Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moving forward

Tropical Storm Lee had me pretty bummed out when I saw how our remaining sea turtle nests were being battered by high surf and buried deeper with sand.  I didn't know how many would be left.

Yesterday was the first day we resumed patrols at Ft. Pickens after the road reopened and I was anxious to see how it looked. 

I was sad to see the nest I discovered on July 17th was marked 'LOST'.  

I even (accidentally) sacrificed my beloved Droid for this nest in the torrential downpour that morning when the pocket where I had it stashed filled with water.  Come to think of it, I think our bio-tech, Toby Stapleton fried his phone the same way that morning in another area.

This in situ nest (natural/not relocated) was a reasonable way from the water when it was laid, but is quite close now. 

Luckily, the mama loggerhead had climbed a fairly steep berm to nest, so this site escaped the worst of the waves.  Unfortunately, you can see that it ended up with about two feet of extra sand on top of it and these little fellows will need some help digging out.

Six unhatched sea turtle nests  remained at Ft. Pickens when Tropical Storm Lee shut us down.  Of those, two were lost.  We are hopeful the other four will hatch with little or no ill effects. 

This nest with the extreme sand accretion, FP 7281, was discovered by Volunteer Connie Mickle and appears to be the last next one for this season at Ft. Pickens.

FP 7251, a relocated nest, holds 84 loggerhead eggs, and escaped no worse for wear.  The number of eggs is slightly lower than usual.  Many of our nests contain 100 or more eggs.  

A photo of Ft. Pickens Road on the way out of the park.  Sand was piled over head-high on each side of the road.   Not surprising since it was reported that sand was 2 ft. to 4 ft. deep over certain areas of the road.

I feel more upbeat after a couple of days patrol.  Tomorrow morning I'll be patroling at Santa Rosa and I'm anxious to see it for myself as well.  I was very grateful to hear from our Bio-Tech Toby Stapleton that my Green nest made it through!  Expect photos tomorrow!!!

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