Tuesday, July 20, 2010

False Crawl at Ft. Pickens

I just received word that we had a false crawl at Ft. Pickens this morning.

These photos were taken by Randy Larcom who was on patrol at Ft. Pickens this morning and graciously gave me permission to share them with my blog followers.

As you can see in this photo, the tracks were already being washed away by the incoming tide.

For those new to my blog, a false crawl is when a female sea turtle comes ashore but returns to the water without nesting. Sometimes there may be something about the area which doesn't satisfy her; at other times she may be frightened away by lights or motion, but the only sea turtles which come ashore are females ready to nest.

When we see a false crawl like this, patrolers are even more vigilant the next day because they know the sea turtle will come be coming ashore again soon to nest.

Other good news is that there was two nests were discovered this morning: one was found in the Santa Rosa Area - Gulf Islands National Seashore and another on Perdido Key!


Anonymous said...

Do you know if sea turtles jettison their eggs into the ocean if they are disturbed during nesting (false crawl)? Or do they return later that night or the next night to a different place?

Barrier Island Girl said...

Anon, I can only tell you that once we see a false crawl all the 'turtlers' are on alert for a nest. It has been our experience that the female turtle frequently returns within a day or so to nest if something has frightened them or there was something about the area of beach they didn't like in the first attempt. In the case of a Kemp's ridley in June, it was within a couple of hours.

Sometimes we can do an educated guess if a nest is the same turtle that gave us a false crawl by examining the crawl itself: width of her track and any distinguishing tail/flipper drag marks.