail and the City of Marco Island's beach committee carry out regular monthly beach clean-ups, which are open to anyone who would like to participate. The Shorebird Steward Program has trained volunteers who spend a few hours on the beach each weekend during the nesting season. They share their knowledge on nesting shorebirds, their charac-teristics, habitat and natural history and provide beachgoers opportunities to see the shorebird chicks up close with birding scopes. They are there to help you and to ensure our pristine beaches stay that way for future generations to enjoy.So please always follow good beach etiquette and have a wonderful day on Marco's beautiful, lively and forever changing beach.We'd like to thank Nancy J Richie - Environmental Specialist at the City of Marco Island, Mary Nelson - "the Turtle Lady", and Debbie Roddie, - President of Friends of Tigertail, for their invaluable help in writing this article. All the photos (with the exception of the turtles in a hole, which was submitted by Mary Nelson) were taken locally by Debbie Barker of The Marco Review. From Furry Sand Dollars... continued from page 9192