Hubbards Fishing Report March 2017

Fishing report

Inshore- Snook fishing this past week went very well inside Johns Pass. Ryan Cloke from Tampa and his father Howard stopped in to fish the beach behind Hubbard’s Marina and left a few hours later after they got tired of catching so many snook on live shrimp and tail hooked live pigfish. Tim smith, from Reddington, was fishing the jetty and under the bridge catching nice sheepshead and flounder using live shrimp weighted to bottom at the tail end of outgoing tide this past week. Inshore on the flats, Kyle Morrison and his buddies were drifting the flats for nice sized trout and one monster bull red using live shrimp free lined on an incoming tide. Pompano are around the jetties too, just takes a skilled approach to target them. I like to use a doc’s jig or Nekid ball jig and bounce them along the bottom to mimic the pompano’s favorite bait the sand flea.

Near shore- The weather this week was very similar to last week, we had a front mid-week that ruined our chances for fishing for two days again. However, we were able to get some great trips in before the front brought its rain, wind and waves. Early this past week the hog bite was firing, we had tons of snapper and even some red grouper. Now that the bad weather has cleared were hoping for a weekend of good fishing and great weather. We have a weak front coming in through Saturday but were not expecting it to have a great effect on the weather. You can always check the weather on our site, by going to info then click ‘weather links’.

Offshore- Last weekend’s 39 hour did some awesome catching, wouldn’t even call it fishing. The 12 hour extreme this past weekend did the same but unfortunately was struggling to get away from the monster ‘endangered’ red snapper that seemed to be everywhere and the big ‘overfished’ gag grouper were thick and aggressive on each spot. We were able to get baits down to some big jacks, red grouper, mangroves, vermillion, yellowtail and more on the trips. The 39 hour even caught a mid 40lb monster kingfish while amberjack fishing. The big mangroves were the highlight of the trip however, many in the 7-10lb range were caught. You should really see the latest videos on Facebook as we have been doing video updates after each long range trip returns: https://www.facebook.com/hubbardsmarina/videos

Want to read the past reports? Check out this link: http://hubbardsmarina.com/hubbards-marina-fishing-reports/

Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi News

We are expecting beautiful weather this weekend and hope you have the opportunity to come out and join us aboard the Tampa Bay Ferry! Catch the ferry at one of our many stops and head out for lunch/dinner and some shopping or just cruise the Intracoastal Waterway and observe all the unique, wonderful sights our area has to offer, as well as possible dolphin sightings along the way!

Our Jungle Prada stop is adjacent to the Sacred Lands Preservation which offers tours every Sunday at 4pm. Get there early and enjoy lunch at Jungle Prada Tavern. Or perhaps stop in for dinner after the tour and then catch a relaxing 8:10pm ferry ride back!

The complete list of ferry routes and stop locations can be seen at http://www.tampabayferry.com/madeira-beach-taxi-route/

Sacred Lands Preservation is a really cool park to explore it is nestled on the shore of Boca Ceiga Bay, is a place to remember the past, the past of our state, and of its native people. Sacred Lands is dedicated to preservation, because its mission is to keep Florida’s history alive for future generations. Located on the remains of the ancient Tocabaga Indian village, tours are offered every Sunday at 4pm. Explore the lives of the Tocabaga people and information about Florida’s native flora and fauna. And visit the Greenhouse Museum where you’ll see artifacts such as pottery, shell tools and native jewelry.

You can catch the ferry to many local restaurants, city centers, shopping areas, local beaches, and much more! It’s a great way to see the area and get to where you’re going without worrying about beach traffic or parking. To see all the special stops and the things to do at each stop visit this page on our new Tampa Bay Ferry and taxi website: http://www.tampabayferry.com/things-to-do/

As a reminder, parking is free at our Madeira Beach Marina and Jungle Prada stops. We look forward to seeing you! To see the schedule, map, and the stops with addresses check out this info on our website: http://www.tampabayferry.com/madeira-beach-taxi-route/

Keep in mind that the ferry does allow alcohol, pets, and anything you need for the beach so pack a cooler and come catch a cruise.

Did you know that Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi offers a private taxi service, if you’re having a dinner party and want our boat to come pick you and your guests off to take you to your favorite waterfront bar or restaurant simply contact us and we can set you up this private taxi service!

