2013 Project 365

Project 365/109 – Said the Tortoise to the Hair

Gopher Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise

Staying at a ritzy hotel on Amelia Island, I saw this eco-friendly lawn mower busy at work at lunch time. This Gopher Tortoise is a threatened species in Florida an is protected under law. A mascot of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Fernandina Beach, this turtle busily keeps the lawn trim while hotel guests frequently walk by.

Gopher Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise

The sand dunes provide a buffer between the Atlantic Ocean and the hotels, condos and homes that enjoy being beachfront property. This strip of dunes provide a natural habitat for a variety of wildlife.

A short walk along the beach was shared with several shore birds. One of my favorites is the Sanderling. Small and cute, these little birds dart in and out of the surf, looking for sand crabs for dinner. Taking their bills deep into the wet sand practically up to their eyeball, they work hard for their supper.



Along with these little darlings, a single Willet was joining in for the crab feast.



Meanwhile, this Laughing Gull and his friends had something to say. Must admit there is something about being a Smart Dressed Man.

Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull

Of course, no sea side birding adventure would be complete without at least one gull to totally confuse me. They all look so similar. At least this one I do know to be a Herring Gull.


Herring Gull

It’s just a short overnight stay at the beach before hitting the road to start heading back to Maryland. It’ll be hard to leave Florida as the weather here has been picture perfect. Hope you have a great weekend planned. Bella

37 replies »

  1. Emily – These are stunning, totally professional. I really love the first one of the tortoise and the sanderling with the reflection

  2. I don’t believe I have ever seen a tortoise used for lawn or weed management. We have companies in our area where you can contract goats to manage your lawn, but tortoises are unique, they would be fun to watch, but quite unique.

  3. These are great! I love the turtle lawn mower 🙂 I’m green in that way as most of my lawn is clover. Thanks.

    • You are too kind Calee. With this wildlife photography, you have to take what you get. It was mid-afternoon and the light was hot for the turtle. But boy was he close. The birds later were in 20mph winds and cloudy conditions. Amazing what lightroom can do to brighten those images.

  4. i KEEP meaning to tell you this… LOVE this! as many times as i see our gopher tortoises down here, my images of them stink, stink, stink! and i need one for a project i’m doing!! yours is FANTASTIC! 🙂

      • omigosh you’re the sweetest thing EVER.

        are you sure? it’s for a kids’ project i’m putting together for the everglades. well, hopefully at least. i would credit you!! right now i haven’t even been able to query anyone, because of my tortoise hold-up, hahahahah!!!

        but if you’re SURE you don’t mind, yeh, one w/o a watermark would me amazing! you’re a gem. a jewel. a queen!

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