Nick’s Chicks lady anglers tournament September 6

nickschicksAttention lady anglers, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant is hosting Nick’s Chicks ladies anglers tournament on September 6, 2014. Reel in redfish, speckled trout, catfish and ladyfish from the Choctawhatchee Bay for prize money.

Entry Fee- $50.00 per person All payouts guaranteed (based on minimum of 40 anglers)

Payout:  1st place-$500.00, 2nd place-$400.00, 3rd place-$300.00, 4th place-$200.00, 5th place-$100.00  Mystery stringer: $500. Door Prizes and gifts for places 6th-10th.  Payout based on a 50 angler participation.

CLICK HERE to download rules.

Starting Time & Point: Starting time will be at daybreak on Sept. 6. This is a Choctawhatchee Bay Tournament.  All fish must be caught in the Choctawhatchee Bay or estuaries there of (Brooks Bridge to Peach Creek).

Gear/Fishing Methods:  Hook and line, live or artificial bait only.

Weigh-in time: Weigh-in time will be from 4 – 5 p.m. CST on Saturday. No fish will be scored after 5 p.m.

Fish Condition: Any alterations and/or tampering of weight or size of fish are strictly prohibited and will result in immediate disqualification as well as permanent disqualification from future tournaments. Fish need to be properly iced and kept in fresh condition.

Cancellation – The tournament director may cancel or postpone the tournament at his discretion, but not limited to inclement weather or less than a 50 team participation.

For all questions and concerns contact Trey Nick @ 850-835-2222 or 850-830-6161.

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Take a guided butterfly tour on bicycle Sept. 14

americanpaintedladyHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: MaryAnn Friedman. Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This tour offers a view of the local flora and fauna by bike along paved trails around the Northwest Florida State College South Walton campus. The adventure tour will begin at the famous native plant trail created by the Florida Master Gardeners. The time of this tour is during one of the peak times for blooming flowers and trees in Florida. Search and identify adult butterflies and caterpillars with a butterfly and native plant expert. Collection of plants or insects will NOT be tolerated, however, a net may be used during the tour to study and release insects. Please carry water, small camera, and close-focusing binoculars. Wear bike helmet, sunglasses, sun screen and close-toed shoes. Insect repellent, long pants and socks are recommended. Biking will be light to moderate exercise. We may walk into wooded areas where there could be thorny plants, ticks and mosquitoes.

Bicycles will NOT be provided. Bicycles may be rented through Blackbeard Bike Rental (please inquire for more details)

Space is limited to 12 participants (adults only for safety precautions). Minimum of 5 required Location: Meet at NWFSC South Walton campus with bicycle.

Space is limited to 10 participants (adults only for safety precautions). Minimum of 5 required. Fee: $20

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Take a guided tour of south Walton’s coastal dune lakes Sept. 16

greategretwesternlakeHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Brooke Saari, UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This educational tour will introduce participants to the Jewels of 30A – the coastal dune lakes of Walton County, Florida. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare ecosystems, which exist in just a few places around the world. They are primarily freshwater systems that sit along the coastline. But here in South Walton, the lakes periodically break through the beach and connect to the Gulf of Mexico. A saltwater exchange occurs, which supports an incredible biological community.

The tour of the coastal dune lakes will follow Scenic Highway 30A. We will make several stops along the way, visiting three to five coastal dune lakes. We will explore the unique character of the different lakes as we discuss ecology, water quality, and human impacts. We will enjoy photographic vistas, take a short hike within the dune system, and stop for a picnic lunch in one of the local state parks.

Participants should plan for easy to moderate short hiking, getting in and out of vans and/or bus, and being outside in the sunny and possibly windy conditions associated with coastal areas. Bring a camera and /or binoculars if you like. We suggest a hat, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, and layered weather-appropriate clothing, including rain gear if needed. Tours will go on, rain or shine; stops may be adjusted according to weather conditions to suit the comfort of the participants. Lunch will be provided.

Space is limited to 30 participants. Minimum of 5 required.

Location: Meet at South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. Participants will ride as a group in a van to all of the stops.