Don’t drink and drive, drink and let us take you on the boat! The water taxi by Hubbard’s Marina is the coolest way to get home after some time at the beach bars.

Captain Jack’s Dolphin Corner

The bird nesting island in Boca Ceiga bay is coming alive with hatchlings and roosting seabirds. It is a great time to join us for a dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina to share this special sights and sounds with family and friends.

Our local seabirds are not only roosting and nesting on dog leg key, our local hatchery, they are also dawning their mating plumage which makes them very colorful and robust. For example, the Roseate spoonbills are getting easier and easier to spot with their pinkish feathery appearance.

The Dolphins have been super easy to spot in large numbers lately around Boca Ceiga bay and the entrance to Tampa Bay. They are playful and ready to hunt the large schools of mullet. As the water warms during the spring they will only become more and more playful and easy to spot.

The local bald eagle that seems to be roosting atop a cell tower along the route of the dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour boat here inside Johns pass is getting fat with the many mullet we have spotted him swooping up along the back bay waters.

Want to learn more about dolphins this winter? Check out the new great Johns Pass dolphin facts series on our Hubbard’s Marina YouTube channel to check out to see them all watch our dolphin playlist here: https://goo.gl/2mYjX2

Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina

Ready to join us for the March 3rd-5th News channel 8 outdoor expo at the Tampa state fairgrounds? There will be plenty of great seminars, vendors, booths, food, boats and more at the show. We will have our booth set up and will have a seminar at 5:30pm on Friday the 3rd. We hope you all get to join us, for more info on the show check out this link: https://goo.gl/5ZLgXZ

Sunday March 5th we also have a 3pm bass pro shops seminar, so you could join us for two seminars in one weekend if you’d like!

We have lots of light 39 hour trips coming up on the 3rd, 7th, 14th and 31st of March at Hubbard’s Marina. These 39 hour fishing adventures offer 20 hours of fishing time, a two day bag limit, and you get to fish 70-100 miles from shore in 120-300 foot of water for monster jacks, red grouper, mangrove snapper, tuna and much much more!

The 12 hour extreme trips right now are limiting out on big jacks and catching monster red grouper and the Wednesday trips are consistently super light! Join us for some ‘reel’ offshore fishing fun at Hubbard’s Marina aboard the New and one of a kind Flying HUB 2.

Well were already hearing rumors that Amberjack may be a short season this year, it could be as short as 4-5 months for 2017! If this is true jacks could close April or May, so if you want to go catch some jacks let’s get you offshore on a 39,44 hour 12 hour extreme here asap since jacks opened January first and we may not have very long to continue keeping them before NOAA’s National Marine fisheries gulf council decides to close them early. Remember, we don’t get much advanced notice of this so stay tuned to our email newsletters and social media for more updates.

To book trips on our site, check out this link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/reservations/

Want to stay up to date with the latest catches, reports and more from Hubbard’s Marina? Follow the new live video segments that Hubbard’s Marina is posting daily to Facebook! Also, more Instagram photos and videos are popping up too! Plus, were on the FishBrain app now too and they were nice enough to add Hubbard’s Marina as a fishing location so now on your future trips you can upload your catch to our location. If you have questions or want more info about all this message Dylan Hubbard on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook page or shoot him an email: info@HubbardsMarina.com

Regular’s club

We would love to have some of you all join us for the March 3rd-5th outdoor expo at the fairgrounds. We will need help manning the booth and talking to our fishing friends more about what we have to offer at Hubbard’s Marina. If you want to come join us at the booth let Dylan know via email info@HubbardsMarina.com we will have a cooler with drinks and be talking fishing all weekend.

If you have not renewed yet for 2017, please do so before booking your 2017 trips and you definitely want to get it done before January first. If you do not, we will be changing you to the FREE Johns Pass club which does not give you benefits you’re used to. Once in this club, you can always upgrade again to a paid club but if you book using your number while it’s a FREE Johns Pass membership you will not have your discount tied properly to your trips so get renewed before you book!


Captains Mark and Dylan Hubbard

Vice president and Regular’s club manager Hubbard’s Marina
(727)393-1947 ext 306

info@HubbardsMarina.com

Join the Great American Clean Up

Pinellas County, in partnership with Keep Pinellas Beautiful, is asking for volunteers to help clean up two waterways, the Cross Bayou Canal and Joe’s Creek, on Saturday, March 25, from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Volunteers will collect and bag trash from mangrove shorelines.

