Yesterday started fine, in all senses. Andrew and Ron went fishing late morning (after promising me that they wouldn’t be going out far in the strong wind). I visited the Hawk Watch at Curry Hammock, a wildlife park just up the road.
A rescued Red Shouldered Hawk
Every year thousands of hawks migrate through the Keys to South America. I met a few of the guys who were doing the count, and in the hour I was there they counted a good 200 hawks flying over – and they could ID every one of them. Very impressive.
I also met up with one of the local bird rescue volunteers who was looking after a Red Shouldered Hawk, that had been injured by power-lines (see picture above). Unfortunately one of it’s wings was amputated so it wouldn’t be going back to the wild, but the local Home Depot (B&Q) were building it a large “habitat” at the bird centre for free.
Next I headed off to the Turtle Rescue Centre. The centre was started by a guy who retired to the Keys in 1986. He bought a run down motel called the Hidden Harbour Motel, which happened to have a very large seawater pool. He started by keeping a few fish in the pool until he was brought an injured turtle. After a few more injured turtles arrived he decided to set up a Turtle Hospital and Rescue Centre on the profits that he made from the Motel.
A rescued Hawksbill Turtle
Most of the turtles have either been injured by boat propellers (the boats key into their shell), fishing nets (the nets twist round their flippers and neck), fishing hooks (swallowed or caught in their eyes or mouth), or a killer disease called fibropapilloma (which causes tumours on the outside and/or inside of the turtle).
They rescue Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridley turtles. About 20 two-week-old baby sea turtles were due to be released the next day. The centre looks after them for a couple of weeks and then takes them out to the rich food areas a mile or so out to sea. As you can see they were very cute….
A baby Hawksbill Turtle
What I haven’t mentioned is that while I was at the Turtle Centre it started to pour with rain. Unfortunately my video camera got wet, and by the time I got home it had decided that the Florida rain for just too much for its insides, and it wasn’t going to power-up…. When the boys came home from fishing I was in such an “ugly” mood (hopping mad with myself for taking my camera out in the rain) that both of them looked at me like I was an alien and avoided me for the rest of the evening (probably very wise!).
This morning I fed Lizzy the indoor lizard on flying ants (she loved them) but I really must devise a way of catching her and returning her to the garden. Maybe an empty plastic water bottle baited with flying ants?
Lizzy the House Lizard
The rest of the day was spent reading, relaxing, eating and chatting – oh and buying a new video camera! This evening I sat with Andrew on the balcony as he fished and I watched the pelicans fishing in the sunset (he caught a small Ray, they caught a ton of minnows). I even managed to make myself a nice cup of tea (tea doesn’t taste the same here for some unknown reason) by boiling bottled water and heating up my cup… it was “almost” heaven!
Any fish yet?