Spring at The Dry Tortugas

It’s been another beautiful week at the Dry Tortugas. The water has been really clear across the Quicksands (an area of shifting sandy bottom west of the Marquesas where both the Spanish galleons Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita were found by Mel Fisher in the 1980’s). These conditions have made for excellent turtle watching. We even saw 3 pairs of mating turtles during our ride home on Saturday.

Spring Migration will peak in the next few weeks and the bird watching has been awesome. Masked Booby’s have nested on Hospital Key, Sooty and Noddy Terns are raising young on Bush Key. Bridled and Roseate Terns will arrive soon. We saw a variety of warblers this week including Swainson’s, Blue-winged, Hooded, Worm-eating, Parula, Black-and-white, Prairie, Prothonotary, Blackburian, Cape May, and Palm, as well as Ovenbirds, and Northern and Louisiana Waterthrush. Orchard Orioles, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Peregrins, Merlins, Kestrals, were all spotted in the 10 acre parade ground of Fort Jefferson. It’s a great time to break out the binoculars and head to the Tortugas.

Saturday was Junior Ranger Day at the Dry Tortugas and all the children on board completed their workbooks and were sworn in as Junior Rangers by the Superintendent of Everglades and The Dry Tortugas National Parks, Dan Kimball.

Hope to see you soon aboard the Yankee Freedom II!
-Michael

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