Sunday, August 29, 2010

Great Tampa Bay Scallop Search 2010

This short video will take you on a fun excursion as we search for scallops around Fort De Soto Park in South Pinellas County.  Every year Tampa Bay Watch organizes this event and the community loves to participate! The number of scallops found helps determine the health of Tampa Bay and its eco-system. This year I joined executive director Peter Clark (driving the boat) and the nearly 150 volunteer boaters and snorkelers who spent the morning in the shallow seagrass beds  in search of the elusive scallop. The final tally this year was extremely low... only 32 scallops were found compared to 674 last year. Speculation pointed not so much to the quality of water, but rather to the extremely cold winter and recent hard rains.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Walk in the Park

Visited Moss Park on the southeastern edge of Orlando last weekend and despite the blazing heat took a hike through the neighboring preserve called Split Oak Forest. This is Orange County's largest park and I must say it is so clean and uninhabited that I thought it just opened! This 1,500-acre park is a jewel, with camping, picnicing, swimming and lots of wildlife.

We saw a number of sandhill cranes before we headed to the trails at the adjacent property. This 1,700-acre forest is on two lakes and the habitat  includes cypress swamps, pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, and marshland. The ranger told us it is prime habitat for gopher tortoises and a great place to see wildflowers in the fall.

Here's a few photos from our hike. Meg was on the lookout for alligators in the pond, while I swore I saw signs of wild boars. Alas, the sandhill cranes and a black racer snake were our only sightings this day.