Friends of Padre

Friends of Padre at Barefoot Mardi Gras 2/10/2018

By Tyler Thorsen

Friends of Padre enjoyed participating in this year's Barefoot Mardi Gras on North Padre Island Saturday February 10th. It's an annual event that raises funds for local charities and each year when the schedule allows we participate to publicize our annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Cleanup. This year it is on Saturday February 24th.

The day started foggy but warm.

 

Thanks to Jacob Augsberger and his lovely wife, Lauren, for letting stage at his house and to Jacob for doing such a fine job on our cleanup artwork this year.

We passed out hundreds of Friends of Padre stickers and a few vintage t-shirts along the way too!. One thing that did surprise us was that several people asked us why we were cleaning shells from the beach. When we thought about it we do call it the Billy Sandifer "Big Shell" Cleanup. We may need to point out more that this is the name of the section of the beach we clean annually on Padre Island National Seashore - Big Shell. It's normally a four wheel drive only section of beach which runs from the 18 mile mark to about the 30 mile mark some thirty miles from the end of the pavement on Park Rd. 22. We promise we are not removing or cleaning Big Shells! ; )

 We will see you next at the Big Shell Cleanup. Be at the Malaquite Visitor's Parking lot on the Padre Island National Seashore Saturday morning February 24th no later than 8am.

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Friends of Padre Beach Report 1/15/2018

By Tyler Thorsen

Via Cody Moravits

 

The water was cold and brown the length of the beach until the last few miles where the water turned nice and green.

 

Surf was 2-3 feet and no mullet were seen in the surf and fishermen reported slow fishing with whiting and hardheads being the only few species caught. Winds were 5-10 mph out of the SE with air temperatures in the lower 60s. There was a little bit of dead seaweed washing in the 20s but still definitely fishable. Water temperature was 56 degrees and driving was excellent at low tide but not so good once the tide came in, especially between the 18-28mm. There is one large tree that is perpendicular to the surf around the 30mm that is too large for most trucks to drive over, forcing most to drive around it in the water at high tide. No large numbers of birds on the beach but there are still quite a few birds of prey flying around such as Northern Harriers and White Tail Hawks.

 

Birds observed:

 

            Herring Gull

            Ring-Billed Gull

            Laughing Gull

            Red Tailed Hawk

            White Tailed Hark

            Northern Harrier

            Sanderling

            Crested Caracara

            Double Crested Cormorant

            Brown Pelican

            Great Blue Heron

            Long Billed Curlew

            Black Bellied Plover

            Ruddy Turnstone

            Royal Tern

            Forster's Tern

            Sandwich Tern

            Caspian Tern

            Snowy Egret

            Turkey Vulture

 

 

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Friends of Padre Beach Report 12/2/2017

By Tyler Thorsen

Friends of Padre Beach Report

via Aaron Baxter

12/02/2017

Padre Island National Seashore

Got on the beach around 0600 and made my way to the 18.5. I was only down for a day trip this time. Driving was excellent at low tide and not too bad at high tide. No 4x4 required to the 18.5. Lots of folks on the beach in the teens and near the blacktop. Water was green/clear. Dead grass/weed in the guts that would eventually be stirred up as the wind increased throughout the day. Winds started calm and built to 10 mph by the time I left the beach at 1530. Fish caught included redfish, whiting, hardheads, small sharks, and pompano.

Birds included:

Great blue heron

Laughing gull

Herring gull

Ring billed gull

Least tern

Royal Tern

Caspian Tern

Ruddy turnstone

Sanderling

Black Bellied plover

Willet

Brown pelican

Cormorant

Ducks flying low and fast off the third bar

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The 23rd Annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Cleanup February 24th 2018

By Tyler Thorsen

The 23rd Annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Cleanup February 24th 2018

 

