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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Island Life:The Ocean Wildlife From Land

My adventures living on a Caribbean Island

First Impression #3:
Every new place I have lived has provided its share of unique experiences with nature's inhabitants and St. Croix has been no exception. Among my favorite visitors to our oceanfront have been the dolphins, turtles, and pelicans.

We don't see dolphins every day, but often, early in the morning, we can watch these graceful creatures heading south along the shoreline.  One day, we had a special sighting when four or five decided to play in front of our beach.  It's only happened once so far, but we are always on the lookout now.

On the other hand, our turtle visitors have dropped by in two very different ways.  The first is as they are swimming, poking their heads above the water occasionally as we watch anxiously for them to surface. Once, I was standing on the shore when a small turtle (about a foot in length) peaked his head up just four feet away.  Excited, I waded into the water to join him. He took one look at me, whipped around, and took off like a shot towards the horizon.  I guess he wasn't interested in a swimming buddy of my size :-)

The second way we have experienced our turtles was to wake up one morning to find turtle tracks in the sand. A Green or Hawksbill turtle had decided a bush at the edge of our beach was the perfect place to dig her hole and lay her eggs. I immediately became the protective mother, shooing stray dogs out of the yard and wringing my hands when the waves came too close to the bush.  I missed the actual hatching, but I'm hoping most of the little guys made it into the water without being eaten by birds.

Speaking of birds, the pelicans are daily visitors, gliding a foot above the water, sometimes singularly and sometimes in groups of five or more. On occasion, one will fly high and circle the water in front of the house.  That means he has spotted fish.  I watch, and sure enough, he dives straight down into the water then pops up immediately like a cork.  He tilts his head back, letting water flow out the sides of his mouth, and swallows. He floats for a moment before he flaps his wings while sitting there, shaking the water off his feathers.  He remains drifting on the water for a few minutes, then spreads his wings and takes off into the sky, to circle once again before diving like a shot back into the water.  Usually this occurs with just one pelican, but sometimes two will eat together.
Overall, sitting on our gallery watching the water can afford us multiple sightings of these ocean regulars.  We are even treated to an occasional school of flying fish.  Of course, looking closer to the beach itself, there are the many species of crabs, but their numbers require a post all to themselves.

Lesson #3
On island, we don't stop to smell the roses.  We stop to enjoy the ocean life . . . what wonderful life it is too :-)

 yours, Alexis


  1. What a fabulous experience to see the ocean life. I would've done the same thing-trying to get closer to the turtle!

    I have a state forest adjacent to my yard and love to watch the critters it provides. When you mentioned the dolphins, it reminded me of our owls, which aren't a common sight. I've seen a few recently during their mating season, but I can always hear them.

    My other great recent sighting was a pair of mature bald eagles.

    I'd never want to give up what the forest offers, but I do want to visit an ocean and get a glimpse of what you see!

  2. Oh Dawn, we used to see mature Bald Eagles a lot on the lake we lived on in Arizona. Talk about majestic birds. You are so lucky :-) I love owls. We used to see them on rare occasions in New Hampshire. I think every place has its special wildlife :-)

  3. Alexis,
    You didn't mention Grumpy, the herron (I think he's a herron) who pokes around the rocks lining the shoreline (and flies away if you get too close). I enjoyed watching him as much as I enjoyed watching the pelicans flying low over the water and the crabs scuttling across the sand.


  4. Thinking of you...(My attempt at a postcard greeting since it looks like that's where you live, ;)

    My jokester dad always wrote: Weather is here- Wish you were fine. lol

  5. Hi Marie, no I didn't mention Grumpy because I haven't be able to get a photo of him. He's rather camera shy :-(

    Lyndee, I love your dad's view. How fun. I don't know though, these photos aren't the best and probably wouldn't make the cut for a post card. I'm not exactly a wiz with a camera :-}