Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Keep 'em coming!

I did a happy dance this morning when I discovered my second sea turtle nest of the week. This loggerhead was all business! She came straight up on the beach, nested, and headed straight back into the Gulf.

The body pit, which is very evident in this photo, was 6' 7" across.

To give you some sense of scale, the width of her track was 37" wide.

I immediately called the bio-techs to alert them I'd found another nest. I wasn't sure if it would need to be relocated. Then I posted a sign and then headed off to complete the rest of my patrol just in case there were other nests or false crawls.

By the time I returned to work on the nest (measurements, staking, reporting), bio-techs Rebecca Carruth and Toby Singleton arrived to assess the situation, along with volunteer Emily Kennedy. Rebecca was a welcome sight on Sunday when my Ft. Pickens nest had to be relocated.
Even though the decision was made to leave the nest "in situ" - it's original location - Rebecca digs down to locate the egg chamber itself so that it can be GPS'd. She then replaces the sand and leaves a light hand print for reference when they return with the GPS equipment.

The whole team of Bio-techs and volunteers are thrilled with the number of nests we've had so far this year - and we haven't even gotten into the peak of our season! But we realize there will be a lot of sleepless night in a couple of months when all these nests start hatching!

Measurements taken, nest roped off, reporting completed on SR 6081. Time to head home.

Life is good!


Anonymous said...

DJ, can you predict exactly when this nest will hatch?


Barrier Island Girl said...

Hi, Patty! We can only estimate. Generally speaking sea turtle eggs take 60 days to hatch, but that time can be affected by temperature. If it stays very hot, they could hatch more quickly. If we have cooler temps (like later in the season), it can slow them down quite a bit.

All we can do is monitor them every day and start nest sitting when we hear them making their to the surface (the eggs are buried 15 - 18 inches below the surface).

All our nests, with the exception of one of the nests on Perdido Key, are Loggerheads and they hatch at night.