The 23nd Billy Sandifer Big Shell Beach Cleanup will be held on the Padre Island National Seashore on Saturday, the 24th of February, 2018. Volunteers will meet at the Malaquite Pavilion parking lot and the event will begin at 8:00 a. m. Admission to the park will be waived for all volunteers.  All volunteers will be returned to the pavilion by 2 p. m. 4 wheel drive vehicles with operators are the backbone of the event; however those with 2 wheel drive vehicles are most welcome and can leave their vehicles at the pavilion and will be transported down the beach as space becomes available in 4 wheel drive vehicles. If you have a 4 wheel drive but are alone you are most welcome as others without 4 wheel drive vehicles can catch a ride with you into and out of the work area. Trailers for hauling trash are much needed but need to be in good condition due to the rough terrain covered. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions as the event has to date taken place in all kinds of weather conditions. Long trousers, long sleeved shirts, a windbreaker or slicker top, suitable head wear and a good, sturdy pair of work shoes are recommended. Food will be available at the Malaquite pavilion at the conclusion of the event and iced water and lite snacks will be available in the work area but feel free to bring something to eat during the event if you feel it necessary. Event t shirts will be given to all volunteers while supplies last. Check back often for more details!

 

Billy Sandifer and the Friends of Padre

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Friends of Padre Beach Report 11/22/2017

By Tyler Thorsen

Friends of Padre Beach Report 11/22/2017

via Cody Moravits

 

Friends of Padre Trip 11-22-17

            The water was brown the length of the beach until about the last 5 miles before the wind switched back out of the SE, then the water cleared the length of the beach on the incoming tide.

 

Mullet were initially difficult to find until the SE wind pushed them back on the beach. There have been waves of Man O War and other jellyfish washing in off and on during the past few weeks and remember that they will stick to your vehicle and can still sting you at the car wash when cleaning your truck. I haven't used my waders yet this year but with the water temps right around 70 degrees it is pretty much that time. Fishing was relatively good with anglers catching bull and slot redfish, bluefish, spanish mackerel, smaller blacktip sharks, bonnetheads, a few trout and pompano, whiting, stingrays and gafftop.

 

 

 Driving was excellent at low tide but with every front that comes through the blow sand fills in all the ruts making driving during higher tides extremely soft and mushy  and not nearly as good.

 

There are a lot of migratory birds to be seen on the beach right now, including many species of raptors. Even witnessed a Peregrine Falcon knock a bird out of the sky before pouncing on it in the foredunes.

 

Birds observed:

 

            Herring Gull

            Ring-Billed Gull

            Laughing Gull

            Merlin

            Peregrine Falcon

            Red Tailed Hawk

            White Tailed Hark

            Northern Harrier

            White Ibis

            Sanderling

            Crested Caracara

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Friends of Padre Beach Report 11/04/2017

By Tyler Thorsen

Friends of Padre Beach Report 11/04/2017

Friends of Padre Report

11-4-2017

Cody Moravits           

Air Temp:        Mid 70s in the morning warming up to the upper 80s by the afternoon

Wind:              Winds stayed around 10-12 mph until about mid morning then increased to 15-20

Weed:              No sargassum observed washing up the length of the beach

Water:             Water was brown south of the 45mm all the way to the jetties.

There were areas of looking water that was slightly sandy green on the north end of the beach mainly from the 15-25mm. 73 degrees F water temp.

 

Driving:           Driving was excellent the whole length of the beach during low tide. Didn't need to use 4x4 once. Low tide was around 9am and high tide was predicted to be at 2am. 4x4 would probably still be needed to get around 2 or 3 large trees still on the beach if driving at high tide.

Fishermen reported mainly catches of redfish, large gafftop, whiting, hardheads, and smaller blacktip and bull sharks. Very very few mullet seen and cast-netted in the surf, especially south of the 25mm.