Volunteers will be either land-based or can participate on the water from a canoe or kayak. Volunteers can bring their own watercraft, or borrow a canoe (provided on a first-come, first-served basis).

The meeting point for the cleanup is the Pinellas County property at the intersection of 70th Avenue North and 78th Street North near the Wagon Wheel Flea Market on Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park.

Check-in for volunteers begins at 8 a.m., with trash collection taking place from 8:30 to 11 a.m.  After the trash is collected, volunteers can enjoy lunch, provided by event partner American Waterworks Association – Florida Section, and enter to win giveaways. Registration is required.

Participants should wear comfortable clothing, closed-toe shoes, work gloves, a hat, sunscreen and bring a chair or towel to sit on during lunch. Trash grabbers, bags, gloves and drinking water will be provided. A water truck will also be on hand for cleaning off watercraft after coming back to shore. Participants working from watercraft will be required to wear life jackets; those borrowing watercraft will be provided life jackets.

Register online at https://2017springcbc.eventbrite.com/ by Wednesday, March 21.

Tampa Bay Watch 2017 Summer Camps

Tampa Bay Watch announced their 2017 Summer Camp Dates on Friday, February 2017.  Online registration for Tampa Bay Watch members begins on March 6 and the public can begin to register on March 13.
Click here to visit the TBW summer camp webpage with more information and pricing.
PLEASE NOTE: Tampa Bay Watch Summer Camps fill up quickly. Sign up early to secure a spot for your kids.
For more information contact Katie Mastenbrook at(727)867-8166 x246.

Pitch in for Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup!

Saturday, March 18 from 9am – noon

Tampa Bay Watch, in partnership with Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful & Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, is recruiting volunteers to participate in the Great American Cleanup on Saturday, March 18 from 9am-noon. This event is family-friendly and open to all ages. The majority of the volunteers are needed on land, but you are welcome to bring a canoe or kayak.

Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program taking place annually from March 1 through May 31, involving an estimated 2.8 million volunteers across the country. Tampa Bay Watch sees the cleanup as an important way to help clean up human-generated trash in the park as well as marine debris that floats onto the shorelines from Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico. 

Click on a site below to register today! 

Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers, Fort De Soto Park, Tampa Bay Watch, Weedon Island Preserve, Coffee Pot Bayou in St. Pete for kayakers only, Palonis Park in Tampa, & Coquina Bayside in Manatee County

We also need one small support boat, like a skiff, to aid kayakers at the Coffee Pot site. Click here to email Rachel if you can volunteer your boat.

Cover Story: For the LOVE of Tampa Bay

In April 2010 the Gulf of Mexico experienced what is now considered to be the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, fishing and tourism industries.

Rudy Consoni, President of Resort Realty/ Resort Rentals has been operating a real estate company specializing in managing vacation properties and renting to visitors from all over the world for 20 years. While some in his industry have had complaints from clients and customers, his company has maintained an A+ rating with the better business bureau. He knows the BP oil spill and the media frenzy that went on for weeks affected his business to some extent, but it bounced back and the tourism business has been great since.

Rudy said his company filed a ‘BP claim’ in 2012 and received a settlement in October 2016. Rudy says “their award was generous, and we are determined to give it back to Mother Nature and to help restore our beautiful environment. We have been corporate members of Tampa Bay Watch for a number of years and have seen the wonderful way they operate.”

Resort Realty/Resort Rentals generously donated $25,000 from their BP settlement and has also committed to donate $10 from every booking that they make over the next year to reach a total donation goal of $50,000 in 2017.  “We’ve already reached $35,000 Rudy says proudly.”

Of the 6,521 Pinellas County claims currently filed with the BP Deep water Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP), 760 have been paid to date for a total of $83,000,000, with an average claim value of $109,000. “Tampa Bay Watch is extremely grateful to receive this generous support from Resort Realty / Resort Rentals,” says Peter Clark, Tampa Bay Watch President,  “These funds will significantly contribute to our ability to restore and protect our Bay waters.”  Of all the places we could donate, why did we choose Tampa Bay Watch?,” Rudy asks.