Fee: $45

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Walton County fishing report for Aug. 26

bassFishing has never been better!

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Redfish and trout good bites. Early morning or early evening seems to be a mix of best bites.

River: You name it, catfish, bass, shellcracker, warmouth, bluegill or bottom fishing with earthworms. Get out there!

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439
(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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Take a guided tour of the wet prairies at Grayton Beach State Park Sept. 6

wetprairiesHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Park Ranger Patrick Hartsfield

Time: 10 – 11:30 a.m.

Join the Park Ranger for an informative tour of some of the park’s wet prairie restoration areas. Learn the importance of these areas, which endangered plants call them home, and how swamp titi trees impact the hydrology and flora of these areas. The ranger will discuss the importance of the Prescribed Fire program at Grayton Beach State Park, explaining how fire is a necessity for habitat restoration, wildlife management, and decreasing loading fuels to help with the prevention of wildfires.

Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Difficulty is moderate. Participants will hike approximately 2 – 2.5 miles out to one of the restoration sites and then hike back. The topography is not level. It is also sandy/muddy in areas. Participants should bring water, sunscreen, insect repellant, and a hat. Participants must wear appropriate hiking/walking attire. NO OPEN-TOED SHOES, SANDALS, OR FLIP-FLOPS ALLOWED. Pets are not allowed on this walk. Pets cannot be left unattended at any time or in a vehicle. Event is subject to cancellation due to bad weather, unforeseen situations, or prescribed burning in the area.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 5 required.

Location: Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach

Participants will meet at the ranger station.

Fee: $15 + $5 entry fee (paid at time of entrance)

http://www.basinalliance.org/page.cfm?articleID=111

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Burnt Sock Landing landing opens on Holmes Creek

burntstocklandingCelebrate grand opening Sept. 3, 2014 at 10 a.m.

Join the Northwest Florida Water Management District as they celebrate the grand opening of Burnt Sock Landing on Holmes Creek just north of Vernon.

Burnt Sock Landing is a new public access and recreation site on Holmes Creek, northeast of Vernon in Washington County. The District recently completed public access and recreational improvements to the site, including road improvements and a parking area. The District has also stabilized the historic dirt boat ramp to significantly reduce sediments flowing into the stream-fed creek and allow users to hand launch canoes, kayaks and small boats.

This exclusive canoe, kayak and small boat launch will improve public access to the District’s northern-most ownership along Holmes Creek and allow paddlers to enjoy the unique natural sights along this undisturbed stretch of the waterway.

Burnt Sock Landing
Lat/Long: 30.67903,-85.66397

Burnt Sock Landing is located on the south side of Johnson Road, approximately 1.5 miles east of Hwy 79. The Johnson Road/Hwy 79 intersection is approximately 3.7 miles north of Vernon and 6.3 miles south of Interstate 10.

Directions:
From Interstate 10, take Exit 112 (Hwy 79) toward Panama City Beach. Continue on Hwy 79 south for 6.3 miles. Turn left (east) onto Johnson Road and travel about 1.5 miles. The entrance to Burnt Sock Landing will be on the right (south). If you pass Dauphin Road (on left), you have gone too far.

From Vernon, take Hwy 79 north about 3.7 miles. Turn right (east) onto Johnson Road and travel about 1.5 miles. The entrance to Burnt Sock Landing will be on the right (south). If you pass Dauphin Road (on left), you have gone too far.
::MAP::

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The Biophilia Center takes you Under the Sea Sept. 6

E.O.WilsonBiophiliaCenter-FreeportFLHead over to the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center on Saturday, September 6 for an Under The Sea Day.

Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Activities include:
Marine Touch Tanks
Sharks with the Gulfarium at 11 a.m.
Hands on Oyster Reef Demo with CBA
Japanese Fish Print Art
Sandcastle Station
Candy Shark Tooth Necklaces
Squid Balloons
Mermaid Races
*Snacks available for purchase.