 

Birds Seen:     

            Merlin

            Peregrine Falcon

            Northern Harrier

            Turkey Vulture

            Double Crested Cormorant

            Brown Pelican

            Great Blue Heron

            Great Egret

            Herring Gull

            Sanderling

            Caracara

            Ring-Billed Gull

            Laughing Gull

            Reddish Egret

            White Morph Reddish Egret

            Curlew

            Black Bellied Plover

            Piping Plover

            Ruddy Turnstone

            Royal Tern

            Forster's Tern

            Sandwich Tern

            Caspian Tern

            Yellowlegs

 

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Texas Turtle Nest Update 9/24/2017

By Tyler Thorsen

Today a new green turtle nest was located on the Texas coast, at Padre Island National Seashore.

 

KEMP'S RIDLEY TURTLE

This year, 353 Kemp’s ridley nests were confirmed on the Texas coast. This far surpasses the previous record of 209 Kemp’s ridley nests found in Texas during one year. The nests recorded in Texas during 2017 include (north to south in state):

 

3 Bolivar Peninsula

5 Galveston Island

0 Brazoria County, N. of Surfside 

3 Surfside Beach 

1 Quintana Beach 

0 Bryan Beach 

0 Brazoria County, N. of Sargent Beach 

0 Sargent Beach 

7 Matagorda Peninsula (area record)

0 Matagorda Island

3 San Jose Island

11 Mustang Island (area record)

8 North Padre Island north of Padre Island National Seashore

219 Padre Island National Seashore (area record)

70 South Padre Island (area record)

23 Boca Chica Beach (area record)

 

LOGGERHEAD TURTLE
So far this year, 9 nests have been confirmed on the Texas coast including (north to south in state):

1 Surfside Beach

1 San Jose Island

1 North Padre Island, north of Padre Island National Seashore

5 Padre Island National Seashore

1 South Padre Island

 

GREEN SEA TURTLE
So far this year, 28 nests have been confirmed on the Texas coast. This surpasses the previous record of 15 green turtle nests found during one year. The nests recorded in Texas during 2017 include (north to south in state):

22 Padre Island National Seashore (area record)

6 South Padre Island (area record)

 

Data presented here are preliminary. Do not cite or quote without permission. Contact Donna Shaver for further information.

 

Updates regarding nesting are also posted at the Padre Island National Seashore website:  https://www.nps.gov/pais/learn/nature/2017-nesting-season.htm

 

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Friends of Padre Beach Report 9/17/2017

By Tyler Thorsen

Friends of Padre Beach Report 9/17/2017

Cody Moravits

Waves: 1-2 feet with occasional 3 footers on 2nd bar

Water temp: 83 degrees F

Wind: 5-10 mph ESE increasing to about 15 mph late in afternoon

Driving: 4.5/10

            There is a ton of debris on the beach due to hurricane Harvey and unfortunately it will probably keep washing in over the next few months, including debris from hurricane Irma. The bulk of it is large trees, most requiring 4WD to get around them and a few you actually have to drive over for the time being.

 

Plenty of firewood on the beach though and the ship that was grounded in the Mansfield channel is gone. The surf was pretty much filled with giant ladyfish the length of the beach, if you caught anything besides a ladyfish on live mullet then you were doing pretty good. Casting out chunks of ladyfish led to small sharks 2-4 feet long.

Woke up at 12:30am to a Park Ranger notifying us of a missing woman around the 30mm, and drove past the scene where she washed up Sunday morning a little north of the 30mm.

Moderate amount of bait the length of the beach and water clarity was decent the length of the beach also- with a few dirtier spots between the 10-25mm. A lot of birds on the beach number-wise (especially on the south end) however no oddball species. Did see an Aplomado Falcon coming off the beach on one of the speed limit signs just past the Visitor's Center.

Species observed:

Juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Reddish Egret

White Morph Reddish Egret

Great Blue Heron

Caracara

Turkey Vulture

Black Skimmer

Long-Billed Curlew

Black Bellied Plover

Wilson's Plover

Sanderling

Ruddy Turnstone

Spotted Sandpiper

Brown Pelican

Ring-Billed Gull

Herring Gull

Laughing Gull (most immature)

Sandwich Tern

Black Tern

Caspian Tern

Royal Tern

Forster's Tern

 

 

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