Habitat — Sites
Information about habitats and study sites from the tempestuous tip of Outer Cape Cod, all along the ever-changing Atlantic and Gulf coastlines, to the always sunny, always warm and forever beautiful Caribbean Sea, with diversions from time to time to similar paradises like Maui and the Canary Islands.
Winter and spring astronomic tides entice marine mammals to chase bait fish deep into serpentine estuaries, trapping them on the oozy bottom as the tide flushes out beneath them. Pilot whale strandings were so frequent in Wellfleet that a major estuary, Blackfish Creek, was named after the bounty they brought the Outer Cape community. Critically endangered sea turtles get trapped in Cape Cod Bay by icy fall waters, get cold-stunned once temperatures drop below 50 degrees F and are tossed hypothermic on bay beaches by sustained wind events in November and December. Strandings come year-around and involve a committed bunch of adventurous spirits who dedicate themselves to mitigating the impact of Cape Cod’s dangerous geography. In July 2002, 43 pilot whales stranded in the Run south of Lieutenant Island. The video clip below shows a young calf encircling her beached mother and her pleas echo the urgency of our efforts to save marine animals from the worst outcome of these stranding events.
The SouthCoast offers protected estuaries from Wareham to Westport that formerly supported rich terrapin populations. Today, small remnant populations have been confirmed on both east and west coasts of Buzzards Bay. A few dedicated homeowners have created sandy “turtle gardens” to offer increased nesting areas to compensate for centuries-long human development of the SouthCoast shoreline.