Friday, May 25, 2012

FP 5251

Patrollers seem to luck into discovering a nest on a day they are substituting for someone else.   We tease each other about it all the time.  That was the case at Ft. Pickens this morning when I discovered the tracks of a small loggerhead.  It is the first sea turtle of the season for the Ft. Pickens area.  Her crawl width was only 31 inches, so she is probably young. In contrast, a loggerhead crawl in another area earlier this month was 41inches wide, making her a BIG girl!

Unfortunately the nest was located too close to the water and in an area which frequently washes over during storms, so it had to be relocated by the biologist.  The egg chamber was also very shallow, just a few inches from the surface.

Although it's difficult to tell much about the photo below due to the angle, I've drawn a couple of circles that indicate the location of  1) the body pit, and 2) location of the egg chamber.

You can also see that high surf a month or so ago washed in a lot of sargassum (seaweed). It will eventually decompose and be washed over by sand, looking as beautiful as ever. Although most of us don't like it very well, the shorebirds love it because it is loaded with all kinds of tiny crustaceans for them to feed on.

I'll be back patrolling on Sunday, so wish me another nest!!!  We're two nests behind at Ft. Pickens for this time last year!


Paula said...

Each year I eagerly anticipate the start of your patrols. You do some of your best work here and I'm certain it's because of the subject matter. have a great summer, DJ.

BaysideLife said...

And so it begins. Glad to see that the turtles are coming back. Thanks for the info.