Tag: GreenSeaTurtle

Photography Challenge Day 102: Throwback Thursday–Reptiles I saw on the big Island

So I’m in a mood to where I’m looking back at old pictures and trying to decide where and when I’m going to take another solo vacation. I’ve realized that I don’t do it often enough (I don’t mind traveling with friends or family), but there is something about picking a place to go, and then having all the control over what one does while they are there.

Today’s throwback pictures are throwbacks to my trip to Hawaii back in 2009. The theme of the pictures is simple–it’s reptiles.

Green Sea Turtle swimming in Hilo Bay

So one of my favorite animals that I actually got to see in the wild–the sea turtle. Green Sea Turtles are common around the islands (they’re one of five species found in the area). The one I would really love to see in the wild is the leatherback sea turtle–it’s the largest sea turtle (and the fourth heaviest reptile) in the world.

I may have to look into a good snorkel mask that I can fit over my glasses so that if I ever decide to go back and snorkel–I’d be able to see what I’m trying to take pictures of.

Green Anole

The other two smaller reptiles that I saw, were two lizards that kept me company during the day and early evenings when I was in my hotel room.

The first one that I saw was the green anole. This little guy, isn’t native to the islands–but they’ve established themselves quite nicely. They were originally brought over to sell in pet stores, but then they either escaped or were let loose. After awhile they managed to establish themselves on the islands.

Gold dust day gecko

The other lizard that I saw was much more colorful. I knew that it was a gecko due to the toes, but I wasn’t certain at the time of the species. This guy stands out brilliantly due to being a day gecko. These geckos are native to Madagascar and other islands off the east coast of Africa. Therefore since they’re out during the day–they need to be able to blend in with the vegetation, hence the bright green coloring. While it is hard to see in this picture–they also have a vivid blue ring around their eyes.

Top view of a gold dust day gecko

You can see a little bit of the blue around the eyes from the top. You can also see all the “gold” dusting on the back of the gecko as well. While the presence of either lizard is a double edge sword. They can be considered somewhat beneficial–they eat obnoxious insects, but at the same time they could be driving undiscovered insects and small invertebrates extinct as well.

I would like to go back to the islands one of these years, and try to see what other wildlife I can get pictures of: there are four other sea turtles in the waters surrounding the islands, whales, rays, fish, birds, and flowers. That will be the next goal–more wildlife pictures from another island (or a different part of the big island).

No Comments naturePhotographyreptilestravel

World Wildlife Day

So today marks the sixth year of recognition for World Wildlife Day (as it was established on December 20 2013 by United Nations)1.

The theme for 2019 is “under the water”. This makes sense, when you think of the fact that approximately seventy-five percent of the earth is covered in oceans, and I’m sure all the fresh water makes up another five to ten percent in covering the earth as well. But the main focus is on the seventy-five percent—or the oceans.

While currently there are approximately 200,000 identified marine species, the actual number probably is at least two or three (if not more) times that—especially since some of the deepest trenches in the ocean haven’t been explored, and also some species can’t survive being brought up (they actually thrive under the extreme pressures found at the bottom of the oceans) to the surface.

In terms of the oceans and gulfs, I’ve been to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. I’ve got pictures of some of the unique wildlife one can see from most of them (I’m just lacking pictures from my trip to the Caribbean—that was before I got a digital camera, so none of them are digital and I know I didn’t get any of aquatic life while we were there).

So what types of animals did I get pictures of?

When I was out in Boston, I did one or two of the whale watching tours. I enjoyed doing this, though they were crowded (and at times I did get sea sick). So I managed to see whales coming up to the surface to breath. I’d still like to go on a whale watching tour up in Alaska to see the killer whales.

Whale sighting…

Also during one of my many walks along the freedom trail, I decided to sit and basically stare into the water for a while—and after awhile I noticed that there were numerous little jellyfish swimming around.

Jellyfish in the harbor.

When we took a mini vacation down to Padre Island, I managed to get some pictures of probably hermit crabs in different shells, and what I think was a nautilus. This was the first time using a digital camera that could actually be submerged in the water.

Little nautilus…..
Not sure if anyone is home or not….