Tampa Bay Watch is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the charitable and scientific purpose of protecting and restoring the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary encompassing over 400 square miles of open water and 2,300 square miles of highly- developed watershed. Tampa Bay Watch involves more than 10,000 youth and adult volunteers each year in hands-on habitat restoration projects. For more information, visit www.tampabaywatch.org, or call 727-867-8166.

“Our tourism industry is based on visitors coming here to enjoy the beaches, the weather, fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and windsurfing” says Rudy. “The quality of the water is a huge part of that. Tampa Bay Watch has been a growing presence here for decades now. Engaging families as volunteers and contributors, they have been planting seagrasses and building oyster beds. They have also been educating school children and visitors through partners like the TradeWinds Resort. They actively monitor the health of Tampa Bay counting scallops, rounding up tarpon, they take part in our communities’ activities and address our water-related challenges. Water is the gold of the future. What could be more important.”

Rudy hopes his donation will set an example for other business people who will be receiving BP settlement checks in coming months. “Assuming all 6,521 claims are paid, Pinellas businesses will receive $711,000,000 over the next two years. Tampa Bay Watch has done so much with so little for so long, imagine what they could accomplish if they had even a tithing of what Pinellas companies receive from BP in the coming couple of years.”

Tampa Bay Watch is proud of its diverse Board of Directors:

  • Kevin Kelso, the Vice President/Regional Manager – Portfolio Management of Hancock Bank as Chairman,
  • Doug Sokolowski, a member of Great Bay Distributors ownership as Vice-Chairman,
  • Mary Ann Renfrow, an owner of the Alden Suites Resort as Treasurer and
  • Mark Chmielewski, Managing Director of United Capital of Tampa Bay as Secretary.

“I am very proud and excited about our new board officers. They are a professional and diverse group of individuals that contribute personally and professionally to support the many existing and new programs,” states Peter Clark, President of Tampa Bay Watch.

“Just think how much bay restoration we could achieve if 10% of the $83,000,000 that has already been received in BP settlements was donated to Tampa Bay Watch”.  “As you may know a clean bay contributes approximately $22 billion to the region’s economy”, said Jamie Serino, Tampa Bay Watch Director of Development.

You can get involved with Tampa Bay Watch too!

Volunteer to help with Native Plantings in Safety Harbor on Sat. Feb 25th from 9 – noon. In partnership with the City of Safety Harbor and Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting 150 volunteers for a native planting in Safety Harbor on the morning of Saturday, February 25 from 9am-noon. The address of the meeting location is 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor, FL 34695.

This project is family-friendly and open to all ages. Tampa Bay Watch in partnership with the City of Safety Harbor and Tampa Bay Estuary Program is recruiting 150 volunteers for a native planting in Safety Harbor on the morning of Saturday, February 25 from 9am – noon. The address of the meeting location is 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor, FL 34695. This project is family-friendly and open to all ages. 

You can also attend the Bay Life Art Exhibit: Feb. 25, 10 am – 2pm Meet Wildlife Artists at the 4th Annual Event The collaborative art exhibit and sale at the Tampa Bay Watch Marine and Education Center is free.  Meet the artists and enjoy a live informational pastel demonstration by one of the Bay Life artists plus kids’ activities. There’s a benefit cocktail reception Feb. 24 5-9 pm; Contact Tampa Baywatch by February 17 to RSVP.(727) 867-8166 x 231 or rzafar@tampabaywatch.org.

For More info call:
Peter Clark, President, www.TampaBayWatch.org
Rachel Arndt, Communications Manager
Jamie Serino, Director of Development
Tampa Bay Watch, 3000 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715
(727) 867-8166 x 233 Fax: (727) 867-8188

Rudy Consoni, President
Resort Realty Vacation Rentals (727) 363-3336
8010 Blind Pass Rd., St Pete Beach, FL 33706-1625

Story by Peter Roos
Photos courtesy of Tampa Bay Watch

Volunteer with Tampa Bay Watch in February and March

Native Planting at Fantasy Island

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteers to plant six different native species along the shoreline of Fantasy Island to complement the installed oyster domes and shell bar on March 2 & 3 from 9am – noon. This comprehensive ecosystem restoration plan will slow erosion and provide invaluable habitat and food source for wildlife. The minimum age to participate is 13 years old. 

