Friday, June 27, 2014

Mind Your Balloons

Folks, please mind your balloons, they're very hazardous to marine life... 

OK, the picture is silly but the comment is real. I pulled this bunch off of the banks of the Paerdegat tonight, with all the ribbons one of the shorebirds that frequent our basin could all to easily have become entangled and starved to death if not spotted in time. Animals will also sometimes eat deflated balloons (sea turtles in particular are known to mistake them for jellyfish, their favorite thing to eat), which can also kill them. I'll frequently pick up a piece of two of trash when I'm out paddling but it's pretty random whether I'll paddle past a piece of trash or stop and pick it up. Nothing random about getting this trap off the shore though - no way was I going to leave it there. 

Lovely paddle tonight. I think I launched around 7, it was a beautiful warm night and very quiet (especially in comparison to Tuesday's rollicking waves). I decided to mix it up a little bit tonight, last few paddles I've been heading for the inlet, tonight I hung a right and paddled to JFK airport and back. The light was gorgeous when I launched, had that "golden hour" thing going on; I actually didn't take my camera because it would've been one of those trips where I spent more time taking pictures than paddling and I still have more pictures from last weekend to go through before I make more.

No skimmers tonight but plenty of oystercatchers and an osprey, and I can't speak to the cotton question but the fish were definitely jumpin', it seemed like I startled a school every few minutes. I saw lots of little fires along the shore, I wasn't the only one enjoying the beautiful evening.

I decided to finish up with a loop up to the end of the Paerdegat and back, just to get in another mile - I don't usually do that but I was feeling energetic, and I'm glad I did because that's when I found the balloons.

Somewhere around 13 miles all in all, and then perfect timing with both bus connections (and the first bus driver was nice enough to let me on at a stoplight - that was outstanding, I don't think they have to do that, and at that hour of night it would've been a long wait until the next one.

Ahhh, summer!


clairesgarden said...

those silver ones in particular seem to get hung up on fences to frighten ponies as we ride along. a big problem here with Chinese lanterns as the thin wire has been reported as ending up in grazing animals stomach.

bonnie said...

A friend on Facebook lives in New Mexico and she mentioned that fire balloon releases are a particularly awful idea in that dry part of the country.

Animals eating balloons is another big problem - where these ones were hung up I was picturing a bird getting snared, but to a sea turtle a wilted balloon looks like a jellyfish, sea turtles love to eat jellyfish.