Sea turtle nesting season is off and crawling this year with the first reported sea turtle nest in Boca Raton. The nest, made by a leatherback turtle, was recorded on Sunday morning in South Beach Park by Marine Turtle Specialists with the Boca Raton Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program based out of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.
On a recent Sunday morning, a group of hikers paused on a heavily canopied trail to observe a bird perched high atop a tree, its body silhouetted against the rising sun. A brief hush took hold as binoculars focused in on the back-lit bird, loudly churring its morning song. Bodies shifted for a better view, until: "Yep, great crested flycatcher!"
Fire ants are notorious Florida invasives, leaving a trail of painful welts and blisters in their wake. Those pesky exotic intruders also happen to be a serious threat to some of the state's most vulnerable endemic species. This includes the Florida grasshopper sparrow, which recently made the March/April cover of Audubon Magazine as "the most endangered bird in the continental United States."
On Saturday morning, Neil Hammerschlag stood on the stern of a charter boat frequently used for his innovative shark tagging and research program. The boat had departed just after 9 a.m. from Miami Seaquarium's docks. It stopped just a few miles offshore, Miami's skyline still visible in the distance.
Dust off those binoculars and brush up on your birding skills. The 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count is on and South Florida is a historical hotbed of action.
The four-day count -- a joint effort by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada -- is a large-scale citizen-science project with participants from around the globe. There's no cost to join and it's open to birders of all levels, from the casual feeder watcher to hardcore "listers."