The meeting location is Williams Park Boat Ramp, 8749 U.S. 41, Riverview, FL 33578. The boat ramp is on the west side of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) where US 41 and the north side of the Alafia River intersect. 

Click on date to register to volunteer: Thursday, March 2Friday, March 3

Help Install an Oyster Shell Bar

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteers to install an oyster shell bar on the shoreline of 2D Island on February 23-24, March 10-11 and March 9 at Fantasy Island from 9am – noon on each day. 

The project involves shoveling fossilized shell into mesh bags, transporting the bags via boat and placing oyster shell bags on the shoreline to create a series of oyster bars. It is pretty physical labor with oyster shell bags weighing around 30 pounds each, therefore the miminum age to participate is 15 years old. The meeting location is Williams Park Boat Ramp, 8749 U.S. 41, Riverview, FL 33578. The boat ramp is on the west side of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) where US 41 and the north side of the Alafia River intersect. 

Click on date to register for this project: Thursday, February 23, Friday, February 24 is already full, Thursday, March 9, Friday, March 10 & Saturday, March 11

Build Oyster Domes

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting 10-20 hard-working volunteers to help build oyster domes at our Marine Center, 3000 Pinellas Bayway South in Tierra Verde. The project takes place on specified weekday mornings from 9 am until noon. The minimum age to participate in this project is 16 years old. The project involves pouring marine-friendly concrete into fiberglass molds to create oyster domes and taking apart the molds that were previously poured.

Oysters need to attach to a hard structure to grow into adults and the rough texture of the domes makes it easier for oysters to grow. Oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. Learn more about the oyster dome program here.

Click one of the dates below to register: February 8February 10February 15, & February 27.

Treasure Island Beach Sign Design Contest

Ahoy artists. The City of Treasure Island is hosting a design competition to create beach signs. The contest is open to everyone ages 10 and older. Help keep beaches healthy and looking good by designing a sign to help promote litter prevention. Finalists will be selected in five categories and have their art featured on one of the City’s new beach information signs.

 Best Overall
 Best Anti-Litter Message
 Best Original
 Best of ages 10 to 14 years old (at the time of submittal)
 Best of ages 15 to 18 year old (at the time of submittal)

Submission Guidelines: Clip and fill out the entry form next to this article. Each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry form.

 The entries must be on a single sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper, landscape.
 Use white, non-glossy paper; do not laminate.
 Any art medium may be used (e.g., colored pencils, crayons, paint); however, computer graphics will not be accepted. Artwork must be hand-drawn.
 Artwork must be flat (e.g., no glued pieces or glitter) and able to be scanned.
 Avoid using brand names in the artwork.
 A description of no more than 75 words must accompany the artwork (space provided on the entry form). Label each entry on the back in pencil (marker bleeds through the artwork)

Artwork should be mailed or delivered to no later than 4 pm March 31. Beach Sign Art Contest, City of Treasure Island – City Hall 120 108th Avenue Treasure Island, FL 33706.

Volunteer with Tampa Bay Watch in 2017

Help Story 2D Island in February

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteers to install an oyster shell bar on the shoreline of 2D Island on February 23 & 24. The project involves shoveling fossilized shell into mesh bags, transporting the bags via boat and placing oyster shell bags on the shoreline to create a series of oyster bars. It is pretty physical labor with oyster shell bags weighing around 30 pounds each, therefore the miminum age to participate is 15 years old. The meeting location for is Williams Park Boat Ramp, 8749 U.S. 41, Riverview, FL 33578. The boat ramp is on the west side of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) where US 41 and the north side of the Alafia River intersect. Click on date to register for this project: Thursday, February 23 & Friday, February 24.

Make Waves in 2017

Suncoast Surfrider Foundation proudly Presents Make Waves, a 2017 community kick off party on Sunday, January 22 from 6-10pm. Discover and engage with your local Tampa Bay community to understand the ways in which you can make waves this year. Jannus Live has graciously donated their epic music venue for this annual party featuring some of the best local music talent the Tampa Bay area has to offer including Jah Movement Reggae Band, Oceanstone, The Rosewoods, Mammoth Moon and more. Live art brought to you by Derek Donnelly & the Donnelly Cove. Over a dozen local non profits and ocean frendly businesses will be on display, as well as a plethora of epic raffle prizes throughout the evening. Click here for more information on the Surfrider Foundation.

