Date: 13 November 2018. Red Tide
A couple I know in California (hi
Renee and Walt) asked how I was doing. Having dodged the Hurricane
Michael bullet, Skipper and I were not so successful with the red
tide invasion. It is indeed impacting my life. There are however
unsung heroes, and today I'll tell you about some of them.
is on both coasts of Florida.
Seeing dead fish is sad. Similar fish kills have taken place ever
since I was a little girl.
This was the first dead fish I saw. It is a young catfish.
I remember a fish kill when I was quite young.
It got so cold the mullet floated to the surface in great schools.
There was another boat with a kid nearby. He and I had a dead fish
battle -- throwing them at each other. For some reason we must have
thought this was a Good Idea.
For those of you in the north who
think snow-ball fights are awful, well, it could be MUCH WORSE.
My friend Cheryl is closer to
John's Pass inlet and she is seeing schools of dead fish.
JOHN'S PASS ↓
is north of the main channel into Tampa Bay.
With red tide so prevalent, I have not gone anyplace in at least
three months. Any exertion causes some breathing difficulties. I am
seriously getting tired of having gritty eyes.
Even though I was seeing dead fish, I was
very grateful not to have massive schools of dead fish in the
canal. Then I saw three Carolina Skiffs (about 18' long
flat bottom boats) in the canal with two people in each boat. They
were scooping dead fish up. Each boat had a pile over 3' in diameter
and above the *gunnels (1-plus feet high) of the boat.
*Gunnels are the top edge of the
Now I know the tides are not washing away the fish. The county is
actually paying for contractors to come out and remove said fish.
How wonderful is that?!?
I am worried about my my birds. I feed a pair of snowy egrets. I
named both Isis as I cannot yet tell them apart. They eat the
smaller fish. Fortunately the Isis duo also eat hotdog wafers.
Side Note on Isis: The pair NEVER eat together.
Indeed if the second arrives the duo get into a fight.
This is ↑ Isis.
I cut the least expensive hotdogs into 1/8" thick
chips for the snowy egrets. For the larger birds, including my night
herons (Bruce, Buddy, Scout, et al) and a raven (Nevermore) I slice
the hotdogs into 1/4" thick wafers. Several of us along the canal
have started to feed the wild birds.
There are a lot of Serious
Fishermen around here. They have the go-fast center console boats.
The fellows head offshore 50-60 miles plying the Gulf of Mexico waters for fish.
When the fishermen return, the catch is cleaned at the dock. Now birds are not stupid.
They know a free handout when they spot one.
Fish cleaning means scraps. Birds
and pelicans are opportunistic.
This boat did well. When the
fellows clean the fish there will be a feathered audience hoping for
In the back of my
mind was one worry: Could my hotdogs create a bunch of lazy birds
that no longer would hunt their own dinners? After observing the birds I am happy to
report they continue to catch fish.
Seaweed caught a fish. This one landed on my bow. I
suspect this fish was dropped by an osprey.
I discovered the carcass on my side deck near the bow
Attaching a Fishing Reel
article lamenting how I cannot catch a fish, I wish to add a
qualifier. Though I can't catch a fish myself, Seaweed has managed
to land one.
A concern of mine came to a head as the dead fish began floating to
the surface due to the red tide. I wondered if eating the
fish would kill the birds.
This is Isis. ↓
She had been eating hotdog wafers on my swim platform.
A small dead fish floated by Isis.
captured the floater in her beak. Then she dropped it back into the
water. A few minutes later as the fish had drifted along she again
grabbed it. Once more Isis did not swallow the fish. Something must taste odd to her.
In the meantime I have been regaling my neighbor Cheryl who lives
down by John's Pass about how few dead fish are here. I told her that though I was seeing large
numbers of dead
fish occasionally, the tides seemed to be washing them away. One day I see a fish
every 10' or so, and the following day the fishes are gone. It was a
Meet the Miracle makers: This is
Captain Rick ↓ and his assistant Bill
holding a net at the bow.
These two and others have been patrolling the canals. Captain Rick
runs the boat while Bill is busy scooping up the dead fish. At the
end of the day the fish are disposed of by the county. This is a big
job and I am grateful they are here. Thank you.
The color of our water has
gone from green to red-brown.
Pre-red tide, a manatee swims behind
With the cooler weather I am hoping the
red-tide bloom disappears. Though this is not fun I am reminded
of the old saying...
This too shall pass.
|Now dead fish
float behind my boat:
not seen any manatees. They are infrequent visitors at best.
Surprisingly, another thing I have not spotted floating is the snook
I told you about in the
Snook Surface (cold weather
A few dead full-grown mullet have drifted by, though no immature
mullet as of yet. The total of mullet floating is no where near the number that
I know used to hang out under the mangroves.
A school of mullet is swimming in a circle under the mangroves behind
It will be wonderful when the red
tide finally abates. I am thoroughly tired of having gritty eyes and
a wet nose. Taking Seaweed out seems like more work than it is
worth. I wish I could say I have accomplished a lot. Alas, that
would be untrue.
I have been
reading loads of books. It is the holiday season and I have been
enjoying Christmas anthologies set in the regency era.
Thank goodness for the Kindle. I don't know how I ever lived without
one. The ability to increase font size and bold text helps makes reading a
I do thank you for reading my website. A couple thousand folks visit
most days and I am Very Grateful you have chosen to spend time here.
Thanks so much!
Are you in a Red Tide effected area?
And, has the algae bloom ended in your area yet?
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