Admission: Adults $8, Children $5 2 and Under FREE
4956 State Hwy 20 East. Freeport, Florida 32439. For more information, call 850-835-1824

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Enjoy a guided birding tour of Walton County on Saturdays in Sept. and Oct.

ashthroatedflycatcherHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county. Enjoy a birding tour on Saturdays in September and October (except. 10/18).

Time: 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

All tours will take place in Walton County, but individual destinations will vary depending on target species and time of the year. If you wish to have more information on the tour being offered on the upcoming Saturday, please feel free to call the instructor, Alan Knothe, evenings between 5  and 9 p.m. at 850-208-1780.

The Florida Panhandle offers some of the country’s best birding opportunities. Walton County is rich in migrant and resident species. Shorebird migration is going strong in September and songbirds and raptors peak in October. The renowned tour guide is Alan Knothe, a trained biologist, has taught birding and naturalist courses for more than 20 year in the Florida Panhandle. You will not only see a vast array of species on these tours, but you will also learn all the secrets to identifying them by sight, sound and behavior.

Please bring a pair of binoculars and your favorite birding guidebook. (A limited number of loaner binoculars are available). Other recommended items to bring are drinking water, snacks, sunscreen and insect repellent. It is recommended to wear close-toed shoes and long pants. Walking is light to moderate. Some tours may visit state parks and other areas that have an entrance fee. This fee is NOT included in the price of the tour and is the responsibility of the tour participant.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 3 required.

Location: Meet at the South Walton County Tourist Development Council Welcome Center at the intersection of US 331 and US 98. Meet in the parking lot.

Fee: $35. Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Walton County providing heat relief locations Aug. 22 – 24, 2014

walton-county-logoIn an effort to provide a place of respite for the elderly and medically needy during this period of extreme heat, Walton County Emergency Management, in partnership with other community organizations, has arranged for the follow comfort stations.

John Horton Senior Center
194 North County Highway 393
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
12 – 5 Friday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Council on Aging Offices
454 N. Baldwin Avenue
DeFuniak Springs, FL
12 – 5 Friday
Sat. 12 -  5 p.m.

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Black skimmers successfully nest at Henderson Beach State Park

Black skimmers on nest with chicks. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Black skimmers on nest with chicks. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Learn about the shorebirds and see the chicks up close through a birdscope this Sat. and Sun.

A pair of black skimmers have successfully nested and hatched three chicks at Henderson Beach State Park this summer. These beautiful shorebirds arrived at Henderson right after July 4, 2014. Approximately 4-5 days later, three eggs were laid three days in a row.

Black skimmers are not often seen in the Okaloosa/Walton area, and this species typically nests within a colony of other skimmers.

Black skimmer parent watches over chick. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Black skimmer parent watches over chick. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Mates take turns scraping the sand to create a nest, kicking sand behind them with alternating foot strokes. They then rotate in their scrape to create a saucer-shaped depression. The average scrape is 10 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep.

It’s been a precarious journey for the little ones as the eggs were hatched in a congested area along the beach and close to the shoreline. A large area was roped off for their safety according to park services specialist Lynda Smith.

As of Aug. 22, so far so good according to Smith. The three chicks are doing well and may be ready to fledge in another two weeks.

If you are interested in seeing these beautiful shorebirds and their chicks, head over to Henderson and take a peek. There will be an Audubon shorebird steward with a scope for better viewing on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Click here to learn more about Henderson Beach State Park.

Cool facts about black skimmers:

  • The Black Skimmer is the only American representative of the skimmer family. The other two, rather similar, species are the African Skimmer and the Indian Skimmer. All use the same unusual feeding method.
  • Although the Black Skimmer is active throughout the day, it is largely crepuscular (active in the dawn and dusk) and even nocturnal. Its use of touch to catch fish lets it be successful in low light or darkness.
  • At hatching, the two mandibles of a young Black Skimmer are equal in length, but by fledging at four weeks, the lower mandible is already nearly 1 cm longer than the upper.
  • Possibly the best description of the Black Skimmer’s bounding, head-down foraging style came from R. C. Murphy in 1936. He said they look like “unworldly… aerial beagles hot on the scent of aerial rabbits.”

Cool facts information courtesy allaboutbirds.com

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