In this Issue:
  • Nature Notes – The Blue Crab
  • Our “Seahawk”; the Osprey
  • Columbus’s Mermaid; the Florida Manatee
  • Our Magnificent Miner; the gopher tortoise
  • An Intimidating Fish They Call the Stingray
  • The Crown Conch – A Slow Predator of the Estuary
  • Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, what can you do to help? Biodiversity
  • Which Local Creatures Eat Venomous Snakes?
  • Two Manatees in Two Weeks
  • Cold Stunned Marine Life
  • Coastal Wildlife

    Nature Notes – The Blue Crab

    Most kids who grew up on the Gulf Coast grew up catching blue crabs. These animals are common along our shorelines, relatively easy to catch, and adventurous because they may bite you.  I caught my first one in 1965 and we proudly displayed the boiled shell over the kitchen bar for many years.  This is …

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    Our “Seahawk”; the Osprey

    As a kid growing up here along the Gulf Coast, I had never heard of an osprey. Now, there is at least one mating pair on almost every body of water in the Pensacola Bay area.  Where did this once unknown bird come from? How has it successfully colonized our coastal waterways? The osprey, like …

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    Columbus’s Mermaid; the Florida Manatee

    The manatee may be one of the more iconic animals in the state of Florida. In Wyoming, we think of bison and bears.  In Florida, we think of alligators and manatees.  However, encountering this marine mammal in the Florida panhandle is a relatively rare occurrence… until recently. For several years now, visitors to Wakulla Springs …

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    Our Magnificent Miner; the gopher tortoise

    Just a decade ago, few people would have known what a gopher tortoise was and would have hard time finding one. But today, because of the protection they have been afforded by the state, they are becoming more common.  This is certainly an animal you might see visiting one of our state parks. The gopher …

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    An Intimidating Fish They Call the Stingray

    It is now late May and in recent weeks I, and several volunteers, have been surveying the area for terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and monitoring local seagrass beds. We see many creatures when we are out and about; one that has been quite common all over the bay has been the “stingray”. These are intimidating creatures… …

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    The Crown Conch – A Slow Predator of the Estuary

    In recent weeks, volunteers and I have been surveying local estuaries counting terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and monitoring seagrass. One animal that has been very visible during these surveys is the relatively large snail known as the crown conch (Melongena corona).  Its shell is often found with a striped hermit crab living within, but it is …

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    Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, what can you do to help? Biodiversity

    Records of the variety of aquatic life in Pensacola Bay go back to the 18th century.  According to these reports, over 1400 species of plants and animals call Pensacola Bay home.  Many of them depend on seagrass, oyster reefs, or marshes to complete their life cycle.  The greatest diversity and abundance are found on the …

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    Which Local Creatures Eat Venomous Snakes?

    In my job, I get many calls about snakes. Most people want to know how to tell a venomous from a nonvenomous one and how to keep them out of the yard.  I was recently reading a new book out by Dr. Sean Graham entitled American Snakes and in the chapter on snake defenses, he …

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    Two Manatees in Two Weeks

    As a young boy growing up here in the panhandle, I had heard of this thing called a manatee – but had never seen one. They came more into the light when I was a teenager and becoming interested in marine biology.  I was the president of the high school marine biology club and one …

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    Cold Stunned Marine Life

    Man what a winter! Between multiple days below freezing, tough traveling, and the flu it has been a brutal winter season so far. It is not that different for some of our marine wildlife friends. The low temperatures have driven marine water temperatures down as well, particularly in the shallow areas.   There have been many …

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