Then from my solo vacation to Hawaii years ago, I managed to get several pictures of a sea turtle (probably the green sea turtle), crabs, and different fish.

Fish in the bay…
Purple-pink fish in the bay..
Green Sea Turtle in Hilo Bay

One of the things that I would love to do, is find a good snorkel mask that I can wear over my glasses (since I don’t wear contact lens, and I think it’s silly just to get contact lens for that possibly one time I’m trying to snorkel), and make it back to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or even Australia and see what type of pictures I could possible get of the marine life.

But things aren’t all sunshine and flowers for the oceans currently.

The oceans face numerous threats today from over-fishing, hunting (there are still some countries that hunt sharks and whales), climate change (warming of the oceans; coral reefs bleaching, melting ice bergs), runoff of agricultural wastes into the rivers which feed into the oceans, and then plastic garbage finding its way into the ocean. There is a patch of plastic garbage between California and Hawaii named The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covering roughly 1.6 million square kilometers2, and while one would think that we could just head out and clean up the area—we’re (and I’m referring to all humans) are allowing between 1 and 2.5 million metric tons of plastic to enter the ocean each year. These are things that make it into the rivers and watersheds and find their way to the oceans. This is why there has been such a push to get rid of straws and single serving plastic utensils, and a better drive at plastic recycling.

I know that where I live there are only certain plastics that are taken in recycling—and they’re the ones that company can make the most profit off of with their contacts. That leaves about half the plastics not being taken and winding up in the trash. If we’re lucky—it makes to the trash dump and hopefully gets buried. If not, wild animals might rip open the bags, and then some of the plastics could find their way to different water areas and become a problem.

So what I’m going to start doing to help the oceans, is declining straws at restaurants, saying no thank you to the one serving plastic utensils, and figuring out a better way to dispose of the silica gels packs that come with various things instead of allowing them to be tossed in the garbage (and possibly winding up in the oceans). What will you do to help the oceans and it’s inhabitants?

References:

  1. https://www.wildlifeday.org/
  2. https://www.theoceancleanup.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch/
No Comments natureRandom Celebration Days

Happy World Sea Turtle Day

So today is World Sea Turtle Day. Did you know that six out of the seven species of sea turtles are threatened with extinction?

One of the major threats to sea turtles and other ocean dwelling animals is plastic waste. Somehow, someway plastic bags wind up in the oceans, and turtles thinking that they’re jelly fish eat them. They aren’t the only ones that mistake plastic bags for food in the oceans (whales will ingest them as they’re foraging for fish).

Sea Turtle in the wild

I’ve managed to only see green sea turtles in the wild, and that was when I went to the big island of Hawai’i for a week long vacation (almost a decade ago). I have seen them in aquariums, and rehab centers.

Sea Turtle in Rehab center

When we went down to South Padre Island a few years ago for vacation, we visited Sea Turtle Inc. This center rescues, rehabs, and then releases sea turtles back into the wild (if they can). They also make note of all nesting females, rescue the eggs, and then do hatchling releases in hopes that a greater percentage of young sea turtles actually make it into the ocean. Watching a hatchling release is something that is still on my bucket list of things to do–I would say I’d adopt a sea turtle, but I don’t think I could figure out how to build a big enough salt pool for it to live in (especially since I would want to adopt a leatherback sea turtle (and they’re the largest of the sea turtles)).

At New England Aquarium

Of course the second best place to see a sea turtle (after seeing one in the wild) is at an aquarium. While I was out in Boston, the aquarium was one place that I loved to visit (even though it was pricey). They had several sea turtles in the large center tank, and this picture was probably the best one I got from all the times I visited. It was always difficult to find a place to stand, where you weren’t going to be blocking the view for someone else.

So again, lets try to start cutting down on the plastic waste. If you get plastic bags at the store–reuse them or take them back and most stores will recycle them. Find another use for them–use them until they basically fall apart–or better yet cut them up into little pieces before tossing them away. True they may still end up in the oceans–but if they’re just pieces of plastic maybe fewer animals will mistake them for food and ingest them. We aren’t the only species living on the this earth–but we’re the ones destroying it, therefore we have to be the ones to save it as well.

No Comments Random Celebration DaysScience