Build Oyster Domes

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting 10-20 hard-working volunteers to help build oyster domes at our Marine Center, 3000 Pinellas Bayway South in Tierra Verde. The project takes place on specified weekday mornings from 9 am until noon. The minimum age to participate in this project is 16 years old. The project involves pouring marine-friendly concrete into fiberglass molds to create oyster domes and taking apart the molds that were previously poured. 

Oysters need to attach to a hard structure to grow into adults and the rough texture of the domes makes it easier for oysters to grow. Oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. Learn more about the oyster dome program here.

 Click one of the dates below to register: Monday, January 16Wednesday, January 18Friday, January 20, or Thursday, January 26.

Get your tickets to the Lightning game on February 23 & support Tampa Bay Watch at the same time!  

Tickets are $37 or $40. Each option includes a $20 donation to Tampa Bay Watch. Click here to select your seats. Use Promo Code: BAY

23rd Annual Fishing Line Cleanup with Tampa Bay Watch

Fishing Line Cleanup

The 23rd Annual Fishing Line Cleanup, organized by Tampa Bay Watch and Audubon Florida and sponsored by Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and Restore America’s Estuaries, was a great success.

Fifty-three volunteers cleaned 44 different sites around Tampa Bay and along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. They removed an estimated 22,106 feet of fishing line and 225 hooks from bird nesting islands & mangrove shorelines. Unfortunately, 52 birds were found to have died because they were entangled in line were found during the cleanup.

Volunteers were able to rescue two pelicans that were found trapped by fishing line in the mangroves. Tampa Bay Watch and Audubon Florida strive to educate anglers to reduce improper disposal of line and to teach fishermen how to release birds accidently caught, with a goal to decrease the amount of fishing line and reduce the number of entangled birds each year.

The cleanup took place throughout the week of Saturday, September 24 – Sunday, October 2, 2016. Volunteers with boats removed tangled line from mangroves and shorelines of assigned bird nesting islands.

Advanced registration on tampabaywatch.org allowed captains and their volunteer crews to remove fishing line from protected bird colonies that otherwise are off-limits to the public. This cleanup, scheduled in the fall when most birds are not nesting, effectively removes fishing line from Tampa Bay and reduces the threat of entanglement for coastal birds and also other marine animals.

Abandoned fishing line is a significant mortality factor in bird colonies. Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists have identified fishing line as the major cause of mortality for adult Brown Pelicans. “Florida’s coastal birds face increasing pressures from habitat loss, human disturbance, and predation; removing fishing line is an easy way to increase their chances of survival,” said Audubon Florida Sanctuary Manager Mark Rachal. “Pelicans, egrets, herons and other iconic coastal birds need our help. We thank our captains and crews who participated in the 23rd Annual Fishing Line Cleanup and made a difference for Tampa Bay’s wildlife.”

SONY DSC

“It’s great to be able to get the community involved in an event to help prevent wildlife entanglements, while also raising awareness about the importance of responsible fishing practices. This event would not be possible without community volunteers generously donating their time and boats, as well as our partners’ collaboration, resources and funding,” said Melinda Spall, Tampa Bay Watch Environmental Specialist.

Tampa Bay Watch is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the charitable and scientific purpose of protecting and restoring the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary 727-867-8166m • www.tampabaywatch.org

Audubon Florida & the National Audubon Society are dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitats that support them. 813-623-6826  •  www.audubon.org or  www.fl.audubon.org.

Nature: New Seaside Seabird Sanctuary 

Local birds just got a new ally. Speaking for the new SSS, Andrew von Gontard, President and Executive Director,  recently told loyal supporters, “We are delighted to announce a new path forward for our sanctuary! As of September 1, 2016, we are a completely new organization, now known as Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, formerly Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary.

“With experienced management, a new board, and leadership from the Busch von Gontard family, who possess a long history of wildlife conservation, we look forward to earning your continued support as we put avian wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and environmental education at the forefront of our mission.”

“The Sanctuary’s daily operations will be headed by Eddie Gayton as Operations Manager, a long-time volunteer who has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation for the past six years. He will be supported by Brian Max Tharp as Business Manager, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, and by a team of passionate and loyal staff and volunteers.

“My family and I are excited to work with Eddie and Brian and the rest of the team to make Seaside Seabird Sanctuary a world-class avian rehabilitation center.”

