Today’s Feature Story in the National Parks Traveler uses a number of photos I captured during my June 2017 visit to Padre Island National Seashore, where I had the privilege of photographing a couple of endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling releases. There’s been quite a controversy over this hatchling program since the days of the trump administration, and the National Park Service is not looking so good in my eyes regarding this program. I read the article and came away feeling angry and sad.
To read this Special Report, click on the image above.
This image below is one I took while standing stock-still in the sand, surrounded by these nacho-sized little babies as they literally swam in the sand on the beach to reach the water of the Gulf of Mexico at this national seashore. The scientist in charge of this program had been gracious enough to allow me to be in the midst of this release and it was a joyful experience not only for me, but for the almost 1000 spectators who were up at 6:45 a.m. to watch these little guys head out to the sea.
A highlight of my summer visit to Padre Island National Seashore a few years ago was the opportunity to photograph a public Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling release into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you are thinking of attending a public viewing of the releasing of these nacho-sized little guys, however, you’ll have to wait until 2021, as all public viewings have been canceled for this year due to the coronavirus. As you can see in the last photo, there is definitely NO social distancing of the 700 – 1200 participants who attend these viewings. On that particular day I took the photo, there ended up being 900 people.
I’m a little slow about getting back into the swing of things these past couple of weeks. I was in Washington State where I spent a week visiting my sister and her family and then a week in Mount Rainier National Park. While this was going on, the National Parks Traveler published a photo story I wrote about my experience photographing a Kemp’s ridley hatchling release up close and in person, during a few days spent at Padre Island National Seashore back in early June. It was a wonderful, uplifting event and I want to share it here with you readers. Click on the photo to be taken to the article.
It seems like only yesterday, instead of 2 months ago, that I visited this national seashore southwest of my home. I drive the 3 hours back down there last week (June 6-10) on assignment with the National Parks Traveler to photograph at least one public release of the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. It was a wonderful experience and I’ve written a couple of articles about this trip that will be published on the Traveler’s site. I’ll let you know when that happens.
In the meantime, here’s a sampling of what I saw and experienced at Padre Island National Seashore in the early summer.
A full moon, starry sky and sandy beach at Padre Island National Seashore.
Taking in the vast view.
Looking northeast along the beach, just before sunrise.
Looking southeast. That barricade you see on the upper far right is the divider between the pedestrian-only portion of the seashore (where I was standing) and the pedestrian/vehicle portion of the seashore, which is basically the rest of the national seashore, all 60 miles of it.
A pelican-kind of morning
En route to the Gulf of Mexico
A Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling “swimming” across the sandy beach to get to the water of the Gulf of Mexico. These little guys are smaller than a GoPro action cam.
Standing atop a dune on this morning, overlooking a hatchling release. There were about 400 people at the public hatchling release, that day. The next day after this, there were 860 attendees (weekends are usually more-attended).
Another sunny day at Padre Island National Seashore
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Part of a video I captured while photographing a release of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings is included in this National Parks Traveler article. I’ll be writing a much longer article for the Traveler in the coming weeks. Click on the photo to be taken to the article and video.
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