Thursday, December 21, 2017

FRIENDS 12 Days of Christmas Day 8

Friends of the Environment's 
12 Days of Christmas
Day 8

A Year in Review

Every month we highlight Abaco's environment through pictures in our E-news letters. Below is a year in review of the people and wildlife that make our work so important. If you have photos you would like us to feature please email us!

A Facebook Record Breaker! dunes and seaweed
This post received over 7,500 likes!!! See what the Facebook post was all about!

Top Predators Eating Lionfish 
lionfish in grouper belly, Mark Gonsalves
Nassau grouper have been documented to eat lionfish. This particular instance happened in Abaco last year. This is only one of the reasons why the closed season for Nassau grouper is so important. Remember, fishing for Nassau grouper is CLOSED each year from December 1st to February 28th.

Filefish Phenomenon   file fish
Filefish were observed congregating in harbours and other protected areas around Abaco in the winter months of 2017.  This species is most often seen in the open ocean, so it is possible they ended up inshore by mistake. 

Springtime Babies
thick billed vireo, birds, nesting, photo by Lory Kenyon
Here's a photo of thick-billed vireos nesting in Elbow Cay. Photo courtesy of Lory Kenyon.

Investigating Mangrove Health 
North Carolina State PhD student Ryann Rossi stopped in Marnie's Creek, Elbow Cay to take a closer look at some mangroves as part of her study investigating the mangrove die-off in Abaco. 

Killer Whale in Abaco!!!!
Killer whale sightings in The Bahamas are rare, so when they do happen they get a lot of attention - as Craig Cephas from Grand Cay found out! (His video had over 27,000 views on Facebook). A calf was reportedly seen with this whale even though it is not in the video.

The first known record of a killer whale in The Bahamas was found in the log of a 1913 whaling ship, while the first photographs came from an animal that stranded in Man-O-War Cay in the 1960's. Since then there have been reports from across the country, and between the months of April to November, with more sightings reported in the summer. These killer whales (known as transients) have been observed eating other marine mammals, though they may also be targeting pelagic fish when they are bountiful. More research is needed to better understand their population dynamics and movement patterns.  

Turtle Hatchlings 
This green turtle hatchling was lucky enough to be born in Abaco this summer! Watch it make it to the ocean!

What a Difference a Day Makesbeach rope sand
Taken only one day apart, these two photos demonstrate just how dynamic our beaches are. Weather, tides, and ocean currents all play a part in shifting our sands. Most of the time when sand "disappears" we can count on it to return eventually. Unfortunately, human infrastructure and development practices can disrupt this natural cycle. To make amends, we should do our best to limit human impact on the coast and to help repair damaged areas by planting native vegetation. Fall is a good time to come up with a plan for doing restoration projects at your property. Tropical weather is winding down, and there are several months ahead to plant and allow the new vegetation to take root before the next hurricane season starts. 
Mammatus Clouds
Photos: Olivia Maura
Weather is a big part of our environment, so we take notice when something unusual happens. We snapped some photos of these mammatus clouds at sunset on Thanksgiving Day. Have you ever seen this type of cloud in Abaco before? We haven't!

Named for their udder-like shapes, mammatus clouds are formed when moist air (as from a cloud full of rain) sinks into dry air. They are often associated with thunderstorms, but may not necessarily mean that severe weather is approaching.