SSS Tour & Staff

Gayton recently took Paradise News on a tour of the ongoing refurbishing of the Sanctuary, introducing other staff along the way.

Diane Liggieri is the long-time Gift Shop Manager and also fills the vital roles of Volunteer Coordinator and answers all Bird Rescue calls with Jackie Walter as Assistant. “We’re actively recruiting new volunteers to add to our current dozen dedicated weekly rotation,” Diane notes. “Included are rescuers, visitor greeters, bird caregivers, gift shop workers and fundraisers.

Prospective volunteers should call the Gift Shop at 727-391-6211.” Typical of dedicated volunteers is Dylan Kahn, who was cleaning one of the bird pools on his regular weekly shift, and is a long-time Audubon steward. Dani Hall is the Dr. Marie Farr Avian Hospital Supervisor and resident biologist, a graduate of FSU and USF with 30 years experience as an environmental scientist. Keith Wilkins is Hospital Manager and Amy Nulph is Hospital Specialist with Chris Walls as Habitat & Nutrition Specialist.

Dani told Paradise News, “We’ve ended captive breeding by segregating the male and female pelicans. Young pelicans from birth can’t be continually around people as they can never be released into the wild. We are releasing a handful of our injured and rehabbed birds every few weeks, typically on Tuesday.  We’re also no longer feeding wild bird visitors as our new enclosure netting is doing a great job of keeping them away and significantly lowering our food costs. Our white pelicans are doing well, including our patriarch George, a favorite of visiting kids with school groups.”

Eddie showed off the refurbished Education Center, which is actively involved in getting school trips again, with more bookings already set for the new year.  “We were involved in the Great American Teach-In this past fall,” he notes, “and are getting more home-schooled kids as well as classes from both public and private schools.”

“In addition to the new netting covering all the bird pens, the Sanctuary has refurbished the outdoor rehab pens for injured birds, and an arborist is coming soon to trim back and take care of all our trees. We’re also set to completely re-do the outdoor deck that overlooks the beach and Gulf, and is an ideal setting for birthdays, engagement parties, weddings and corporate events.”

“Our permanent resident birds on display include a Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Red Shouldered Hawk and Isis (Goddess of Nature) our Red-Tailed Hawk, here since 1990 and believed to be the oldest in captivity. Nujay, our Blue Jay, does his “Meow” on cue (sometimes) and has his own YouTube video.”

Wish List & Donation Options

“We are planning a grand opening to the community as Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in the first quarter, to ensure our partners and supporters know about the work we’re doing and the ongoing needs to continue our mission.

“These needs include an X-ray machine to allow us to better serve the birds we rescue, a utility van to aid in the rescue of injured animals and release of the rehabilitated wildlife, and assistance updating our pool systems, which are critical for our sanctuary birds’ well-being, comfort and enrichment.”

“Among perfect gifts for the new year, we have Engraved Bricks for our donor walkway, with three lines for $100. You can become a Feeding Sponsor for any of our birds, with most at $2 for 1 day, $6 for 3 days or $10 for 5 days. You can Adopt a Bird at $25 a month for birds of prey; $20 a month for pelicans or other large water birds; or $15 a month for small water or land birds. All gifts are available on our new website at www.seabirdsanctuary.com.”

“We’re currently open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, with free admission and always appreciated visitor donations. “We offer tours to 10 or more on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday with prior confirmation by booking through the Gift Shop. Pelican Feeding is daily at 2 pm, weather permitting.

“We look forward to welcoming old – and new friends of our current 120 feathered inhabitants at our new Seaside Seabird Sanctuary.  With your continuing help as volunteers and donations, we will fulfill our goals to care for and rehab injured birds and educate the public about wildlife and the environment. With a very optimistic outlook for the new year, we encourage you to make your visit to us one of your top New Year’s resolutions for 2017!” PN

STORY by STEVE TRAIMAN

Seaside Seabird Sanctuary Staff:

  • Eddie Gayton, Operations Manager
  • Dani Hall, Avian Hospital Supervisor
  • Diane Liggieri, Gift Shop Manager
  • Amy Nulph, Avian Hospital Specialist
  • Brian Max Tharp, Business Manager
  • Jackie Walker, Habitat & Nutrition Specialist
  • Keith Wilkins, Avian Hospital Manager